Zainub Priya Dala posted a note on Charlie Hebdo and free expression v intimidation to my Facebook wall, and gave me permission to quote it. I’m sure you remember her experience of violent intimidation.
Regarding the PEN American Center’s decision to present the PEN Free Expression Award to Charlie Hebdo:
In a similarity to my experience, (albeit my assault – on a much smaller scale)… It is not a question of content, but a question of style. Literary satirical style throught the ages has always been met with persecution. It is a style that is poorly understood, where artists attempt to create discourse and debate surrounding an otherwise taboo subject. I support freedom of expression in all its forms, be it admiration of a “banned” writer or a deep dissection of a cartoon in all its complexity. Using violence to silence opinion is tantamount to medieval gagging practices. If we cannot debate sensitive issues without fear of retaliation, we are in no way progressing as a society. The Charlie Hebdo tragedy was disgusting. It was bullying. It was unneccsary loss of lives. An award should be given, a commemoration of sorts…. Otherwise the lost lives will have been in vain. When we venerate people who have been persecuted for their craft, we open the way for courageous people to follow in their wake. I say all this because I knew and still know now the sound of being silenced~zpd