Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gillian Slovo elected 25th President of English PEN

Gillian Slovo elected 25th President of English PEN

December 8, 2010The acclaimed South African born novelist, playwright and memoirist Gillian Slovo was last night elected the 25th President of English PEN, the writers' charity that promotes the freedom to write. She takes over from Lisa Appignanesi, who has served as President since 2007.


In a double celebration, Salman Rushdie was awarded the Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime's Achievement. In a specially recorded video acceptance speech (available on YouTube), Rushdie paid tribute to the solidarity offered by PEN whilst he was suffering under the fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini, saying: 'I well remember that when I was in need, PEN's support in the UK, in America and elsewhere, was colossally important.'


Gillian Slovo said: 'I am extremely honoured to have been elected President of English PEN. As number 25 in a long line of brilliant Presidents, not least my immediate successor Lisa Appignanesi who has achieved so much, I look back to the great successes of the past, including English PEN's recent 'No Offence' campaign and its ongoing campaign to reform the libel laws - and also to a future in which English PEN will continue to be at the forefront of the defence of free expression in this country and throughout the world.'


Previous Presidents of English PEN, which was founded in 1921, include John Galsworthy, HG Wells, Rosamond Lehmann, Stephen Spender and Antonia Fraser. Gillian Slovo was elected unanimously by English PEN's membership of more than one thousand writers and literary professionals.


Lisa Appignanesi said: 'It has been both exhilarating and demanding to serve as Deputy and then President of English PEN during a historical moment when the free expression of writers, journalists, and satirists has once more been so severely tried. The fall-out from the so-called 'war on terror' unleashed a new spirit made up in equal parts of timidity and prohibition. To mollify religious groups, our legislators attempted to criminalise offence. Meanwhile, authoritarian groups and regimes prohibited any expression which bore the whiff of criticism. All this was severely at odds with the new freedoms the virtual sphere permitted. I take huge pride in the way English PEN has met these challenges, mobilising the wit and wisdom of writers, taking their united voice to parliamentarians here and, in protest, to repressive or corrupt regimes from China to Cuba. Together we managed to nullify the British government's attempt to make writing about religion an 'offence'; we helped rid our statute books of obsolete blasphemy and defamation laws, and we propelled the move to reform our libel laws. Abroad, we campaigned for Liu Xiaobo and Aung San Suu Kyi amongst hosts of less well-known others. I shall miss this vibrant and crucial association of writers. I know that Gillian Slovo, our wonderful new President, will guide English PEN with great panache and steady intelligence.'



NOTES


  • Gillian Slovo and Lisa Appignanesi are available for interview
  • English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers. Established in 1921, PEN will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2011.
  • English PEN's international campaigns are led by its Writers in Prison Committee, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2010. There are currently over 900 people on the Writers in Prison Committee case list of writers under threat worldwide. www.englishpen.org
  • Previous Presidents of English PEN include John Galsworthy, H.G. Wells, J.B. Priestley, V.S. Pritchett, Antonia Fraser and Ronald Harwood.

Sir Salman Rushdie wins 2010 Golden PEN award

Golden Pen Award for a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature

Sir Salman Rushdie wins 2010 Golden PEN award



Watch Salman Rushdie's acceptance speech:

On 6th December 2010, English PEN presented Sir Salman Rushdie with the 'Golden PEN' award for his contribution to literature. In this acceptance speech, Sir Salman pays tribute to the work of PEN and notes the contributions of PEN's Writers in Prison Committee, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2010.


Statement on Alan Shadrake

English PEN Statement on Alan Shadrake

November 24, 2010English PEN calls on the government of Singapore to abolish Criminal Defamation LawsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 24 November 2010

English PEN, the authors charity promoting the freedom to write, today issues a statement in support of the writer Alan Shadrake, and urges the government of Singapore to abolish its laws of Criminal Defamation.


On 15th November, the British author Alan Shadrake was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment after being found guilty of ‘contempt’. His book Once A Jolly Hangman criticises the government of Singapore’s use of the death penalty to suppress opposition. This week, the author Victoria Glendinning, Vice-President of English PEN, visited Shadrake in Singapore as he waited to learn whether he can appeal against his sentence. In a report to PEN published today, she explains what motivates Shadrake to write:


So what is powering Shadrake? After the sentence had been passed, he had, between sleeping and waking, what he calls a 'visitation' - in which the faces of those powerless unfortunates condemned to caning, jailing or hanging, while the affluent got off lightly, pressed In on him. 'I am trying to show the people of Singapore that they can be defiant, and not knuckle down under injustice as most do.'


