Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The new martyrs are the poets

Rus Bowden via poetryandpoetsinrags.blogspot.com


"This April, Ayat al-Ghermezi (or Ayat al-Gormezi) was reported to have been raped and killed (http://poetryandpoetsinrag
s.blogspot.com/2011/04/poetic-obituaries-ayat-al-ghermezi-20.html) while in the custody of Bahraini forces. Bahrain is blaming the misinformation on Iran, but still and all, we find out that she is to come before a Bahrain military tribunal for reading poetry. This is our first story, and the first of a pair of headliners for the week.

"Our second story is about blogger and poet Amina Abdallah, who has both Syrian and American citizenship. Her blog is called A Gay Girl in Damascus (http://damascusgaygirl.blogspot.com/). She has been abducted by armed men, and the reports or fears are that this is an official Syrian arrest.


"Those two articles are followed by one of a Turkish mayor getting six months in prison for being part of the council that named a park after a poet. That's followed by a story on Chile's communist party looking into fresh allegations that Pablo Neruda was executed by poison for his politics. And it just doesn't seem to stop.

"The new martyrs are the poets. Apparently in some parts of the world, all over the world, there are religious people who think they can earn their halos by killing, harassing, maiming, or otherwise silencing poets. Somehow whatever sin they concoct for poets is much worse than any sin they themselves have committed or are wont to commit. It must make them feel close to God or Allah to kill or harm such a poet, because no remorse whatsoever is shown after their despicable acts. But it is only he who is without sin, who can cast the first stone. That's common sense. Do it otherwise, and it makes no difference who you are or what position you hold, whatever sin you thought was in the poet, yours is much worse.


"This same principal follows when poets are abducted, detained, imprisoned, tortured, or killed for political reasons, whether it be by a political group which feels it ought to be in power, or one that is. If an ideology cannot withstand a poem, such ideology amounts to nothing. If a military power or a government structure is threatened by a poem, there is no power beyond arms, and there is no government beyond threats. A government or political movement that is so threatened by a poem, or even a whole poet, such that the poet is abducted or killed for the sake of a nation, or even threatened with military might, is a tyrannical government, or a movement based on the selfish egos giving it power.


"Therefore, one great measure of a good government and a healthy society is the amount of latitude poets are given, and, on the other hand, how few people are in prisons because of poems they wrote. This follows for religions. The better the religion, the less poets are being condemned, not disagreed with, but condemned."
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