>In honor of World Day Against Cyber Censorship, I just wanted to say a few words. Moving from the United States to Jordan has been an enlightening experience in many ways. One of those ways is that I have come to understand on more visceral level what censorship is about – particularly self-censorship. This is one of the most insidious forms of censorship. And let me tell you why…
Self-censorship is the process where, even without outside forces, we decide not to blog about certain topics. We fail to talk about societal issues or personal ones. We pick and choose what to say in the same way that, when confronted with a wide stream, we select specific rocks to hop across. We avoid the mossy ones because they my be slippery, even if hey are closer. We avoid the submerged ones because our feet will get wet and a minutes discomfort isn’t worth safely crossing a wide divide. This isn’t about who tells us not to say something, but rather about what we tell ourselves not to say.
Mind you, I understand self-censorship very well. With three small children and a variety of other concerns, I pick my topics carefully. And, I feel less of a citizen by doing so. I know that some of my words, although painful to hear, could help improve the lives of many. But I remain quiet. I pick and choose carefully, not for the sake of others, but to ensure my rocks aren’t too moss or too wet. And, so, I encourage all countries in the world to find ways to change themselves and their societies to ensue that censorship doesn’t become so ingrained due to fear of police reprisal or societal shunning. It is by inviting all citizens to participate fully that society will be able to integrate, learn from, and benefit from those who don’t fit the boxes and labels, but will continue to urge society to become ever better.