March for Free Expression

The next phase

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Support from rationalist radio

We are very pleased to be able to announce that Neil Denny and Richard Sanderson, the presenters of Little Atoms, a radio show on London's Resonance 104.4 FM (, have offered their support and will be publicising the campaign and joining us in Trafalgar Square. The agenda for their show is rationalist, pro-science, humanist and for the progressive left.

They said:
Little Atoms stands for Freedom of Speech and Enlightenment Values. We are proud to support the March for Free Expression and are encouraging our listeners to attend


Blogger Juan Golblado said...

This may be of interest here:

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

(there's more about the signatories on the Jyllands Posten website

7:49 pm  
Blogger Voltaire said...

Our latest confirmed speaker, Maryam Namazie, was one of the signatories.

7:50 pm  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

Yes, I see now that you had linked to it. I didn't realize the manifesto was a letter to Hebdo so I didn't recognize it for what it was and thought it was something local to France.

This is getting exciting! I'm glad to see some well known names endorsing it. Obviously we need everybody on the decent left to endorse it and take part.

Oliver Kamm had said he was going to organise something. I wasn't aware of this demonstration at that time and presumably he wasn't either. So surely he will give visible support.

The people who run Harry's Place seem to be a bit wary on this whole issue. Brownie and Gene actually didn't want the cartoons published here so they won't be enthusiastic. Marcus and David T should be, though.

I wish you really well in drawing vast numbers of people and good speakers who will support full freedom of expression.

I grew up primarily in the U.S. and I'm used to unfettered freedom of expression. But I'm a bit worried about the prospects for that here. Part of the famous British reiticence and understatedness seems to be that you read a lot into what people say and you spend more energy worrying about how what you say will be taken.

Having lived here for many years now, I find that I tend to take more responsibility for how people react to what I say. I can see how this might translate into putting less value on freedom of expression in comparison to the effect it might have on the listener.

I think in part because of this it has been possible to criminalise "incitement to hatred". I can't imagine such a thing happening in the U.S.

For me, and I think this is fairly characteristic of people in the U.S., what other people think or feel is their business and their responsibility. Likewise, what I say is my business. But here, now, where there is a law against "incitement to hatred", and a lot of people who I might otherwise agree with support or at least accept that law, I worry about the future of freedom of expression.

I'm afraid "incitement to hatred" was the thin end of the wedge.

11:20 pm  
Anonymous Steve said...

I can never pick this station up. The signal must be very weak.

Is it just me, or is the liberal-secular opposition to Islam more ready to stand up and be counted than the conservative or Christian opponents?

8:41 am  
Anonymous Little Atoms said...


Resonance FM has a transmitter on the roof of Guy's Hospital. It transmits to a few mile radius from there, but local environment can effect it, I live behind a hill in Lewisham and struggle to pick it up at home. It is available on the web though.


8:22 pm  

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