Blog Action Day 2013: Wielding a Pen

“The pen is mightier than then the sword.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Rights rely on voice—the ability to share a narrative, an opinion, a need—in a free and open forum.  For those denied a voice, or are unable to articulate their own story, writers often step in to fill the void. Not just journalists and observers, but novelists and fiction writers also have a role to play. Because human rights are trodden in two main ways: 1)  through legal, government-approved rules and regulations; and 2) through cultural norms and expectations. The latter at times can be more insidious, because these often serve to convince people to choose voicelessness, to inhibit their own expression.

It is here where fiction writers can help to peal back those layers to expose the contradictions through narrative, using the power of stories. Through stories, readers tousle with the emotions and contradiction themselves. Fiction can provide a guide to navigate their own inner maze. It not simply a reporting of what’s out there and why its bad but also an aid to each individual to work through the challenge in their hearts and minds. Writers also transfer the story to those outside world, by showing others (not just telling them) about the daily challenges that people live and feel who have been denied core human rights.

So this post is to say thank you to the writers and artists who use their creativity to give voice to the voiceless. And a reminder that artists are often the first voices silenced, because the pen gives cause to the sword.

I am proud to participate in this global conversation. I am even prouder to be blogging with some other awesome writers on the power of stories as a means of creating and maintain a juster, fairer world. So please visit in alphabetical order:

Tonya Cannariato

Kasia James

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