Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writers in Prison II

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. -John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)
Anna Achmatova was born in 1889 in Bolsjoj Fontan near Odessa. She died in 1966 in Domodedovo near Moscow. Under Stalin she couldn’t publish during 18 years. She lost the people around her and died in solitude. The Chinese Zheng Yichun, born in 1959, was convicted to seven years for undermining the state authority. Primo Levi witnessed the hell of Auschwitz and always wrote about ‘evil’ in its many forms. Maung Thura, aka Zargana from Myanmar is a comic who makes his people laugh. Strong in political satire he was recently punished for helping out with his personal money the people hit by the flood. Reason to round him and others up and put them in jail. Rodolfo Walsh (1927-1977) was an Argentinian writer. In 1957 he became famous with 'Operacion Masacre', faction avant la lettre, felt to undermine the state..
Faray Bayrakdar Syrian born in 1951, spent almost 15 years in different jails in his country because he wrote for more democracy in his country. Painter poet Breyten Breytenbach was born in 1939 in the Cape Province. He became an ardent opponent of Apartheid. He married his Vietnamese wife although it was forbidden and when he returned to South Africa he was betrayed and ended up in prison for seven and a half years.

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