THIS is a clear principle: “The law does not protect idiots,” and another principle has been added to democratic systems: “Freedom of expression and opinion does not mean violating the rights of others.”
Unfortunately, a huge number of Kuwaitis do not understand the meaning of freedom of expression and opinion despite 54 years of democratic practice. They do not understand why it is prohibited to damage the dignity of others, while insults and accusations are not part of freedom, as such acts are punishable crimes.
It is not possible for someone, who has never read the Constitution or the laws and does not know the limits, to arm himself with freedom of expression and opinion to violate the rights of others.
A person like this does not comprehend the simplest principle — that freedom is mutually beneficial so it is not permissible for one to enjoy it by violating the rights of others and making himself the trustee and judge of others.
Whosoever destroys the dignity of others has no dignity and the law does not provide this person with immunity from prosecution. Even the parliamentarians who enjoy immunity from prosecution as per the law must abide by the restrictions.
Immunity gives parliamentarians the right to express their opinions freely in the Parliament and during public sessions, but that right is not available outside the Parliament. Sadly, several parliamentarians — whether intentionally or out of ignorance of the Constitution and internal standing orders — destroy the dignity of others and then seek for public sympathy whenever the law is imposed on them.
These people could intentionally insult and harm relations with friendly countries just to implement their personal agendas or to gradually open the door for some countries to interfere in the internal affairs of Kuwait.
They do not allow others to accuse them of what they do to others. They are quick to resort to the court in such cases. This means they make it ‘halal’ (permissible) for themselves to violate the law, insult and defame others whom they accuse of spying, treachery and looting among other acts punishable by law. If someone attempts to defend himself, even to the extent of going to court, they end up claiming that their freedom of expression and opinion had been violated.
Democracy or freedom of expression is not meant to facilitate violation of the rights of others. It is neither political bullying nor parliamentary ‘phantoms;’ instead it is utter respect for the law and promotion of refined language between people.
In highly democratic countries, no one can violate the norms and culture nor destroy the dignity of others, or even accuse someone of being thief, without a court ruling supported by substantial evidence.
Lack of comprehension of democracy and freedom of expression is common during the period of fabrication of accusations and aspersions against others, as well as violation of the Constitution in relation to respecting State symbols and disrespecting, if not disregarding, agreements and treaties with friendly countries.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary to have laws that prevent such people from reaching legislative positions. How could someone, who committed a crime, be part of the jury and be entrusted with the issuance of a law which prevents punitive actions on offenders?
Regrettably, someone in Kuwait does not want to understand that fact, perhaps intentionally, with the objective of destroying society in different ways — by instigating sectarian or tribal conflicts, intimidating those who oppose their opinion or weakening relations between friendly countries in a bid to execute the foreign agenda at the expense of this country.
The latter is no longer a secret to anyone, so in order to protect the internal front and to avoid division, it is imperative to stop vulgarity which prevailed in the past period and dragged Kuwait into the unknown destructive path.
Today, when the court issues its ruling on cases similar to this, it aims to protect society as a whole and as a principal step towards fortifying the State of institutions which the people of Kuwait have been striving for.
Once that is achieved, it will be a conducive time for respecting the opinion of those claiming to defend freedom of expression and opinion provided they understand the meaning of freedom and respect the freedom of others.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times