Glendinning also writes that Shadrake is “not downhearted”, but he does have a heart condition. The author requires urgent medical attention for an irregular heartbeat, a condition that can only be exacerbated by the judicial process that he has been subjected to.


Jonathan Heawood, Director of English PEN, said:


In a modern country like Singapore, it is outrageous that someone can be prosecuted just for writing a book. The subject matter is clearly in the public interest and the people of Singapore deserve to read what Alan Shadrake has to say about their government. Unfortunately, colonial era laws of sedition and criminal defamation have allowed the government to victimise a seventy-six year-old man with a serious illness. Singapore simply cannot claim to be serious about democracy while it continues to make use of these outdated and illiberal laws.


Laws of ‘sedition’ (criticising the state) are routinely used by governments all around the world to threaten critics of official policy and state actions. In former British colonies, these are based on archaic English laws. Last month, the author Arundhati Roy was threatened with sedition by ideological opponents for comments she made on Kashmir. In 2009, English PEN was part of the coalition of NGOs which successfully to ensure the remnants of such laws were removed from the English statute books... but elsewhere in the Commonwealth they remain law. A briefing on these laws and their applications is available online.


Statement by Victoria Glendinning - Report, 21 Nov 2010

Alan Shadrake 's book 'Once a Jolly Hangman ', published in Kuala Lumpur, exposes the way he sees the judicial process of Singapore protecting the rich and influential while visiting extreme punishment on the poor and powerless for similar offences. Shadrake is an Essex lad of 76, in touch with his family - three daughters and a son, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Over tea and a muffin in a Singapore courtyard he tells me he doesn't smoke, eats healthily, and likes a drink. He does have a heart problem. Doctors' bills have sent him into massive overdraft, and he has to pay for the medication prescribed for his irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He has had an angioplasty, and the next step is a pacemaker. The rough way he was arrested in Singapore at 6.30 the morning after his launch party (and a subsequent session in a karaoke bar) was not calculated to improve his condition.


He is not downhearted. At 5 pm on Monday Nov. 21 he and his dynamic young lawyer, the human rights specialist M Ravi, will file papers in the High Court of Singapore requesting permission to appeal against his sentence of six weeks In jail plus a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars (£9,500), thus inaugurating a process which may or may not result In the appeal being allowed. Ravi concedes that even if the appeal is allowed it is unlikely to be successful. Neither of them is put off by this.


So what is powering Shadrake? After the sentence had been passed, he had, between sleeping and waking, what he calls a 'visitation' - in which the faces of those powerless unfortunates condemned to caning, jailing or hanging, while the affluent got off lightly, pressed In on him. 'I am trying to show the people of Singapore that they can be defiant, and not knuckle down under injustice as most do.'


Notes

  • English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers. Established in 1921, PEN will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2011.
  • English PEN’s international campaigns are led by its Writers in Prison Committee, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2010. There are currently over 900 people on the Writers in Prison Committee case list of writers under threat worldwide.
  • The English laws of Criminal Libel and Seditious Libel were abolished as part of the Coroners & Justice Act 2009. Our PDF briefing gives more information about this campaign and argues for the abolition of such laws worldwide.
  • Other Commonwealth countries to have abolished laws of sedition include New Zealand and Ghana.

New poems from Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo: One Letter is Enough, Longing to Escape, A Small Rat in Prison, and Daybreak

Source : International PEN
Liu Xiaobo: One Letter is Enough, Longing to Escape, A Small Rat in Prison, and Daybreak
Translated by Jeffrey Yang, recipient of the 2009 PEN/Osterweil Award for Poetry.
"One Letter is Enough," "Longing to Escape," "A Small Rat in Prison," and "Daybreak" are new poems from Liu Xiaobo, who received the 2009 PEN/ Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. They appear in PEN America 11: Make Believe.
________________________________________

One Letter Is Enough

for Xia

one letter is enough
for me to transcend and face
you to speak

as the wind blows past
the night
uses its own blood
to write a secret verse
that reminds me each
word is the last word

the ice in your body
melts into a myth of fire
in the eyes of the executioner
fury turns to stone

two sets of iron rails
unexpectedly overlap
moths flap toward lamp
light, an eternal sign
that traces your shadow

