"Either Francois (Houle) goes to jail or the Human Rights Commission is a hoax and a fraud," Ann Coulter concludes in her blog from Canada on March 24, a country she has criticized since Canada refused to join the United States in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, saying that "Canada should be grateful that the US 'allows' it to exist on the same continent..."
In her online column, Coulter describes how she became the victim of human rights abuses and "hate".
"WELCOME TO CANADA! - FULL REPORT -- WITH PICTURES! Ann Coulter Riot in Ottawa"... The post goes on...
Sometimes she sounds whacky: "How about sending a letter to all Muslim speakers advising them to please bathe once a week while in Canada? Would that constitute a hate crime?"
Sometimes she's sounds almost normal, like when she's talking about the need for security when she travels to college campuses. "That's why the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (a sponsor of my Canada speeches) and the Young America's Foundation (a sponsor of many of my college speeches) don't send conservatives to college campuses without a bodyguard."
Now that I have to think about Coulter, I have to think about hate. And if I'm forced to think about free speech vs. human rights. That's code for America vs. Canada.
Returning from eight years in Europe in 1996, I was shocked at the changes that had taken place in the media---much had become permissible that hadn't been in the past. Howard Stern seemed to wrap up these changes pretty well in his misogynist, racist, bullying. He got richer and richer saying stuff he'd be jailed for in France. Who cares, it's just words, some said, when I expressed my surprise.
Just words? Words are catalysts. The question is, catalysts for what?
No war happens without a long prelude during which language gets bent into the service of hatred, sending it spreading across the land. Language is the tool people use to twist reality into new shapes. Bending perceptions and distorting facts, people do strange things. Human beings are said to be naturally averse to killing other human beings. Then, how does killing happen?
One example. In Rwanda, the Hutus gained control of the national radio station, and said the Tutsis were just cockroaches. They said it over and over,louder and louder, until people began to think it was okay to talk that way. Then they started to think it was true.
Len Rudner was Director of Community Relations for the Canadian Jewish Congress when he pointed out to me in an interview that that all ethnic cleansing and every genocide on the face of this planet has begun in the same place: with words.
Rudner hoped that Canada would become a model for other countries in dealing with hate. He hoped that the world would create a unilateral statement andlegislation to protect human rights from hatred on the Net so that Canada's protections would become the norm. Otherwise, he said, "Here in Canada, we’re in a situation that’s analogous to the man or the woman who very carefully rakes the leaves out of their backyard only to find that their yard is full of leaves from their neighbour’s tree."
Back to Coulter. Criticizing the University of Ottawa's barring of her speech for security concerns, Coulter writes: "While it was a relief to know that it is still permissible in Canada to promote hatred against unidentifiable groups, upon reading Francois' letter, I suddenly realized that I had just been the victim of a hate crime! And it was committed by Francois A. Houle (French for 'Frank A. Hole')."