December 11, 2012, - 12:57 pm
Which speech is more deadly: the radio prank of two Australian disc jockeys or the daily implorations of violence and hate against Jews and Christians and other non-Muslims in Islamic schools, mosques, the koran, the hadiths, books, sermons, and websites? Yet, which of these is being heavily condemned all over the world, while the other gets nary a peep?
Australian DJs Mel Greig’s and Michael Christian’s Innocent Prank is Being Blamed for One Woman, Jacintha Saldanha’s Suicide . . .
But Millions of Murders, Tortures, and Rapes Are Inspired by Islam? . . .
I’m tired of the criticism of the Australian DJs who made the prank phone call on the air that is now being blamed for the suicide on Friday of a nurse at a British hospital. A New York Times editorial (you’ll never see a NYTimes condemnation of Islamic exhortations to violence) and competing prankster DJs are among the avalanche of pilers-on and critics of the DJs because of a tragic result that could not possibly be foreseen by anyone.
They are not the ones who went too far. It’s the woman who committed suicide who went too far.
As I’ve said before on this site, suicide is one of the most selfish acts a person can commit. It’s a final irreversible act that leaves loved ones traumatized, guilt-ridden, and blaming themselves forever. That a mother of two would leave her young children motherless and make her husband a widower is stark evidence that there was something seriously wrong with her, NOT an indictment of what was–as pranks go–very mild and harmless.
Radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2Day FM have now lost everything–their radio show (at a station whose management regularly encouraged much worse radio pranks), their reputations, and so on. All because they called a hospital with horrible security and privacy mechanisms, easily managed to get connected to Princess Kate’s hospital quarters, and asked a nurse how Princess Kate was doing after she was rushed to the hospital over morning sickness. That the princess weighs less than 100 pounds and is 5’10″–and that most other pregnant women aren’t so anorexic, nor do they need to be rushed to the hospital for morning sickness–is the subject for another blogpost. But the prank wasn’t mean-spirited and a suicide couldn’t possibly have been predicted . . . by the DJs or anyone else. Even Prince Charles was joking about the prank and saying he’s not a “radio station,” prior to the suicide.
And I find this interesting: that there’s a worldwide condemnation of the speech by the DJs that couldn’t have possibly been predicted to result in death, whereas there’s never a condemnation of Muslim speech in mosques, Muslim schools, and Islamic books every second of the day, all of which leads to murder of innocents. That’s the speech we should be concerned with. That’s the fatal speech with far more victims on a regular basis than one unstable woman who didn’t respond well to a radio prank. I get attacked on a regular basis by Muslims, who threaten my life and otherwise insult me. If I committed suicide, do you think anyone would condemn any of them or they’d lose their jobs? Think again. And the two DJs didn’t threaten anyone’s life or religion and ethnicity, as Muslims regularly do with me and other targets of their threats and violence. The idea that these DJs could go to jail for their prank, while Muslims who preach hate and violence never do experience punishment, is absurd.
Something was not all there about Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who killed herself. All she did was refer the call to Princess Kate’s room. If anything, the nurse who spoke and gave out information was really the one who violated patient privacy. And all of the stories note that the hospital was very supportive of Saldanha and neither criticized her nor disciplined her. In fact, at the time of her death, no one even knew her name, so it’s unlikely she was the subject of much ridicule beyond the confines of the workplace. Could workplace ridicule during just a few days have been so bad that this woman had to take her own life and leave her family empty and barren? Doubtful.
Perhaps Saldanha’s Indian background had something to do with it–that she came from poor, humble beginnings, and wasn’t (as no average healthcare worker would be) used to being involved in a worldwide news story involving a radio prank. Maybe it’s considered honorable there to do this, as one might commit hara-kiri in Japan. I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the DJs’ fault.
What the two DJs did wasn’t on the order of shaming anyone. They didn’t post an embarrassing video or phone call of someone on the net. They didn’t expose a cheating wife or husband to the public. They didn’t do even a gazillionth of a percent of what goes on in our current media culture, much of which would be more reliably suicide-inducing than this. What they did didn’t expose anyone to anything on the level of the strife that normally causes people to commit suicide. Yes, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. And these two DJs didn’t even come close to that line.
So, I’m tired of hearing the apologies–as badly as the DJs rightly feel–and the harsh verdicts against people for merely exercising their free speech rights in the West in what was a quite banal and benign way. That wasn’t the cause of the suicide.
Something seriously wrong with Jacintha Saldanha was the reason she took her own life. End of story.
Just remember, as you listen to the endless condemnations of the Australian DJs, that those condemning them and blaming them for the suicide of a singular selfish, mentally unstable woman don’t give a crap about the millions of people around the world that Islamic speech sentenced to murder on a regular basis.
Not that this is new, but the speech police have a very selective sense of which speech is tolerable and which exceeds the bounds of decency.
Tags: 2Day FM, India, Jacintha Saldanha, Mel Greig, Michael Christian, prank call, Princess Kate, radio djs, radio prank, Royal prank, Royal radio prank, suicide