Thursday, April 28, 2016

"What you don't want to hear..."

 "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear."- George Orwell, writer, author of 1984

            How do you create instability, oppression and extremism in any country?  Deny citizens access to education, hold them down in abject poverty and the most crucial element, shut them up. Freedom of speech and expression is a universal human right. It is our most important right.  When freedom of speech is suppressed anywhere it is suppressed everywhere. Without freedom of speech how would  we express our love, joy, fear, anger? How would we communicate danger or protect our community, read literature or compose music and song lyrics?  How would we make someone laugh with a witty joke  or shed tears with a sad story? How would we openly and honestly discuss our problems in order to resolve them? How could ordinary citizens, educators and journalist bloggers tell the world a corrupt government is destroying democracy by suppressing their basic human rights?  The South Asian country of Bangladesh has been the focus of many disturbing news stories over the past year. After spending decades decreasing poverty and establishing a successful secular system of government Bangladesh is being set back by its political instability, religious extremism, inequality and severe climate issues. Most recently the brutally senseless murders of secular bloggers and human rights activists have drawn much warranted attention to violent injustice.
           Essayist and author of Satanic Verses,  Salman Rushdie once wrote, "What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend it ceases to exist."  In the United States we must remember his statement applies to all religious faiths, political and philosophical thought or inquiry. We may not like what we read or hear but we cannot oppress our own freedom to criticize, disagree, argue and express an opinion.  Featured above is BBC documentary Our World, Bangladesh Blogger Murders .  which examines the factors leading to the crippling chipping away of freedom and the monstrous consequences of fanatical ideology.