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Writing is a fulfilling endeavor, but it can place your…

A few months ago, a friend and fellow writer reminded me of something that was said by someone that I can’t remember at the moment. It said something like this: “When a writer is born, the family dies…”.

In the days that followed the cruel and merciless attack on Salman Rushdie, and fierce criticism from the “liberal” press, I thought long and hard about this reference to “when a writer is born, the family dies”. The same, I suppose, can be said of anyone with whom we share a multiplicity of affiliations.

Of course, no one is born a writer. Once you’ve started on the path to writing – the privilege of becoming a full-time writer, in particular – and if done right, by sticking to solid principles that include Critical mind is difficult, but for the writer it can be fulfilling.

It can also be thankless, and as we know from years of persecution of journalists and thinkers, and most recently with the Rushdie attack, it can also be dangerous and life-threatening. I’ve lost count of the number of times members or followers of the Economic Freedom Fighters have sent me blood-chilling messages, and most recently I’ve been shunned almost completely by my family and friends. because of what I wrote.

These are, of course, small potatoes compared to cruelty, and I mean zealous populist moralism masquerading as righteousness or self-proclaimed “superior logic”, i.e. the basis of the persecution of writers and thinkers who dare to confront orthodoxy or things that have slipped into “common sense” – such as the convention that certain religious texts are beyond question or satire.

The attack on Rushdie is therefore part of a tradition that dates back to the brutal persecution of thinkers, especially scientists, by religious fanatics for editing anything that goes against religious doctrine.

The most notable of these was, of course, Galileo Galilei who was convicted in 1633 for editing evidence that supported the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun whereas the Catholic Church (at the time) placed the Earth and not the Sun at the center of the universe.

More recently, one of my favorite thinkers, Alan Turing, was chemically castrated in the 1950s for “homosexual acts” – and removed from his research duties for what was described at the time as abnormal behavior and uncontrollable. A few years ago I was told that my interest in quantum physics would be greatly increased if I only read the Quran…

As for the writers, we do so at our peril, especially if you stay behind the principles — like getting as close to the truth as possible and standing up for it — and preparing for the worst coordinated forces hitting you from all sides.

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It’s also the fact that writing is a lonely existence marked by the hunger for skin, the thirst for touch, and that your body undergoes physical changes for which you were not prepared, when the muscles become limp and become flabby, and after a few months your bones start to crack every time you get up from your desk.

Still, nothing quite prepares you for the death of the family; “the family” is now written in a broad sense to include the community, society and especially those with whom you share, or you thought you shared ideological solidarities or any of multiple affiliations.

This is the best way for me to describe the set of intellectually embarrassing interventions that sought to portray the media as part of some kind of elaborate (liberal) capitalist plot. Freedom of expression, and Steve Biko’s pithy phrase, “I write what I like”, has now been removed, and in its place has appeared a sort of compulsion to write from a sanitized script and coordinated.

Karl Marx is often considered a scholar, a philosopher and a thinker. It is often forgotten that he spent some of the early years of his life as a journalist (1842 – 1865) and wrote groundbreaking articles about colonial rule in India. For his work as a journalist, considered important for his formative intellectual career, he was persecuted and punished by the ruling elite and forced to flee again and again and lived in exile for many years. He maintained his maxim on a free press:

”The free press is the ever-present watchful eye of a people’s soul, the embodiment of a people’s faith in themselves, the eloquent bond that binds the individual to the state and to the world. , the embodied culture that transforms material struggles into intellectual struggles and idealizes their raw material form. It is the frank confession of a people to itself… It is the spiritual mirror in which a people can see itself… It is the spirit of the State, which can be delivered to every cottage, cheaper than coal gas. It is multifaceted, omnipresent, omniscient.

And so, there is a long history of persecution that journalists and thinkers have had to endure. This second (or is it the third) decade of the 21st century comes with unique challenges that make it increasingly difficult for any independent-thinking writer to publish their work without getting into trouble.

It becomes necessary, at least in my case, to start writing in a more esoteric way – without resorting to willful obscurantism – and to hide the ideas between the lines, to write columns that are better understood when read intertextually as a body of work, and to superimpose ideas (isn’t the social world then socially stratified and complex?) so as not to offend gratuitously.

With all of this as an “underworker”, truth, ethics, critique and the discovery of superficial forms of equality and justice to reveal inequities and structural (somatic and psychological) violence against women and children, the vulnerable, the poor and the general well-being of society, must remain the first desideratum of journalism.

As a writer, and by sticking to it all, you risk losing friends and family, ideological solidarities can be shattered – or exposed as insincere to begin with – with stupid criticism and grand conspiracies.

Writers are not perfect people. For my part, I live in constant anguish and misery because life is, for the most part, utterly meaningless. I don’t slaughter cats or dogs in my basement, and the skeletons in my closet aren’t titillating or terribly incriminating, but I have failures galore.

None of this means that I, or any writer for that matter, should give in to censorship, conformity, orthodoxy, or what the great Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci described as forged common sense. under conditions of hegemony.

We have to do it and drop the chips where they want. Write, we will. DM