In Solidarity with Imprisoned Poet, Ashraf Fayadh

Published on Dissident Voice, by Paul Cooper, July 27, 2016.

Sentenced to death on charges of apostasy and promoting atheism, Ashraf had his sentence reduced to eight years and 800 lashes.

Somewhere, maybe on the other side of the world from you right now, countless people are sitting locked in small rooms because of things they wrote. It’s a strange idea. How could the written word be so dangerous that the person responsible for it should be placed in a box, locked away from society along with arsonists and murderers? So many of these journalists and artists are unknown. They do not have hashtags. But one of them, Ashraf Fayadh, has become a rallying call around the world. More than 60 international arts and human rights groups have campaigned for his release, and readings of his poetry have taken place in 44 countries in solidarity with his suffering. Some days it seems so simple: if we can save this one man, then why not the others? Perhaps one day we’ll be able to open their small boxes too, and let them walk back into the light, to their families, their coffee shops, their pens … //

… Even by the shockingly low standards of evidence required to try someone under Saudi’s religious laws, the accusation of blasphemy by Fayadh’s rival was flimsy. It wasn’t even corroborated by another witness, which is a requirement under sharia.

After receiving his death sentence, Fayadh was denied access to legal representation, and was given only 30 days to appeal. When he did, the sentence was reduced, if reduced can be used in this context, to eight years in prison and 800 lashes, to be carried out on 16 occasions. He was also forced to renounce his poetry on Saudi state television and radio, a cruel twist of the knife for someone who takes such pride in his work, and has done so much to promote the work of Saudi artists internationally.

In 2013, Fayadh co-curated a Saudi art show at the Venice Biennale. He called the show RHIZOMA, after the ancient Greek word for a plant’s underground roots, which grow both horizontally and vertically. This metaphor represented the fearless new generation of Saudi artists who have been forced to develop underground in the ultraconservative kingdom, but who also reach outwards for the support of others in the wider world. These roots are growing longer and thicker every day. In 2012, for instance, an anonymous collective of filmmakers set up a secret cinema in Abha, despite death threats and the prospect of a fate like Fayadh’s if the police found them. One of the films screened was about women’s rights, and was shot with a camera hidden in a traditional abaya covering. Many Saudi artists today can only exhibit their art abroad, and even then do so beneath the constant and chilling gaze of the religious police … //

(full text).

(Paul Cooper has worked as an archivist, editor and journalist. His first novel, River of Ink, was published by Bloomsbury in 2016 …).

on en.wikipedia:

related Website: End Blasphemy;
more search for Blasphemy Laws on Google Images-search;

(my comment: why is it so difficult to make understand fundamentalists of any colour that the relationship of a not-beliver to a so called protected holy person – as for example not Muslims with Mohammed – is the only matter of Mohammed himself, and not of his followers? As if a mighty holy person would not be good enough to deal himself with non believers. The biggest insult to Mohammed is to believe he has to be protected, he should be too weak and you fundamentalists have to mix up in his deals with non-believers – Heidi).


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Russia & Syria launch large-scale humanitarian op for Aleppo residents – defense ministry, on RT, July 28, 2016;

Wikileaks releases hacked DNC voicemails, on RT, July 28, 2016;

Dubious History Made Tuesday Night, on Steve LendmanBlog, by Stephen Lendman, July 27, 2016;

Money Laundering And Criminal Financing Are Major Concerns At Global Single-Family Offices, on FORBES, by Russ Alan Prince, July 27, 2016;

Singapore’s Sovereign-Wealth Fund Sees Lower Returns Ahead, on WSJ, by P.R. Venkat and Jake Maxwell Watts, July 27, 2016;

INTERNATIONAL: Basic Imcome Earth Network participates in CO-ACTE meetings, on BIEN, by Anddré Coelho, July 27, 2016;

Hedge funds suffer $20.7 billion net outflows in June, on CNBC, by Mary Childs, July 26, 2016;

La retraite agricole, le régimes de base et complémentaire, dans Tout Sur Mes Finances, par Jean-Philippe Dubosc, le 25 juillet 2016;

BRAZIL: Former Senator and long-term BIG activist arrested for protesting the eviction of poor people, on BIEN, by Karl Widerquist, July 25, 2016;

Leaders create action plan for city’s future at #VibrantSheffield live lab, on The, July 25, 2016;

The dishonourable killing of Qandeel Baloch, on The Guardian, by Mni Mohsin, July 18, 2016: 26-year-old social media star Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her brother … one of 12 siblings, she was from a small town in a conservative, feudal district of the Punjab …;

Täuschung, die Methode Reagan – Die Welt für dumm verkauft, 91.35 min, von Yuvan Kanger am 16. Dez 2015 … auf Arte [HD];

Wie Rußland hereingelegt wurde, 26.04 min, (spoken in english, translated in german), uploaded by FSchusterTV, July 28, 2015;

… and this – Sinéad O’Connor:

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