#FreeAshraf – 16 november – Bozar (Brussels)

Dear Ashraf

Here a short note of support from another poet, and board member of PEN Belgium Dutch Speaking, responsible for our Writers in Prison Committee. I want to let you know that next wednesday, we will have our second event on your behalf. The previous one we held last December, when we (PEN Belgium Dutch Speaking & Hart Boven Hard) organized a literary outdoor sit-in in the Port of Antwerp to protest your condemnation and to ask public attention for your case. This event followed a petition we initiated. This petition got signed by thousands of people, mostly from within the cultural field. With this petition we went to our Minister of Foreign Affairs to ask him what he could do for your case.

Next Wednesday, on the 16th of November, we (PEN Belgium + BOZAR + Hart Boven Hard) will have a literary event on your behalf in Bozar, an important cultural center in our capital. We hope to attract a big audience there: more info about this event: http://www.bozar.be/en/activities/119657-free-ashraf

We (PEN Belgium) also initiated the idea to look for 16 poets who would each write a poem of 50 words to support you. This resulted in a small book of poems (by more than 16 poets) that will come out next Wednesday. It is titled: (more than) 16 times 50 words for Ashraf.

My friend, I sincerely hope that you will soon be released from prison. So that maybe one day we could shake hands and talk about life and poetry.

Keep up the spirit, poet!

Sven Cooremans – PEN Belgium Dutch Speaking

DON’T GIVE UP!!

Yes Ashraff

Because we won’t give up your cause and so why should you??

We are constantly with you and won’t leave you since you must know you are not alone.

I am sending you huge hugs and please be patient, all our love

Darcy and millions of people thinking of you

 

 

For Ashraf Fayadh Imprisoned

For Ashraf Fayadh Imprisoned

“I am choked by depression, nervousness, worry.

Remorse, that I’m a member of the human race, kills me.”

Tense Times, a poem by Ashraf Fayadh[i]

 

i know them all

these furious fucking friends,

like an army

putting another city to siege.

 

i know them all,

the loneliness, the heartbreak

swallowed like a stone,

the anger like a storm surprised,

even this half-dead, cold closed heart

faced with these uniforms, these walls,

their routine and common cruelty,
and lies, the endless lies

of history and place and people

with a mask instead of a face.

 

The soldiers besiege me on all fronts

in uniforms of poor color…

Laws and regimes and statutes besiege me. “

You write….

 

So many lies

keeping us in this prison

i know them all,

even without your grim surroundings,

even without your history,

though my own, just like yours

is still full of our unredeemed dead.

 

We know so much and so little

but one thing always escapes me:

when will this injustice end?

When will all these doors be thrown open?

When will they set us free

 

let you go grieve your stolen father,

your stolen homeland, your right to be,

to speak, to sing out loud,

your freedom,

 

our collective and personal promise

of humanity?

 

 

séamas carraher

Dublin, Ireland

30 March, 2016 – 18, April, 2016

For Ashraf Fayadh Imprisoned

[i] http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/21/tense-times-poem-by-ashraf-fayadh-world-poetry-day