I was in the middle of an office day this week, working on my second cup of coffee for the morning, when the news feed popped up a short little story about a blogger killed in Bangladesh. It put a pall on the rest of my day, and I did more research.
The blogger’s name was Niloy Chakrabarti. Since I don’t have much time to read any of the WordPress bloggers I follow (sorry, gang), I’m certainly not following his blog. Evidently, he’s an atheist, and the fourth to lose his life in Bangladesh in about six months. Other reports claim that six more bloggers (some poets, some bloggers, and a journalist) are being targeted, and the police are doing little to nothing to help.
I am filled with dark feelings.
First, as a writer, I deal with words and ideas. The thought that someone else who deals in words and ideas, even if they’re not ones I share, was silenced with the ultimate silencing of death fills me with a feeling of dread at the thought that the tables could turn and someday I and others could be targeted here in our relatively safer corner of the world. I’m also filled with a bit of guilt that sometimes I throw out ideas and words without any thought for the price that was paid to win and maintain that freedom for me and without any concern for those who don’t have that freedom but chose to push the boundaries at great and costly risk.
Second, while I don’t agree with his rejection of a supreme deity, I don’t agree with the idea that you kill someone who doesn’t believe in your supreme deity. As a Christian, that would put me at direct odds with the heart of my Abba who doesn’t want anyone to lose the opportunity to choose His Son; if I killed you because you don’t believe, I’ve cut off every chance you have to change your heart. I fail to understand a religion of any kind that chooses to kill those who don’t accept your supreme deity; that certainly isn’t a religion of peace.
Finally, as a mother, I’ve dreaded even trying to discuss this story. I blog, and I don’t want to have to deal with the heavy questions of what ifs and whys that I know will come. I don’t want to try to explain why people kill over words and ideas and whether I could face the same cost. And my youngest is somewhere on this deity abandoned network of wires and electrons semi-following in my footsteps with some fan fiction (if you showed me where it was, I might drive readers to it… except it is Frozen related); I don’t want her own fear or anxiety to take away the voice of my princess, and I don’t want to be afraid that someday she could write something so profound and edgy that someone could try to silence her voice.
Where do we as a community of poets and photographers and writers and thinkers go from here?
Don’t cut and run. Don’t give up. Keep writing and sharing and thus show solidarity even if we don’t face mortal danger. If we somehow have the opportunity to protect or to succor, by all means, use it wisely.
Writing and thinking and sharing are the signs of health and life. Choose life, and choose it to the full!