On February 14, 1989, the spiritual leader of Iran called on all devout Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie because of references to the prophet Muhammed in his novel
The Satanic Verses. In response, thousands of people worldwide showed their solidarity by wearing “I am Salman Rushdie” buttons. Rushdie went into hiding until 1998, emerging only when the order was lifted.
In a world without the freedom to read, I am Salman Rushdie.
I am 460 Confucian scholars suffocated to death so that recorded history would begin with the reign of Emperor Shih Huang Ti.
I am Martin Luther whose
Ninety-Five Theses was burned, but not before it set the stage for the Protestant Reformation.
I am Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Johannes Kepler, John Stuart Mill, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and David Hume, whose masterpieces of science and philosophy, though
critical to the development of Western Civilization, were prohibited by the Catholic Church’s
Index Librorum Prohibitorum for almost 400 years.
I am Adam Smith whose
The Wealth of Nations was banned in England and France because of ideas that inform our capitalist economic system today and contribute to its prosperity.
I am Nobel laureates American John Steinbeck whose books were burned for depicting the plight of migrant farm workers, South African Donald Woods who was driven into exile
for denouncing Apartheid, and dissident Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned for criticizing China’s human rights record.
I am Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi beaten to death after documenting the suffering in Iranian prisons, but whose story has yet to be told fully by either the Canadian
or Iranian governments.
I am schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, brutally shot for blogging about girls’ rights to education in Pakistan.
In a world without the freedom to read, I am anyone who has ever been censored into silence.