A journalist dies in Jordan

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Over the past few days there has been a major debate in the US and the murder of a prominent journalist in Jordan. These two facts seem unrelated but both should set us thinking about the state of our world and the liberties we treasure.

The American debate attracted record viewership and generated top news coverage all over the world.

The murder of the journalist, however, paled into insignificance and is hardly discussed in the western press. The gunning down of a man who believed in freedom of expression, who dared to speak out even in a country which is not too liberal, should be top of our news where he should be hailed a hero—but as the killing did not happen in a European capital we, the cosy westerners, hardly bat an eyelid.

Nahed Hattar was ironically gunned down outside the courts of justice where he was to face charges of “offending religion” and “inflaming religious feelings” under the country’s strict blasphemy laws, after he shared a satirical cartoon deemed to be offensive to Islam. His family said he had received a number of death threats since his arrest in August.

This horrible act is fomented by a growing intolerance of the highest order in many countries and by many politicians.

And this is where the seemingly far-fetched connection between the two incidents should stir us out of our stupor. Hillary Clinton might have baggage that could crucify her in any normal election. But in the coming US presidential election it is crucial for world liberty, democracy and freedom of expression to prevent Donald Trump from triumphing.

Donald Trump is a creation of the worst part of our society—a demagogue, a rude bigot, a misogynist, a racist, a man who appeals to anyone who thinks white Christian males are intrinsically superior. Money is his god and he panders to popularity ratings—he will do anything including mock disabled people, women and Muslims. He is a politician who should be a joke but has, frighteningly, become a reality. In the age where reality shows are king, the worst exemplar of the TV world—he who fires people on a whim—could be the next president of the US. We live in ironical times.

Intolerance leads to horrors, to savaging of humans, of ideas and ultimately to deaths of people who try hard to keep our liberties intact. May the death of a journalist in Jordan help more people realise that each vote, each thought, each idea is priceless in the fight against intolerance.

Source: www.timesofmalta.com

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