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Who do you think you are? Michaelangelo?

How would you like it if we showed up for dinner unannounced and then proceeded to trash your house when the welcome mat was predictably withdrawn?

Armed with cans of paint, we spray nasty things on your front door and even worse on your lawn and car.

For a parting shot, we even spray stripes on your smartly coiffured and remarkably docile Labrador “guard dog”.

Once well-intentioned and civilised, we are now angry people.

Angry that the world appears to have moved forward without us.

Angry that we were not given the respect we believe we have earned.

Angry that people who do not look like us or speak like us appear to be happier than us.

Angry that our talking out of both sides of our mouths is picked up on and thrown back in our faces.

Angry that our worldview is not widely shared but rather is seen only through our somewhat insular lenses.

Someone must pay, so why not you?

The response, inevitably, is that the victims of the vandalisation and other forms of abuse would not like it one iota — and nor should they.

Bermuda has on the loose a person or persons of vile mind and, possibly, evil intent, spreading messages of hate.

The nature of these messages is serious enough for the Bermuda Police Service to treat catching the culprit as a high priority.

Then an example must be set. Threatening or inciting the murders of elected leaders of this country is tantamount to sedition.

While such laws no longer exist in Britain, by way of a guiding hand, the least that should be expected is a custodial sentence, with the only variable being the length.

As in most criminal offences, the police must be given every ounce of co-operation — unless Bermudians feel it is OK to have our beautiful island defaced, and our leading politicians and gay community threatened.

This is no longer funny — never was.

The authorities have to react in the belief that warped minds may attempt to act on the threats, making this a case of national security.

If only the graffiti artist had spent more time in school, his talents might have been put to use by the very people he regards with scorn.

Instead, he has taken to the streets and byways in the mistaken belief that freedom of speech and freedom of expression should be extended to include the criminally insane.

But, surely, that was not the intent in 1948, when Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.

It said: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

Freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognised in international and regional human rights law. The right is enshrined in Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights. However, the line is drawn on hate speech and incitement to commit violence. We cannot tolerate this in our society; not unless we want to become known as nothing but an uncivilised bunch of cutthroats and thieves.

It is not the sort of news that Michael Dunkley would like having to be kept apprised of as the Premier leads talks with fellow Overseas Territories at the Joint Ministerial Council meetings in London. But, again, threats to kill him are to be taken very seriously.

Michael DeSilva may be stretched for resources as Commissioner of Police but he must follow up an excellent night over Hallowe'en with an “all hands on deck” attempt to put an end to this madness.

Michaelangelo, this lunatic most absolutely is not.

Now that's art: inciting violence against elected leaders of the country in the name of expression is criminal and a far cry from Michaelangelo's masterpiece at the Sistine Chapel that set the standard for the modern form

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Published November 02, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated November 02, 2016 at 7:38 pm)

Who do you think you are? Michaelangelo?

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