This blog never represents any organisation. This is a space where you will find the PEN News around the globe. This space is also used to circulate the urgent message from any PEN center over this world. I believe in FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION and I use this space for this purpose. I am a stark activist of International PEN and I follow it. All the news and articles are posted by Albert Ashok, and maintained by his pocket money, Your co-operation is welcome
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 ~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
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.
October 26 2010
Source and Credit : outlookindia
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Pakistan The Dawn~~~~~~~
By Jawed Naqvi
Tuesday, 26 Oct, 2010
If you're available and interested in taking part then do let me know. If you let me know within the next couple of days then your name will also go in the thank you section of the programme!
THE COLMAN GETTY PEN QUIZ 2010
Monday 22 November 2009, 6pm-midnight
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD
English PEN and Colman Getty invite you to sharpen your wits and raise vital funds for the premier literary charity at the 2010 Colman Getty PEN Quiz. Last year, the Times Thunderers took first place after a tense tie-break to take home the much coveted trophy. The evening will take place in the beautiful art-deco setting of the Royal Institute of British Architects. David Baddiel, comedian and writer will be acting as Quizmaster and Marcus Berkmann author of Brain Men: A Passion to Compete and The Prince of Wales (Highgate) Quiz Book, will once again be acting as question setter. Teams from across the media landscape will be competing hotly for the honour of beating their rivals, whilst raising essential funds for PEN’s work promoting literature and defending freedom of expression. As Margaret Atwood said, ‘PEN is not a luxury, it is a necessity.’ The same could be said of attendance at the Colman Getty PEN Quiz.
We hope that you can join us for an evening of great fun at this now well-established highlight of the autumn calendar.
Tables of ten: £1,500.
This price includes:
· Champagne Reception;
· Entry to the Quiz;
· Three course dinner with wine;
· The chance to win some very exclusive raffle prizes…
To book your table please call Sarah Hesketh on 020 7324 2535 or email email@example.com
What they said about PEN…
Philip Pullman: ‘PEN supports writers at that lonely point when the virtue they most need to call on is courage’
Orhan Pamuk: ‘Whatever the country, freedom of thought and expression are universal human rights. When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free. This, indeed, is the spirit that informs the solidarity felt by PEN, by writers all over the world.’
English PEN online
Breaking the Language Barrier: Festivals in Translation
Tuesday 19 October, 1pm
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
FREE- booking recommended
In association with the Festival
Literature festivals are now an integral part of our cultural fabric and festival brands are becoming increasingly international, welcoming writers from around the world and providing a vital platform for new voices to be heard.
But do English-language authors still dominate the line-up? Can festivals help to break down the hegemony of English and enable literature in other languages to travel, or do they simply support the wider promotion of those writers who speak the world's lingua franca? How can foreign-language writers come to attention on the international circuit?
Join Namita Gokhale, Founder and Co-Director of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, Susanna Nicklin, Director of Literature at the British Council, Daniel Hahn, translator and author, Vivienne Wordley, Creative Director of the Emirates Literature Festival, and Surina Narula, who spearheads the philanthropic work of the DSC group, as they debate these questions and discuss the globalisation of .
How to Book: Call the Free Word Centre on 0207 3242 570 to reserve your place.
Click here for more information about the DSC South Asian Literature Festival.
PEN Pinter Prize 2010
Wednesday 20 October, 6.30pm
The Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
In association with the British Library
The PEN/Pinter prize is awarded annually to a British writer of outstanding Harold Pinter upheld throughout his writing career. Join the judges of this year's prize, Lisa Appignanesi, , Mariella Frostrup, Nicolas Kent, and Ronald Harwood, as this year's winner, Hanif Kureishi deliver his very special acceptance speech. For more information about the prize please visit our website. whose work encapsulates the principles of freedom and truth that
How to Book: Call the British Library on 01937 546546 or visit http://boxoffice.bl.uk.
Telling Tales: An Evening with
Tuesday 9 November, 6.30pm
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Our new patron of the English PEN Readers & Writers programme, Alberto Manguel will read from his new book - All Men Are Liars - and discuss the contradictory and the unreliable with Miranda France. Where can you find truth in a world ruled by lies? In his new fictional tribute to falsehood, Manguel pays homage to literature and its shape-shifting inventions. A rare treat to see this international star writer, this is a perfect night out for readers and writers and liars everywhere.
How to Book: Call English PEN on 0207 324 2535 or book online.
Rights group Amnesty International said Mr Liu was a "worthy winner".
But Catherine Baber, deputy Asia-Pacific director, said: "This award can only make a real difference if it prompts more international pressure on China to release Liu, along with the numerous other prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese jails."
