John Ralston Saul, a distinguished Canadian author and current president of PEN International, has published in the Toronto Globe and Mail a highly interesting op-ed reporting on a distinguished gathering in Mexico City:
The Globe and Mail, 2/3/2012
Mexico is a country in which the sophistication of the language, the complexity of the system and the harsh reality of violence make it difficult to know what progress looks like. They also have to deal with the effects of drug use, organized crime and arms trafficking elsewhere in North America.
What we know is this: The violence must stop, key laws must be passed quickly, the special prosecutor and other justice officials need real powers and real budgets and real support systems. After that, people can be judged on whether they are doing their jobs. When it comes to killing journalists, there is almost perfect impunity. People need to be investigated, arrested, tried and, if guilty, imprisoned.
If the system is seen to be working, people will believe in it.
In the meantime, freedom of expression has been dragged out of the silent corners. Writers around the world are now reporting on this situation. In recent days, there have been hundreds of reports in Mexico alone. Free expression and the scandal of impunity have a good chance of becoming election issues. And if people keep pushing, the Senate will pass that key law.
Mexico’s friends want this as much as our Mexican friends in Mexico. The message is simple: The government must bring an end to the violence. And the freedom of writers to write without being killed is central to this.
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