Activism and Courage

Yesterday, we drove down the road a bit to hear Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner. A lawyer and an Iranian, she devotes her life to defending her countrymen who have been imprisoned by the current government. More than that, she helps to support their families while her clients are imprisoned. One of her fellow activists, an attorney, is jailed now for the crime of defending dissidents to the Iranian regime. Her speech, given in Farsi and translated into English, resonated with the audience. Make a difference. Take a stand, even if it means you could end up in a very bad place. Sacrifice self for the good of those who need you. And don't confuse religion with those who say they act in its name. A Muslim, she believes God is with her in her work, and that the evil done in His name must be fought by all of us.

Good words. Strong words. A Turkish novelist, recently accused of crimes against the government for his criticism of its practices, is another activist who has garnered international support. Charges against him were recently dropped. We can make a difference. Speak up if you see wrong being done. Don't tolerage even a tiny bit of it. Work to obliterate evil done in the name of the "greater" good.

When you think about it, novels are a pretty good vehicle to carry the message. In the guise of entertainment, they can unmask the ugly, laud the good, and condemn the bad. My last mystery, Yes, the River Knows, deals with racism in the South, but its message is about redemption. Even the worst of all the ills can't hide if writers keep pulling back the skin to expose the wound to the light of day.

Think about the potential difference each of us can instigate. Mind-boggling.