Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The power of the written word.

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have been imprisoned in their home country of Malawi because they are two men who fell in love with each other. The social pressure to adapt oneself to the 'norm' is a reality in modern courts, stone-age cultures, and school cafeterias alike. But I don't think it has to be this way.

To me, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalang are heroes. They probably knew there would be repercussions for the traditional engagement party they threw to celebrate their union. Still, they chose to be true to themselves, and to each other. They are making an enormous sacrifice, enduring alleged beatings from the police and mistreatment in their prisons because they want to stand up for their vision of how the world should be. Amnesty International heard about their imprisonment, wrote about it in their many media outlets, and now thousands of people are writing letters and emails demanding the release of these two men. (See

The written word strikes again.

As a writer, I think about written language all the time, and how powerful it is. Perhaps more than any other technology, (and writing is a technology,) written language liberates people from the barbarism of primitive thinking. Written laws, written news, written letters, written books... These are the greatest marks of civilization.

Personally, the written word has liberated me from the little world I lived in. Books opened me up, helped me believe in love, and a future for myself. Writing has, many times, quite literally saved me. Hopefully writing will save Stephen and Tiwonge, too.

How has writing saved you?

No comments:

Post a Comment