Part of the fun of doing features on this writers influences series of features of the Sunday Tribune is the fact I never know who the writer or artist I am going to talk is coming to want to talk about.
Previous features on my partner Amanda Steel talking about Stephen King being her major influence and our friend Anthony Briscoe talking about John Cooper Clarke if you know either of them kind of make sense as you can see their influence in their work even though they take it in a very different way as I do with Paul Auster.
Today’s feature is something different as it features a dear friend who lives in Zürich who I went spoke about doing this featured wanted to do the feature on Noam Chomsky who I had heard off but after reading her debut book, I certainly wasn’t expecting her to mention.
“As a writer — an Asian writer to be exact — are we utilising (if at all) the maximum potential of our right to freedom of speech? “ She begins “Asia is a huge cultural melting pot, so I’ve touched based with other writers belonging to this continent and did a survey on freedom of speech. I found out that no matter where we live and even at this century, we are not completely free to wield the power of our pen. Not on account of laws and rules (although that counts at times) but because of other deep-seated causes. The effects of thoroughly ingrained cultural mores and strongly rooted religious influences affect our stance to pen down issues deemed “taboo” by these two power houses. With this conclusion, I am left with more questions than answers — beginning with — who deems what and why?”
“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
― Noam Chomsky” She quotes next from Noam before carrying on “I’ve never heard of Noam Chomsky till the words I’ve kept locked in me, choked me up and made me look for a way to breath. It was then that I came across his writings which felt like an opening into the rabbit’s hole. His words sounded like an invitation to explore another world of truth.”
Upon researching Noam myself and discovering the same, she then carries on “Noam Chomsky is an American philosopher, historian, social critic, and political activist. He is sometimes referred to as the “father of modern linguistics.” His contributions to the field of cognitive science and the implications of his theories on the workings of the human mind definitely shook the grounds and paved the way to break boundaries in the intellectual world for generations.”
“Part of what Chomsky said might be a cliché, be that as it may, I heard it as a challenge. “ She agrees with me when I mention this to her ”I kept silent for many years about the social problem of stereotyping and labelling until my safety pin got pulled off. These two loaded verbs have practically plagued everyone but disappointingly these issues get buried all the time, not to mention the fact that many are insensible to the detrimental effects of prejudice. In light of that, I wrote the book EYO! Educate Your Opinion”.“Within the reigning social order, the general public must remain an object of manipulation, not a participant in thought, debate, and decision.” ― Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies ” She next refers us to before carrying on “History would tell no less about how most asian countries struggled for umpteen years to break free from colonisation, hence surviving is like genetically imprinted in our genes. People thought they have more serious issues to tackle than being labelled or stereotyped. On the contrary, this is one of the major problem starters. Lies and assumptions when told consequently could actually become “truths”. Failing to step up and correct misconceptions give one an invincible power of control over the other. When we let others tag us with labels, we give them permission to define and put us in boxes; subsequently we get lost in a world of contorted truths and become victims of power games.”
“Being trapped doesn’t necessarily mean being suffocated.” She raises the point next “One can be trapped within the confines of one’s mindset for reasons such as fear and incuriosity while in the pretence of being falsely comfortable with a situation. I have come to the realization that a liberated writer’s mind could actually create writings free from influence and bias, thus worth challenging in sense and value. By the same token, Noam Chomsky did emphasise: “As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, and diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.” ― Noam Chomsky, Who Rules the World?
“The most powerful writings often originate from facing our own fears, confronting the darkest elements in society and cross examining taboos.” She concludes” When we as a writer, succumb to our anxiety or give in to indifference, we are defeating the purpose of one of the most precious human rights that is fundamental to society’s positive growth and progress: Freedom of speech. “
Avram Noam Chomsky[a] (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian,[b][c] social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called “the father of modern linguistics”,[d] Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy, and is one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the author of more than 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism
Mystqx Skye is a non-conventional writer from Zürich. Her book of poems, Bared – Beneath a Myriad of Skies won the Golden Door Awards 2020 in poetry category. Her currently published non-fiction book, EYO! Educate Your Opinion is a witty dictionary about debunking stereotypes and refuting labels.