A German politician is talking about imprisoning people for saying things that are verboten. Where have I heard this story before?
The other day I told you about Jan Böhmermann, the German comedian (a concept with which I was previously unfamiliar) who’s in big trouble for mocking the President of Turkey. Böhmermann is now under police protection, and Erdogan wants the guy locked up for going on TV and reading a poem that made fun of him. That sounds crazy to me, probably because I don’t live in Germany or Turkey or any of those other awful countries.
If Böhmermann was counting on Angela Merkel to make his life a bit less beschissen, too bad. Philip Oltermann, the Grauniad:
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has authorised the prosecution of comedian Jan Böhmermann for reading out an offensive poem about the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Merkel insisted her government’s decision did not amount to a verdict on whether the comedian was guilty or not, but should be understood as a reaffirmation of the judiciary’s independence.
“In a constitutional democracy, weighing up personal rights against freedom of the press and freedom of expression is not a matter for governments, but for public prosecutors and courts,” Merkel said in a press conference on Friday.
Riiiiiiight. As Steyn puts it: “You can take the girl out of East Germany, but you can’t take the East Germany out of the girl.” Although to her credit, Merkel did say that the section of Germany’s criminal code that apparently allows for this prosecution is — and I’m paraphrasing here — f***ing stupid.
Still, this is happening. In a First World nation. In 2016.
They’re never going to track down all those scumbags who sexually assaulted a bunch of women in public on New Year’s Eve, but they sure are nailing this guy for reading a poem out loud on TV. No need to worry about creeping sharia, right? Germany has really turned things around since that unpleasantness back in the old days, ja?
What is it with wanting to throw people in the slammer for saying stuff you don’t like? Isn’t one Bill Nye in the world more than enough?
I stand with Jan. He should be able to mock, ridicule, rag on, and otherwise humiliate any politician he wants. It’s not just his right, it’s his responsibility. Freie Rede, meine Freunde!
Come on, Germany. You’ve got enough PR problems as it is. Well, at least among those of us who aren’t voting for Trump…