Blog Action Day: Writers standing up for writers, now more than ever #raiseyourvoice
I signed up to participate in Blog Action Day, which was on October 16. Clearly, I'm a few weeks late, but this topic, sadly, is as timely as ever.
Writers, still and ever, are key disseminators of knowledge and culture around the world. Control the thinkers' writing, prevent people from becoming readers, and you have the beginnings of basic enforcement of a dictatorship.
PEN International has long been an international champion of freedom of speech for writers to "promote literature and freedom of expression." In the United States, author Salman Rushdie served as president of the Pen American Centre (Center?) after having suffered as a major target for silencing by Iran's Supreme Leader following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.
The history of PEN is rich with stories of writers whose words, fiction or not, revealed such truths and inspired such fear in leaders that the writers faced mortal danger.
But these stories aren't a relic of history. Today, writers (including those creating films and blogs and more) are in prison, facing torture and death, for their work to share ideas.
When someone seeks to silence another voice, to stifle ideas,, I ask myself why. When politicians bitterly argue to send funding for schools plunging (effectively silencing future writers and readers), I ask, "Who wins if this happens? Who loses? Who decides?" It's a simple analysis that reveals a lot about a community's or society's priorities. More than our words (ironically enough) about caring for children, our society's actions speak volumes.
So much more to say on this, but will stop there for now.