Logo des Iranischen Schriftstellerverbands
Erklärung der 134 Schriftsteller vom 15.10.1994
We are writers…!
However, in this day and age societies face problems that distort the image of writers in the eyes of governments, certain sections of society and even some writers. These lead to objectionable attitudes toward writers’ identity, the nature of their work and even their collective image.
As Iranian writers, we therefore wish to clarify the nature of cultural endeavour and account for our collective presence.
We are writers; that is, we write about and publish our feelings, thoughts and research in various forms. It is our natural, social and civil right to see our work – be it poetry or fiction, plays or screenplays, criticism or research work, and even translation of other writers’ work world over – reach our readers freely and without restriction. No person or institution, under any pretext, should be allowed to hamper the publication of these works. Needless to say, any published work is open to free criticism and judgment by all.
While obstacles which face us in our thinking and writing far exceed our individual means and power, we have no alternative but to confront them through collective professional channels, i.e. to unite in order to achieve freedom of thought and expression and to fight against censorship. Hence we believe that:
Our unity with the aim of creating a professional writers’ association in Iran is the precondition for our independence as individuals. All writers must enjoy the freedom of conscience to create their own work, criticise and analyse the work of other authors, and to express their experience and beliefs. Since people are responsible for their own political beliefs and social actions, the writers’ general agreement in dealing with the common problems of all men and women of letters does not mean that individual members shall be held responsible for other members’ individual deeds and actions.
Nonetheless, writers are often identified and judged according to their presumed adherence to parties, groups or factions rather than by the fact of their being writers. That is why the formation by writers of a cultural/professional organization is perceived as membership in a political party or support for certain political tendencies.
Governments and their affiliated institutions and bodies tend to construe a writer’s work in the light of current expediencies and upon their own political preferences. Reaching arbitrary conclusions, they ascribe the collective presence of writers to certain political sympathies, or to domestic and foreign conspiracies. Some even exploit such questionable misinterpretations to insult, humiliate and terrorize writers.
Therefore we hereby emphasize that we seek the removal of all obstacles to freedom of thought, expression and publication. Those who misinterpret this objective are alone to be held responsible for such a misrepresentation.
The responsibility for any piece of writing rests with the person who writes and signs it freely. The responsibility for all that is written inside the country or abroad and is signed by others– be it for or against Iranian writers– only rests with the signatories alone.
It is the undeniable right of every person to form his or her own opinion about the merits of any piece of writing. In fact, the criticism of writers’ work elevates national culture. However, prying into writers’ personal life under the pretext of criticism is an infringement of their privacy; subjecting their moral and ideological convictions to such treatment is equally undemocratic and against the ethos of writing. In the same vein, it would be the writers’ professional responsibility to defend any writer’s human and civil rights under any circumstances.
In brief: Our professional association guarantees our individual independence. However, the thoughts and actions of individual writers must not be taken as thoughts and actions of the writers’ community as a whole. This is the democratic outlook of any independent, professional organization.
We reiterate that we are writers and expect to be seen as such, and that our collective presence to be understood as the professional representation of Iranian writers.