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.