Dear Raif Badawi- A Letter Written on The Day of the Imprisoned Writer

I am writing this letter to you so that you know that you have not been forgotten. I am writing this letter to you to tell you that because of you, and what has happened to you, that I have started up a creative writing club at my school. Article 19 was created as a response to your imprisonment. I want my students to recognize that the rights and freedoms that we take for granted are rights and freedoms that are denied to others around the world. I want to them to recognize how important it is in this day and age of mass surveillance and rampant censorship that it is important for them to tell their stories, share their stories because we are our stories. Most importantly, I want them to see that the most powerful weapon of all is not a gun, bomb or imprisonment. The most powerful weapon available to all of us is words. Raif, even though you are locked up, your story is free. Your story has galvanized a community to write, share and stand up for the right to free expression. I applaud your courage.