No candidates are announced ahead of the Peace Prize but others mentioned in the media included Afghan women's rights activist Sima Samar, Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Nobel committee had to defend last year's controversial Peace Prize choice of US President Barack Obama.
In his time Liu Xiaobo has been a political activist, author, university professor and an annoyance to the Chinese Communist Party.
He has now been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, despite fierce opposition from the Chinese government.
Outside the country of his birth, he is known as one of China's leading dissidents, winning awards and the attention of the world's media.
But few people inside China have heard his name, and he has repeatedly faced imprisonment and surveillance from the Chinese government.
He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for "subverting state power".
That charge came after he helped write a manifesto, called Charter 08, calling for political change in China.Subverting state power?
The 54-year-old first came to public prominence in 1989, during the bloody suppression of protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
He returned home from the United States to take part in the demonstrations, but was sent to prison for nearly two years for the role he played.
"The massacre in 1989 made a very deep impression on me," he said in an interview he gave to the BBC just a few months before he was arrested in 2008.
The activist once worked as a professor at Beijing Normal University, although he was eventually banned from teaching.
In 1996 he was again put away for speaking out about China's one-party political system, but this time he was sent to a re-education-through-labour camp for three years.
It was while there that he got married to Liu Xia.
Since then he has continued to discuss a range of taboo subjects, including criticising China's treatment of Tibetans.
End Quote Liu Xia Liu Xiaobo's wife
One day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen”
This has brought him to the attention of those outside China who are trying to improve human rights in the communist party-ruled country, and he has received several prizes over the years.
At his trial in December last year the United States government felt compelled to speak out.
"We call on the Government of China to release [Liu Xiaobo] immediately and to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully express their political views," read a statement from the US State Department.
The document that got him into trouble, Charter 08, was released in December two years ago. It calls for a new constitution in China, an independent judiciary and freedom of expression.
It was backed by about 300 academics, artists, lawyers and activists, who want a fuller debate about China's future political development.
Two days before it was due to be published the police made a late-night raid on Mr Liu's home and took him away.
His wife said she could not initially find out what had happened to him because the authorities would not admit to taking him.Monthly visits
It was not until nearly one month later that the authorities finally confirmed they had arrested him.
He had a one-day trial in December last year and was sentenced to 11 years a few days later - on Christmas Day.
Some suspected the Chinese authorities had chosen that day because most people in the West would be on holiday, and not notice.
Liu Xia now visits her husband once a month at the prison where he is serving his sentence, in Liaoning Province in north-east China.
They have hour-long meetings watched over by two guards and a security camera.
She said: "Mentally and physically he's fine. He runs for an hour each day, he reads and he writes me letters."
As a wife, Liu Xia's greatest wish is for her husband to be released so he can come home to her.
She believes his contribution to human rights will one day by recognised.
"Now his name is unknown. But one day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen - a model example."
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.
Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal.
The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty.
Scope for political participation has also broadened.
China's new status must entail increased responsibility.
China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights.
Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration".
In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.
For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China.
He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008.
The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power".
Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.
The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad.
Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.
Liu Xiaobo, an irrepressible, chain-smoking Chinese dissident imprisoned last year for subversion, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for helping to spearhead a campaign for more freedom in China.
In a statement, the Nobel Committee said Liu, 54, deserved the prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."
Analysts said the honor was aimed in part at increasing pressure on China to ease its crackdown on religious and political activists. But China's government told reporters the committee had violated its own principles by giving the award to a "criminal."
In announcing the award, the committee lauded Liu's efforts over more than two decades to demand freedom of speech, assembly, religion and other forms of expression for Chinese citizens.
China's "new status" as the world's second-largest economy "must entail increased responsibility," the committee said. It said Beijing must heed the call of Liu and others to award its citizens the most basic freedoms.
"Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China," the Nobel statement said.
Liu is serving his 11-year sentence at Jinzhou prison in Liaoning, hundreds of miles from his home and wife, Liu Xia, in Beijing. In an interview shortly before the announcement, Liu Xia said she was thankful her husband's physical condition seems to have improved in jail, and grateful that he's allowed to read and that the two can exchange regular letters.
"We have no regrets," she said. "All of this has been of our choosing. It will always be so. We'll bear the consequences together. I've known Liu since 1982. I've watched him change little by little year by year, and we know that we have to pay the price under the current situation in China."
In the weeks running up to the announcement, Liu was considered a top contender to win the award. But China's government had warned Norway not to award Liu its most prestigious prize, saying that the essayist did not qualify for the honor.
