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HOW FREE IS “FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” REALLY?

NOTE: First published on October 13, 2020. The “Published” date on the tab is the date that it was uploaded on this new site. Though some issues in this piece may still be current (depending on…), this is to avoid mistaking this piece as current news.

This is “No Bullshiting,” by Harry Agina.

Greetings, folks!

Have you ever wondered what Nigeria, or any other society would be like, if everybody can always say whatever the hell that they feel like saying at all times? Well, I have given it quite some thought, and I have blogged about it once from a different perspective; no wonder, I title this blog “Part Two.” Here is the thematic question of the day:

Even in the freest “Freedom-Of-Speech” societies of the world, including America; is there really anything like true or absolute freedom of speech in any society? My introductory answer is, “Hell doggon no…‘impossi-can’t’!!!”

Mind you, I’m not talking about the legal limitation, which says that “your freedom-of-speech right stops where the other citizen’s right starts.” This protects every member of the society from libel and defamation of character. Libel happens when one makes a false statement that defames another person’s character. And, to defame is to damage the reputation of the victim. ‘False’ is emphasized above, because it is the keyword of this law. I’ll make my point short and simple; if you stole something, and i have proof, or a court has pronounced you a thief, bros or sis, I have every right to employ megaphones, TV/Radio, stand on rooftops all day long, or any other way that I wish, and call you a criminal or thief all day long, and, you can’t do shit about it in court, period!!! You’d be stupid to even go to court at all. The moment you stole something, is the moment that you lost that anti-defamation right, meeeeen!!! No wonder, I laugh at, and dare any government idiot who threatens the public with arrest or/and prosecution, for saying facts.

I would actually love to be arrested for stating facts in any society, because it would end up in false arrest suit that should earn me some good settlement funds. When I call our Speaker of the House names, I know that he won’t sue me, he would be stupid to sue me; he knows that he does have a conviction record in the USA. Sure, I know that Nigeria is peculiar, because some of our fucked-up judges look at white color, kolo-kolo, in broad daylight, and call it black, in some of their evil judgements that are induced by money or blackmail or fear-factor intimidation. But, that’s where the resilience of the citizenry in fighting corruption should come into play. We can’t continue to accept every illegality, and expect things to change for the better. Evil prevails in Nigeria because good people are not fighting enough…too fucking docile, meeeen!!!

Anyway, that was just introductory mention of some legalities in “Freedom Of Speech.” But I’m not even talking about legalities here, no, sir/ma’am. I’m on the next level (not APC type of “Next Level” ooh). Here is my thematic question: even when and where the law allows you, do you actually always say everything on your mind? If you tell me that you do, I would have to call you a liar, meeen, “with all the due respect,” mind you.

If you’re somebody’s employee, remember that this includes looking your boss right in the face and say something like…“Motherfucker, who the hell do you think that you are, huh?” You probably feel like saying this, or something similar to your boss today already, or even worse sometimes; but you’d better find yourself another job first, before you dare; ain’t it? I’ve had conversations with a couple of President Buhari’s Aso Rock staffers, respectively, each of whom said this exact same phrase: “If you knew what is going on in this presidency now, you would weep for Nigeria.” Would they dare to say it to Buhari himself, or even their immediate bosses who represent Buhari? Hell fucking no!!! Once upon a viral video clip, Minister Rotimi Amechi was caught unawares saying some shit about Buhari, too, which he wouldn’t dare to say to his face.

Again, if you tell me that you have never felt like really letting it all out on your boss or similar benefactors, I will tell you that you are either a liar, or your boss is among the few saints out there who never do anything to piss anybody off; or, you are the saint yourself, and you never ever see any bad in anybody, even if they shit into your mouth. I will tell you that there are probably less than half a percent of the human race out there who are this saintly; so, the odds against having such saintly boss or such “saintly you” are too high. Even Jesus in his days lost his cool and destroyed everything in a Synagogue. ‘Unfree-freedom-of-speech’ also goes for how you speak to your Igwe/Emir/Oba/governor, and all the other ‘social gods,’ and elders in the society, and even you marital or friendship spouse.

Let’s turn the table around a little, shall we; from the subordination factor, to the public figures and authorities themselves…from how not to talk in order not to lose favors from those above us, to how those above cannot (or at least should not) always exercise their full freedom of speech, either. I will cite Pope Francis to illustrate. If I could determine if the pope would be honest, I would bet you my bottom dollar that he would tell us that, sometimes he almost regrets being a pope, even if just a little. And, one of the most likely reasons include the burden of having to pretend all the time that he is never offended enough to loose his cool. Sometimes, he feels like saying to somebody…“Fuck off my face, you’re pissing me off, motherfucker,” or something similar; but, it would be unbecoming of a pope, so he swallows it and suffers in silence. I choose the pope here because I do have a recent video clip of where he actually did something similar…completely lost his cool and was furious with a woman in a crowd. She’s obviously his fan, who held onto his hand just a bit too long. The man couldn’t pretend to be an unperturbed saint anymore, and, like all other mortals, he lost his cool and angrily snatched his hand from the woman’s grip, with a slap on the woman’s hand, to boot. He later apologized, but he had already exhibited our natural human tendency to bleed when one pricks us, laugh when one tickles us, and get angry when one annoys us. And, it is often frustrating when we cannot exhibit the anger due to one “social-correctness” factor or another.