8. 1. 2000

Longing to Escape

for my wife

abandon the imagined martyrs
I long to lie at your feet, besides
being tied to death this is
my one duty
when the heart's mirror-
clear, an enduring happiness

your toes will not break
a cat closes in behind
you, I want to shoo him away
as he turns his head, extends
a sharp claw toward me
deep within his blue eyes
there seems to be a prison
if I blindly step out
of with even the slightest
step I'd turn into a fish

8. 12. 1999

A Small Rat in Prison

for Little Xia

a small rat passes through the iron bars
paces back and forth on the window ledge
the peeling walls are watching him
the blood-filled mosquitoes are watching him
he even draws the moon from the sky, silver
shadow casts down
beauty, as if in flight

a very gentryman the rat tonight
doesn't eat nor drink nor grind his teeth
as he stares with his sly bright eyes
strolling in the moonlight

5. 26. 1999

Daybreak

for Xia

over the tall ashen wall, between
the sound of vegetables being chopped
daybreak's bound, severed,
dissipated by a paralysis of spirit

what is the difference
between the light and the darkness
that seems to surface through my eyes'
apertures, from my seat of rust
I can't tell if it's the glint of chains
in the cell, or the god of nature
behind the wall
daily dissidence
makes the arrogant
sun stunned to no end

daybreak a vast emptiness
you in a far place
with nights of love stored away

6. 30. 1997
________________________________________
Copyright © 2009 by Liu Xiaobo. English translation copyright © 2009 by Jeffery Yang. All rights reserved.

PEN News: December 8, 2010‏


WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO HOW TO HELP WORLD VOICES ADVOCACY PRESS
PEN Monthly News


UPCOMING EVENTS

Freedom to Write Card-Writing Blitz

On December 20, join PEN as we send greetings to imprisoned writers and their families around the world.

>> More



New Members/New Books/New Date


PEN's 2010 New Members/New Books Party will take place January 10, 2011 at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn.

>> More

FIND PEN ONLINE
Advocacy News


PEN Celebrates Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize

The awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to our PEN colleague Liu Xiaobo is both a cause for celebration and a call to action. Authorities have placed his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest and prevented her and other family members from attending Friday's award ceremony in Oslo. Please join PEN in making Liu Xiaobo's voice heard around the world, and accomplishing what the Chinese government has worked so hard to prevent:

Egyptian Blogger Kareem Amer Freed from Prison

Blogger and PEN American Center Honorary Member Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, better known as Kareem Amer, was released from prison after serving a four-year sentence for his writings. Amer was convicted of "disparaging Islam" and "defaming the Egyptian president" for critical articles on his blog. >> More




PEN International Commemorates its 50th Year

On the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer, the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International commemorated its 50th year, paying tribute to 41 writers around the world who have been killed in the past year.
Throughout 2010, PEN centers have been casting a spotlight on current and previous WiPC work, with special projects, books, awards, and events. >> More
New at PEN


PEN America 13: Lovers

Who is dear to you? PEN America 13: Lovers features short fiction by Don DeLillo, new poetry by John Ashbery and Marilyn Hacker, a conversation between Patti Smith and Jonathan Lethem, and much more, including a forum on literary love with John Barth, Jessica Hagedorn, Yusef Komunyakaa, and others. >> More



Saturday, December 4, 2010

English PEN Events December 2010

English PEN Events December 2010

template banner new.jpg

The Libel Reform Campaign One Year On – with Rt Hon Lord McNally

Thursday 2 December, 7pm

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3GA

It’s one year since English PEN, with Index on Censorship and Sense about Science, formed the Libel Reform Campaign to ensure that writers, journalists, scientists and NGOs are no longer prevented from publishing material in the public interest by the chilling effect of English libel law. To mark our achievements so far, and to look to the future of this campaign – which was shortlisted for this week’s Liberty Human Rights Awards – please join us at a drinks reception with:

Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice
Richard Allan,
Director of European Policy for Facebook
Richard Mollet,
Chief Executive of the Publishers Association

In November 2009, after a year-long inquiry, the Free Speech Is Not For Sale report was published by English PEN and Index on Censorship. In June 2009, Sense About Science launched a campaign publicising libel threats against scientists such as Simon Singh and Peter Wilmshurst. In December 2009 the three charities came together to form the Libel Reform Campaign. The impetus this lobby has created is startling.

