Dear fellow writers,

In light of recent events, you may question the worth in sharing your voice. As a writer you know that it is important to give your opinion; however, as both a writer and a human you also value your life. Today is a sad day, because writers, artists, and humans around the world have been sent a clear message: you cannot always value your life, while giving your opinion.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Throughout history, writers have faced adversity for speaking and writing their minds. The “frontiers” that are faced are sometimes not those bound by law. Sometimes, they are those bound by a group of people. Today we saw lives lost because of a frontier which discouraged the freedom of speech in satirical writing and cartoons.

To some extent, it was known that this frontier existed. To some extent now some writers and artists feel that this frontier is preventing them from expressing their thoughts. However, as per the aforementioned Declaration, everyone has a right to freely express their opinion and their ideas – regardless of frontiers.

Do not let any frontier – any barrier, any person, any group of people – hold you back from sharing your words. The world needs your words. We need your voice. We need you. Martin Luther King Junior said that “our lives begin to end the day we are silent about the things that matter.”

We cannot let this horrible tragedy become a frontier for us. This is an instance where silence does not speak louder than words. Silence means we are stopping when we hit the barrier. Silence means we are accepting the frontier that threatens our freedom of speech and opinion. But words… words mean we are breaking down the frontier. Your words matter.