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No sinister men with long coats and barking dogs at three o'clock in the morning, but the screws are being tightened on free expression over much of Western Europe these days, not least as concerns potential offense towards a certain easily offended religion.

[edit: typo]

In the Netherlands if you tweet something that is perceived as inflammatory you will get a police visit:


Note that this is not the same as hate speech which will lend you in court and get you fined or worst.

Well... it might depend on the message the police deliver. If they're saying, "Look, some of these people react violently when you say stuff like this, and we can't always stop them, so if you're going to keep doing it, you'd better think about your physical security", that's perfectly reasonable.

If they're saying, "This is a polite, non-official notice that if you keep saying stuff like this, you are going to face unofficial heat from the government, in ways that you can't prove is because you're saying this stuff", well, that's not appropriate for a free society.

Thought crime at its best.

Agreed. Intimidation. But hey, we're the country that sends a arrest-squad in the middle of the night to cartoonists and detain them. NOT kidding: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorius_Nekschot

Similar things are happening in Sweden. Dan Park is a Swedish street artist who has actually done jailtime for his works, some of which have also, by order of the court, been destroyed. Both Dan and his gallerist have been subject to nightly police raids.

Lars Vilks is another Swedish artist. He is not being hunted by a police force, but by private, less rulebound actors. He can no longer live on a fixed address, and travels under constant police protection.

What a glorious time for free speech.

I’m not sure whether that is actually true …

Insults were always a crime in Germany. They are even more or less explicitly mentioned (“honor” is mentioned) as an exception in the freedom of speech article in the German constitution. (One interesting tidbit: there are no such explicit exceptions for art, i.e. art is allowed to do everything. Of course that is not totally true. As soon as two or more basic rights collide judges have to decide which one wins out and how different basic rights have to be balanced. Law is not an algorithm, it is a living, breathing thing with a certain spirit, filled with life by the people living with it, applying it and interpreting it.)

This particular law merely names a higher punishment – and requires the German government to allow prosecution.

If you think you have been insulted you always have to make a criminal complaint. Without a criminal complaint there is no prosecution (unlike with, say, a robbery, where it doesn’t matter whether you make a criminal complaint, the robbers can be convicted either way). That applies to everyone.

Erdogan actually made a criminal complaint (one that doesn’t require the permission of the German government to go ahead), too, as well as this criminal complaint that does require the government’s permission. So there would have been some prosecution and maybe even a court case either way the German government had decided, just with a potentially slightly lower punishment.

I think it will be interesting to see how this case turns out … but I would be wary of identifying any trend. In general I would argue that the German constitutional court has again and again emphasized the importance of freedom of speech as a constituent element of democracies and has also, over the years, given the right wider and wider latitude and more teeth, meaning not everything that might, at first blush, sound like an insult actually is an insult. But the exception exists, sure, and always has.

There is also no doubt that what the comic said is insulting content. It was explicitly named as such and that’s pretty uncontroversial … the constitutionally much more interesting question is whether the context in which the insults were packaged is enough to restore the freedom of speech. I personally think it should be and I hope that judges will decide that way … but it’s a honestly tricky question.

I mean, one thing is for sure: Simple disclaimers (“Saying the following would be illegal: …”) are not enough. The law is not stupid … but we are not talking about simple disclaimers here.

You can dress it up with all the sophistry you want, but this pig still stinks: a man's freedom is being taken away for mocking a politician.

This is just unjustifiable. Even worse, it's being done because Merkel needs favors from Erdogan. Imagine if George W. Bush had demanded that Merkel bring prosecutions for some of the more outrageous things people said about him. Would you have been okay with that?

German political discourse and American political discourse happen on a very different level. The amount of name calling happening in the US is unheard of in Germany.

Not even the indemnity afforded to members of parliament speaking parliament covers libellous insults - it's the only exception.

If it is unjustifiable, it will go to the german high court and will be judged unconstitutional. Merkel does not need favours from Erdogan, Merkel needs to stand strong within her country (not that I am happy about that). She has said previously that she thinks it is an insult. If she had now reversed that thinking because of political thinking, that could have been far worse for her. And also for the turkish opposition since hindering the prosecution would have been best that can happen for turkish nationalists.

>She has said previously that she thinks it is an insult. If she had now reversed that thinking because of political thinking, that could have been far worse for her. And also for the turkish opposition since hindering the prosecution would have been best that can happen for turkish nationalists.

So what you're saying is: "It's okay to throw someone in jail for mocking a politician if it benefits you politically."

