Michel Moushabeck: Writers must not be silenced


Published: 9/13/2022 8:58:17 PM
Modified: 9/13/2022 8:57:47 PM

I am shocked, devastated, and heartbroken to hear about the attack on Salman Rushdie and his interviewer on Aug. 12. Rushdie, a fellow member of PEN and past president of PEN America, has always been a fierce advocate for freedom of expression as we know all too well from his literary works and numerous speeches on the subject. Reese, his interviewer, is a longtime bookseller. We condemn this brutal attack and wish them a quick recovery and healing from this dreadful incident. While this was a religiously motivated attack with unique circumstances, it is impossible to look at what happened without thinking about the numerous other incidents taking place around the world in order to silence writers, journalists, and human rights advocates. The imprisonment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Israel’s assassination of Palestinian writer GhassanKanafani and the recent murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by an Israeli sniper, Egypt’s sentencing of British-Egyptian human rights advocate AlaaAbdel-Fattah, are but a few examples of the injustices and methods states have employed to silence free speech. In America, books are being banned; authors, publishers, booksellers, and librarians are being threatened; and school teachers are being harassed and are losing their jobs for refusing to remove books from their classrooms. Elsewhere, numerous writers are languishing in prison and civil society organizations are being shut down — like the seven Palestinian human rights organizations that were raided and welded shut by the Israeli apartheid state to stop them from exposing human rights violations and crimes against humanity. In today’s divided world it is more important than ever that writers, like Salman Rushdie and GhassanKanafani, journalists like Julian Assange and Shireen Abu Akleh, and human rights advocates and activists like AlaaAbdel-Fattah not have to sacrifice their lives for their writing, for reporting the truth, or for simply making their voices heard. An attack on any one in our literary community is an attack on all of us.

Michel Moushabeck, founder/publisher/editor at Interlink Publishing



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