Ayman Mhanna

Executive Director of Samir Kassir Center for Media and Cultural Freedom
Humans of Freedom Ayman Mhanna picture

There is something that shocks me in the region in general. When we discuss any issue related to freedom of expression – it is that we always have to respect the traditions and values of conservative people. Societies need time to change; and you have to respect those ideas. I have never heard the opposite – that you actually have to respect progressive ideas. It is as if liberal people, because they don’t resort to violence or get easily offended, it is more “okay” not to respect their values, whereas they have to respect the values of more conservative and traditional people, well hell no! There is something in our ideas that deserves equal respect – we are not asking for the right not to be offended, such a right does not exist. But at least let us give ourselves the right – through advocacy, monitoring, civic action, and lobbying, to protect ourselves – since we can’t use the uglier methods used by some people.