It is pretty impressive though, that you're able to make it sound so nice and harmless.

No one’s freedom is being taken away as of yet?

The government is acting toward that end. Being stopped by the courts doesn't make that any less immoral.

> Law is not an algorithm

Hopefully one day the laws will be coded in PROLOG and open sourced. Then we can use computers to reason and decide about it.

> This particular law merely names a higher punishment – and requires the German government to allow prosecution.

That's things getting worse.

It's not a new law, and in response to this incident Merkel has said she wants to get rid of this law, so how is it getting worse?

The right to grant a federal pardon lies in the office of the President of Germany, but he or she can transfer this power to other persons, such as the chancellor or the minister of justice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardon#Germany

Pardons are a vital check on the justice system. I don't know all the details, and this might be a lower level judgment. But, if she had the power and said no, then that's a terrible sign regardless of the words out of her mouth. On the other hand if the government gave up the right to pardon that's also terrible.

Pardons require that there be a court decision first. The point of a pardon is to decide that someone has somehow paid their debt to society, but you can't reasonably make such a decision without first having a decision whether or not a crime occurred, and if so, what the legal punishment should be.

If these people are convicted, then it might be reasonable for her to pardon them after the facts have been documented by the court.

In this case it is not about a pardon, but about an archaic law that requires consent from the government before prosecution, allowing the government to prevent someone from having their case heard based on political considerations.

Not in the US, you can be pardoned before trial. Germany might be different, but it's a common setup, and the law requires the government to say OK.

EX: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardon_of_Richard_Nixon

This has absolutely nothing to do with a pardon (which would happen after a verdict anyway). For this particular law the prosecution needs the approval of the federal government to go forward. That is all that happened.

And the government said Yep, go ahead. At which point he suffers even if not convicted.

Remember, right now today he is being penalized for saying something people in power did not want said. That's a bad thing.

Nobody is being penalized or suffering right now. He has great support and this decision didn't change anything.

Merkel even specifically said that they want to abolish that law. They didn't decide based on the merit of the claim but only based on principle (no matter what that law says, independent courts should decide).

Clearly, going in front of judge to plead your case is a day in the park free from any downsides what so ever!

Wait no, that's not true at all. Being forced to go to a trial is being deprived of your liberty while your there. Even just waiting for that day is highly stressful.

The prosecution could still decide to throw the case out if they don't think it has any merit. Just the same as with any other law where the government isn't even asked for their opinion.

He would have been prosecuted anyway. If the government hadn't greenlight it under that law it would run under the label of the general insult law.

In practice this decision shouldn't have changed anything for him. It just sent a message: "In Germany the courts are independent. We won't interfere, even if we could."

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

This is someone not taking a stand for justice when they could. They had the power and option to make the right choice and they chose the politically expedient one.

This is worse than "I was only following orders" this is actively choosing the wrong thing.

This rather depends on whether you believe that allowing the independent judicial system to decide whether satirists get a day in court they more or less literally asked for (whilst announcing you intend to abolish the law and the criminal penalties associated with it anyway) is really "the triumph of evil". I think that argument's quite hard to sustain.

There's even an argument that in this instance the less just course of action might be a powerful politician stepping into thwart the usual judicial process and signalling to the wider world that Western democrats, like Turkish autocrats, don't see anything wrong with subordinating the judiciary to executive fiat when a particular case allows them to step in.

Are you seriously suggesting that the other option is to send them to prison without a trial?

The judiciary's role is to follow the rules as written, this is balanced by those who write the laws on one end, and those who can issue pardons when things go off the rails. Independent Judiciary means their outcomes are not changed behind the scenes, a public pardon has nothing to do with this.

No, I haven't suggested that at all.

I've suggested that it's rather hard to sustain the argument that a prosecutor and jury trial represents a "less just" way of deciding something than a political leader intervening to tell the judiciary she will be making the decision for them in this instance. Especially when reporting suggests that rescinding the bill via the accepted constitutional process for legislative change as she's said she intended to do would make it impossible for a sentence to be carried out in the unlikely event of a court deciding to convict anyway.

Similarly, I don't think it's possible to argue that the decision of whether to prosecute or not resting with the head of state is compatible with the concept of an independent judiciary (whether the outcome is changed behind the scenes or publicly is a tangential point)

To be clear, she's declined to use a special executive privilege written into this archaic bad law to give the state power to intervene if it's in their foreign policy interest, not a pardoning system introduced as a constitutional check and balance. I'm sure the German legal system has been designed with plenty of actual checks and balances.