Over 50,000 people have joined the campaign and together we have campaigned for major reforms to England’s libel laws to protect free speech, including a public interest defence, restrictions on corporate bullying, recognition of the status of internet publishing, and improvements to existing defences.

Libel reform was not on the political agenda before our campaign; now the coalition government has announced it will bring forward a draft bill early in 2011. We look forward to seeing you on 2 December to celebrate this achievement and to share our thoughts on the challenges ahead.

RSVP: mike@libelreform.org

Add your voice to the Libel Reform Campaign at www.libelreform.org.

AGM and Christmas Party 2010

Monday 6 December, 4pm and 6pm

Art Workers' Guild, 6 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR

Free/£10

There’s still time to join English PEN before bookings close for the AGM and Christmas Party. As a member, you’ll be entitled to attend PEN’s Annual General Meeting, where committee members will report on the year’s work and the new President-elect will be announced.

Afterwards, members and their guests are welcome at the Christmas Party, one of English PEN’s most popular annual events. The ticket price of £10 includes wine and a buffet supper. Book for the Christmas party on the English PEN website, or call the office on 020 7324 2535.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

PEN News: November 12, 2010‏

PEN News: November 12, 2010‏
















WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO HOW TO HELP WORLD VOICES ADVOCACY PRESS
PEN Monthly News


UPCOMING EVENTS

PEN Writers' Roundtable: Kamy Wicoff


Join us on November 17 for a discussion with Kamy Wicoff, founder of the women's writing community SheWrites.com.

>> More


New Members/New Books/New Date

PEN's 2010 New Members/New Books Party has been moved to mid-January. More information to follow.

>> More


DID YOU KNOW?

The PEN Writers' Emergency Fund supports writers in acute, emergency financial crisis, offering grants of up to $2,000.

>> More


FIND PEN ONLINE




REMINDER: To unsubscribe or edit the types of e-mails you receive from PEN, please use the links at the end of this newsletter. For any other issues, please contact us.
Advocacy News


PEN American Center President Anthony Appiah Testifies Before Congress on Liu Xiaobo

At a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Appiah criticized the Chinese government's attempts to censor information about the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo and urged the international community to join in demanding his release. >> More



China Increases Pressure on Independent
Chinese PEN Center Members


As part of a campaign to limit information about the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, two ICPC members were harassed in recent days, one of them the center's webmaster. ICPC's web site has gone dark, reportedly as a result of a cyberattack. >> More

Literary Awards News


The 2011 PEN Literary Awards are now open to submissions and nominations in a variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, translation, editing, biography, sports writing, and science writing. See individual awards for more details. >> More




PEN Revives $5,000 Essay Award

PEN American Center has revived the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, first created in 1991 and on hiatus since 2005. The next award will be given in 2011. >> More



Harrison Ford and E.O. Wilson Join With PEN to Create New Literary Award

Acclaimed naturalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Edward O. Wilson and actor and conservationist Harrison Ford have joined with PEN to create the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing.
>> More
New at PEN


PEN America 13: Lovers

Who is dear to you? PEN America 13: Lovers features short fiction by Don DeLillo, new poetry by John Ashbery and Marilyn Hacker, a conversation between Patti Smith and Jonathan Lethem, and much more, including a forum on literary love with John Barth, Jessica Hagedorn, Yusef Komunyakaa, and others. >> More


Online Translation Slam

In the latest installment of PEN's Online Translation Slam, featuring two "competing" translations of a single work, David Gramling and Kristin Dickinson took on "İnsan Aklının İlk İsaretleri: Burçlar, Kitabeler," a poem by Turkish poet Bejan Matur. >> More


Breakout: Voices from Inside

Talib Kweli, Junot Diaz, Lisa Dierbeck, Wahida Clark, Sean Dalpiaz, and Wally Lamb read award-winning selections from the PEN Prison Writing Contest at its Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle. Also, Jackson Taylor moderates a discussion between Wally Lamb, Barbara Parsons, and Wahida Clark about writing behind bars. >> More



State of Emergency:
Censorship by Bullet in Mexico


Renowned Mexican and American journalists and authors come together for an evening of readings and conversation to call attention to the silencing of Mexican journalists trying to investigate drug-related violence in their country, especially on the U.S./Mexico border. >> More












Get Liu Xiaobo out of prison

10 November 2010

Take action!

