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Posts Tagged ‘Oppression’

As the wonderful Richard Söderberg said while he was on the Guldbagge awards, (Swedish Oscars) In order for women to take a step forward, men need to take a step back. It was a wonderful, true and very aware statement from one of Swedens coolest people. I thought about that statement, and about #metoo which he was, of course, referring too when I read this poem written by Syrian born Palestinian and now Stockholm resident poet Ghayath Almadhoun. It’s a beautiful poem of sadness and repentance for his part in the oppression of women everywhere, even in countries in which he has never set foot, in centuries long past and yet to come, for crimes against women he has never seen committed by men he has never met. If we are to grow past this oppression, men everywhere need to stand up and acknowledge their part in it, and take a step back so that women can take that so very important step forward.
 
Confession – Poem by Ghayath Almadhoun
 
You;
women who have trampled grapes
with bare feet
since the beginning of history
who were locked in chastity belts
in Europe
who were burnt to death
in the Middle Ages
who wrote novels
under male pseudonyms
in order to get published
who harvested tea
in Ceylon
who rebuilt Berlin
after the war
who grew the cotton
in Egypt
who covered your bodies with excrement
to avoid rape by French soldiers
in Algeria
virgins
in Cuba
who rolled cigars
on their naked thighs
members of the Black Diamond guerillas
in Liberia
samba dancers
in Brazil
women who have had faces destroyed
by acid
in Afghanistan
my mother …
 
Forgive me.
 
Translation from Swedish: James Blake
Ghayath Almadhoun
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Absolutely beautiful poem about freedom, hope and the anxiety we all succumb to when our world fails us.

TIBET, ACTIVISM AND INFORMATION

Sheng Xue, Prominent Activist For A Free ChinaImage: SFT Canada/Edited @tibettruth

Sheng Xue a respected and renowned activist for human rights and freedom presented recently a poem she composed titled ‘Light Me Up’ dedicated to those brave Tibetans who sacrifice their lives to demand national freedom for Tibet.

I opened my eyes in the morning
The room is dark.
I opened the window to welcome the gentle wind
The sky is dark.
I opened the door to greet the wild wood
The mountain is dark.
My heart opens to embrace freedom,
in a world dark and hard.

I didn’t want much,
to hope the yak in the mountains can freely run.
That the eagle can crown the turqoise sky,
to hear the monks chanting in the temple.
I just want to see His Holiness at least once in my life time.
I keep them as dreams in my heart, I don’t dare to ask.

But there is…

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Drone video footage of Homs, in Syria, after the bombing. It is beyond description.

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A brilliant poem by Margaret Walker, a work of beauty, frustration, grace, sympathy, anger, pain, empowerment, and hope. I recommend everyone read this poem, and then share it with those you love.

 

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/11053

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35311709

Hundreds of writers are taking part in readings in support of the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.

More than 120 events are being held in 44 countries on Thursday as part of a campaign organised by the International Literature Festival Berlin.

It is calling on the US and UK governments to intervene on behalf of Mr Fayadh, who is accused of apostasy.

He denies the charges and claims that another man made false accusations.

Human rights activists also say Mr Fayadh was denied access to a lawyer throughout his detention and trial, in clear violation of Saudi and international law.

‘Unjust and morally repellent’

Mr Fayadh, a 35-year-old poet and art curator who was born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian refugee parents, has been a key figure in taking Saudi contemporary art to a global audience, according to the International Literature Festival Berlin.

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern gallery in London and a friend of the poet, has described him as “someone who is outspoken and daring”.

Mr Fayadh was arrested in August 2013 following a complaint by a Saudi citizen, who alleged that he was promoting atheism and spreading blasphemous ideas, according to Amnesty International.

He was released the next day, but was rearrested in January 2014 and charged with apostasy because of his supposed questioning of religion and spreading atheist thought through his collection of poetry, Instructions Within, published in 2008.

He was also charged with violating the country’s anti-cyber crime law by taking and storing photos of women on his mobile phone.

In April 2014, the General Court in the city of Abha sentenced Mr Fayadh to four years in prison and 800 lashes for violating the anti-cyber crime law. But it found his repentance in relation to the charge of apostasy to be satisfactory and not requiring further punishment.

However, an appeals court overturned his original sentence and sent the case back to the General Court, which sentenced him to death for apostasy on 17 November.

Mr Fayadh has asserted that the poems are “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee… about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”

Irvine Welsh, who will read at the Two Hearted Queen coffee shop in Chicago on Thursday, said he hoped the worldwide reading campaign would put “pressure on governments who espouse democracy and freedom to consider their actions in dealing with [Saudi Arabia]”, according to the Guardian newspaper.

