Friday, June 22, 2007

On suppressive writings, Part 2

To the innocents who believe that writers are ALWAYS progressives!

During the Cold War, there was Vietnam war (if you still remember) when the American Army was burning Vietnamese villages with villagers trapped inside. There was a breathtaking photo of a young Vietnamese girl running naked, her body in flames.
At that time a great and well known American writer, John Steinbeck, went to Vietnam and wrote a book. In 1964, Steinbeck was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom by President Johnson.
In 1967, at the behest of News day magazine, Steinbeck went to Vietnam to report on the war there. Thinking that the Vietnam War was a heroic venture, he was considered a Hawk for his position on that war. Both his sons served in Vietnam prior to his death.

Steinbeck wrote about the beauty of the American aeroplanes in the Vietnamese sky and "all the Americans Boys" who were fighting the Communist dragon.
I still like to read him but I cannot forget that or forgive him!
In reading Brothers Karamazov without having in mind that the book is one of the greatest pieces of classical Russian prose, then one will discover the deep and clear 'morals' of Dostoevsky who sent the innocent officer into exile with his lover, and had the stingy father killed off by his 'problematic' son as a punishment for his sleeping around.
I will mention a real story that happened about two months ago in Egypt when some poets informed the authorities about a colleague of theirs whose poem had been published in a magazine; the magazine was been taken off the market and the poet is threatened with jail!
We all now what the 'Union of Writers' in the eastern block did to certain writers who did not reflect official opinion, and how some writers work as informers against other writers.
There are a lot of studies on the complicated relationship between the writer and authority, especially in the third world.
So, writers are creatures that alternate between being gods and devils. .. gods in the way they want to punish and be rewarded, telling people a lot of things NOT TO DO, and devils in the way they 'show' people forbidden fruits.
I prefer to be a devil!


1 comment:

Persephone said...

Elly and Raouf, I am such a fan that I've bestowed upon you the prestigious Thinking Blogger Award.

You are both wonderful!