A couple nights ago, one of my close friends suffered a family loss: when I say “loss”, I mean her father was brutally stabbed to death by Islamic fundamentalists and her mother experienced some severe injuries and is currently recovering in a hospital in Bangladesh. You may say, “Things like this happen every day – civilians are attacked by extremists all the time. So why is this any different?”
The answer is that it’s not any different. As a matter of fact, it’s sad that this has hit me so hard only recently and not before just because someone I knew very well was directly hurt from this violent act. And this is one mistake that I hope none of you will make after this. I learned a lesson yesterday: never take the freedoms you are given for granted. Nothing comes for free and not everyone has as structured a political system as the United States, which means even murderers and extremists may not receive the punishments that we think they deserve.
I go on my blog every other day to talk about whatever the heck comes up in my brain, and often, to be honest, I don’t double check. I don’t edit (I really should, though). I don’t think twice about what I write. And I make sure that you all know that these thoughts are my thoughts. Yet, I figured out that this isn’t always what’s going to keep people happy…this notification. Avijit Roy was a prominent Bangladesh writer who firmly believed in voicing your opinions to the community. However, some people thought it was appropriate to stab this man to death and attack his wife because they didn’t agree with him. Not only does this worry me as a dear friend, but as a writer, I am truly frightened and appalled.
You see, I could go into the depths of how much this hurts to see a close friend almost lose both her parents, but I’m not sure that would go as long of a way as the message she tries to spread now: Words Cannot Be Killed. That is the one phrase that I think almost everyone underestimates, which is why I believe her father’s story needs to be spread. Extremists can do whatever they want: they can slash, murder, shout, harass, but they CANNOT kill the words that have already been given. You can burn books, you can destroy the Internet, but as long as a group of people have heard these words, they will spread faster and farther, and eventually these extremists would have to kill every single one of us.
As a political system, Bangladesh may not be able to punish these fundamentalists the way we would see to it; so our goal is to help this make frontline news in the United States by sharing his story here with #WordsCannotBeKilled or re-blog this post. If all of you share this article or his story, we can achieve change in not only Bangladesh, but also around the world where victims like Avijit Roy are suffering and being attacked by extremists for the words they speak and write. Hopefully, agencies outside of Bangladesh will intervene and instate the justice that Bangladesh cannot provide right now.
As for writing, I do have a purpose for putting this under “Writing About Writing”, because this is the one article that a) I did not plan for and b) I am the most stoked to write about. I have a feeling (almost 100%) that I will keep writing, because nothing will stop me. Nobody has the right to tell me I can’t write certain things because nobody has the right to tell me I can’t think certain things. That goes for you, too. You should have the ability to voice anything you want. Some of you are thinking, “Be more careful with what you say,” but I can be as careful as I want, and the risk of this happening is still high.
I shouldn’t have to write in fear of being hurt or being attacked for what I believe in. As long as it’s my opinion, I will be the one vocalizing it. I will not speak for others or hurt people because I strongly disagree with them. We should all be able to write for us, to write to share and to communicate ideas that we pass by, to voice opinions which can neither be right nor wrong.