Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Orhan Pamuk - Freedom to Write

On April 25th, Orhan Pamuk gave the PEN Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Memorial Lecture at Cooper Union's Great Hall in New York. The trancript of Pamuk's lecture is reprinted in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books. Here is a excerpt I found beautiful and was pleasantly surprised to see the same extended passage quoted by Robin Varghese on 3quarksdaily.


I always have difficulty expressing my political judgments in a clear, emphatic, and strong way—I feel pretentious, as if I'm saying things that are not quite true. This is because I know I cannot reduce my thoughts about life to the music of a single voice and a single point of view --- Living as I do in a world where, in a very short time, someone who has been a victim of tyranny and oppression can suddenly become one of the oppressors, I know also that holding strong beliefs about the nature of things and people is itself a difficult enterprise. I do also believe that most of us entertain these contradictory thoughts simultaneously, in a spirit of good will and with the best of intentions --- It is because our modern minds are so slippery that freedom of expression becomes so important: we need it to understand ourselves, our shady, contradictory, inner thoughts, and the pride and shame that I mentioned earlier.

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