Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm Speaking Up

Usually I try to keep my blog about writing, the craft, my sweet geriatric Dowager Feline Clancy and my crazy writing adventures. I have tried to stay neutral about a lot of topics like politics and religion, I cannot stay neutral about this topic. I'm against banning books, and this author's blog post states most eloquently what we as writers must always work to defend: freedom of speech.

We need only to look to the past to see what happens when one person determines how people should think, dress, behave. We need only to look to other nations who oppress their people now to know we have a precious gift. One we cannot take for granted.

As a mother of a teenaged daughter, I can say this: I would not ever want to stop my Darling Daughter from learning about the world through reading. I don't censor her. I read what she reads. We TALK about the subject matter. We have a dialogue. She is a strong, smart, and glorious girl becoming a fierce, determined woman. She has passion for life, for love, and for her adventures.

She knows her freedom to SPEAK and be heard is a gift. As a woman, I do not want her powerful voice to be silenced by anyone.


Martha W. said...

Perfectly said.

As authors, if we don't stand up... who will? And who better?

Christine said...

Martha: I agree. I hope you check out the websites. Tomorrow I am writing the newspaper where the guy put his opinion. I cannot stress enough how important it is to stand up for our right to read what we want and to allow our GIRLS to read what they want. And frankly, I think about other members of society who must hide their love and sexuality due to prejudice and I want to scream for them. It's so upsetting to me. I only care about these things: do unto others as you would want done to you. Love one another. Don't judge lest you be judged. I am a a former bible study disciple, bible study leader, choir member and "church mom." If people really read and learn the bible, its contents, and the message presented, they'd know what this professor against SPEAK is saying is a ridiculous representation of what the message is -- this is a HOT topic for me.

Ellen Brickley said...

Brilliant post, Christine. Moving and powerfully expressed.

I went to Berlin a few years ago and I found the book-burning memorial close to the university. It's just a sheet of glass set into the cobbled ground, and when you look inside, you see empty bookshelves. It sounds strange, but I found it quite moving. My homes have always been full of bookshelves and the sight of empty bookshelves, deliberately emptied and kept empty, was unsettling.

Heinrich Heine said 'Where they burn books, in the end they will burn people.' He died in 1856, so he didn't live to see his books burned by the Nazis just because he was Jewish.

In May 1933, the Nazis burned books by - among others - Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, Leon Trotsky, Emile Zola, Ernest Hemingway, HG Wells, Helen Keller and Lenin. Just in that short list, there was enough knowledge and insight to change the course of humanity forever. We're so blessed that it wasn't all lost.

We can't ban books or burn books. We can't choose what truths we allow to be heard. We can choose which ones to read ourselves, certainly, but no one has the power to say to another human being 'Your thoughts are not valid. Your story isn't worth telling. To anyone.'

You're obviously raising a great woman there, Christine! I hope your letter gets printed.

Christine said...

Hi Ellen: Thank you for sharing the story about the Nazi book burning site. I knew about it, read about it, and almost mentioned it in my post. With your permission, I'd like to incorporate your information about this historic event into my letter.

My parents may have made a lot of mistakes, but one of the things they did right was to expose me to all forms of literature. Books were plentiful in our house as well. I never had to ask permission to read my dad's books. I just raided his bookshelf whenever my library books were finished. I never chose books that didn't interest me just because there might be racy material in them. I chose books because I was interested in the STORY.

Occasionally the story had more sexual content in it than was appropriate for my age, but I wasn't scarred for life. Frankly, I don't remember the sexual content of any of the books I read. I remember the STORIES.

Ann said...

I am horrified at the prospect of book burning. This type of censure has always been the stepping stone to more and more horrendous acts of censure. As you say let us look to history and where this type of fanatical behavior leads.

Britt Mitchell said...

I agree with this. Burning books, destroying anything, does not make something or someone more powerful.

For example, burning a certain religious book does not make the Bible more or less powerful. The Word stands alone, full of life and wisdom on its own accord.

~Britt Mitchell

Christine said...

Hi Ann: I can't even wrap my brain around burning books, burning hopes, burning lives. I know that atrocities against women, children, people of other religions happen and they're often based on other people's ideals and sense of morality. We are so blessed to live in a free country. But we can't take it for granted. It wasn't so long ago that we were in the dark, too. Really, to censure books is to ban free thought. Next could come the censure of educating people based on their skin color, their gender...

Speaking up is the only way we can stop the pendulum from swinging in the wrong direction.

Christine said...

Hi Britt: Thanks for sharing your comment. The Word does stand alone, full of life and wisdom. I'm always amazed when I read the bible's passages again. The lessons I gain are often different each time. Much depends upon where I am in my own life, my own searching, and my own relationship with God. I shy away from organized religion because I don't like being told HOW to show my belief.

I stick to the credo: love one another. Judge not lest you be judged. My faith is personal. I don't try to put it on other people or what they believe. I love sharing faith, tradition and hope. That's the key for me.

Gwen Hernandez said...

I'm with you all the way on this one, Christine. You and the other commenters used such eloquent words to express what I feel, so I won't repeat. Great and important post!

Christine said...

Thanks Gwen. We are writers. We may not write what others write, but we all have the right to express ourselves in writing as we wish.