Johann Hari responds to the riots, outcry, and the hysteria in Kolkata around his earlier article: Stand up for the Right to Criticise Religion.
The answer to the problems of free speech is always more free speech:
[. . .] You do not have a right to be ring-fenced from offence. Every day, I am offended – not least by ancient religious texts filled with hate-speech. But I am glad, because I know that the price of taking offence is that I can give it too, if that is where the facts lead me. But again, the protestors propose a lop-sided world. They do not propose to stop voicing their own heinously offensive views about women's rights or homosexuality, but we have to shut up and take it – or we are the ones being "insulting".It's also worth going through the arguments of the Western defenders of these protestors, because they too aren't going away. Already I have had e-mails and bloggers saying I was "asking for it" by writing a "needlessly provocative" article. When there is a disagreement and one side uses violence, it is a reassuring rhetorical stance to claim both sides are in the wrong, and you take a happy position somewhere in the middle. But is this true? I wrote an article defending human rights, and stating simple facts. Fanatics want to arrest or kill me for it. Is there equivalence here?The argument that I was "asking for it" seems a little like saying a woman wearing a short skirt is "asking" to be raped. [. . .]
Read the complete piece: Despite these riots, I stand by what I wrote