Friday, January 26, 2007

Editorial: A GAP in Their Logic

March 8 is International Women's Day. Established in 1977 by the UN, it is a tribute to the continuing struggle and progress for women's rights and women's diversity.

This year at UBC, on this day, the GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) is planning to show pictures of aborted fetuses and try to equate that to the Holocaust, claiming it's genocide. The GAP is the ultimate misnomer, a semantic exercise in bullshit. They solely exist to make women feel bad about the prospect of abortion, a reprehensible tactic to say the least. The fact that it's mostly men each year holding those signs is even more revealing of this oppressive anti-woman agenda.

UBC Okanagan and Carleton have banned them. AMS Council entertained a motion to ban them, and the motion was defeated. Moreover, UBC's Policy #3 states:

“Behaviour which obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas which are safe and accepted, but of those which may be unpopular or even abhorrent . . . cannot be tolerated."
Therefore, they technically have a right to be here and voice their point of view. And one of these writers has previously publicly supported their right to protest.

For the record, Gina despises them with every single fibre of her body. She takes it personal and it's emotional. At the same time, she sees that they do have the right to voice their views, and she plans on exercising those very same rights by organizing a counter-campaign. Tim was more likely to laugh at them than to be viscerally offended. To look at their argument is to see the most inane of human logic. He always found the GAP argument to be more stupid and ignorant than dangerous, per se.

But we can't help but wonder, in this case, if the GAP case is teasing at the fringes of freedom of speech. By timing their demonstration with International Women's Day, they're making a statement. It's clearly driven by a lack of respect, a scorn for the institution and for the political beliefs. The right to free speech is not absolute. And while they're not crossing it, they're definitely getting close enough to thumb their noses at it.

We support the expression of unpopular ideas. But Lifeline and GAP are coming dangerously close to crossing the line from unpopular and stupid, to hateful.

Click here for the related discussion on Policy Motions.