Get your day in court imply's it's a privilege. Needing to defend such a basic form of free speech vs. a high ranking politician is a sign of a broken system.

Nobody gets a free pass for failing to support a basic human right. People should be demanding she steps down right fucking now.

If read the wider coverage, it's strongly implied that the comedian in question did it deliberately to challenge the limits of the law in question, so I don't think it's the case that he'd be dreadfully upset if he ended up challenging it in court.

Ironically, he's apparently far more likely to be successfully prosecuted under Germany's regular defamation law which Merkel has no power to intervene in whatsoever. Although judging from the tone of your previous comments I suppose you'll still find a way for that to be Merkel's fault...

Actually, laws against defamation and insults are very old. And this particular incident falls clearly under the category of pure insults. Even with a strong taste of racial slur ("goat ...").

The only reasons we are debating this at all is that nobody likes Erdogan and that the insult was offered by a comedian.

> The only reasons we are debating this at all is that nobody likes Erdogan and that the insult was offered by a comedian.

We're debating it because most of HN is in the United States, where people regularly go around saying far worse things about our President than calling him a "goat."

If this was in the US this would be considered Satire. So it's a form of protected speech. Am I correct? Could someone still sue for libel?

Yes. A judge would almost certainly throw this case out if it were in the US.

It's satire, about a political public figure. It's hard to find speech much more protected than that.

Europe does not have free speech. In myriad ways there are restrictions on speech, from prosecution of satire to the reprehensible "Right to be Forgotten" law.

> Europe does not have free speech.

Nonsense. Of course it does. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_10_of_the_European_Con... . Eg see [0] for a (successful) ECtHR case in France under A.10 relating to a similar no-insulting-heads-of-state law.

My guess it the only reason this one is still on the books is that it's almost never enforced (though IANAL). The ECHR doesn't examine laws proactively - someone has to bring a case - but then, that's the same as the US (and in the US it's apparently not unusual for legislators to attempt to pass laws they know will be overturned once actually used[1]...)

> In myriad ways there are restrictions on speech

Sure. Same as in the US: [2]. The restrictions in that article seem broadly in the same areas as those in A.10(2).

I'm not denying that US free speech protection is stronger than Europe - lines are drawn in a slightly different place: the US has stronger protection of free speech, Europe has stronger protection of privacy, among other things. But this is a long way from "Europe does not have free speech".

[0] https://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/2315/en/col...

[1] http://www.mediaite.com/online/tennessee-gov-vetoes-nakedly-...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exce...

>It's satire, about a political public figure. It's hard to find speech much more protected than that.

Well, to be pedantic, courts would probably apply more protections to direct political criticism than to mockery of a political figure him/herself. That is, you would receive more protection for: a) "This is a stupid policy that will harm public welfare" than b) "politician X looks like a monkey". But it's close.

To be really pedantic, there are two layers of protection. Political criticism is itself protected, but so is criticism of public figures (regardless of whether that criticism is political or they are even political figures). Politicians are simultaneously public figures and subject to political criticism.

Restriction on what search results Google can show ARE restrictions on speech. Google is being impeded from speaking in such cases, and those searching are being impeded from hearing.

Right to be forgotten laws are restrictions on Google search results.

O wouldn't put that in the same category as speech restrictions....

In the US standards for libel against a public figure are pretty high. You can basically say whatever you want about a politician.

Unless the poem leaves anyone anyone with a reasonable expectation Erdogan might actually be a goat, I don't see how it could be libel. I think too that one would have to show that being a goat is a bad thing, which would certainly be an entertaining trial.

I am not a lawyer though, so take my post for what it's worth.

Proving libel in the US...

First, there is the case where we're talking (writing actually) about a person who is not reasonably considered a public figure--just a normal person. In this case the person would have to demonstrate that we wrote something about them that:

1. Caused actual damages to them (e.g. Caused them to lose a job, have their house burned down by an angry mob, etc.) 2. Was false

Writing that Joe Bob embezzles money while high on cocaine might result in him getting fired. Perfectly fine thing to write, assuming it's true. But libel if false and it loses him his job.

Justin Beiber and President Obama, on the other hand have both reasonably sought the limelight and would be considered public figures. For them to win a libel case, they would need to pass another hurdle and prove that what we wrote had malicious intent (i.e. that we expected damages to result from our false, damaging written statements).

To prove the third part is almost impossible. Public figures pretty much never expect to win libel cases.

At least, this is what I learned as an undergrad in a journalism law course.

