Letters: An Inevitable Conversation

Japayuki: A Novel

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Power of the Writen Word and the King

For the first time in a long time, I am truly saddened, but mostly angered by something I've read. I say this only because I read a lot of articles, books, and Blogs that deal with human rights violations around the world, many (most?) are very graphic and heart wrenching. But, this story in particular hit me because, well, it was about a fellow writer/blogger/activist/advocate.

The story is about Saudi Blogger, Raif Badawi, a young man who advocated for freedom of speech; yes, that basic fundamental right that Americans so often take for granted. For while I can easily open my laptop and begin banging away at the key board, raising hell about our self-focused, people ignoring, Constitution ignoring, religious extremist fundamentalist, right-wing, fanatic, it's my or else politicians, and then casually and fearlessly hit the publish button, sending my scathing, accusatory, finger pointing words into the cosmos, for anyone and everyone to read, this man was arrested for only seeking free speech.
His sentence? Ten years in prison; and no, Virginia, their prisons are not as plush and comfy as ours, no cable, no hot showers, no three meals a day, no free dental or medical; in fact, the only other thing he will get is one thousand lashes. 

Freedom of Speech.
In the United States, it's simply the right to communicate one's opinions and ideas, openly, without fear of censorship on the part of government. But, apparently, in other countries, those three words strike fear into the very heart of government. Just more evidence that the word, the proverbial pen, no matter the language, is so very powerful, even the riches, strongest, presently in power Presidents, Kings, dictators of all sorts, fear it still. 

What these censorship crazed governments always fail to acknowledge is, oppression and subjugation of people, world-wide, is fast going out of style. Syria is a perfect example. Libya another. Censorship does not stop the flow of information; it is, today, virtually impossible to prevent a story, a photo, a copy of a document from breeching any border, from crossing any ocean, from reaching any target. Twitter and Facebook, and a myriad of other social media networks are on-line 24/7. Therefore, the nation that suppresses? The nation that subjugates and dominates by force it's people? They are not protected, nor or they shielded by censorship today as they were decades ago. And, attempting to block these social media networks from functioning within their borders doesn't work either. The word, the story will get out. 

This horrendous injustice, this incomprehensible and brutal sentence/punishment handed down to this writer is causing an uproar across the world. It reached me across the the oceans, and now, I pass it on. I join in the raising of voices on behalf of civility. On behalf of humanity. On behalf of a brother Blogger. I join the voices demanding Saudi King Salman immediate release Raif Badawi, and grant the people of Saudi Arabia their freedom of speech. 

(Saudi Arabia ranks third in the world for censorship. Read more about this: http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-blogger-raif-badawi-wins-eu-sakharov-rights-105513886.html)

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