Tom Friedman, another NY Times columnist, on free speech:
The Saudi poet, Abdul Mohsen Musalam, in his poem “The Corrupt on Earth,” published March 10 in the newspaper Al-Madina, wrote: “It is sad that in the Muslim world, justice is suffering from a few judges who care for nothing but their bank accounts and their status with the rulers.” He then added with amazing bluntness about the judges: “Your beards are smeared with blood. You indulge a thousand tyrants and only the tyrant do you obey.”
Not only did the Saudi interior minister throw Mr. Musalam in jail for this poem, but his editor, Mokhtar al-Fal, was fired. So what’s my dilemma? I should be all for free speech – right? – especially in Saudi Arabia.
Not so fast. By accident, I met this poet on a recent trip to Saudi Arabia and I tasted some other free speech he has in him. Readers may recall that I noted in an earlier column that at one newspaper I visited in Saudi Arabia, I walked out after being told that the source of all the problems today was that “the Jews control America.”
Instructive, isn’t it? He actually admits that he may be inclined to be against free speech, if he does not agree with what is being said. Charming.