Je suis Raif. I am Raif Badawi. I am a blogger who wants to discuss, express, analyze, praise, and most importantly, criticize anything or anyone I wish to do. I am lucky in that I can do so, presumably, without the threat of violence or punishment when I exercise my right to free speech. I can critique a novel from a different country without my blog being shut down. I can express my frustration at racism without the threat of being flogged. So, I am not Raif Badawi.
Until this month, I took the privilege of blogging for granted, was even sometimes nonchalant about the fact that I write a blog, as the auspices under which I started the The Women of Letters blog were accidental. I am so very grateful that I live in a society with a mentality of allowing individuals to say what they want, under the belief that diverse opinions make for good discussions, and good discussions can sometimes lead to positive change. I encourage every blogger in the Western world right now to take a moment to be thankful and practice gratitude for her/his right to free speech and freedom from violence. And also, to take a moment to sign a petition or do any small measure they can to help our fellow blogger, the brave and progressive Raif Badawi.
Nous sommes Raif.