A L Kennedy, who will be attending a reading organised by PEN England at the Mosaic Rooms in west London, said Mr Fayadh’s persecution was “very obviously unjust and morally repellent”.

The Saudi government has not commented publicly on Mr Fayadh’s case.

 

This is a sample of his beautiful, moving poetry, translated by Mona Kareem,

http://monakareem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/ashraf-fayadhs-disputed-poems-in.html

Ashraf Fayadh’s “Disputed” Poems, in English Translation

1
petroleum is harmless, except for the trace of poverty it leaves behind
on that day, when the faces of those who discover another oil well go dark,
when life is blown into your heart to extract more oil off your soul
for public use..
That.. is.. the promise of oil, a true promise.
the end..
2
it was said: settle there..
but some of you are enemies for all
so leave it now
look up to yourselves from the bottom of the river;
those of you on top should provide some pity for those underneath..
the displaced is helpless,
like blood that no one wants to buy in the oil market!
3
pardon me, forgive me
for not being able to pump more tears for you
for not mumbling your name in nostalgia.
I directed my face at the warmth of your arms
I got no love but you, you alone, and am the first of your seekers.
4
night,
you are inexperienced with Time
lacking rain drops
that could wash away all the remains of your past
and liberate you of what you had called piety..
of that heart.. capable of love,
of play,
and of intersecting with your obscene withdrawal from that flabby religion
from that fake Tanzeel
from gods that had lost their pride..
5
you burp, more than you used to..
as the bars bless their visitors
with recitations and seductive dancers..
accompanied with the DJ
you recite your hallucinations
and speak your praise for these bodies swinging to the verses of exile.
6
he’s got no right to walk however
or to swing however or to cry however.
he’s got no right to open the window of his soul,
to renew his air, his waste, and his tears..
you too tend to forget that you are
a piece of bread
7
on the day of banishment, they stand naked,
while you swim in the rusty pipes of sewage, barefoot..
this could be healthy for the feet
 but not for earth
8
prophets have retired
so do not wait for yours to come to you
and for you,
for you the monitors bring their daily reports
and get their high salaries..
how important money is
for a life of dignity
9
my grandfather stands naked everyday,
without banishment, without divine creation..
I have already been resuscitated without a godly blow in my image.
I am the experience of hell on earth..
earth
is the hell prepared for refugees.
10
your mute blood will not speak up
as long as you pride yourself in death
as long as you keep announcing -secretly- that you have put your soul
at the hands of those who do not know much..
losing your soul will cost time,
much longer than what it takes to calm
your eyes that have cried tears of oil
* These poems appeared in Fayadh’s poetry collection Instructions Within which was published by the Beirut-based Dar al-Farabi in 2008 and later banned from distribution in Saudi Arabia.
Translated by: Mona Kareem

For information on what you can do to help with his release, go to Amnesty International at this address..

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

 

I highly recommend reading this gifted poet, and of course, signing Amnesty’s petition for his release.

 

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Source: He Groused About The Meek

He groused about the meek
“They inherit nothing,
Not the wind,
Not the grain,
Not the shirts on their backs.”

I was five years old.
My brothers coat, five button holes, three buttons
Shoe laces broken
Tied in many places to hold them together,
The streets were my playground,
Fire hydrants were bears,
Passersby were Indians,
We shot at them with imaginary guns,

Turning and walking away,
Leading me by hand, without a word
Down streets of jailhouses
Prisons of thought,
Of carelessness
Of lives abandoned

My father teaches me of the rich
Of the bitterness of long sleepless nights
The way of life of the working stiffs

Merrily the children run down the shaded lane
Trees meeting in the middle
Branches kissing each other in the sun
While under their splendour
Life prepares the sinkholes

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there is no them, there is only us.

 

 

I tried to walk on the earth

In a place where it did not ache

Find that spot where

My bare feet might not do damage

But its pain was all-encompassing.

With every step I felt it cry.

With no place left to go

I cut off my feet.

 

I tried to find a field

that didn’t know of hunger

Where the crops could feed the multitudes

But the corn was crying

Its husks were brown and its heart broken.

I felt so insufficient

I couldn’t find crops enough

So i starved myself.

 

I searched the borders for refugees

That felt safe and welcome

But the children were starving

And the parents frightened

I tried to speak but no one spoke my language

I tried to open my nations borders

To harbor those who flee

But many who were inside

Turned violent,

Terrified by what they didn’t know or understand.

I turned their water to wine

Their swords to plowshares

But still they wouldn’t share.

 

I tried to find a song

That all could sing and feel inspired

But no one grasped the meaning

I cried and became mute.

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