Watch Your (bleep) Mouth!

“Will they cut off your hand?” my friends ask me. “You know, if you commit a crime or do some other insulting thing.”

Come on please learn your geography.

Does the UAE look like some sort of hillbilly nation? Do you think we live in the dark ages with uncivilized rules — Where they are stoning women in the square and burning little girl’s schools?

“Can’t you just share whatever you want? Watch it go viral — however foul or nasty — however lewd or rude?”

You mean, like in other parts of the world, where neighbors are bashing neighbors and the news has gone amok, spewing whatever it takes to hike up their ratings as they leave nations in their wake believing in lies and promoting hate?

Is that Freedom of Speech to you? To say whatever crazy thing comes to mind? In the brain and out the mouth before you can count to 10. Always sharing your opinion regardless of its value, your understanding of the issue or the harm it might do? 

“Freedom of Speech is something I hold sacred, our soldiers fought for my right to speech. Losing it is something that I take very seriously and I cannot relate to it being curbed;  I — I — I — damn it —  I demand to be heard!”

Do we always need to be heard? Ever little miniscule of thought, every tiny blurb? Shouldn’t we keep our not-ready-for-prime-time thoughts to ourself, let them refine, let them chill? Share them when they are ready to be expressed; after they’ve passed a civility test.

Freedom of Speech vs. freedom to live in civility, somewhere in that happy medium is where I want to be. Free from the polluted speech, yet free to be heard; free to thrive and free to grow. Yes, it’s a dream — I know. 

So to get back to what you asked me.

It’s pretty easy. Simply watch your mouth when you are speaking to others or behind a computer screen. We live in the UAE but we don’t live in the Stone Ages. We are valued as long as we are polite and respectful; obeying the laws and the culture of our host country. 

So no, to answer your question. The UAE isn’t a backward hillbilly nation. We are not worried about being dismembered — and we are not worried about being stoned. 

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