The following is an excerpt from Mendy Knott, a blogger for peace. You can read the full post here
My favorite book by Howard Zinn is a slim volume which you can read in a couple of hours. It's called artists in times of war and other essays published in 2003 in Canada. It is a book to be kept on your shelf and read again and again. He directs his words to the artist, the writer, the poet when he says, "The word transcendent comes to mind when I think of the role of the artist in dealing with the issues of the day. I use that word to suggest that the role of the artist is to transcend conventional wisdom, to transcend the word of the establishment, to transcend the orthodoxy, to go beyond and escape what is handed down by the government or what is said in the media."
I interpret this admonition seriously. We as artists have a duty, a responsibility that comes with our gifts. And that responsibility is to rise above mediocrity, to reject a herd mentality in favor of expressing what we perceive to be the truth, no matter how dangerous, outrageous, or unacceptable to the status quo it may be. I take that responsibility seriously and reading "Artists in Times of War" reminds me of my duty as an artist and activist.