Monday, June 2, 2014

Reading as protest



One thing we see in many dystopians  is some sort of banning of books and literature.  Unfortunately, it doesn't just happen in books. There are times in history and places in our world today where people can’t read anything they want, where people are only allowed to learn or know what their government approves.  I saw an article here, where the people of Thailand are using reading as a form of peaceful protest against the new  military rule. It remains to be seen what, if anything, the government will do with these protesters.  
  
But it makes us wonder why. Why is reading an act of defiance? Why are books some of the first things to go in restrictive or dystopian governments?  Why does that scare us so much?

Reading can expand our minds, teach us new things, show us that their way isn’t the only way, give us strength to say no.  A government, real or imagined, that wants to control the people need to control how they think, how they see the world. To do that they must control what people put into their brains. They must make sure that only literature supporting their decisions, or making their decision seem logical is available to the masses. Otherwise the people might just start thinking for themselves. But  they can never take away whats already there, the things we already know, all the books we've already read.

Sometimes, reading can be an act of defiance. I hope those people in Thailand that are using books to show their discontent are safe. I applaud them for standing up for literature and for the society they want to have. I wonder if I would be so brave. 


10 comments:

  1. I hope I would be brave. Reading educates and shows us new things. I recently read the middle grade novel WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy, a vetran of the war with Afghanistan. In it, he shows how the Taliban ruled through fear with a ban on any book but the Qu'ran.

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  2. It's a sure sign that a government is getting scary when they try to ban (or burn) books. It saddens me, but I'm glad that people will stand up for the right to acquire knowledge and wisdom. They're not even allowed proper internet access in North Korea, are they? These dystopian worlds aren't too far removed from some of the systems that exist now.

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  3. I can see how governing bodies can find books to be a threat, for all the reasons you stated and more. I hope there isn't too harsh of punishment for those who are reading books as a way of protest in Thailand.

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  4. Books are so powerful. What a great form of protest. I hope the readers get their point across without facing punishment.

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  5. I hope I'd be brave enough in that situation. Sad people don't have the freedom to read what they want.

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  6. Reading is antithetical to control. Ideas are fertile ground for thinking. Once a population thinks, it can't be forced into one mold. More power to the Thais and their courageous stand.

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  7. It's scary that things like this happen all the time. I'm with you in hoping that those protesters stay safe.

    And I hope that the situation gets solved.

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  8. Knowledge is power. Kinda scary that kind of censorship is happening in today's world

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  9. It's sad and scary that things like this happen on the other side of the globe. I too hope that the protesters stay safe.

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  10. It's amazing to think of the power of books. My mom was part of a folklore troupe back on the late 60s and they went through, among other places, Albania. She picked up (or they gave her) a cop of Mao's Little Red Book there (I think)...

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