Today is Blog Action Day!
What is Blog Action Day 2015?
"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world", an actor said. He made us laugh many times, it was Robin Williams. He was wise.
#Raise Your Voice is the theme to write about. Many of us can write freely but a large percentage of people can't. People like you and me and not only the professionls of the written word. Expressing opinions can promote the change. It's dangerous. That's why Governments and institutions fear it! And some fear it more than others.
This year we watched many people suffering or being emprisoned ou even killed because they dare to raise their voice and refused censorship. All these names made headlines - Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, Yassine Ayari, a France-based Tunisian national, Mohammad Reza Pourshajari from Iran, the Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan - and many more that are missing from this short list.Rafael Marques de Morais is an Angolan journalist and human rights activist that faced nine charges of defamation after publishing on human rights abuses committed during diamond mining operations in Angola. The list goes on.
These people are journalists, writers, thinkers, activists, bloggers. It happens all over the world. Books, movies, articles, posts are banned. Voices are silenced. The authors are threatened, tortured, emprisoned, depported, killed. But these people resist and struggle to keep their stories alive. We shoud respect them, we should pay attention not only on Blog Action Day.
There's this site called Threatened Voices. I urge you to take a look, you can also contribute to it. It maps bloggers that have have been threatened, arrested or killed for speaking out online and to draw attention to the campaigns to free them. Iran, China, and Egypt are on the top of the list.
We all remember Charlie Hebdo shooting early this year. It looks like words are a dangerous matter but then drawings are dangerous too. One thing we should all agree is that no one should be killed for writting or drawing about a theme.
Because I was so shocked with Hebdo's faith I bring his name and another cartoonists names to this Blog Action Day post today too.
I invite you to watch a french documentary called Fini de rire by Olivier Malvoisin e Donatien Huet. Check also the site Cartooning for Peace, created by Plantu, french cartoonist. This site was made to make people "unlearn about intolerance" as well as the site Fini de rire - Une cartographie de la liberté d'expression des dessinateurs de presse à travers le monde.
This 52 minutes documentary, or rather webdocumentary, is a mapping of the freedom of expression in 2006, the year when the documentary was made in reaction to the first conflict about Mohammed cartoons and religious representation.
A dozen cartoons first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten in September 2005. The most famous depicted the Prophet Mohammad with a turban in bomb format. In Islam, any depiction of Muhammad is forbidden, or at least I got that impression from that date. The director would ask public apology and confess to be ashamed of what he had done, fearing that no one else dared to publish cartoons of the prophet. The cartoons were republished in Norway. After the French newspaper France Soir - whose editor was dismissed by Egyptian boss - and two of the most important newspapers of Germany, the conservative Die Welt, which also placed them on its website, and the left-wing daily Die Tageszeitung (taz) . Countries like Saudi Arabia or Libya closed diplomatic missions in Denmark, the Arab countries called for punishment of cartoonists to the Danish Government, but this distanced himself invoking the independence of the press and freedom of expression, condemning those who burned Danish flags in the Arab world .
"Si vous voulez un baromètre de la liberté d’expression et comprendre les tabous dans un pays, il faut aller voir les dessinateurs de presse". Plantu.
Cartoonists all over the world find their voice silenced many times. They do not write, they use a pencil to draw. Portuguese Cristina Sampaio is a Portuguese cartoonist represented in the site Fini de rire. She gives her testimony saying that in Portugal the media are conditioned by big business and therefore cartoonists face clear economic censorship. It is a documentary worth seeing.
These are the names of the cartoonists that also give their testimony in Fini de rire. Explore the links to know a bit about each one!
Jeff Danziger - American, " The design is a language, shows the reality as it is."
Plantu - French, " The cartoonists see things that others do not see . "
Rainer Hachfeld - German, "The caricature can be used in the ideological battle".
Khalil Abu Arafeh - Palestinian, "A good design has more impact than an article."
Nadia Khiari - Tunisian, " The politicians use religion to control the newspapers. The political taboo gave way to religious taboo . If I can not publish in the newspaper, I use the walls and the social network".
Kianoush Ramezani - Iraqi, " The soul of the cartoon is to criticyze. In Iran to be a cartoonist is a danger in itself. "
Pierre Kroll - Belgian cartoonist
Avi Katz - American living in Israel
Michel Kichka - Belgian, living in Israel
Daryl Cagle - American
Ann Telnaes - Swedish, living in USA. "After September 11 it was difficult to criticize the government and its actions . When the cartoonist afraid to draw, have a problem , their work is not to be shy. "
Aurel - French