Freedom of Speech

By Emran Hossain

“Catholics are cowards,” reads the sign. 

I see it every day on my way home from the Alfred Friendly Press Partners office in Washington D.C.

An elderly man stands on Massachusetts Avenue near the National Observatory holding the sign. On the other side of the sign is written something about the Pope and pedophilia. Each time a bus drops passenger or gets stuck in traffic, the old man turns the sign over and over again so that everyone can read it.

Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights of the people listed in the US Constitution.

If this happened in Bangladesh, would the old man be in trouble? Would Bangladesh get labeled as ‘racist’, ‘intolerant’ and ‘emotional’ by the international media?

But nothing happens here. Those who read the sign show no reaction on their faces. After a week, I don’t even react to the sight.

Perhaps I’m beginning to adapt to life in the U.S.