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In another blow to Freedom of Speech, German lawmakers push to ban flag burning

1 comments, 234 views, posted 1:59 pm 18/01/2020 in News by HariSeldon
HariSeldon has 7232 posts, 3868 threads, 704 points
Uber God

German lawmakers inched closer to banning the public burning of flags of foreign countries and the EU. The idea for the bill dates back to 2017, when Israeli flags were burned at a protest in Berlin.

The German parliament moved closer to banning the public burning of flags of foreign nation states on Wednesday.

Representatives of the ruling coalition have drafted a bill that would impose a fine or prison sentence on those who burn flags or national symbols of foreign countries, as well as of the European Union.

Burning the German flag publicly is already illegal in Germany, but the law is murky when it comes to burning the flag of any foreign nation or of the EU. Each case of flag-burning is currently dealt with on an individual basis, usually in terms of whether it can constitute a hate crime.

"We will not allow these symbolic acts of hatred and contempt to continue," said junior Justice Minister Christian Lange of the center-left Social Democratic Party, the coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union. 


The CDU justice committee spokesman, Jan-Marco Luczak, agreed, saying that the act of flag-burning "should not be allowed in civilized countries." Both parties signaled their support for the bill.

The idea for the bill dates back to 2017, when Israeli flags were burned at a protest in Berlin.

"Something like that should not be allowed to happen in Germany," said Felix Klein, the parliamentary representative for tackling anti-Semitism.


Will the new bill become law?
A bill had previously been introduced to parliament concerning the burning of just the EU flag, but Wednesday's debate concerned a new bill that would expand fines and prison sentences to those burning the flags of any foreign country.

The ruling coalition has not yet set out a time frame for the bill, which will need to be voted on by parliament. 

Although the bill will most likely pass with CDU and SPD support, opposition parties expressed skepticism.

Opposition from the opposition
The Left party and the Greens both declined to support the bill, saying that it was not up to the government to regulate flag-burning. The business-friendly Free Democratic Party also warned against an expansion of government control regarding this issue.

The far-right and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party, the third-largest party in the German parliament, also refused to support the bill.

"The EU is not a state," said representative Bernd Baumann. "Therefore their symbol should not have the same rules attached to it."

The burning of foreign flags has become increasingly common in Germany, often at protests and rallies.

Extra Points Given by:

REALITY (5), marksyzm (5)

Comments

2
1:59 pm 18/01/2020

HariSeldon

As a Vietnam veteran who lives daily with the consequences of my service to my country, and as the son of a WWII combat veteran, and the grandson of a WWI combat veteran, I can attest to the fact that not all veterans indeed perhaps most veterans do not wish to exchange fought-for freedoms for protecting a tangible symbol of these freedoms. I oppose this amendment because it does not support the freedom of expression and the right to dissent.

Now, 31 years, 1 week and one day following the loss of my legs in combat, I am again called upon to defend the freedoms which my sacrifices in combat were said to preserve. It's been a long 31+ years. I have faced the vexing challenge of reconciling myself with the reality of my military history and the lessons I have learned from it and the popular portrayal of veterans as one dimensional patriots, whose patriotism MUST take the form of intolerance, narrow-mindedness, euphemisms, and reductionism-where death in combat is referred to as "making the ultimate sacrifice" and the motivation for service and the definition of true patriotism is reduced to dedication to a piece of cloth.

The strength of our nation is found in its diversity. This strength was achieved through the exercise of our First Amendment right to freedom of expression-no matter how repugnant or offensive the expression might be. Achieving that strength has not been easy-it's been a struggle, a struggle lived by some very important men in my life and me.

I am offended when I see the flag burned or treated disrespectfully. As offensive and painful as this is, I still believe that those dissenting voices need to be heard. This country is unique and special because the minority, the unpopular, the dissenters and the downtrodden, also have a voice and are allowed to be heard in whatever way they choose to express themselves that does not harm others. The freedom of expression, even when it hurts, is the truest test of our dedication to the belief that we have that right.

Free expression, especially the right to dissent with the policies of the government, is one important element, if not the cornerstone of our form of government that has greatly enhanced its stability, prosperity, and strength of our country.

Freedom is what makes the United States of America strong and great, and freedom, including the right to dissent, is what has kept our democracy going for more than 200 years. And it is freedom that will continue to keep it strong for my children and the children of all the people like my father, late father in law, grandfather, brother, me, and others like us who served honorably and proudly for freedom.

The pride and honor we feel is not in the flag per se. It's in the principles that it stands for and the people who have defended them. My pride and admiration is in our country, its people and its fundamental principles. I am grateful for the many heroes of our country-and especially those in my family. All the sacrifices of those who went before me would be for naught, if an amendment were added to the Constitution that cut back on our First Amendment rights for the first time in the history of our great nation.

I love this country, its people and what it stands for. The last thing I want to give the future generations are fewer rights than I was privileged to have. My family and I served and fought for others to have such freedoms and I am opposed to any actions which would restrict my children and their children from having the same freedoms I enjoy.

Gary May, who lost both legs to a landmine explosion while serving in Vietnam

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