Electric Itlog

An archive of what was and what will be...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Freedom of Suppression

This short piece was part of a poster I was suppose to post on the Freedom Wall of the Faculty of Arts and Letters in UST. It's my own voice on the "Saguid Affair" last school year. For those who do not know the whole story, its a case of a CA Senior named Joseph Saguid, editor-in-chief of the Flame, who posted an article which criticized an AB Professor. What follows is strictly my own "twisted" opinion.

By posting a few sheets of paper on the Freedom Wall, Joseph Saguid has brought about a swirling sense of confusion surrounding freedom of expression. I believe that it was not his intention to do so. But the chain of events that proceeded from a simple expression of views has given us all something to ponder on.

I believe that the "Saguid Posting" is a simple narrative-analysis document: his main intention was both to tell his batch's story and interpret it in terms of the why's and how's. I did not see anything gravely wrong with the text itself, nor with the call for action that it tried to inspire. Mr. Saguid was free to voice out his views, which was exactly what he did.

But then some people asked for the removal of the posting from the wall. Others took legal action against the writer. The simple expression of personal views became, for others, an apathetic (and somewhat rebellious) document.

So does this mean that freedom of expression is being curtailed? No.

Mr. Saguid is being questioned not because he used his freedom of expression but because of how he used that freedom. He has the right to voice his personal opinion, but others also have the right to challenge that opinion.

The others who have gone against the Saguid Posting and its writer are not curtailing freedom of expression. In fact, they are even promoting it. By condemning the posting and the writer, these people are just expressing their own views of apathy towards Mr. Saguid and his own views. Even legal action is but a form of this freedom of expression. Their actions just made everyone more interested with the discussion, inspiring a multitude of people to post more messages on the freedom board. Therefore, freedom of expression is not being suppressed here in AB but being promoted.

Mr. Saguid used his freedom of expression to explain the status of his batch, while the Administration used their own freedom of expression to question that other expression. But many students are getting angry. Why? Because they say that the Administration's actions are nothing more than a suppression of the basic right of self-expression. But the Administration was merely expressing its own views! Which brings us to a very interesting question: whose freedom of expression is really being suppressed?

The problem with freedom is that we all have it. We, as humans, have been thrown into this world with the gift of free-will. And it is the availability of freedom that is now the main source of our problem. Yes. we are all free. But the freedom we possess is limited by the freedom that others also possess.

Don't misinterpret me here; I'm not voicing out my full support for Mr. Saguid nor am I condemning his actions. I am also not defending the Administration nor am I saying that they are always right (they're also human, figure it out). What I am trying to do here is to look at the nature of freedom of expression. I believe that the attempt is both trivial and arguable. But I do hope that I am able to confuse the confusion off the topic.

The subject of freedom is hard to analyze, particularly because too much meaning has been jammed into a seven-letter word. But in the end, we must remember one thing: in a world like ours where freedom is inherent, freedom will limit itself by nature.



At 2:05 AM , Blogger slipshodpen said...

wow. hands down.


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