Remembering those who aren’t free to write

15/11/2011

Today is the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer, which is marked in New Zealand as Courage Day.

Every 15th of November throughout the world, PEN (the international writers’ organisation which champions freedom of expression) holds events to mark the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

The New Zealand Society of Authors which incorporates PEN honours this event as Courage Day, named jointly after James Courage, a novelist and poet whose novel A way of lovewas banned because he dared to express homosexuality in his writing prior to the setting up of the Indecent Publications Tribunal in 1964, and his grandmother Sarah Courage whose book describing colonial life in New Zealand was burned by neighbours who resented comments she made about them.

This year we are commemorating the 42 writers who lost their lives since Courage Day 2006 as well as the 1000’s of writers, editors, broadcasters and journalists worldwide whose lives are endangered for speaking out against repressive regimes and human rights injustices.

Three writers will feature in our Courage Day events – journalist Anna Politkovskaya, whose work won her the description of “Russia’s lost moral consciousness” and whose murder in October 2006, made headlines worldwide. Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink was shot dead in January 2007 outside his office, after being convicted of “insulting the Turkish identity” after writing about a mass murder committed ninety years ago. And, Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed 10 years ago along with eight others for campaigning against the devastation of the Niger Delta by international oil companies.

PEN is also asking for letters of support for five writers imprisoned for expressing their views –

Cuba – Normando Hernández González– a journalist imprisoned under crackdown on dissidents in 2003 and since held under dire conditions;

Gambia – Fatou Jaw Manneh– a journalist on trial and facing a heavy sentence on charges of sedition for her articles criticising the Gambian president.

Iran – Yaghoub Yadali– a novelist given a one year sentence for his fictional characterisation of the ethnic minority of which he is himself a member;

Uzbekistan – Jamshid Karimov– a journalist who has covered human rights abuses, and wrote critical articles and who has been held in psychiatric detention for over a year.

Yemen – Abdel Karim Al-Khaiweni – former editor of the online publication Al-Shoura who has been under threat since June 2007 for his writings and continued harassment by the military.

It is easy to take freedom of expression for granted in a country like New Zealand.

Courage Day is a reminder of the value of that freedom and of the people in other countries whose writing endangers their freedom and their lives.


Courage Day for right to write

15/11/2009

The freedom to speak, write and read are rights most of us take for granted.

In too many other parts of the world people lose their liberty and their lives because they don’t have that freedom.

Today PEN (the international writers’ organisation which champions freedom of expression) marks the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

Since November 2008, thirty-five print and online journalists have been murdered,” said Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee “All over the world, writers and journalists and bloggers are suffering for practicing their right to speak out on issues that matter.”

On 15 November 2009, International PEN’s membership of writers world wide will commemorate their colleagues world wide who are imprisoned, attacked and even killed. In any given year PEN is monitoring around 1,000 cases of attacks on writers, journalists and publishers. Of these around 200 are in prison, some serving sentences of over 20 years. Others are suffering unfair trials, harassment and threats.

The New Zealand Society of Authors, honours the day as  Courage Day:

. . . named jointly after James Courage, a novelist and poet whose novel A way of love was banned because he dared to express homosexuality in his writing prior to the setting up of the Indecent Publications Tribunal in 1964, and his grandmother Sarah Courage whose book describing colonial life in New Zealand was burned by neighbours who resented comments she made about them.

NZSA is asking for letters of support for writers imprisoned for expressing their opinions.

Addresses and templates for letters are on the NZSA website.


October 6 in history

06/10/2009

On October 6:

1769 Nicholas Young, ship’s boy on the Endeavour, was the first to spot land in New Zealand. Young Nick’s Head was named for him, he was also given a gallon of rum.

1889 Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture.

1914 – Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian explorer was born.

1921International PEN was founded in London.

 

1928 Chiang Kai-Shek became  Chairman of the Republic of China
1930 Richie Benaud, Australian cricketer, was born.
Richie Benaud 1956.jpg
1942 Britt Ekland, Swedish actress, was born.

Britt Ekland and Peter Sellers 1964.
1948 Gerry Adams, Northern Irish politician, was born.
1987 Fiji beccame a republic.
2007 Jason Lewis completed the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Why…

15/07/2008

… is the length a vacuum cleaner cord reaches from a plug always fractionally shorter than required for the area which needs to be cleaned?

And why don’t we throw out a pen the first time we realise it doesn’t work?


Why….

26/06/2008

… don’t we throw out a pen the first time we realise it doesn’t work?


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