Via the always excellent Arab Literature (in English): BY MLYNXQUALEY on JANUARY 6, 2015 • ( 2 ) Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh was arrested by Saudi authorities on January 1, 2014 — charged with “insulting the Godly self and having long hair” — and has yet to face trial: For the last year, Fayadh has been detained in the Saudi city of Abha without clear legal charges beyond having “ideas that … Read more One Year Without Charges: Poet Ashraf Fayadh
via Jadaliyya When Your Name is on the Blacklist Sep 30 2014 by Amjad Nasser أمجد ناصر [The cover of Amjad Nasser’s novel, “Land of no Rain.” Image from Bloomsbury] [The Gallatin School of New York University invited Amjad Nasser, one of the major poets of the Arab world, to inaugurate its Gallatin Global Writers series on 30 September. On 27 September, US Homeland Security at Heathrow, London, interrogated Nasser and … Read more Poet Amjad Nasser Refused Entry into the U.S.
via The Electronic Intifada: The New York Times agrees to be gagged by Israel Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Fri, 04/18/2014 – 15:17 Majd Kayyal was arrested and held incommunicado by Israel’s Shin Bet. Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times’ public editor, has written a thoughtful and important piece criticizing the way the newspaper complied with an Israeli-imposed gag order on the case of Majd Kayyal. But it leaves some important questions unanswered about … Read more The NYT & Israel’s Gag Order
Once again from the Arabic Literature (in English) website: Poetry, ‘A More Serious Crime Than Murder’ BY MLYNXQUALEY on FEBRUARY 11, 2014 • ( 1 ) It hasn’t been a good few weeks for Arabic-writing poets. In Qatar, Muhammad al-Ajami remains in prison. In Iran, poet Hashem Shaabani, who published both in Persian and in Arabic, was executed for being an enemy of God and the state, according to rights groups. In Egypt, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information … Read more Poetry, ‘A More Serious Crime Than Murder’
The Luxembourg writer Lambert Schlechter has been writing to the Russian ambassador & to the media in Luxembourg & beyond to try & put pressure on the Russian government in relation to the latter’s Stalinist behavior regarding the Pussy Riot group of protesters & more specifically Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Below, the second of his Open Letters: Banishing Human Rights to Siberia Second OPEN LETTER To His Excellency Dr Mark Entin, ambassador … Read more Open Letter re Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
Chilling Effects PUBLISHED by PEN AMERICAN CENTER on November 11, 2013 NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor In the human rights and free expression communities, it is a widely shared assumption that the explosive growth and proliferating uses of surveillance technologies must be harmful—to intellectual freedom, to creativity, and to social discourse. But how exactly do we know, and how can we demonstrate, that pervasive surveillance is harming … Read more NSA Surveillance & US Writers
Last night we went with old friend Jean Cormier (author of several books & videos on the Che, among many other writings) to Ivry (one of the last communist held suburbs of Paris) to catch a play in remembrance of 11 September 1973, the day the democratically elected government of Chili was overthrown by a CIA initiated coup, in which President Salvador Allende died & General Pinochet came to … Read more The Other 9/11 — Forty Years Already!
The Tunisian poet & scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb forwarded me the following letter by his daughter Hind Meddeb, a cinematographer & journalist. It goes to the heart of the matter of how in Tunisia, the country where it started, the Arab Spring is being shunted toward yet another authoritarian police regime. This Monday, June 17, I didn’t show up at the police summons… Yesterday I left Tunisia because I lost … Read more Letter on (In)Justice in Tunisia by Hind Meddeb
from th PEN Advocacy pages: April 4, 2012 | Larry Siems Yesterday, we got word through our Translation Committee that Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan , whose collection Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me is being released by Yale University Press this month, is still waiting for a visa to travel to the U.S. for a planned two-week book tour. The tour was to kick off yesterday with an event featuring Zaqtan and Fady Joudah, his translator, … Read more PEN Presses for Visa for Palestinian Poet