You don't need to prove actual damages in cases of defamation per se --- there are types of false statements that are presumed to be damaging, such as falsely accusing someone of having committed a crime or of dishonest business dealing.

But, the statement does need to be such that that a reasonable person might believe it to be true.

There is a pretty strong exception for well known personalities

Edit this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_figure

Yeah, it's not like he made a crappy video and got thrown in jail for it.

Libel is printed, slander is spoken.

I think you may have missed the "..." there. He didn't call him a goat, more like one who lays with goats.

I've seen days of coverage on whether Obama is a 'secret muslim terrorist'

I've seen people call Obama a monkey, the anti christ, dumbass, marxist, etc.

That was on national TV

Freedom of speech is core to the American political system, tbh I am quite surprised and disappointed to find out Germany is so regressive on speech.

A mayor of a U.S. town was on the White House lawn handing out leaflets calling Obama a "magic mulatto."

Maybe you should wait and see whether these guys actually gets convicted before pronouncing Germany regressive on speech. Plenty of people make complaints over ridiculous things in the US too - what matters is what the result is.

And if Obama himself made actions to allow such a lawsuit to move forward, it would be seen countrywide as an egregious move against free speech.

For Merkel to personally get involved and say that the guy should be prosecuted is a hit against freedom of speech in germany, regardless of the outcome.

Merkels actions in this case are percepted very critically around here (at least in my filter bubble). I think it is quite open how this will play out for her. The public TV, where the accused has his work place, although independent formally, is force-financed by the public and widely seen as prey of the ruling parties (mainly SPD and CDU, who form the government now). It is quite possible that the ensuing discussing will scar the public TV as well and Merkel in the cross-fire.

Imagine if Obama took actions to interfere with the judicial process to deny prosecution in response to someone wanting to pursue a claim under a law that was on the books?

In this case Merkel was dealt bad cards: A law that should have been removed a long time ago puts the issue on her table. If she had opted to deny consent, it would have been a blow to the principles of separation of powers, the very thing many European governments - including Germany - are criticizing Poland, Hungary and Turkey for violating right now. It would have made her a total hypocrite.

So she has opted to stay out, and taken the opportunity to raise the issue of removing this paragraph.

Hmmm... Defend human rights and look like a hypocrite, or allow human rights to be abused and look like not a hypocrite?

I wouldnt have come to the same conclusion as Merkel.

She only allowed him to be trialled; if the law goes against human rights, it's the court's job to sort it out.

It's not just insults from the right to the left: it goes both ways. I remember people calling George W. Bush a smirking chimp. I remember people like Andrew Sullivan trying to prove that Sarah Palin only pretended that her son Trig is hers. I remember MoveOn.org's ad calling General Petraeus 'General Betray US.'

And that's exactly as it should be. Free citizens of a free nation have every right to insult anyone they wish.

Agreed, i didnt mean to imply it was onesided, just using the current president as an example

I doubt it. Goats have standards and we are talking about Erdogan. The only way the act would have occurred is if the animal was deceased.

Anyway - Cameron was accused seriously to have received oral sex by the vehicle of a roasted pig just a month ago - and he did the unthinkable - shrug it off. No one was prosecuted in Germany. and i am sure their tabloids reported it.

As much as I despise Cameron, he's smart enough - or has smart enough advisors - to realise that having the claims in question discussed at length in court would have kept it in the news far longer.

It of course helped that most people - including those of us who very much would have loved for it to blow up much more than it did - realised that Lord Ashcroft very much had an axe to grind.

These are completely different cases. Cameron acted wisely, Erdogan acted stupidly.

Cameron was "insulted" by a whole slew of people that way, considering all the attention the topic got. Erdogan has a single target to go after, legally speaking. And the applicable laws in both cases differ substantially, too.

He actually said that an example of an insult that is unlawful is to say that Erdogan lies with goats.

The US values freedom of expression over defamation and even over the safety of minorities from consequences of hate speech.

The deliberation between these freedoms is a matter of the political culture of a society. In Germany the opinion is shifting, and maybe not for the better.

It is more subtle that this. The whole poem should not be viewed without the moderation and context of the show. The pivot point is the extra-3 song, a satirical song about erdogans narcissistic tendencies by another german comedy TV-show. This song was the reason the german ambassador in turkey was summoned by the turkish governemnt.

Böhmermanns reaction was... and I am paraphrasing here: "What? You think this was insulting??? Mr. Erdogan, I can show you what an insult looks like, and german courts would regard it as insult:" (... and on this point in the show comes the poem...)