Get Liu Xiaobo out of prison in time for Nobel prize ceremony


This year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, is serving an 11-year sentence in a jail in the remote province of Liaoning for defending human rights and press freedom. Join Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in calling for the release of Liu - one of China's most famous dissidents - in time for him to attend the Nobel prize ceremony in Oslo on 10 December. Sign the petition here: http://en.rsf.org/petition-liu-xiaobo,38708.html


"We urge you to intercede quickly to obtain his release, the quashing of his conviction and the withdrawal of all charges pending against members of his family, especially his wife, Liu Xia, who is under house arrest in Beijing," reads the petition.

In the weeks since the award was announced on 8 October, more than 100 Liu supporters, students, lawyers, journalists and bloggers have been placed under house arrest or subjected to increased police surveillance, or have disappeared, reports RSF.

News of the award is practically non-existent in China's media and has been blacked out from international news broadcasts on the BBC and CNN. Instead, Liu is being portrayed as a "traitor" and a "criminal" on China's official news agency, Xinhua.

Meanwhile, at least four RSF members and two other human rights activists were arrested in Paris on 5 November after opening umbrellas bearing the words "Free Liu Xiaobo" as Chinese President Hu Jintao passed by in a motorcade during his three-day state visit.

Liu, whose activism dates back to the days of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, was the lead author of a document called Charter '08, calling for multi-party elections in Communist Party-led China. The petition led to his 11-year jail sentence.

Help get Liu to Oslo by signing the petition here

PEN commemorates Day of Imprisoned Writer, 50 years of WiPC

10 November 2010

PEN commemorates Day of Imprisoned Writer, 50 years of WiPC


In September, Hossein Derakshan, the Canadian-Iranian blogger known as "The Blogfather", became synonymous with Iran's intolerance of dissent: he was sentenced to a hefty 19 and a half years in jail for creating anti-government propaganda, joining the 36 other known cases of writers, bloggers and journalists currently in jail in Iran.


Derakshan has been chosen as one of five cases from different parts of the world to mark International PEN's Day of the Imprisoned Writer on 15 November - an especially important occasion as it also marks 50 years of International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC).

There is also Robert Mintya, a newspaper editor from Cameroon who is awaiting trial and suffering poor health after being viciously attacked in prison. Tal al-Mallouhi, a 19-year-old Syrian blogger, poet and high school student, has been held incommunicado since she was arrested in December 2009 on charges of espionage. Dilmurod Saidov, an Uzbek journalist, is serving 12 years on fabricated extortion charges. And José Bladimir Antuna García is a journalist who was murdered in Mexico in November 2009. His killers have never been identified.

PEN urges you to send an appeal with copies to your embassy on behalf of at least one of the highlighted cases.

For WIPC's 50th anniversary, WiPC has also created a list of 50 emblematic cases reflecting the committee's work since 1960. Under the banner "Because Writers Speak their Minds", the campaign shines a light on prominent historic writers like Josef Brodsky and Vaclav Havel, more recent cases such as Anna Politkovskaya, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Salman Rushdie, and the case of Liu Xiaobo - the only one of the 50 that is still in jail.

PEN centres around the world have been commemorating the anniversary with special projects, books, awards and events throughout the year, many of them scheduled for launch on 15 November.

In Berlin, for instance, German PEN will focus on the work of Belarusian writer Swetlana Alexijewitsch, who is unable to publish in her own country. Catalan PEN and Swedish PEN will announce the winners of PEN awards. PEN centres in Scotland and Australia have held "empty chair" exhibitions, evoking the absence of those many writers missing from the public sphere because they are imprisoned. Cuban and Chinese PEN members living in exile have translated various writings and profiles of imprisoned writers into Spanish and Chinese. See what else is happening in your country or region on the International PEN website.

International PEN president and noted author John Ralston Saul hopes that WiPC's work resonates around the world. "For 50 years, WiPC... has led the human rights community worldwide in tracking the status of writers in danger and in prison and working for their freedom and safety. In spite of our continual successes, the list of those in danger remains unconscionably long. And so the work of WiPC is, if anything, more important than ever."

