Mario Vargas Llosa, the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, addressed a crowd in Stockholm during his Nobel Lecture yesterday. The transcript is worth reading, but here is one part I found to be particularly lovely:
“Let those who doubt that literature not only submerges us in the dream of beauty and happiness but alerts us to every kind of oppression, ask themselves why all regimes determined to control the behavior of citizens from cradle to grave fear it so much they establish systems of censorship to repress it and keep so wary an eye on independent writers. They do this because they know the risk of allowing the imagination to wander free in books, know how seditious fictions become when the reader compares the freedom that makes them possible and is exercised in them with the obscurantism and fear lying in wait in the real world. Whether they want it or not, know it or not, when they invent stories the writers of tales propagate dissatisfaction, demonstrating that the world is badly made and the life of fantasy richer than the life of our daily routine. This fact, if it takes root in their sensibility and consciousness, makes citizens more difficult to manipulate, less willing to accept the lies of the interrogators and jailers who would like to make them believe that behind bars they lead more secure and better lives.”
I have tried to write that same message several times in the past year while covering pieces in my other website, The Politicizer, but I’m so glad that Llosa has done a much better job than I could have. (One day, I hope to have half his eloquence.) I’m happy to know that his message has been granted an international platform. It is important to remember the power of ideas and the importance of their freedom.
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