Monday, November 3, 2008

Things to be grateful for: free speech

By Chloe Angyal

Tomorrow, we're all going to the polls to let our voices be heard. And it's a big day. But really, every day in this country should be appreciated in the same way, because every day in this country, on blogs and in newspapers and in casual conversation, our voices are heard. And we use them without fear of retribution, because the law of this country protects our right to do so.

Every day on Equal Writes, Amelia and I, and all the other writers, enjoy the right to publicly say what we think, and the only consequence we fear is a snarky comment being posted below it. I want to take a brief moment to be grateful for that, because many feminists (and many people, for that matter), don't enjoy that right. India's The National reports today:

"Taslima Nasreen, the Bangladeshi feminist author who was driven from her home country by Muslims angry with her “sacrilegious” writing, now fears she will have to leave India for the same reason...Taslima angered Bangladeshi Muslims with her novel Lajja (Shame), which described the rape of a Hindu girl by a Muslim man, and was accused of calling for changes to be made to the Quran to give women more rights. ...She received death threats from Muslim groups and fled Bangladesh in 1994. But after spending 11 years in Europe and the United States, she moved to India in 2005. When Taslima first arrived in Kolkata, she hoped that in Hindu-majority India she could live in peace. ...Last August a Muslim group attacked her with chairs and stones in the southern city of Hyderabad. Members of the group later said they wanted to kill her. A week later, a top Muslim cleric in Kolkata issued a “death warrant” against her, offering a reward of 100,000 rupees (Dh7,500)."

So let's just take a moment to be grateful for the free speech that we enjoy here, as feminists, and as Americans.
Happy Monday, and happy day-before-election-day, everybody!


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