“Dear Committee” by Cynthia G. (Dear Censor contest winner)

Apartment #15
Housing Complex #428
#56 14th Street
Metropolis, Former Canada

22nd February 2091

Committee for the Review of Educational Media
Metropolitan Board of Education
#12 1st Street
Metropolis, Former Canada

Re:  Banning of the book Under the Acacia Tree

Dear Committee members,

My name is Karma Forsyth, currently residing in Metropolis, Former Canada. I am 16 years old and attending the Metropolitan Academy for the Arts.

I am writing to appeal a decision made on the 21st of February by the Committee for the Review of Educational Media, a division of the Metropolitan Board of Education. Said decision objected to and consequently banned the study of a book submitted by my Grade 11 Literary Appreciation class at the Academy. The book in question was Under the Acacia Tree, written by Inez Ace and published by Ace Press. A short statement was provided by the Committee as the reasoning behind the ban: “(Under the Acacia Tree) could possibly inspire rebellious or insurgent thoughts and actions in freethinking young people”. No further explanation was given.

Under the Acacia Tree is based on the true story of Kristy James, a young woman living in Ethiopia during the Riots on Radicalism, and eventually culminated in the Third World War or War of Terror. James was participating in a peaceful demonstration with her older sister when extremists opened fire, killing and wounding many and causing mass panic. This led to James being separated from her sister when police attempted to barricade the crowd. Eventually, James was taken in by several members of an outer village, where she remained until she could safely return home. Although many autobiographical details were omitted/changed to protect the privacy of the people involved, the book is mostly factual and provides a detailed, authentic perspective on the Riots.

The banning of Under the Acacia Tree is censorship, which is a violation of the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Contrary to the Committee, I am of the belief that society can only progress when young people learn the human history through the eyes of those who lived during the events so as to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. As outlined in the Freedom Act: “All who have not had their rights denied to them through violation of others’ rights may consume whatever media they choose without hindrance and restriction, unless their level of competence calls for others to make decisions for them or in unique situations where said media is deemed inappropriate by a large majority of people.” The book was rated “14+” by the Metropolitan Times. On social media, there has been an outcry of disagreement to the decision, including “#unbankristyjames” and an online petition signed by over 400. This is a strong indication that banning Under the Acacia Tree is both unreasonable and unacceptable.

In conclusion, I strongly encourage a review and reconsideration of the decision made by the Committee for the Review of Educational Media. The banning of Under the Acacia Tree is censorship and will not be condoned.

Regards,

Karma Forsyth

Karma Forsyth

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