Friday, March 02, 2007

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword?

By G. Parker

I think as writers, sometimes we wonder if what we have to say has any meaning. We wonder if our opinions matter. We wonder if what we write will affect anyone and do any good.

If we are writing fiction, does it touch the heart? Does it lead the reader to want to do better, or leave a good feeling? If we are writing non-fiction, do we state our point clearly and are we able to persuade the reader to our way of thinking, and if not—are we able to at least get them to see our point of view?

We’ve heard the phrase many times “The pen is mightier than the sword”. I agree - most of the time. But lately, I’m not sure which type of pen they are talking about and I wonder if it is the pen I want to be associated with. Does it uphold the values I cherish? Is it true?

I had the opportunity to listen to a gentleman by the name of James B. Mayfield who used to be a Political Science Professor at one of Utah’s top universities. He is also LDS, and has been a mission president twice. While he was just finishing a stint as mission president in Texas, he was asked to help set up Iraq’s government in 2003. He was instrumental in establishing the neighborhood counsels and city governments during the year he was there.

He has written a book called “The Enigma of Iraq” and it looks very interesting, (unfortunately they were all gone by the time my husband and I got to the table). But what I wanted to mention was the information he gave through his presentation. He told of an incident where 600 men had lined up to enlist in the new Iraqi Army. A suicide bomber drove into the midst of them and exploded - killing 54 or so of them. Perhaps some of you remember this incident—one among so many. Anyway, one of the men Mr. Mayfield had worked with emailed him a day or so later, extremely frustrated. He said he’d been reading the US press, and they had run a big story on how the terrorists had thwarted the Iraqi Army in a suicide blast.

His frustration came because the next day, 600 men did not show up to sign up—1200 did. And not a thing was printed in the papers.

So we have to ask ourselves—what kind of writer are we trying to be? Do we stand for truth and getting that truth to our readers? Or are we going to sell out to the big bucks and become cynical—leaving the world to fall to the wolves?

I know there are many writers who would write an excellent story about the 'war on terror' right now, but no one would be likely to print it. No one seems to really want the truth.

The truth: out of 221 counties in the country of Iraq, only 18 of them have violence. The truth: the only people willing to go into these counties are the Marines, the terrorists and the media. The truth: more high school graduates came out of Iraq in 2006 than in the entire history of the country.

According to Mr. Mayfield, Al-Qaeda is run by a man who wants desperately to kill the independence Iraq has gained and that if we are unable to stop him—if we do NOT stop him, our children’s children will still be fighting over there.

I feel like we are seeing a reality of Captain Hook in the movie Hook. “There will be hooks in the doors of your children’s, children’s children…”

So—while this has become more an editorial than anything else, I am asking for the American public to stand up for truth. I want them to print the truth of what is happening over there - to emphasis for once the good we are doing over there.

Is it too late? Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks for pointing out the vital role writers have by informing the world of circumstance. There is a lot to be said for any writer, for or against war, who takes a stand even when the subject is controversial.

This is something that was vital even during the revolutionary war.

Nice blog.