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What Are the Pitfalls for the Politically Engaged Writer?

Does someone want to silence us? Are we at war? Nothing is more exhilarating for a writer than to feel that simply putting pen to paper is an act of courage and a bid for freedom. Remember this novel?

“The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by 25 years in a forced-labor camp. Winston . . . dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy letters he wrote: April 4th 1984.”

And nothing is more galvanizing for readers than to feel that they are collaborators in this bookish heroism, that reading itself is a revolutionary act. I remember in my early teens unwrapping a Christmas present from my evangelical parents to find a copy of “God’s Smuggler,” by Brother Andrew, an account of a Dutch Christian’s adventures smuggling Bibles into the Soviet bloc. It was 1967. The idea my parents no doubt wanted to get across was that our own daily Bible reading was a brave act of subversion in a heathen world. And I must say I enjoyed “God’s Smuggler” rather more than the Bible. I enjoyed Brother Andrew’s miraculous escapes from brutal soldiers, and at 13 I believed in the power of prayer that blinded the eyes of his persecutors. Very soon, though, to read Sade’s “Justine,” I took the precaution of hiding the book under the bedclothes. My mother was not so easily bamboozled as those Soviet soldiers. And though she never actually confiscated anything, she would burst into tears whenever I was found to be “siding with the Devil.” In the years to come Lawrence, Beckett, Genet and Sartre were all best kept out of sight.

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Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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