Whenever an act of violence suits the narrative and the political illusions of the hard Left, you can be sure someone will call it “freedom of expression,” and turn the tables on law enforcement measures. No surprise, thus, in seeing the Baghdad shoe-thrower hailed as a victim of state violence and a paladin of free expression. Useful idiots are already lining up to sign petitions for his release. Lawyers are volunteering to defend his cause. And Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter has now reportedly awarded the heroic journalist the Lybian medal of courage.
One only wonders what kind of reward anyone would get for throwing the same at her father – and this is the point of the story. Truth, unlike beauty, should not be confined to the eye of the beholder. And throwing a potentially harmful object at someone is not “expression.”
There is of course a long history of this leftist blindness to violence (their own, usually), the most famous example of which, in recent times, has been the Palestinian habit of throwing rocks and molotov cocktails. Uniformly across left-leaning media it was considered a “non-violent” form of protest.
Until, of course, rocks start falling closer to home. Take what’s happening in Greece now: Greek youth throwing rocks and molotov cocktails is “violent unrest,” according to Germany’s Der Spiegel. London’s Times speaks of “violent scenes” caused by mobs across Europe. For the Belfast Telegraph it is “street violence,” and so on. The explanations vary, but the characterization is shared across the board: it is violence, not youthful exuberance. One should be pleased to see journalists call something by its rightful name – and let’s be frank, a shoe thrown at the head of the President of the United States might not be as physically consequential as a hurled rock or a molotov cocktail. But it is not freedom of expression.