Analysts predicted that in the short-term, China's one-party state would react to the award by intensifying an already tough campaign against dissidents, religious activists and non-governmental organizations. Although China outwardly appears strong, with a world-beating economic growth rate, prosecutions for "state security" offenses are approaching numbers not seen since the bloody crackdown on student-led protests around Tiananmen Square in 1989.
But in the long-term, a wide spectrum of Chinese and foreigners said, Liu's award could actually resonate more deeply within China than any similar act in years--significantly more so than the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to the Dalai Lama in 1989 or the Nobel prize for literature given to dissident writer Gao Xingjian in 2000.
First of all, Liu will be the first Chinese citizen to ever win the award. (The Dalai Lama has status as a refugee. And Gao is a French citizen.) Second, Liu, unlike most Chinese dissidents, remains well-known and well-liked in China.
Prickly, with a thick northern drawl, tobacco-stained teeth and an infectious laugh, he's always been considered part of the "loyal opposition," less a theoretician of a democratic revolution than a tough urban gadfly.
Although in and out of jail for stating his beliefs, writing letters and challenging the state for two decades, Liu has escaped the sentence of irrelevance meted out to so many of his dissident contemporaries.
Some observers, however, said the award would feed into a sense among many young Chinese that the West is out to get China and that "Cold War" thinking still dominates mindsets in the developed world.
"I worry about the effect of this prize on China's younger generation," said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Beijing University. "It will be seen as new evidence about how the West is unfriendly to China."
Liu's latest sentence was his longest. Announced on Christmas Day 2009 - because the Chinese government believes Westerners are less likely to take notice on a holiday--Liu's sentence of 11 years was for attempting to subvert the state.
His specific crime was that he volunteered to have his name lead a list of signatories to a document called "Charter 08." Modeled after the Charter 77 movement in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, Charter 08 called for greater freedom of expression, human rights, and for free elections.
Ultimately, more than 8,000 people have signed China' s charter.
Published on Dec. 10, 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the charter "was to put a stake in the ground and say here's an alternate vision of China," said Perry Link, the renowned China scholar who worked with the group to translate their manifesto into English. "It was definitely a long-term program."
Among the demands were for a judiciary not controlled by the Communist Party, meaningful elections and the freedoms of association, assembly, expression and religion. "The current system has become backward to the point that change cannot be avoided," the charter read. "This situation must change! Political democratic reforms cannot be delayed any longer!"
Liu played an important role as the crafters of the charter hashed out the wording, Link said. He fought to excise any mention of the banned sect Falun Gong from the document because, he argued, the charter's purpose should not be to deal with specific human rights cases.
And he helped work out a compromise over mentioning the Tiananmen Square crackdown - which was raised in the preamble but not in the actual body of the charter.
Link, who spent much of that month talking with Liu and others as the manifesto went from one draft to another, recalled that Liu wasn't a leader of the group in the beginning. "But once he saw it was going somewhere, he naturally volunteered to be out front," Link said.
Liu didn't hog publicity, Link added, "he just doesn't shrink from putting his head on the line. He was like a moth to the flame."
After he was sentenced, Liu's lawyer released a simple statement from his client: "I have long been aware that when an independent intellectual stands up to an autocratic state, step one toward freedom is often a step into prison," it said. "Now I am taking that step; and true freedom is that much nearer."
Ai Weiwei, a signatory of the Charter 08 document who designed the Bird's Nest stadium for China's Summer Olympics, said Friday's award was at least a sign that "the world is paying attention to China."
But the award "won't change much in China," Ai predicted. "More people need to wake up."
Liu has taken risks with his life throughout his career. In 1989, he left a cushy post as a visiting scholar at Columbia University to return to China to participate in demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
On the night of June 3, 1989, he was one of four dissidents who negotiated with the People's Liberation Army to allow the last several hundred students to peacefully vacate the square. After the crackdown he spent two years in jail.
Liu was dispatched to a re-education camp in 1996 for co-writing an open letter that demanded the impeachment of then-president Jiang Zemin.
From then until his arrest in December, 2008, two days before the charter was released, Liu lived a life of constant harassment by the security services. He was repeatedly questioned because of his views or his essays, which were passed around the Internet by thousands of his readers.
Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said the toughest time for her was after Liu was arrested in 2008 but before he was indicted. He basically disappeared, she said, into the maw of China's security state.
"For those six and half months, I only saw him twice, it was weird for both of us," Liu Xia recalled. "I was taken to a hotel in a suburb of Beijing, Xiaobo was taken there too, and he told me he didn't know where he was."
But when the indictment came, "I felt very calm," she said. "I told our lawyer that Xiaobo would probably be sentenced at least 10 years. Then it came out 11, very close to what I expected."
Correspondent William Wan and researcher Liu Liu in Beijing contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org
sOURCE : The washington Post