Je Suis Charlie--the Power of the Pen
Jan 08, 2015 by Lisa A Kramer, in Writing
" [Kramer] dares to point her finger solidly at religious extremism, misogyny, and an undervaluing of creativity, the arts, and individualism as dire perils to democracy." (Kristine J. Schmidt, Review of P.O.W.ER)[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Image attributed to Banksy in response to Charlie Hebdo massacre.[/caption]
I am not a cartoonist nor do I (often) write political satire. I am a person who expresses herself through the written word, on stage, or in other creative expressions. I explore and confront problems through my perspective and I very rarely censor myself except, perhaps, when it comes to certain personal relationships.
I believe the right to question and challenge societal ills is a human right.
When I was thinking about how to market P.O.W.ER I semi-jokingly thought about marketing it as a future banned book.
Why? Because through the story of Andra BetScrivener, I challenge the idea of an extremist religion ruling society. I question a world which allows women's rights to be limited to marriage and baby making. I confront the possibility of what would happen if one factions zealous interpretation of morality controlled all aspects of life:
"Welcome to New North, a near-future splinter-nation of a once-great democracy. A walled-off, totalitarian, patriarchal theocracy in which centralized wealth, rigid social castes, legislated segregation and discrimination, and technological reversion leave women powerless, denied the written word, kept as chattel by men: fathers, husbands, or the state." (Cameron D. Garriepy--review of P.O.W.ER)As I was listening to the coverage of the horrific events in France yesterday, one question kept recurring--should journalists/political satirists consider the risks when they write about extremists groups?
As I learned about the lack of coverage of a bombing at the NAACP building in Colorado Springs, CO, I asked myself what happens when people don't write about issues like racism, intolerance, and social injustice or confront the status quo?
Now, I realize that the two events are not equivalent. The situation in France was a massacre--people died. In Colorado nobody got hurt. But, I have to wonder if the Colorado event would have gotten the same coverage if people had been killed. I hope to think it would but I'm not sure.
Both incidents are the result of extremist perspectives on society--one that says anyone must die if they disrespect a certain religious view, one that values certain races over another. Both attitudes need to be challenged, creatively, vocally, and often.
I am not a journalist who puts herself at risk every day, so I do respect those who might choose to silence their voices in fear. But, at the same time, I realize that we can never make change unless we speak out against injustice, extremism, racism, intolerance, hatred, inequality, terrorism and all of the other things that make this world a terrifying place.
I'm not going to hide, are you?