The recent horrible events in France highlight how fear of free thought can drive some to violence. We have
been fortunate in these United States to have the First Amendment on the books protecting the right to free speech. Granted, writers have had to take to the courts from time to time to preserve that right, redefine it to meet a modern world, but it still shines its light across America and the world.
This is not the case in other parts of the world. The Guardian article reads, “Nine hundred writers around the world were harassed, imprisoned, murdered or “disappeared” last year, according to PEN International…(1) For a list of Freedom of Speech by Country see the Wikipedia link below. (2)
I believe that fear leads to violence. (3) Writers often raise what are to some, uncomfortable questions, uncomfortable truths, provoking the uncomfortable truth that a closely held belief is laughable to some, untrue to others. The unstable and insecure cannot take the hit to their esteem, so they lash out often violently.
I’ve always believe that old saw, “the pen is mightier than the sword”. It does not mean there won’t be casualties, but I have to believe that writers the world over will pick up their pens on a daily basis and continue the volley of words, even when faced with guns.
(1) The Guardian, US Edition http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/10/authors-yann-martel-persecuted-pen-international
(3) Fear begets violence: http://projectlove.me/how-does-fear-create-violence/