Lulu.com and the freedom of expression
Some years ago, I dicovered an enterprise called Lulu, which proved to be a quite useful way for self-publishing. I went ahead and published some of my books through them. You can find them at
(Not all are in English. Some are in Swedish or Esperanto.)
So far, all well.
About half a year ago, I joined Facebook, and found that Lulu has a page there. I joined it, and could participate the discussion.
Still all well.
But then, some funny things began to happen.
Lulu has expressed some pride in defending the human right to freedom of expression. Unfortunately, Lulu's Facebook administrator(s) seem not to share this orientation, or not to know very well what freedom of expression means.
Last of May, Lulu wrote at its Facebook page:
"Today, may we all take a moment to remember the brave men and women of the U.S. military who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."
That would have been all right, if Lulu had been working at a US level only, but many of its users live in other countries, and some of those countries are not, and have never been, allies of the USA.
The interests of the USA are not necessarily identical with the interests of mankind, and in an international perspective, the US armed forces are very controversial indeed.
Stating this, on the other hand, should not be very controversial, I think. It is in the very nature of armed forces to be controversial. Those who have been shot at by an army, or bombed by an air force, may not like it.
And it is a historical fact that the US armed forces have shot at people and bombed people. Soldiers and civilians, men, women, and children.
So I wrote a comment saying in essence that all right, do remember your fallen ones if you like, but perhaps we should also remember their victims.
Another user - Mia Max - answered:´
"by victims do you mean the family they left behind serving their country or do you take your freedom for granted .In some places on the globe you would be answering to treason charges for the brain fart you just layed.They shall not be taken for granted or forgotten."
Quite a strong reaction to a modest proposal. I like the expression "brain fart", but I fail to see how my recommendation could be seen as treason, even if I were a US citizen, which I am not.
So I answered, shortly:
"I meant the people they killed."
And then I waited for new reactions.
The only reaction was that both my comments were erased, but Mia Max' was not. I had also been excluded from the page, but that was no great problem; I rapidly joined it again and wrote a new comment:
"The last message above is difficult to understand, as it is an answer to another message that has been removed, essentially asking us to remember the fallen on both sides."
Whereupon this comment, too, was promptly erased. I wasn't thrown out of the page this time, but I was blocked from writing any new comments or messages.
That's why I can't publish this article in its most natural place.
But no great harm. That page is not my main channel for saying my opinion.
And my Lulu books seem still to be available.
But I would like very much to know if the Lulu topshots share the opinion of their Facebook administrator(s) to the human right to freedom of expression.
After all, I haven't asked anyone to forget their soldiers, just to show some compassion with the other side as well.
As did Homer in the Iliad, where he shows equal understanding for the pains of both Greeks and Troyans (one reason why I think Homer is superior to Virgil).
I don't think compassion with the enemy is treason. I think it's plain humanity.
Besides, the enemy of the USA is not always the enemy of the world.