Article 19. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, United Nations
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
I started reading Michael Chabon's Maps And Legends Readings And Writing Along The Borderland. It is a collection of essays. The typeface and the paper is very nice. Something which has bothered me lately is that in the description of the book it is not required to give the typeface which the book is printed in. This is somewhat discouraging. Knowing about nice quality fonts is something which librarians and writers like. It is a detail which I think should be included in any book. The paper also appears to be better quality than normal. I also like to know what kind of paper a book is printed on. I know, I know, I am more fussy about these things than most people, but still it is a good thing to know.
I also checked my sidebar on my blog to see if the links were working correctly. You have to do this sometimes. For unknown reasons pieces of your blog can suddenly stop working. I had to put in a few of my links again to get them to work.
I also added a red widget in my sidebar, Bloggers Unite For Human Rights. I am supposed to write an essay on a topic on human rights. I am not sure whether I will do this. I just liked the widget, plus I rather like the concept of human rights. I am rather funny that way. I am a member of the Intellectural Freedom Roundtable of the American Library Association. I am also a member of the The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. In other words, I am a defender of the written word. I do strongly believe in the right for people to express themselves like I am expressing myself now.
I am writing free form at this moment. There are too many libraries that are destroyed in senseless conflicts whether they be budgetary conflicts or the conflicts of war. With the recession in the United States many libraries are only open limited hours because people think of them as being a non-essential service, unlike services like the fire and police department. I think it is essential to preserve reading and visual literacy.
One of the first things to go in conflicts especially ethnic conflicts are libraries. Cultural identity is preserved in the libraries and museums of a country. In Iraq, libraries were looted and burned during the conflict. In Bangladesh libraries were looted and burned during ethnic conflicts. When a dictatorship moves freshly into a country, the first places that gets closed are the libraries and universities.
Tolerance for intellectual freedom is a sign of an open democracy. There were periods in the United States where people were not so tolerant. During the 1950s they had a brief craze where people burned comic books. You could watch batman go up in smoke for being homoerotic, or superman go up in smoke because he was fascistic.
Anyways, to make it short, I support the idea of intellectual freedom everywhere. I want people to have different opinions than my own. This is a cornerstone of freedom. I hope you take a moment to ponder this. Not everyone can think as they want to, or express themselves as they want to.
In many countries were I born there and expressing my feelings openly on intellectual matters, I would be sent to places for people like me. I might work in a prison making shirts, or be out in the fields learning how to be a proper farmer not an intellectual. I would bide my time reciting poetry or stories in my mind surrounded by long hours of boredom punctuated by careful watching of my captors.
I hope one day people will wake up enough to let artists be artists and let culture and free expression be the norm all over the world.