The Word under Threat in the World: The Murder of Gauri Lankesh

Journalist Gauri Lankesh has been shot dead in India.

The simple fact of the matter is that no democracy thrives by stamping out speech that challenges power. I am not a free speech fundamentalist (I leave it to right-wing ideologues in America to self-servingly use a narrow and formalistic understanding of free-speech rights in order to advance their agenda). At the same time, I certainly value free speech–not only as a writer and teacher, but as a citizen of the world.

The murder of Gauri Lankesh underscores the continued relevance of what I wrote in Words without Borders nearly two years ago in the aftermath of similar murders in India:

 

Poetry and the Curse: On Censorship in India

 

What is routinely under threat these days is not only the word but imagination and alternative understandings of traditions, including Hindu traditions.

I guess, in today’s world, it’s never too early or too late to register your opinion regarding the murder of writers.

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