Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Fear in Lhasa

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where the fear is in your breathing, in the beating of your heart,
In the silence when you want to speak but don’t,
In the catch in your throat....

countless police with their guns ...
plainclothesmen beyond counting ...

Dreadful footsteps reverberate all round,
but in daylight you won’t glimpse even their shadow;
They are like demons invisible by day, but the horror is worse,
it could drive you mad...

A few times I have passed them and the cold weapons in their hands...

All those cameras,
Taking it all in,
Swiveling from the outer world to peer inside your mind...

They’re watching us ...

A hurried farewell to Lhasa:
The fear in Lhasa breaks my heart. Got to write it down.

(The above are just fragments of a poem by Woeser. Complete poem, at Ragged Banner Press.)

This Tibetan writer, who lives in Beijing, risks being arrested for what she writes. Her work is banned in China because she's investigating the March 2008 uprising in Tibet, because she "articulates the repression that many Tibetans feel," because she flouts the official line that Tibetans are okay with Chinese rule. [1]

Woeser's poem Remembering a Battered Buddha:
-- Text
-- Audio [Recited in English by A. E. Clark].

You have the guns.

I have the pen.

--- Woeser.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Burma Crisis Update

At least 14 democracy activists, including three Generation 88 student leaders, who participated in the 2007 protests were sentenced to 65-year prison terms.

A young blogger, who was responsible for getting the truth out to the world during the uprising, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

No one should go to prison for advocating democracy in their own country, no one should go to prison for practicing free speech on the Internet -- not even for one year, not even for one moment. The cruel sentences meted out to these brave dissidents prove that the Burmese thugocracy has no intention whatsoever of loosening its grip or changing its ways. [Excerpted from Words of Power blog].

Imagine: 20 years in prison just for writing on a blog. And 65 years for advocating democracy.
What a brutal regime.

(One day you'll be free, Suu Kyi.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day of Remembrance

For all those who have lost their lives

or limbs
or sanity
fighting in a war
For all those who have lost a loved one

fighting in a war

May you find peace.

-- awyn

Monday, November 10, 2008

Afghan writer wins the Prix Goncourt

France's top literary prize this year went to Atiq Rahimi, an immigrant from Afghanistan, for his first novel written in French, Syngue Sabour, which in Persian means "Stone of Patience." It's about a woman in a country resembling Afghanistan whose war-wounded husband lies in a coma, "as paralyzed as a stone."

The 150-page story is set in a country resembling Rahimi's native land and is narrated by the paralyzed combatant's wife. Sitting at his bedside, she talks, not knowing if he can hear or understand. Freed from normal constraints, she reveals long- buried secrets about their life together. The book was published by P.O.L. [1]

Sounds interesting. I wonder if it'll be available in the local bookstores this week.

Atiq Rahimi's published works:

* Syngué sabour (2008)
* Le Retour imaginaire (2005)
* Les mille maisons du rêve et de la terreur (2002)
* Terre et cendres (2000)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008