What began as a team of three individuals in 1960 is now a committee of more than 70 PEN centres worldwide. The annual case list now consistently contains the names of almost 900 writers, editors, journalists and Internet writers.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

PEN News: October 13, 2010‏


WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO HOW TO HELP WORLD VOICES ADVOCACY PRESS
PEN Monthly News

UPCOMING EVENTS

October 19:
State of Emergency: Censorship by Bullet in Mexico


Join PEN for an evening of solidarity with Mexican journalists. >> More


November 1:
Breakout: Voices from Inside


PEN Members and special guests will read award-winning selections from the 2010 Prison Writing Contest at its Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle. >> More

October 21:
A Global Piano and Literary Salon: The Soul of Cuba


Explore Cuban culture through music, readings, food, wine, and lively conversation. >> More

October 25:
92Y Reading: Adonis


Syrian poet Adonis reads from his newly published Selected Poems. >> More

November 4:
Boris Pahor's Necropolis: A Slovenian Story of Culture, Conflict, and Persecution


Explore Trieste's cultural diversity through the lens of Boris Pahor's memoir. >> More

November 8: New Members/ New Books Party

Celebrate new PEN Members and honor those who have published books this year. >> More

Advocacy News


Liu Xiaobo Awarded 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Nominated by PEN American Center President Anthony Appiah, former Independent Chinese PEN Center president Liu Xiaobo, a literary critic, writer, and political activist serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison, is the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. >> More
International PEN News


International PEN Congress Convenes in Tokyo

More than 250 writers from several dozen countries gathered in Tokyo for the 76th annual Congress of International PEN to discuss and act upon the many relentless, escalating threats to free expression and the essential role world literature plays in sustaining a common humanity. >> More

Leading Writers Unite for Free Expression

Delegates Draft a Resolution on the People's Republic of China

PEN American Center President Addresses PEN Congress on Behalf of Liu Xiaobo



Writers Urge U.N. to Abandon Efforts to
Prohibit Defamation of Religions


At a panel held in conjunction with the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, writers and free-expression advocates from around the world warn of the potential harm in imposing legal restrictions on expression considered offensive or defamatory to religions. >> More
New at PEN


Congratulations to the 2010 PEN Literary Awards Winners

PEN honored this year's recipients at the 2010 Literary Awards Ceremony. The winners include: Don DeLillo, Susan Choi, David Mamet, Anne Carson, and others. >> More



Banned Books Week Podcast

In honor of Banned Books Week, Perri Klass moderated a conversation between children's and young adult book authors Robie Harris, Carolyn Mackler, and Peter Parnell about their books, book banning, and self-censorship.
>> More







PEN Events

UPCOMING EVENTS

November 4:
Boris Pahor's Necropolis: A Slovenian Story of Culture, Conflict, and Persecution


Explore Trieste's cultural diversity through the lens of Boris Pahor's memoir. >> More

November 17:
PEN Writers' Roundtable: Kamy Wicoff


Join in a discussion with the founder of women's writing community SheWrites.com. >> More




Reduced tickets: $25
(2 ticket minimum per purchase)

Purchase tickets at lepoissonrouge.com.
Breakout: Voices from Inside
PEN Prison Writing Program's Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle


When:
Monday, November 1
Where: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., New York City
What time: 7 p.m.

With readings by Talib Kweli, Junot Diaz, Lisa Dierbeck, Wahida Clark, Barbara Parsons, Sean Dalpiaz, Wally Lamb, and more

PEN Members and special guests will read award-winning selections from the PEN Prison Writing Contest. The event also features a raffle with a variety of prizes, including tickets to live shows and subscriptions to literary magazines. >> More


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Arundhati Roy : Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement

Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice: Arundhati


Tue, Oct 26 03:15 PM

Even as the Centre mulls action against Arundhati Roy for her seditious speeches on Kashmir, writer Arundhati Roy issued a statement refuting the allegations that her speeches on Kashmir were anti-India.

"I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years," she said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world," she said.

She further said, "Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free."

Earlier, advocating the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir, author-activist Arundhati Roy Sunday contended that in 1947, British imperialism was replaced with Indian colonialism which 'continued to subjugate the people of India'.

Speaking at a seminar titled 'Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement,' Roy asked Kashmiris to ponder on the type of society they have in mind for themselves.