So... was the poem insulting, disgraceful and racist? Sure, in my oponion yes. But you can't look at it without the context, the whole show was trying to make.

Yes, the entire point of the poem was to show the differences between the satire the extra-3 song used to criticize Erdogan on his free speech and refugree policies from what would be really just slurs and racism, by Böhmermann explicitly stating that.

It is like comparing Trevor Noah stating on the Daily Show that "of course we all know, Mexicans are racists and we need a wall" vs Trump saying the same thing. The first is comparable to what Böhmerman did (attacking racists, while simultaneously attacking Erdogan on free speech issues re:extra-3), while the later is actually racist slurs. Context matters.

What of it? I'm not sure how this 'context', namely the lead-in for the joke, changes anything.

It is in the same tradition of Charlie Hebdo, Titanic, Ricky Gervais, Louis C.K. and other crass comedians.

Some might find this humor tasteless and insulting, but in my opinion this is covered by freedom of speech.

> Actually, laws against ... insults are very old.

So are laws against blasphemy, witchcraft, etc. That doesn't make them at all legitimate in the modern world.

Which is why they are being changed. Though I still see no value in allowing people to call other people "goat f*rs" for sake of a political argument.

Fortunately, Western countries don't regulate speech based on what the majority of people at a given time find valuable.

If they did, probably every civil rights movement in the West could have been made illegal simply by the government declaring that the speech is not valuable. Fuck that.

The value is you can say what you think without having to run it by a lawyer.

goat fuckers. see how it works? you can swear with out pretending to

> Which is why they are being changed.

Then why cite the age of a law like them as evidence of the law's legitimacy?

> Though I still see no value in allowing people to call other people "goat f*rs" for sake of a political argument.

That places you in the very dangerous position of deciding what's a valid political argument and what isn't.

The important thing here is not that the law is legitimate, but rather that it is from an era when manners and respect where more important than extremer notions of free speech.

It hasn't been a problem, because normally, nations which have the respect of the German state to require such prosecution know better than to use it. On the other hand, accusing foreign heads of states of fucking goat on public television isn't exactly something people expected.

Erdogan has ensured that the oppression of his media will stay in European media for months.

It wasn't evidence of the law's legitimacy, it was to counter the hand wringing of the parent comment:

>the screws are being tightened on free expression over much of Western Europe these days, not least as concerns potential offense towards a certain easily offended religion

beyseian horse didn't cite old laws like them, you did.

Are you sure?

> bayesian_horse: Actually, laws against defamation and insults are very old.

> ceejayoz: So are other laws. So what? [paraphrased]

Yes, I'm sure.


> ceejayoz 3 hours ago | [-]

> So are laws against blasphemy, witchcraft, etc.

It was clearly political speech. He was protesting about what someone took as an insult.

~"That's not an insult, this is an insult: &@##$ @#$@#$."

He said, "&@##$ @#$@#$"! Burn him!

When in context the actual insult was said before then.

> Actually, laws against defamation and insults are very old. And this particular incident falls clearly under the category of pure insults.

In France insults are usually allowed when it's a parodic context (such as in a play, a TV show, a movie or the like).

Yes. This is a big problem here in the Netherlands. Traditionally we have been a very open society but more recently people have become unable to speak their minds about religious matters that affect society.

Are they really unable to speak their minds or are they simply unwilling to face harsh criticism of their opinions and beliefs?

Freedom of speech doesn't mean other people are not allowed to criticize you. And if your opinions are intentionally offending other people, you just have to expect some intentional offenses in return...

The problem is that offense is not (in itself) an argument, nor a counterargument


Of course, intentional insults devoid of content are merely https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem, but it is important to recognize the difference.

Discussing something rationally requires having a thick skin.

You are allowed, to say "Islam" you know – but I know that people with the views you are hinting at have a bit of a habit of not doing so, in what I'd perceive as a rather flaccid attempt to demonstrate how their freedom of speech is being repressed.

Screws are not being tightened on freedom of expression on any real sense. The German law in question has nothing to do with religious insult, and ECHR Article 10 explicitly protects freedom of expression.

More importantly, it is not the place of the Chancellor to decide whether or not the law has been violated. That's the last thing that we want.

Shouldn't we wait until the court makes a decision. Until now it is only a good way to show Erdogan what separation of powers means.

Wait...why is religion coming into this? How does Erdogan represent Islam?

