Showing posts with label protests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label protests. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ayat Al-Gormezi - PEN Petition

The following is from the PEN Center USA's petition condemning Bahrain's treatment of poet Ayat Al-Gormezi (previously reported on in this blog as Ayat Al-Qarmezi). For more information, and to sign the petition, click here

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International protests the one-year sentence handed down to poet and student Ayat Al-Gormezi on anti-state charges for poems critical of the Bahraini King. PEN calls for her immediate and unconditional release, and that of all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful expression of their views, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a signatory.


An excerpt of Ayat's poetry:

We do not like to live in a palace
And we are not after power
And we are not after power
We are the people who
Break down humiliation
And discard oppression
With peace as our tool
We are people who
Do not want others to be living in the Dark Ages
(Translated from the Arabic by Ghias Aljundi).

Your names along with a letter of protest stating these appeals will be sent to the King of Bahrain and to the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs. A copy will also be sent to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain (warning: music plays when site opens) in Washington, D.C.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Poetry of Protest: Wisconsin

Yesterday, Split This Rock received an remarkable e-mail from Verse Wisconsin, an online literary journal based in Madison, WI. In light of the recent protests against Governor Walker's move to eliminate collective bargaining rights (among other things), the editors of Verse Wisconsin have begun publishing poetry in support of the protesters. It's an inspiring display of solidarity and demonstrates that, especially now, poetry can be an integral component of political action.

The text of the email follows:

I wanted to let you know that we started publishing poems about the protests last week at Verse Wisconsin. Currently we have them on our home page,, and on our Facebook page,!/pages/Verse-Wisconsin/141684637141. This was a spontaneous gesture on our part to events--we weren't sure what we would get. We've been amazed & moved by many of the pieces, both visual & text-based--their passion and their intelligence.

The Poet Laureate's position for WI has also been discontinued by Gov. Walker & will go into effect after the current laureate, Bruce Dethlefsen, serves his term. It's a really small thing compared to the larger issues: the threatened loss of bargaining rights, medicaid coverage, huge regressive pay cuts for state employees, and whatever is to come but hasn't yet been revealed. All of these things together point to Walker's war on what Wisconsin stands for as a progressive state, as I'm sure you are well aware.

I got to attend the Split This Rock panel on The Poet As Public Citizen at AWP, a wonderful session. It's in no small way due to being there, that prompted my co-editor & me to try to bring these two things together--the protests and poetry--at Verse Wisconsin, and I'm very grateful for your example.
- A Wisconsin Poet

Be sure to sure to show your support by visiting Verse Wisconsin's website & Facebook page, and if you happen to be in Madison - lend your voice.

Power to the people.