1. 10:26 18th Apr 2010

    notes: 23

    tags: 2010unnamed

    2010: The unnamed writer by Elise Valmorbida

    Here is a mind
    caught in the elision
    between personal, political.

    Here is a nib
    charged with invisible ink
    that under iron heat
    turns blood-brown.

    Here is a silence.

    (Death happens in brackets)
    but still you can hear
    the bell of the voice,
    chiming, tolling,
    the scratching of the pen.

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  2. 1991: Ragip Zarakolu by Stephen Bateman

    The die is cast. Brick by brick the walls are built, for a sentence that makes no sense. You’re out of sight, but out of mind? No. With every sinew straining, your thoughts and words break free, calling out. Laying waste to ignorance and fear. Turning their bricks to dust.





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  3. 1979: Václav Havel by Elaine Gibb

    “They are crushing us all,” cried the actor. In the darkness, people listened. The writer stepped into the light.

    The prisoner could say nothing. But he dreamed.

    The velvet curtain fell.

    “Now we have hope in our country,” said the President. And his words still flow, his dreams still fly.



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  4. 1969: Yannis Ritsos by Chas Walton

    On Samos you coughed. Tubercular words choking the lungs of generals, breathing life into patriot songs. Freedom first, death second, you said. And so it happened. You survived the concentration camps, the book burnings, the personal tragedies, the resistance, the tuberculosis. Your legacy, a modern Greek epic, 117 volumes long.




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  5. 2003: Thich Huyen Quang by Ela Kosmaczewska

    You build my cage,

            I smell your fear.

    You bring your guns,

            I’m not alone here.

    You force me down,

            I rise back up.

    You drown my song,

            I refuse to give up.

    You take my freedom,

            I beat my wings more.

    This frail man sings louder than ever before.



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  6. 1992: Pramoedya Ananta Toer by Roger Horberry

    Buru Island. Suharto’s Gulag, a tropical Siberia. There they took his tools, and hoped to take his hope. Big mistake. Afraid of paper, they should have feared his thoughts. So he wrote in his head and each evening told his tales – daily testaments that made a mockery of the walls.



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  7. 1997: Faraj Sarkoohi by Nick Parker

    We do not like
    the words you choose.
    So, we have chosen
    some for you:

    I flew to Germany.
    I stayed for a month.
    I contacted no-one.
    You are mistaken.
    Everything is normal.
    I am fine. I am fine.

    Isn’t that how you tell a story?
    Now. Come with us.



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  8. 2002: Dawit Isaak by Nick Asbury

    PRESS RELEASE

    Embargoed until who knows when,
    the livid ink inside the pen
    anticipates the click, release:
    the settled score of nib on sheet ­–

    waits then for the clack of keys,
    the punch of print upon the page.
    Now put the word out on the streets.
    Dawit Isaak is away.



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  9. 1986: Adam Michnik by Tamara O’Brien

    Like you, I never believed in an ideal state.
    Just messy, domestic democracy.

    Our history’s a digging out from under,
    Our politics simple: the ousting of tyrants.
    I was schooled, like you, at Adam Mickiewicz.

    At seventy, grant me the grace
    Of that grin they couldn’t wipe from your face.


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  10. 1976: Kim Chi Ha by Martin Lee

    Imprisoned for your belief in the Word made flesh,
    You were to discover, more than most,
    That words have implications for the flesh.

    But your captors, like so many others before and since,
    Were to discover, yet deny more than most,
    That jailing the flesh will not jail the words.



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