Thursday, October 11, 2007

Writers in Prison

Every time you read or hear about a major crackdown in the world of a protest to gain democracy, not as a perverted form of spendthrift capitalism but about the true values of free speech and free thought, you can be sure that there are writers in prison. That is why the Pen club, has Writers in Prison Committees in most countries so that there can be attention for these writers, so that the authorities know somebody cares about the wellbeing and safety of these writer/s. There are different ways of working. Each WIPC receives from the headquarters of Pen International in London deserving cases with background files. The Committee I know has chosen for two issues: A Gambian Journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh is on trial for sedition because she criticized the President. The second case this WIPC follows, is the Burmese (Myanmaran) stand up comedian, poet, political satirist Zargana. One could say he is the Burmese Lenny Bruce. Since China could be factor in a Burmese equation, and since this WIPC has a Chinese honorary member it seemed to focus the attention on one region a bit. For honorary members letters are written personally to the writer or to his family. Chinese prisons are no joke and certainly not when you have diabetes. So the WIPC pays to help with his medical situation. First Hrant Dink, the Turkish writer who sadly got killed was the honorary member of this group of dedicated and warm people who have now taken on ‘Agos’ the publication Dink wrote for… Sometimes literary events are organized, not to taut their own work but to share the work of repressed writers with the world. It is a lot of work, and there are but a few hands and many writers in trouble. Send good thoughts or if you are a writer join the Pen and their WIPC. If you're not a writer join Amnesty or Human Rights Watch.

1 comment:

  1. Putting writers in prison for their political positions is too harsh. On the other hand, incarcerating them because they create time-wasting drivel should be considered.
    Ann Coulter, for example, should be fitted for a penitentiary number, as should Bill O'Reilly.
    They are each twofers; politically inane and reason-bereft.
    They are beyond the reach of psychiatrists, a warden might be able to instill rationality and bring them in touch with reality.