Because those who frequent sites outside the SWPL universe see this sort of thing (http://bit.ly/1MVlVUE) with demoralizing frequency. This comedians plight has captured some attention, but it's really the exception.

And people who aren't overly inclined to take the editorial stance of blogs that actually cover Gamergate as a serious ethical movement too seriously realise that [West] Germany hasn't allowed those considered to be expressing far right views anything resembling freedom of speech since 1945 for not-exactly-inexplicable reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with some sort of left-wing conspiracy to make people not hate Muslims. It's a country where you're not allowed to collect war memorabilia, never mind write blog comments saying "off to Auschwitz with you".

The original Bloomberg article has Merkel saying she had no intention of interfering in a prosecution brought under an ancient law about insulting heads of states, but actually intended to scrap the law so it couldn't be used in future. Which apart from suggesting that German speech laws are getting more permissive rather than less is pretty much an endorsement of the view that Erdogan - and presumably other Muslim heads of state - is a perfectly legitimate target for satire

"Turkey’s Erdoğan says his only concern is Islam" http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-erdogan-says-his-on...

So can I claim I'm the representative of Islam and everyone's supposed to believe me?

no, those are old laws.

mind you, you also get in a lot of trouble for promoting nazism ("wiederbetätigung"). see here, austria, 5 convictions for up to 22 months: http://diepresse.com/home/panorama/oesterreich/4947913/Funf-...


Which certain easily offended religion is this?

Why don't you publicly insult them all and find out?

For science, of course.

"Fng goats" is not an insult against Muslims, but rather something that offends a lot of people from goat-rich countries around the mediterranean, even Greece.

Jeeebus... here I was, thinking that goat-fucker is pretty much a generic insult at the schoolyard level and that any adult[1] being called a goat-fucker would probably just laugh it off and get on with their day.

[1] Or semi-clueful child for that matter.

EDIT: I should say, my point is: Given that the actual number of people who fuck goats is miniscule, but probably not zero, the "accusation" is a priori so laughable as to NOT constitute defamation in any reasonable sense. (Hopefully the courts will agree, but it's ridiculous that the prosecution is even allowed to go forward.)

Calling people from that region "goat fuckers" unfortunately has a long history. It's not a generic insult and the use was obviously deliberate. (Of course that was the whole point of that poem.)

OK, so what does it mean? (Semantically) I have a hard time believing that it actually literally means what it says.

How is it different from a generic insult?

Is it akin to calling black people monkeys? (As obviously ludicrous as that is.)

Not from that region but it's probably similar to calling someone a "redneck" which is to say someone that's akin to a country bumpkin. I do think that at some point in history, and even today, it was probably common to fuck goats in some parts of the world on account of that being what was available. I remember watching a Vice video about some parts of Central/South America where it was very normal for adolescent boys to have a "chicken" that they pleasure themselves with. I'll let you google that one yourself.

Does anyone actually get offended at being called a "redneck"? (I'm not from that neck of the woods, so I have to ask.)

(Btw, according to QI the statistic for, uhm, "having sex" with a chicken in Iowa/USA was actually something like 1 in 6.)

the "accusation" is a priori so laughable as to NOT constitute defamation in any reasonable sense. (Hopefully the courts will agree

From what I can tell, he's not being charged under defamation law, so I don't think that's very relevant. It's an old law that criminalizes "insulting a foreign head of state".

> "Fng goats"

Let's not mince words here: it's fucking goats (or Ziegen ficken originally).

It's an insult people from Greece or Turkey hear a lot more often, and many of them seem to perceive it as a racial slur.

Just like you wouldn't be offended by racial slurs not referring to your particular race.

Ah, ok, so it's akin to a racial slur. Thanks for that explanation -- it makes a little more sense now.

> Just like you wouldn't be offended by racial slurs not referring to your particular race.

Personally, I'm not offended by racial slurs referring to my race, but then I was born lucky (white, male), so I probably don't appreciate what it's like to be a minority...

... but is Erdogan from a minority?

(I must confess I know very little about Erdogan, but most of the media I read portray him as just a few inches short of a megalomaniacal dictator.)

EDIT: I find it interesting to contemplate Erdogan's reaction to this compared to the (hypothetical) way, say, Obama would have reacted to this. (Not a US-ian, just for the record.)

Erdogan isn't a minority in his country. And we don't care if he is offended or not. However, there are millions of Turks in Germany, and we should care if they feel offended.


...and yet this law has nothing to do with religion, but is about "insulting national leaders".

Most people think it's dumb, but don't misrepresent it.

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