Freedoms 5

Samina Malik should not be glamorised. The information we have on her is partial, but plainly in at least one aspect she is a stupid young woman with some desperately unpleasant fantasies. She was given to writing poetry that sickeningly depicted political violence, and delighted in it. She indulged her fantasies on the internet.

I disapprove, strongly, of the “Lyrical terrorist”, but disapprobation of society should not entail criminality. Thoughts should not be crimes, and there is no evidence at all that she had any intention of actually committing violence. I am pleased she has not got a further custodial sentence, but we should not forget that she already spent five months in jail. That is wrong, just as I believe it was wrong for Austria to jail David Irving for his equally misguided views. If you persecute an idea, you strengthen its attraction to some, and unpleasant thoughts of marginal attraction acquire the glamour of grievance.

There is not much difference between those who have seriously penalised Malik for her thoughts, and those who would persecute a school teacher for the naming of a Teddy. Those of us who believe in freedom must uphold it – everywhere.

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5 thoughts on “Freedoms

  • kazbel

    Are they her fantasies and beliefs or an exploration of the fantasies and beliefs of others? It's hard to be sure but there's a tradition of people writing poetry in other people's voices. Among Victorian poets, Augusta Webster adopted a male voice to explore how men regarded their wives, Tennyson wrote in the voice of a fundamentalist Christian preacher who attempted suicide after losing his faith and Robert Browning adopted the voice of a murderer. Poetry isn't the same as an article or a memoir – it can be used to explore ideas that the poet doesn't share.

    I don't think they're particularly good poems but they come out of a poetic perspective (as do many rap lyrics).

  • Badgercourage


    Not sure there are any connections between lyrical terrorism and a teddy bear but I agree that Samina Malik should not have been prosecuted – although we should note that she was prosecuted not for her poetry but for foolishly downloading some pretty dodgy material. But this was widely available on the internet, and I'm not sure it should be a crime to posess this stuff – intent is all.

    Interesting that the media have made little or no mention of her 5 months on remand and her draconian bail conditions when she was clearly no threat. I thought the prisons (especially womens prisons) were full to bursting.

    On your wider point, it's true that free speech is indivisible. Either we have it or we don't, and to widen the analogy slightly it's got to apply to the Nick Griffins of this world as well as wealthy Oxford undergraduates.

  • writeon


    I agree with you about the dangers inherent in demonizing and criminalizing ideas.


    I don't think Malik was adopting a literary "persona" to explore and examine the attitudes of others. I think she was using poetry to express her own, personal, innermost, feelings. She is clearly a very angry young woman, and expresses herself in very violent language, but I don't believe she's a terrorist, and I don't believe she should have been prosecuted under the anti-terrorist act. This was using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut!

  • Boss

    This whole affair stinks to high heavens.

    At this point Abrahams, AKA Martin, and Lord knows what else? This same individual goes on record threatening the British Government overtly, and openly with 'dirty turns' or two, if the British Government were to 'hammer him'.

    Yet, this Zionist stooge, this sayan, along with the rest of sayanim carry on their chores, without let or hindrance, on the other hand, here we debate the merits of detaining a poet, for her writings, for five months in top security prisons, and later putting her to trial, that results in a suspended sentence for her 'terrorism'.

    Then BBC finds Anthony Glees the rabid fantasist, to engage in whitewashing the whole sordid affair, by equating the ever polemic 'child pornography' and the writings of this poet. By reading a verse over, and over again, the mad as hatter Glees goes onto pour out bile and venom towards all things Muslim, overwhelming the token opposition provided (fair and balanced!) who maintains that freedom of expression ought to remain paramount.

    The equation is changed in the new 'normal', those credible threats are discounted by all and sundry, whilst on the other hand those none existent threats, are elevated to highest possible order, and proceeded to be combated.

    On goes the charade.

  • Sabretache

    Here here to ALL of that!

    There is no real comparison between Malik and the teddy-naming teacher of course; but the respective mindsets of those who would persecute them are pretty much identical.

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