Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's Dangerous to be a Writer

What? You didn't know?
You should have asked for hazard pay when you joined the ranks of writers.

Somehow writers have a way of stirring things up and cause such emotions in people that some of them lose their heads and want to hurt the writers.

Often it is an organizations/government that thinks the writer is a subversive element and not only bans the writer's written word, but also go out to punish the writer himself/herself.

The latest, if you haven't heard, are the trials in Turkey of the novelist Orhan Pamuk and publisher Abdullah Yildiz in unrelated cases.

Orhan Pamuk is charged for his remarks about killings of Kurds and Armenians in 1915 - Turkey claims the killings should not called genocide.
Profile: Orhan Pamuk

More ridiculous are perhaps the charges against Abdullah Yildiz, the publisher who printed a bestseller "The Witches of Smyrna" by Greek author Mara Meimaridi.
Apparently, some passages in the novel describe Izmir's (Smyrna) Turkish quarters as dirty, which prosecutors say is an insult to Turkey. Abdullah Yildiz actually faces several years in jail.
Turkey orders fresh insult trial

Last, even in our little corner of the blogsphere I came across Neil the Novel Head who received hate mail from a reader who read one of his short stories.

I think I'm going to start a new category of posts, honouring writers, publishers, journalists, novelists, poets etc. for being prosecuted/persecuted as I come across them.

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Cavan said...

And that's not even taking into account the fatwa Salman Rushdie had hanging over his head for a few years.

I'll have to go check out Neil's story because, frankly, if you're getting hate mail, that means you're doing something right.

Melly said...

There's the fatwa and there's jailed reporters and journalists and there's lots of other stuff. I was thinking about them all as I was writing this post.

And yeah, you're right, I too told Neil that the hate mail actualy made me curious and I did go and glance over the story but didn't read it read it yet.

Patry Francis said...

As a huge fan of Pamuk's, I've been horrified by this.

Anne Merril said...

I consider myself very lucky to live in a country where you can call the Prime Minister a dickhead to his face and not get shot.

It's frightening that so many countries still don't have the option of free speech.

rdl said...

These are pretty horrifying stories. Life sure ain't fair or pretty sometimes.

Carter said...

It takes a lot of courage to tell the truth, sometimes. Even in coutries that supposedly protect free speech, a writer can get into some very deep doo-doo. That's what gives birth to such travesties as political correctness.

Melly said...

Patry, I haven't read Pamuk's stuff, but I will make a point now to do so. I only know of two novels by him, which do you recommend I start with?

Anne, indeed, and yet even in our democratic countries there can be border line incidents, not to mention crazy people who simply don't like the writer's work.

rdl, I love how you put things - so succinctly and to the point :)

Carter, absolutely!
Although I feel I must warn you that coming from PC central of the world, Canada, I know not another way ;) (I wish)

Jennifer said...

Does it not make you stop and wonder at our world sometimes? Crazy!

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays...I'm not very good at being politically correct...think that'll get me in trouble :))

Have a great holiday!


Anonymous said...

Don't we live in a crazy world? These stories are just unbelievable. What century are we in???

Melly said...

Jennifer, crazy indeed...
And Merry Christmas to you too :)

Fred, not only is this happening in the new century, but, get this, in a new millenium!!!

Benjamin Solah said...

It seems like crap like this is coming home to Australia, with some new ammendments to the anti-terror laws. Left-wing writers could get in a lot of shit.

This will be a good catagory, you should check out that organisation, that is heaps famous, though I can't remember the name. It's about journalists being protected or something. An Iranian Asylum seeker came here to Australia after writing an article about democracy.

Merry Christmas!

Melly said...

I thought I read something about that, Benjamin, and wanted to tell Anne (she's Australian too), but I wasn't sure about the particulars.

I also thought you would feel strongly about this as I know you write often about politics.

I'll check that organization, thanks.

Merry Christams and just fun holidays all around :)