'Imperial colonialism is fast being replaced by corporate colonialism and Kashmiris would have to make a choice whether or not they wanted the Indian oppression to be replaced by a future corporate oppression of the local masses,' she said.

'Your struggle has increased the consciousness in India about the oppression you face, but you must decide what type of society you have in mind once you are allowed to decide your future,' she said.

Attacking the Indian government for the 'oppression of the Kashmiri people', she said India has been using Kashmiris recruited in the army and paramilitary forces to suppress the voices of dissent in the Northeast and vice versa. (Agencies)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ from Outlook ~~~~~~~~~~~~


'No Democracy Permits Right To Sedition'
'The right to secede cannot be accepted in the garb of right to free speech. The right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution cannot be used against the country'
Arun Jaitley

BJP takes strong exception to the demand for secession of Kashmir made at a Seminar in New Delhi yesterday in which hardline Hurriyan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other Kashmiri separatists as well as Naxal and Khalistani sympathizers had come together to demand independence for Kashmir. It is shocking that the central government chose to look the other way while "unacceptable" views were aired in the name of freedom of speech.

BJP feels that what happened in Delhi yesterday when a group of separatists got together to hold a seminar to promote sedition under the nose of the government has stunned the nation. In a democracy, the right to secede cannot be accepted in the garb of right to free speech. The right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution cannot be used against the country.

It is dismaying to note that the central government did not take any preventive measures and has not taken any action to punish the guilty. The central government should not forget that there are two responsibilities and obligations of the state -- to prevent such events and to punish the offenders. On the other hand, the government exercised the option of looking the other way which is not available to it.

BJP is outraged by open anti-India sentiments and demand for sedition at the seminar and finds these as absolutely unacceptable. It seems that the centre has abdicated its duty to protect the unity and integrity of the country by allowing the function to take place in which anti-India voices were raised. The whole country was shocked when separatists met under the nose of the central government to encourage sedition in India. Reports indicate that the issue was 'India cannot be one and has to be broken up.'

Democracy and freedom of expression does not give anybody a right to demand sedition. No democracy permits right to sedition. But some misconceived representatives of civil society have advocated it as free speech. The freedom of speech and expression is a constitutional guarantee, but with certain restrictions. If anybody speaks against the sovereignty of India, such exercise comes under penal law -- offences against state. The Seminar yesterday comes under the purview of the penal law and the people associated therewith including Geelani must be prosecuted. The government cannot be a mute spectator.

Source : OutLook India

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Arundhati Roy has issued this statement from Srinagar

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning's papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer's husband and Asiya's brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get 'insaf'—justice—from India, and now believed that Azadi—freedom— was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.

In the papers some have accused me of giving 'hate-speeches', of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians. It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.

Arundhati Roy
October 26 2010

Source and Credit : outlookindia

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Pakistan The Dawn~~~~~~~

I fight for the love and pride of my people: Arundhati Roy

By Jawed Naqvi
Tuesday, 26 Oct, 2010




New Delhi: Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy who has been canvassing for freedom of Jammu and Kashmir from years of military occupation said on Tuesday that far from seeking a break up of India, as alleged by her rightwing detractors, she fights for the love and pride of the people of India.

Amid reports that the Indian government had given permission for her arrest for alleged sedition following her recent call for justice for all Kashmiris, Ms Roy, who is currently on a visit to the Valley said in a statement to the Indian media that it would be a sad day for her country if its writers were jailed for expressing their ideas while "communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters" roamed free.

Some rightwing newspapers and TV channels close to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been campaigning for her arrest after she addressed a meeting on Kashmir in New Delhi last week at which Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani reiterated his call for azadi.

Ms Roy reminded the Kashmiris at the meeting that she was hurt by their slogan - bhooka nanga Hindustan, jaan se pyara Pakistan - saying that the slogan insulted the poor masses of India. But some reports distorted this, and the headlines screamed that she had asked for secession from poverty-stricken India.

Analysts recalled that senior Indian leader Jaiprakash Narayan had once called for the Indian army to revolt against the autocratic government of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The BJP had supported him then. Mr Narayan was subsequently celebrated as Lok Nayak, or people's leader. "There is nothing rigid about the law on sedition. It is always a political choice on who you want to target," said a senior lawyer. "Right now Arundhati Roy is in everyone's crosshairs. She has dared to take on powerful corporate interests and has even exposed their link with the powerful home minister."