Effects of Terrorism and then Over Coming Fear. From Self-Silencing for Fear of THEM, to an Unexpected Freedom. From Self-Censorship to Speaking Out.
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So here I am,
A big question - how to do this?
I can do this,
It's easiest in the morning.
What do you see when
for Fear of THEM, to an Unexpected Freedom.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2006
FROM SELF-SILENCING FOR FEAR OF 'THEM'
TO AN UNEXPECTED FREEDOM
Something totally unexpected has happened over the past half year. I have left behind a fear - without trying, without working at it, without awareness of the shift's happening. The fear may come back, of course. The fear may have been a sensible one to have. But all I can say is, it isn't here now, and that makes many things different.
The beginning. Fear. And a desire to speak.
The time. February 2006. Muslims worldwide were protesting in massive outrage at a Danish cartoon. They were not protesting, even peacefully, against Muslim violence. Western reporters listened respectfully to the Muslim protesters, even those burning down an embassy.
I was outraged. I had to write about this.
A colleague I showed my piece to liked it, but warned me: don't let anyone know it's you who wrote it, those people are dangerous. I could feel his fear, and my partner's as well (for he too wanted me to be careful about expressing my ideas). No disagreement, but in the heart of Canada, the heart of what is supposed to be a country valuing freedom of speech, I had come up against a widespread fear.
So I created a small site for the pieces, with a drawing of a veiled woman, ThisIsNotMe. In other words, I did express my ideas, made as sure as I could they were not connected to me.
In a couple of my classes, where the ideas were very relevant, I passed out the article, letting students know I had written it - but on the article itself I used another name. We discussed the ideas in the article, but not the fear of speaking out under one's own name.
Time passed. Three months later I began to develop this site. From the start, I planned to put my idea pieces, and from the start I included a picture of ThisIsNotMe on the opening page. But it's a big step from planning to doing. The past month I have been working on The Idea Emporium. I kept getting stuck.
I wondered - is it because I am afraid of putting the pieces up? One may have good reason to fear. People who want to hurt are scary, dangerous people.
The Nazis were a scary bunch. They tortured and murdered. So were the KKK. I think of the Inquisition - and the torture and murder of so many innocent people. I think of the present, of Nigeria for example, where a young woman was recently sentenced to death for having a child outside of marriage (she was spared after millions of people wrote on her behalf). There are scary people around in every country - people who do not care if they hurt others, or even want to hurt - people who put a rigid idea above human caring, above the awareness of the humanity of others. I think of an aid worker murdered after thirty years of doing her best to help.
Still, finishing writing the pieces, and over the past week putting them on the web, I was not afraid.
When I thought of passing the article to students a couple of weeks ago, I was a little uneasy. But then, sending them the link to the article, I was exhilarated.
I hunted around inside me for the fear I had felt in February. I could not find it. Over the past half year (for it's half a year by now), somehow the fear melted away.
I didn't expect this. I didn't work at it. I didn't dare myself to put the ideas on the site. (I did have twinges of minor uneasiness).
Just this morning, my partner again asked me, why had I done things this way.
It just felt right to me, to have the parts of me, the various kinds of writing and creativity - together on one site.
I wouldn't be afraid if the fear came back. Whoops, that's a slip! Interesting. I meant to write: I wouldn't be surprised if the fear came back - because when I was afraid, the fear felt strong and solid inside me.
Would I be afraid if the fear came back? Of course. To feel fear means one is afraid.
But maybe the typo indicates that a part of me now finds the fear as hard to believe as my past self would find my less afraid self.
We will see what happens. I
am hoping for the best, for many people to really listen to what I
am saying, and to see that it makes sense, or if it doesn't make sense
to them, to start a good discussion where we are both trying to make
more and more sense.
As always, welcome into my world.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2006
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2006, 2011 - all rights reserved
Effects of Terrorism: Blinded by Fear,
Effects of Terrorism and then
Over Coming Fear.