Here’s a nice video where Lisa Bu describes the importance of books in her development.
She talks about her cross-cultural experience and how books have helped here understand both her original culture and her new culture.
Her talk reminded me of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s experience. She describes in her book Infidel how growing up in Somalia she managed to read some English books. Although these were basically crappy novels they did open her mind to another culture.
Even within a country and a culture books can do a lot to open children’s minds up to the possibilities of their future life. It is really sad that many homes do little to provide reading material for children. But even disadvantaged children can get access to books through their schools, library and helpful adults outside the family.
Books are important for kids.
Lisa Bu: How books can open your mind | Video on TED.com.
Today is the 5th anniversary of the death of Theo van Gogh. He was a Dutch film director who worked with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the film Submission.
The short film investigates violence against women in some Muslim societies. The script was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali who was involved in social work amongst abused Muslim women in Europe.
After the film’s screening van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. On November 2, 2004, Van Gogh was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri shot him eight times, cut his throat, nearly decapitating him, and stabbed him in the chest. A five-page note threatening Western governments, Jews and Ayaan Hirsi Ali was attached to Van Gogh’s chest with a knife.
Since that time Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been under constant guard, and moved to the USA for some time. Bouyeri is currently serving a life sentence.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the book Infidel – I can highly recommend it. Brought up a Muslim she is now an atheist. Currently she is writing a fictional book where Mohamed is confronted by some well known Western enlightenment intellectuals. Should be good.
See also: Submission video
Posted in atheism, belief, human rights, Islam, religion, supernatural, superstition
Tagged assasination, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Film director, Infidel, Islam, Mohammed Bouyeri, Muslim, terrorism, Theo Van Gogh, United States
December 10 marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This is an historic and foundational document. It is secular but receives extremely wide support from different political, religious and non-religious trends. It arose in part as a reaction to the horrors and violence of the Second World war – particularly the Holocaust. But it has also been an inspiration for moral and social progress throughout the world – intermittent and unreliable as that has been.
AC Grayling is currently blogging in the Guardian on the UDHR – one article a day until December 10 (see AC Graylings articles on the UDHR). As always, his comments are worth reading.
Posted in belief, politics
Tagged AC Grayling, Ayan Hirshi Ali, freedom of expression, human rights, Human Rights Council, Infidel, interfaith dialogue, Jewel of Medina, King Abdullah, Satanic Verses, Saudi Arabia, UN, Universal Declaration of Human Rights