Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy
Why do we blog? I myself, blog for many reasons. Because I enjoy writing. Because I want to capture life with my child, and hold onto those precious memories for all eternity. So yeah, for selfish reasons.
Occasionally I catch a glimpse of my ugly selfish demon, and I stamp him down by going out of my way to cry out for those less fortunate than myself, for those that have no voice.
Take a good long look at this picture of a blogging father with his lovely children, and take a moment to think about your own family, and your reasons for blogging.
Some of you may already know who this blogger is, and of his situation. For those that don’t, you may recognise the name Raif Badawi from hashtags on your many social media sites.
One year ago this young man was sentenced to prison for ten years, and a thousand lashes.
His crime? He started blogging about his thoughts and opinions on life, and created an online forum for like minded people to share their feelings. Sound familiar? It should do, we do it every day, and think nothing of it. We sit there, proud of the words we have put together, the prose we have created, or the clever little haiku we have written, and wait for the likes/comments/shares to come rolling in. All safe in the knowledge that we won’t be persecuted.
It seems absurd to me, that anyone in this day and age could be offended by a string of words, let alone be so offended that they would put a person in prison, and publicly flog them!
Can you imagine this happening to you? To me? To any of our wonderfully insightful peers? Of course not. Yet here we are in 2015, talking about a blogger in prison for writing. Alone in his thoughts, unable to see, let alone embrace his wife and children.
Raif is not alone in his plight, oh no my friends, this is no isolated incident. He is one voice, among a cacophony of voices that have been silenced, for the crime of thinking outside the box, for trying to improve the lives of their fellow human beings, to try and push this little speck of cosmic dust we live on, toward the utopian paradise we all seek to inhabit.
So for Raif, for the countless voices that have been silenced, I stand up. I applaud you for your bravery, I apologise for your treatment. I shout out so that others may hear your voice. I shout out so that my friends, my peers, my species, will rise to their feet and stand with us, united, until you are all free to sing aloud once more.
Read this news article about Raif’s story in this from the Independent.
Today (07/10/15) Raif has been named co-winner of PEN Pinter prize.
When the British government sort out the wheeling and dealing, and decide who’s going carry on running this country into the ground, be sure to continue telling them to pull their finger out, and get and do something other than bow down to the God of oil by sending them an email via Amnesty International.