Every time I hear about a terrorist attack of any kind, I always wonder how are writers meant to respond. In particular to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo that was itself an attack on journalism, satire and free speech, how should we as writers respond?
Writers, for the most part, understand that they have an important role to play in how we as a society view the World and everything in it. It is why books fly off shelves and become films. It is why plays from long dead playwrights continue to be produced today. It is why a scriptwriter develop amazing shows and films for both TV and silver screen. Writers need to say something about our lives.
Imagine if this ended. Imagine if every writer did want terrorists and tyrants demand they do. Give up on their craft. Imagine how empty our culture and our lives would become. It is a thought as terrifying as the existence of god to an anti-theist.
So if these writers are going to continue to write what should they write about? Simple. Writers should write whatever they wish. They should write about love whether that be the love of family or friends or animals or society. Love is the most powerful emotion in the World and love is just one way we can defeat the darkness that comes from religious lunacy.
They can write about hate. When events like Brussels and Lahore and Paris and many other attacks occur, many people say that we should forget our hatred and focus on our love. This is false in my opinion. There are no absolutes in reaction. Hate and anger are just as powerful as love, especially when channelled effectively. The attacks show that religious fundamentalism is the enemy. It is the ideology you should despise and fight against. Destroy those ideas with your hate. But never attack the innocents who do not support that ideology. Writers should not tackle those who do not deserve attacking.
Finally writers should write about the beauty of life. Because life is beautiful and it is free. We can do whatever we like in theory and writers can tap into that idea and write amazing stories about the real human experience. Not the vision of the death cults and murderers who wish to devise a World where freedom is crushed for religious purity or dogmatic literalism. The beauty of life is the freedom to choose how you wish to live your life and it is a writers duty to portray that with the complex beauty of language.