Can you imagine needing to write? What if you needed to write so badly that’d you use toothpaste instead of a pen, a Styrofoam cup instead of paper, if that’s all you had?
What would it be like if this writing – this poetry – was the only way to preserve your sanity? Your humanity?
That’s how it was – how it may still be – for the prisoners at Guantánamo. As the prison enters its 15th year of operation, there are 107 people still there, and most are held without charge. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Bahraini poet Ayat al-Qarmezi. © Private
In this season of uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa, governments consider even poetry subversive. Now a young Bahraini student is looking at a year in jail for reading a poem criticizing the Bahraini king.
Ayat al-Qarmezi, 20, a poet and student was convicted by a military court after an unfair trial. She was charged with taking part in illegal protests, disrupting public security and publicly inciting hatred toward the regime. She was arrested in March for reading out a poem at a pro-reform rally in the capital Manama.
The poem’s lyrics include the lines:
“We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery/ Don’t you hear their cries, don’t you hear their screams?”
She was forced to turn herself in to the authorities on March 30 after masked police raided her parents’ house repeatedly and reportedly threatened to kill her brothers unless she did so.
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