SOCIETAL PECULIARITIES:

Basically, USA and Nigeria have similar “Freedom Of Speech” framework. However, peculiar cultural factors in Nigeria make Nigeria’s “Freedom Of Speech” much less free than America’s. Some of the speech freedom that are taken for granted by Americans, are held as taboo in Nigeria (Africa). I’ll illustrate with a simple personal incident. My NIGERIAN friend (a traditionalist) once overheard my daughter (America born and bred) say to me, “Come on, dad, don’t be silly; how could you say bla bla bla…?” I DIDN’T NOTICE anything unusual, but my friend did. He just couldn’t understand how I could be laughing when my daughter had just said “Don’t be silly, dad” to me; it was abominable “disrespect” to him. The so-called “disrespected” Harry was having fun, but my friend was complaining. I had to go through a long lecture to explain to him the non-disrespecting meaning of the phrase, to justify my daughter’s “disrespect.”

     Cultural peculiarity is the reason that I was once told that I committed abomination when I said to a Yoruba Oba (king) the five simple words: “Kabiesi, you did me wrong,” shikena!!! My abomination was that, according to Yoruba culture, “no matter what a Yoruba Oba does, nobody is supposed to tell him in his face that he did anything wrong.” And, what did the Oba do to me? I bought a parcel of land in his domain through him, and when he either connived with, or allowed his subjects to grab my land, I had to say the five little taboo words to him. Try to imagine how I felt when the conversation suddenly changed from the subject of my grabbed land, to the crazy subject that I committed a taboo with those little words. Bros/Sis, I was more angered by the person who told me that ancient rubbish, than I was for losing the land. You try to say that shit to an American in America after grabbing his land, and I can almost guarantee that he would shoot you in the legs so that you don’t die and make it complicated. In court, he would plead temporary insanity, and, he may actually go free, or get away with light sentence. He claims that you drove his ass temporarily insane by uttering that bullshit, meeeen!!!

WHY “NO BULLSHITTING” BLOG IS POPULAR & GROWING:

Based on recent responses to “No Bullshitting” blogs, I can say that “No Bullshitting” fans are growing fast, especially among Nigerians. One of these days, I may have to compile and publish some of the responses. But before then, I will tell you right now that it’s not really about boasting, no, sir/ma’am!!! It’s about a point that I want to make to our “Opinion Leaders” and Elder Statesmen. It may be in form of a booklet, where I will tell them that overwhelming majority of the masses that they are leading, are sick and tired of their “Political Correctness” bullshit. The people want to see and hear them CONDEMN the crooks in our land in bold, clear, and strong terms. Trust me when I tell ya, that a great number of “No Bullshitting” fans are elite persons in all respects, who may not necessarily want to associate themselves with the character and language of “No Bullshitting” in public, due to their positions in society. I don’t blame them one bit, of course, because they cannot afford to sound like “No Bullshitting.” But, bros eeeh, they love it like cooked food, meeeen!!! So, they applaud “No Bullshitting” because it’s speaking their minds for them.

As for the “MASSES,” MAJORITY are not only SICK and TIRED of our leadership and all the evils in the society, they are also now MORE SICK and TIRED of the “Politically-Correct” bullshitting of our so-called Opinion Leaders. When a governor or lawmaker, or anybody else is a crook, Nigerians want to see and hear him/her bluntly called a crook…no fucking political-correctness, NO FANCY WORDS, NO RIGMAROLES. I remember some of the cordial debates that I had with a couple of friends when “No Bullshitting” Blog emerged. They were critical of the character and language; and the gist of my own argument was that, very soon, “No Bullshitting” Blog would knock out any gentlemanly, nice, “decent-language” social critic in any popularity contest. “No Bullshitting” speaks the language that the people want to hear now against the destroyers of our country, meeeeeeen!!!

In fact, most of the minute criticism that come to “No Bullshitting” are actually from fans of “No Bullshitting,” too. I involuntarily chuckle as I tell you the reasons for the criticism from few of my own fans…selfishness and lack of objectivity, that’s why!!! Partisan politicians hail me when I “attack” the opposition, and they complain when the “attack” is on their own party or candidate. And then, there are the few holier-than-though Pentecostals who complain on the bases of extremist and ignorant Christianity. They almost love me more than cooked food, as a couple have actually told me, but I had to go and mess it all up by violating the fucked-up Christian taboo of “see-evil-but-speak-no-evil” about the Christendom. As soon as I “attack” their small gods (pastors) in the so-called churches, they feel that they’ve got to attack me back. It’s good to note that they are getting fewer by the day, though, thanks to God and Social Media enlightenment. Enlightened and objective ones engage me in conversation, and some of them do give in to my facts, and commonsense-deductions…when they realize that I ain’t bullshitting.

FEW CAUTIONARY WORDS TO IMPULSIVE YOUNGSTERS:

I will end with a cautionary statement to impulsive youngsters who frequently get into physical fights with people just for using their mouths. If a person says “You are an idiot,” or anything similar, you ain’t got no fucking right to punch the person for it. If he calls you an idiot, call him back. In fact, increase yours one gazillion times, to ”Idiot” and “Motherfucker” and “Mad man” and everything else that you can think of, if you please; but never throw that first punch simply for the IDIOTIC reason that he/she calls you names. It has not gotten to libel at all, and you’re practically confirming the “idiot” that she/he just called you, by fighting idiotically. Indeed, importantly, even if the person went beyond “Freedom Of Speech” boundary, you still ain’t got no fucking right to punch him, anyway…you go to court, or invite the police if you feel obviously threatened, period! Any way you slice it, if you throw the first punch based on spoken words, you will lose in any uncompromised court as the person that illegally started a fight; the other dude or ‘dudess’ is just defending his/her life…trust me that I ain’t bullshitting you, meeeenn!!!

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