"You can show your support for the poet by emailing the embassy in Washington D.C. as we did, however, I believe the emails go unread. You can also call the embassy and leave a message at (202) 274-1600 (press 1 four times to leave a message with the ambassador’s office)."
We, the undersigned, including poets, men and women writing, performing and reciting poetry in all corners of the world, urge the Secretary of State or Foreign Minister of our respective countries to appeal to the Qatari Court for the immediate release of our colleague, Qatari poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami, who after spending a year in solitary confinement, on November 29, 2012 was sentenced to life in prison by the Qatari courts.
Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami’s crime consisted of reciting on November 16, 2011 a poem extolling the courage and values of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, /Oh revolutionary, sing the praises of the struggle with the blood of the people/ in the soul of the free carve the values of revolt/ and to those holding the shroud of the dead tell/ that every victory also bears its ordeals/.
According to the poet's lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, the judge made the whole trial secret [..]"Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me."
Rather than making itself an instrument for cracking down on dissent, we believe that the Court should uphold Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami’s right to free speech. In the tradition of speaking truth to power, following the footsteps of such great poets as Pablo Neruda, Majakovski, Nazim Hikmet, Mahmoud Darwish, Faraj Bayraqdar and innumerable others throughout the world today, such as Colombia’s poet Angye Gaona, Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami placed his poetic talent to the service of a movement for change. The poem he recited called for an end to intolerable conditions, a demand that for the past two years has been aired by millions throughout North Africa and the Arab world.
In this spirit, we poets and non-poets who perceive the need for worldwide change at the social, political and ecological level, call on the Court to review the appeal, stop siding with repression and lend its ear to the movements that have sprung up all over the world for dignity, social justice and freedom, virtues that poets all over the world are endeavoring to voice and deliver using the beauty and power of poetry.
Qatari Poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami has been sentenced to life in prison for the crime of reciting a poem. Help correct this injustice by signing the petition.
"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."
On April 3, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound.
We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought, the keys to “soft power” and cultural influence.
Our institutions have some of the largest online museum communities in the world. We have launched this online petition to our collective millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. By using Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of “social sculpture,” we hope to hasten the release of our visionary friend.
Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation
and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art
Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director General, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao,
and Deputy Director and Chief Officer for Global Strategies, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern
Kaywin Feldman, President, Association of Art Museum Directors and Director
and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Yongwoo Lee, President, The Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Michael Govan, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Vishakha Desai, President and Melissa Chiu, Vice President of Global Arts, Asia Society
Jim Cuno, President and Director, Art Institute of Chicago
Julián Zugazagoitia, Director, Nelson Atkins Museum , Kansas City
Ann Philbin, Director, Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles
Olga Viso, Director, Walker Art Center
Alfred Pacquement, Director, Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris
Arnold Lehman, Director, Brooklyn Museum
Jill Medvedow, Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes
and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London
Poul Erik Tøjner, Director, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Neal Benezra, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Tony Ellwood, Director, and Suhanya Raffel, Deputy Director, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia
Facebook(脸书)及Twitter(推特)上的百万追随者。我们期望藉由艾未 未深信能够实现”社会雕塑”的媒体-网络，来达成对释放这位拥有美好远景的艺术家及朋 友之请求。
Richard Armstrong 古根汉姆美术馆 馆长, Alexandra Munroe 古根汉姆美术馆 资深策展人
Juan Ignacio Vidarte 古根汉姆美术馆 毕尔巴鄂分馆 馆长 古根汉姆基金会 副会长暨首席国际策略执行官
Glenn Lowry 纽约当代美术馆 馆长
Sir Nicholas Serota 泰德美术馆 馆长, Chris Dercon 泰德当代美术馆 馆长
Kaywin Feldman 美国博物馆协会暨明尼阿波利斯美术馆 总裁
Yongwoo Lee 光州双年展基金会 总裁
Michael Govan 洛杉矶美术馆 馆长
Vishakha Desai 亚洲协会 总裁, Melissa Chiu 亚洲协会 全球艺术项目 副总裁
Jim Cuno 芝加哥美术馆 馆长暨总裁
Julián Zugazagoitia 纳尔逊·阿特金斯艺术博物馆 馆长
Ann Philbin 加州大学洛杉矶分校 汉默美术馆 馆长
Olga Viso 沃克艺术中心 执行 官
Alfred Pacquement 国立现代艺术美术馆 / 巴黎工业设计中心 馆长
Arnold Lehman 布鲁克林美术馆 馆长
Jill Medvedow波士顿当代艺术美术馆 馆长
Julia Peyton-Jones伦敦蛇形画廊 执行官
Hans Ulrich Obrist 伦敦蛇形画廊 展览部联合总监暨国际展览项目总监
Poul Erik Tøjner丹麦 路易斯安那现代美术馆 馆长
Nathalie Bondil 蒙特利尔美术馆 馆长暨首席策展人
Neal Benezra 旧金山当代美术馆 馆长
Tony Ellwood 澳大利亚昆士兰美术馆 馆长, Suhanya Raffel 澳大利亚昆士兰美术馆 副馆长
The regime in Beijing has proven largely resistant to pressure from foreign governments. But they've made a huge push to raise China's profile in the arts -- the government just finished building the world's largest art museum. Widespread condemnation, led by the arts community, may be our best chance to save his life.
Please sign the petition to free Ai Weiwei as soon as possible.
The 10th of Tevet is the traditional day of remembrance for victims of violence whose death dates and/or burial places are unknown. Tonight, December 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM a memorial service and rally will be held at Brooklyn's Parade Grounds (adjacent to the Tennis Center across the street from Prospect Park) to remember all victims of violence as well as the recent suicides of gay young adults.
Read the entire article on examiner.com
It's been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that's exactly what we'd like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.
RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)
REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.