A short story written by Mr. Stephen King tells us about a Milkman who leaves cartons full of poisonous cyanide gas in the morning. You might deny the ‘reality’ in the story arguing that the story borders fantasy. The reputation of the author goes beyond any possible conviction that could be attached with the words written by this ordinary blogger. I am fully aware of it. However, I would like you to ponder this small piece of sadism that the Milkman plays with the people in a small town as a probable scenario. At one point, he even puts a tarantula in an empty milk jar and leaves it for someone to open.
Many proper nouns that exist in our world, at our time, are much like the bottles left by the milkman, early in that summer morning in Stephen King’s story. Today, our proper nouns are eerily similar in their capacity to poison us or to damage us. Well, it surely depends on whether we open the cap on those bottles.
There could be two options here. One can get into a smooth cultural interaction with a people and thereby benefit from them, if one uses their cultural and political “names” with respect and reverence, by not inviting their poisonous inner-substances to spill forth. This matters in certain situations mostly, when one expresses one view or idea or even while being judgmental over the proper noun under discussion. In other words, coming to terms with the poison. Option number two: kill or be killed.
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Some proper nouns create deeper wounds than others do. The name of a religion and the names of a writer who wrote about that religion are examples.
If you haven’t read my previous blog post, I’d strongly recommend you to take a look at it. Here is the link. It will show you how a blogger is imprisoned and flogged just because he felt responsible enough to write about what was just to his conscience.
Avijit Roy, an American citizen and atheist blogger is murdered in Bangladesh, within two weeks of the release of my article about Raif Badawi in my blog. The milkman’s poisonous bottles are an apt analogy to use in order to put these recent events into a new perspective. These two events in our recent and fresh memory cry out to each one of us to remember what another author, one with several literati credentials, Mr. Salman Rushdie faced in relation to publishing a book. Therefore, we must not view the present events in isolation, these threats, and killings being a nasty strategy employed by some twenty-first century barbarians.
One reason that I enjoy blogging is the availability of the opportunity to share my responses over the good and the bad experiences in life. Sharing is one way of re-experiencing an event and learning further through this process. This is why, I believe, most bloggers press on even after receiving threats or legal charges. This is why, perhaps, Raif Badawi went on with his blogging efforts against a culture from within that same culture and eventually had to face flogging and jail terms. Avijit Roy, however, was killed. The causes and the perpetrators have striking similarities in both cases. I would not like to recant the proper nouns associated with both these events, on this platform, due to, of course, fear for my life. Many media have already denounced and denigrated the perpetrators of these crimes against free speech.
I have identified three topics that bloggers from any country of culture must avoid in order to retain their physical shape and health.
1) A particular religion 2)Political parties 3) Rape victims in India
I have already given you enough hints on why one must avoid blogging about the first two issues. Well, on politics we haven’t had much discussion yet. But I think that is understandable since nowadays religion and politics, or perhaps, certain power-hungry religious orders are always on the political forefront. Moreover, the question stands, does any idea have existence outside of politics, the grand circle that connects and assimilates all?
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Rape victims in India are the latest trend in testing the temerity of free speech. If you would like to test your ability for practicing free speech (well, the only ability required is sheer courage, for that matter) try writing about the Delhi rape victim or interview her molesters. Publish your article or video in your blog. The next thing you know, they would ban your blog, video or even documentary. This is exactly what happened with BBC, a very small sort of international ‘blogger’. If you could see the sarcasm here, not just in my words, but also in the unfolding of these decisive events of history, you are saved from what follows next: ethical dilemma.