Sometimes it seems like a tenet of democracy is that change only happens through very loud protest. The louder, the faster the change, the better. To insist on this approach, to abandon patience and dismiss culture and history, particularly what brought us here, is the mark of a spoiled child and a youthful nation. Patience for the tempo of true change allows a society to absorb not just what is fashionable but to actively choose the next step in the course of its evolving beliefs.

Or as today’s Nobel Peace Prize in Literature winner has said: “A writer should express criticism and indignation at the dark side of society and the ugliness of human nature, but we should not use one uniform expression….Some may want to shout on the street, but we should tolerate those who hide in their rooms and use literature to voice their opinions.” — Mo Yan

Mo Yan and statue in Stockholm. Photo: China Daily, Jonas Ekstromer / Scanpix Sweden / AFP


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