What is freedom in these times of polarization and unprecedented racism? How do we defend our freedoms? And how inclusive is our concept of freedom in a super-diverse society? These and other questions will be tackled during the relaunch of Freedom Book Fair in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, in anticipation of a bigger event that will take place this summer.
In 2015, on the 26th of February, the writer Avijit Roy was murdered by Islamic extremists after visiting the Ekushey book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His wife, Bonya Ahmed, lost her thumb during the attack and had to flee the country. Other writers, bloggers and secular freethinkers were also hunted and killed in Bangladesh during that period. Since then, a number of them have been forced to live as exiles, including in the Netherlands.
Parvez Alam is one of the writers who managed to escape and has been living in the Netherlands since 2016 (and for the last couple of years in Amsterdam Nieuw-West). In memory of his friends and colleagues, he organizes The Freedom Book Fair every year.
After a two-year hiatus, we will honor Avijit Roy – and all the other writers and activists who fear for their lives due to their fight for freedom – with a discussion concerning secularism, Islamism and the fine line between freedom and hate speech.