Someone on Linkedin.com recently asked a question that I responded to:
Should a writer respect the feelings of all sections of society while expressing their views? As a writer can they enjoy unfettered freedom in the light of recent developments?My reply...and then some:
It depends on what you are writing about, or what your intention is in what you are writing about. Some writers may not want to offend anyone (which is nearly impossible these days). Or a writer may want to inflame a certain portion of a readership, or wish to inflame or move, everyone. It depends on what the intention of the piece is.
Writers now a days have to be aware of backlash from certain elements to the point even of the writer's death. But we cannot let that dissuade us from our job. I am at times very vocal in my writings about what I think the ills of the world are to the point of calling out terrorists as the misled, the demented, the childish, and as cowards even in the face of brave situations, if one calls it that while blowing yourself up or being gunned down in the process of killing their own, the innocents, women, the old and infirm and, children.
It is good to consider, even if you are not a well read writer, how do you want your writings to be viewed after you have died? Either from natural causes or through the efforts and intentions of someone who has reacted violently to you because of something you have written?
Remember it's not about confrontation, it's about dialog on your side as a writer. That means on the side of enlightenment and change it needs to be about compromise and dialog. But also, on the other side, in that of a radical mind, it needs to be about dialog, but also about compromise in an individual with a mindset where that simply may not be an option. Well? It needs to be an option.
For some of us who are not fighters as I once was, though now I prefer to be more a lover, they or we can "fight" through our words for what is good and right in the world as we see it. Everyone should be welcome to speak their mind, as that helps to temper beliefs. But one must listen as well as speak.
Sometimes I publish things that are intentionally inflammatory in order to get people to see the error of their ways in beliefs and actions. If someone reads something I wrote on my blog and finds me a distasteful human being, but what they have read changes their mind to a better way of being, if they they then hate me for my efforts but go out in the world and do more good than they had been, what care is it of mine if I have offended them?
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom, said:
"We shouldn't tolerate the intolerance."
As writers and authors we produce art and words strung together in such a way as to evoke emotion. Is it only to be for entertainment? Or should we have an underlying and important message to convey to support or change things for the better? Further, should we at times overtly try to change people's minds away from their beliefs to what we understand to be the better good?
How does one do that?
By keying into someone's beliefs and gently changing their attitudes? Or at times by jarring them into reality and out of their delusions? There have been times when writers have spoken out and been killed for their efforts. Through their death change has been evoked, change greater than they could ever have achieved through their words while they lived. That is not a good thing for them, but it's something.
What should be your own legacy as a writer? To make a buck and no one ever knows of you or after you die your writings die with you? Or to change even one person to go out to do more, or better, or at least stop doing ill of others? Because for every one who stops doing ill, others see that and may follow suit or temper their choices.
Certainly it is your choice. I have made mine.
This all brings to mind... terrorism.
After 9/11, from that next day to December 31, 2013 there were on American soil, the following number of deaths:
Firearms in 2011 alone: 32,351
Car/Truck Accidents in 2011 alone: 33,783
So "keep calm and carry on."
Terrorists in America have blatantly failed. Overall worldwide, these are disaffected young Arab Muslim men. Muslims are not our enemies, religion is, if you want to entertain that kind of logic. But even then it is a disaffected and propagandized mindset by a minuscule hard core, radicalized group who propel and recruit through their pathetic agenda.
These people are lost in the modern world and not unlike those American conspiracy theorists who fear a "New World Order" when one is only going to happen regardless since we live on a planet together with limited resources. It is much in the same mental virus that involves fear and hatred of others who they do not understand or refuse to join with.
They are our failures in America.
Mostly these terrorists are poor individuals, poor in livelihood or poor in moral logic focusing only on what makes them feel good with no concern for either those they consider their enemies or their own people they claim to be fighting for and where those they claim to be fighting for en masse, have claimed that these terrorists are not fighting for them.
Be concerned in a relative and reasonable way.
Do not fear those who are of broken ideologies, mind, spirit, logic, reason, or religion. Consider that the late Saudi King Abdullah has been putting change into place in his seminal Islamic country for years that has been quietly bringing about change.
There are now more women in that country in universities than men. That alone is amazing and in years to come it will change the face of Saudi Arabia and their version of Islam, which is a part and heart of the over all world of Islam.
Change is coming. But it takes time. We need to help get Islam and those mentally deranged versions of Islam past this sad point in its history and on into the future.
Those backward types who find terrorism as a positive force of change will eventually fade away with time and proper action and be seen in hindsight as a cancer in the state of Islam during this period. Bringing all Arabs and Muslims into modern times mentally and economically is what they need, not the ill will of the entire world.
It will take time, but they are on the way out and this age of attempted terror is their death knell.