Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Nepalese moms and dads living in the United States are luckier in the sense that they get to celebrate Fathers' Day and Mothers' Day two separate times a year: one according to the Nepalese culture and traditions and another one in the United States. I was overwhelmingly surprised when my daughter Palistha Shakya presented me a black tee-shirt on the occasion of the Fathers' Day in the US. The words "The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword" were printed on the tee-shirt.

There is no doubt that a pen is one of the strongest weapons in showing the world the devastating effects of violence and wars with use of swords, guns and missiles. The old adage "The pen is mightier than the sword" rings true because the power of a pen is enormously more influential than a sword. A number of examples have shown what sharp-edged and big swords, guns and missiles could not achieve was achieved by the help of  little pens.

Historical experience across the nations in the world demonstrate that many great writers, philosophers and journalists had inspired social and political changes.

It goes without saying that the power of pen is much  more effective than the power of hatred, war and fighting. Power of pen, however, should not be used to disseminate false information and messages. Today more than ever, the people who owns and  control information and mass media are more powerful than the ones who control the security and military forces. That is why a free and independent pen is crucial for a vibrant democracy. Information, messages and news have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence.

But pens should not be made vulnerable to swords. This is outrageous and unacceptable. There were hundreds of cases when swords outmaneuvered the pens. And, yes, a sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of those  scribes who have to work  in the authoritarian countries of Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

Yet the importance of the pen also illustrates the threats and attacks posed to the scribes and reporters, not to speak of assassination and assassination attempt of journalists. One thing is sure: Threats and attacks will not stop the journalists' pen.

More often than not, a number of Western journalists have also been abducted and mercilessly beheaded by the Islamofascists in recent times often contradicting the old axiom that the pen is mightier than the sword. The souls of the brutally assassinated journalists will rest in peace only when the perpetrators of the violence will be arrested and given due punishment.

The need of the hour is: the governments of the US, EU nations, Russia and China should make fighting the ISIS and al-Quida the centerpiece of their multi-lateral cooperation, because it is already palpable that the US alone can not win the war against terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Well, the old saying about the significance of the pen was first used by novelist and playwright Edward  Bulwer - Lylton  in 1839 in his historical play "Cardinal Richelieu".

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