Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friends and family and those who are for freedom of expression.

Some friends and family try to keep 'posted' on my whereabouts and what I am up to. For the time being I am in the low countries where it has been raining old wives, cats and dogs and all the other expressions you can come up with. Parts of Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany are flooded. Meadows, forests,gardens are waterlogged. Saturated. Canals and streams overflow or break dams. And still at least one more day of rain has been predicted for Western Europe.
For the rest I have been following my passion:poetry and the translation thereof. Being a member of PEN's Writers in Prison committee,  we keep an empty chair for the colleagues who are in jail at all activities we organize. I must say that we live in interesting times. A writer we have defended Chinese Liu Xiaobo has received the Nobel prize for peace. The other great news is that Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar after 15 years of house arrest and imprisonment has been freed. Her first speech dealt with the most important right a person has and which according to her is Freedom of Speech. Both facts are good news, now another writer in prison should be freed. Monday evening from 7 to 8 PM, November 15, Bart Stouten will - on the classical radio Klara in Belgium - also deal with the subject of freedom of expression and speak about an story written by Uighur author Nurmuhemmet Yasin, Wild Pigeon. This short story was published in a literary magazine and let to the imprisonment of the author in 2004. May he and others opposing dictatorial regimes be free at last.