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Poetry in solidarity

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Adolfo79, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Adolfo79

    Adolfo79 Guest

    When poets, human rights activists and audiences the world over took part in stage and radio readings for democracy and media freedom in Zimbabwe, the power of poetry as a grassroots political medium was vividly demonstrated once again.
    The events followed an appeal launched by Ulrich Schreiber, director of the Berlin International Literature Festival, and signed by over 170 writers in 56 countries, including Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer and many other leading South African authors, along with writers from Congo, China, Korea, Latin America, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Palestine, India and Iran, as well as Europe and North America.
    The reading in Berlin was held in English and German, with Olaf Schenk's sensitive German translations of the original English poems. The great Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llhosa took the stage in Berlin with a passionate speech. "The Zimbabwean people are victims of one of the worst dictatorships of our days," he declared. He felt saddened that a country, which liberated itself from colonialism over 25 years ago, and initially enjoyed the goodwill of the world, had descended into "crony capitalism" while "the majority of the population is deprived of the elementary tools for survival." But Llhosa urged us to fight pessimistic, fatalist attitudes. "Dictatorships are a human creation, not a natural accident," he concluded. "They can be defeated and replaced by decent, humane governments."
    Then Zimbabwean poetry took centre stage, with an interlude between the poems for the reading of a recent essay by Elinor Sisulu, a writer and human rights activist living in South African exile since 1991. The poems from Zimbabwe today reflect all this. Some of the poets are in political exile, while others are left desperately trying to feed and educate their children and keep daily life going. Their writings are often incredibly sad or angry, bitter or ironic. At the same time, they are songs of resistance, radiating an indestructible human spirit.
    **** Weekley who is active in community affairs heard over radio with the members of YMCA the Zimbabwe’s Poet/singer Chirikuré Chirikuré’s poem, "Let's Cry with Hope", read at the Berlin meeting by US poet Anne Waldman, ends with the words:
    "We should definitely mourn
    But let us cry with hope
    Tomorrow we shall celebrate".