Cyprus Mail

Giving in to the virtue-signalling mob leads to nothing good for a free society

It was so disgusting and disturbing to watch everyone pile on Disy municipal councillor Georgios Lakkotrypis for his post on social media where he described Paphians as the “spawn of the Turks.”

Though tactless, his comment was by no means racist. Let’s get our concepts straight: offensive does not equal racist. The two may overlap at times, but not always, and definitely not in this case.

Yet in almost zero time Lakkotrypis was branded a chauvinist. Disy chief Averof Neophytou, pandering to the politically-correct mob baying for blood, promptly got the municipal councillor ejected from the party.

What a display of sheer cowardice by Neophytou – not to mention every other member of Disy, none of whom had the guts to stand up to the ‘consensus’ and the media commentariat – lest they in turn be accused of defending a presumed racist.

Lakkotrypis wrote on Facebook: “Turkish Cypriots were Paphians who changed faith to save their properties. In other words, spawn of the Turks.”

Here’s why it isn’t racist: say someone calls you “spawn of the Turks” and you take that as offensive or racist. Now think about it. Why did you take offence? Isn’t it because you yourself assume – or even happen to believe inwardly – that there’s something wrong with being Turkish? And hence you interpreted “Turkish spawn” as an insult? Well, that’s it exactly.

Needless to say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being Turkish or Greek or Eskimo. But the fact you were offended, shows that you yourself are obsessed with race. Because it is you who assumes that it’s bad to be called a Turk.

Read his comment again: Lakkotrypis spoke no ill of Turks or Turkish Cypriots. Rather, it’s crystal clear he was accusing certain people of being ‘phony Greeks’. You can assume all you want about his motives. Assumptions count for nothing.

Can we peer into Lakkotrypis’ soul to see what lies there? No. But even supposing he is racist, as bad as that is, it is his right. So long as he does not act on it.

Indeed the fellow may not have a racist bone in his body. No matter; from now on he’ll be known as “that guy,” his reputation and possibly his career wrecked. And for what? All for a momentary lapse, as if a single moment can encapsulate an entire lifetime and what a person stands for. The hysterical reaction was typical of the rigid, draconian and no-nuance mindset of the radical Left, obsessed with appearance and not substance.

The episode captures the intellectual terrorism gripping the West and which has now, sadly, arrived on our shores. So-called “hate speech,” imagined or real, is being used to shut down free speech. Where everyone is afraid of their own shadow. And where virtue-signalling tattletales are celebrated.

All speech should be allowed. The second you place any restrictions, it’s not free speech anymore. Racist views should be permitted as well. Not because we like them, but precisely because we don’t like them. It’s vital that we’re able to talk about anything and everything. Suppressing something under an artifice of propriety does not make it go away. Better to air it.

The risk of being ‘offended’ pales in comparison to safeguarding the right to say anything you want without repercussion. Because free speech is the cornerstone of a free society. Lose that, and you lose everything.

I was also disappointed with Lakkotrypis for apologising and deleting his post. Rather than stand up for himself, he let the pack intimidate him.

[Name withheld]

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