edited: Monday, January 26, 2009
By Brion Heru'El Ofrika Bey
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, December 14, 2007
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My thoughts on freedom of speach.
Sedition Two years and thirty-six days ago I started going door to door with a message for my people. Some were offended, but many agreed and decided that they would not pay taxes to nor honor a corrupt government. Within a week’s time I had over five thousand brothers and sisters on my team ready to kill for their freedom, not die for it. In newspaper articles we were downplayed and described as “abrasive negroes without jobs or any education.” But we became a real threat when whites started to lend their support. I saw it as the beginning of the end for the business that we called America, and after six months of protesting and lobbying by the people, the government began to show us some respect, or so we thought. The real trouble started at headquarters, this was a run down building in the inner city projects that I also called home. Looking back, I can understand why I was not taken very seriously. But I was dead serious, I knew it, and so did the government. They let me know it when three or four guys kicked down the door, cuffed me, and accused me of violating National Security laws. Denouncing my citizenship a few years earlier allowed them to arrest and hold me without pressing any charges, something about being a security risk. Now here I sit, two years later, in a cell filled with blood, urine, and fecal matter. Screams echo down the hall, letting me know that I am not alone in this place. My mind is filled with questions, but I have no one to ask. The only thing that I am certain of is my death. The act of treason toward a hierarchy, government, and/or authority figure has been deemed as seditious behavior. A more contemporary interpretation of the word (sedition) would be acts or words tending to upset the authority or government. Although its origin is Latin; from the word seditio, which means to separate or move apart from; sources state that in the modern sense it was first used in the Elizabethan Era, c1590, as the notion of inciting by words or writings disaffectionate towards the state or constituted authority. I can only suspect that many people were put to death over this word. It is not as popular a word as it used to be; but in terms of law, its definition and what it stands for still remains the same. This is one charge that you don’t want to have to stand trial for. The words treason and sedition have been replaced by the word terrorism. They are all the same in terms of action. According to modern law seditious activity may be associated with treason, and those who commit treason could be seen as terrorists. I think a word like seditious would be used by a defense attorney to describe his client’s behavior; whereas the prosecutor would use the word terrorist to describe the same person. A word like sedition comes across as harmless and is somewhat obscuring of its meaning, but terrorist on the other hand has become quite popular and strikes fear in the heart. The problem for the government is that the outcome of a successful terrorist attack is equivalent to the results of positive feedback from seditious behavior. Sedition itself is not a crime against humanity, but to a judge or prosecutor it demands a punishment strong enough to deter any similar acts in future. Retribution for treason is a very touchy subject. Some wonder if the convicted even deserve rights while others say they are no different than any other criminal. From a patriotic standpoint, only the death penalty or life imprisonment can act as successful deterrents of treason. A government can get itself into a world of trouble if it is too lenient on the crime, however, being too harsh can excite the people in the wrong way. In countries where freedom of speech is allowed it would seem especially hard to not step over that imaginary line between treason and patriotism without giving up the right to have an opinion. I would say that it’s a part of human nature to ask questions and have doubts. Penalizing a person for acting, thinking, or speaking out against the government should be considered a crime against humanity, punishable by death. This is my opinion and I’m glad to be able to share it.