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I make no complaint. I am a writer. I do not accept my condition; I will strive to change it; but I inhabit it, I am trying to learn from it.
- Salman Rushdie



Writing As Activism


Aine Fox


Writing is a form of communication that dates back thousands of years. Many ancient societies believe that the Gods created writing, that it had divine origins. Most will today accept that this is not so and that progression and evolution lead to what we today call writing. We have come a long way from a caveman�s etchings on a wall. Writing marks also a point between history and prehistory. History only began to be recorded of course when people where able to write it. Like most things in this world however writing was at one stage a new phenomenon and evidently only the privileged and rich where literate.

I wonder why it is that the most ancient scripts found are often of religious origins - as most who are familiar within the field of social studies would agree that religion is one of the most influential institutions of social and state control. A prime example of this is the adaptation of the some of the �ten commandments� into the rule of law � �Thou shall not kill�.

Traditionally writing was reserved for those in power. Therefore this resulted in the beginning of a deceitful practice. Victories of battle are avidly recorded in history - we do not know however of all the losses and humiliations. One person�s truth is another�s propaganda. Writing is not only one of the main tools in the �war� of disinformation but also throughout history there have been those who have been willing to step forward and make sacrifices in proactively seeking truth in the form of written or typed words. Or is that the foundation of journalism? No - I am mistaken. Because what we see often via mainstream journalism is not truth but merely a spin on events: directed by those who hold the purse strings, which would be the huge corporate companies who often coincidently fund the governments too.

Writing is a simple straightforward task that involves a complex challenge if you have a dissenting voice. Do people really want to know that the death toll of civilians in Afghanistan is now close to or possibly more than 4,000 and another estimated 1,000 Taliban and Al Qai�da personnel. (Figures from a recent report by Marc Herold, Professor, New Hampshire University Durham)? Or that in the town of Naizi Qala, UN spokesperson Stephanie Bunker described the attack on civilians by US Army helicopters that chased and attacked 25 non-combatant women and children shooting them dead. When a second group fled a third group went to the aid of survivors. The helicopters returned and they too were gunned down. The death toll was 52. When questioned on these events US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfled stated that the Pentagon had received information through �multiple intelligence� sources that the village was a target and that there was evidence of ammunition and fuel exploding nearby - saying nothing about the military helicopter fly bys. So was that an explanation? This is merely an example from one of the many villages throughout the country that have suffered tragedy - an illustration also of the many times we have received such disinformation.

This is one of numerous scenarios when writing can be used as a form of activism in pursuing the truth. People need to be proactive instead of leaving it to the state and others to tell us what to believe. Writers have to focus on the oppressive anti humanitarian tactics of the world�s most powerful and supposedly advanced countries, illustrated perfectly in the combined campaign to rid our world of its newest defined evil. We have outlets available to utilise this voice of opposition but it is essential we combine together regardless of party politics. And the more people participating the stronger the message will be that we cannot accept or take part in the attempt to create a New World Order that involves thousands dying and the continuation and extension of capitalism, globalisation and further millions to be oppressed.



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