Our Words are Seeds
By Jude Dibia
Bonjour ladies and gentlemen, my fellow ICORN guest writers and artists, the ICORN board and the good people of Paris. I am honored to be here and grateful for the opportunity to address you all.
When I was first told to prepare a small speech for this event centered on my journey in becoming an ICORN ambassador and settling in Sweden, it struck me that having to rehash that story over and over again only takes me back to a period when I was most vulnerable. In other words, the repeated retelling of that story only serves to put me in the shoe of a victim. I refuse to be a victim. I don’t believe my story is any more devastating or heartbreaking than any of the other ICORN guest writers and artists. I believe we all share very similar and yet unique stories and our journeys have all been fraught by challenges. But these challenges do not necessarily define who we are. So in preparing my speech for today, I decided not to focus on my journey, my past and the journey out of my home country to where I am today. I decided instead to focus on the present and on what the future holds, not just for me but also for all of us guest writers and artists.
Our writings, music, art, voices are like seeds, little seeds that once planted grow to become big trees bearing fruit, fruit for people who hunger for knowledge.
It is important for all us to look forward and focus on the future and how our work and art is still very important. There is a reason why we are here or why the art we create has made us targets. For that alone we must keep doing what it is that we do—writing, drawing, critiquing, performing and provoking critical thinking and overall human rights. Our writings, music, art, voices are like seeds, little seeds that once planted grow to become big trees bearing fruit, fruit for people who hunger for knowledge.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have to continue with my writing. Malmö my new home has been very good to me. This is possible because of the wonderful team of people I have around me; the ICORN team, the Malmöstad team and several others. As ICORN grows, not just in years but also in the number of cities, we can only hope that the important work they do in protecting and relocating writers and artists in imminent danger continues to get more support from the different cities, government and civil societies that recognizes the importance of protecting writers and artists.
Once again, I would like to thank the city of Paris and the Mayor for hosting the ICORN General Assembly, and to thank you all for this opportunity to address you today. Merci beaucoup.