Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

January 23, 2007

Amnesty International: Well-known satirist Sakit Zahidov imprisoned following an unfair trial with questionable evidence

   
   
   

   
   
   
from: Amnesty International USA: Azerbaijan: Appeal Cases

24 January 2007; AI Index: EUR 55/002/2007 (Public)
   
   
Well-known satirist Sakit Zahidov imprisoned following an unfair trial with questionable evidence

Sakit Zahidov, a well-known journalist in Azerbaijan, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on questionable charges of possessing illegal drugs. Amnesty International is concerned that the 47-year-old journalist was not given a fair trial and that he may have been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. The organization calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure an immediate retrial in compliance with international fair trial standards.

Sakit Zahidov is a journalist and satirist for the opposition newspaper Azadlıq (‘Freedom’), as well as a poet. He is married with five children. He was arrested on 23 June 2006 on a charge of possession of illegal narcotics with intent to distribute by Interior Ministry personnel belonging to its anti-narcotics department. A statement issued by the Ministry alleged that 10 grams of heroin had been found on Sakit Zahidov’s person and confiscated following his arrest. Sakit Zahidov’s brother and editor-in-chief of the Azadlıq newspaper, Qanimat Zahidov, and other prominent opposition journalists believe that his arrest was politically motivated and that the heroin was planted on Sakit Zahidov in order to incriminate him. Allegedly, a senior officer (his name was provided to Amnesty International) from the Investigation Department for the Fight Against Drug Trafficking planted drugs in Sakit Zahidov’s left pocket after the journalist was forced into a car at the time of the arrest. The alleged planting of incriminating evidence on victims targeted because of their political activities was documented by human rights activists in the context of the 2005 parliamentary elections, when a number of opposition party activists were arrested and two imprisoned on narcotics-related charges.

Sakit Zahidov’s trial opened on 18 August 2006. A large number of public figures, human rights activists and journalists came to attend the trial, but were unable to gain access as the preliminary hearing reportedly took place in a small room with capacity for only 25 people. No recording of the hearing was permitted, and it is therefore difficult for Amnesty International to ascertain what evidence was presented to prove whether Sakit Zahidov had used illegal substances. Amnesty International is not in a position to be able to verify the apparently contradictory medical evidence presented to the trial; however the organization is concerned by a number of procedural irregularities in Sakit Zahidov’s arrest and trial. A number of important witnesses were not called for questioning at his trial and appeal. Furthermore, allegations that Sakit Zahidov’s own testimony was partially omitted from the final protocol used as a record of the trial cannot be substantiated, as reportedly his lawyers have still not had access to this document.

On 4 October, Sakit Zahidov was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in Baku Court on a reduced charge of “possession of drugs for the purpose of personal consumption”. Opposition journalists believe that Sakit Zahidov was convicted on account of the satirical column he wrote for Azadlıq, in which he regularly criticized the Azerbaijani government. In December he was moved to Bailovsk detention facility in Baku to a penal colony in Gobustan region. Amnesty International is concerned that Sakit Zahidov was not given a fair trial and questions the evidence on which the conviction was based. Therefore Amnesty International calls for Sakit Zahidov’s immediate retrial in compliance with international fair trial standards. If it cannot be convincingly proved that he is guilty of a crime, he should be released immediately.
   
   
Background information

Amnesty International is extremely concerned that over the last two years there have been repeated encroachments on the rights of members of civil society, and in particular journalists, to exercise their rights to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

Amnesty International has documented a number of developments of particular concern. First, the organization has received numerous reports regarding the harassment, including physical abuse, of journalists by law enforcement officials. Second, unidentified actors have carried out a series of violent attacks on journalists which have resulted in life-threatening injuries or even death, with the most recent attack taking place on 25 December 2006. These incidents have not been thoroughly, effectively or independently investigated, and have had a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the country. Third, Amnesty International has received information indicating that there has been an increase in the number of politically motivated arrests. Also, the authorities continue to use criminal defamation charges as a means to silence critical views and scrutiny of official wrongdoing. The fact that the victims in virtually all cases are closely linked to opposition parties and independent media suggests a political context to these cases. Also, outspoken independent media outlets have been accused of violating administrative and regulatory standards, with consequences that have regrettably resulted in the disruption of their professional activities.

These developments have taken place despite the fact that the right to freedom of opinion and expression is enshrined in the Azerbaijani Constitution, according to which ‘[E]veryone may enjoy freedom of thought and speech’ (Article 47). Furthermore, in a meeting with the Secretary General of the non-governmental organization Reporters Sans Frontières in April 2005, President Ilham Aliyev reportedly explicitly stated that it was “unacceptable for government officials to attack journalists”. Azerbaijan also has an obligation to promote and protect the right to freedom of expression as a State Party to a number of international treaties, such as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR; Article 10) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR; Article 19).
   
   
Recommended actions:

Please send courteous letters in Azeri, Russian, English, Turkish or your own language.

Express concern about allegations that the criminal charges against Sakit Zahidov were politically motivated and that the heroin was planted on him in order to incriminate him.

Express concern that Sakit Zahidov was not given a fair trial and about the uncertainty surrounding the evidence on which the conviction was based.
State that Amnesty International is calling for an immediate retrial in line with international fair trial standards.

State that the Azerbaijani authorities must ensure that no criminal charges are brought against journalists solely as a result of their lawful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.

Urge the Azerbaijani government to implement the March 2003 recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the July 2005 recommendations of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Representative on Freedom of Media, in regard to freedom of expression.
   
   
Please send appeals to:


President
President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066 AZERBAIJAN
Fax: + 994 12 492 0625
Email: president@gov.az, office@apparat.gov.az
Salutation: Dear President
   
   

Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
7 Husu Hajiyev Street
Baku 370005, AZERBAIJAN
Fax: + 994 12 492 45 90, +994 12 492 7990
Salutation: Dear Minister
   
   

Procurator General
Zakir Qaralov
Procurator General; 7 Rafibeyli Street; Baku 370001, Azerbaijan
Fax: + 994 12 492 32 30 (if someone answers ask for a fax tone)
Email: prosec@azeri.com
Salutation: Dear Procurator General
   
   
COPIES TO:


Ombudsperson
Prof. Elmira Suleymanova
Office of the Ombudsman
40 Uz. Hajibeyov Street
Baku AZ1000, AZERBAIJAN
Fax: + 994 12 498 8574
Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.az
   
   
You may send copies to diplomatic representatives of Azerbaijan accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND ANY REPLIES FROM THE AUTHORITIES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO THE INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. (Eurasia Team, Europe and Central Asia Programme, Amnesty International; 1 Easton Street; London WC1X ODW; United Kingdom)
   
   

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December 19, 2006

Adonis: ‘We, in Arab society, do not understand the meaning of freedom’

   

Duration 4:40

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This is from The Middle East Media Research Institute: Special Dispatch Series, No. 1393

The video above is better viewed on the MEMRI site from here:

MEMRI TV Clip 1335

Below is the transcript translated into English by MEMRI.

   

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Renowned Syrian Poet ‘Adonis’: ‘We, In Arab Society, Do Not Understand The Meaning Of Freedom’

The poet Ali Ahmad Sa’id (b. 1930), known by his pseudonym “Adonis,” a 2005 candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature, left his native Syria for Lebanon in the 1950s following six months’ imprisonment for political activity. In 1973, he received his Ph.D. from St. JosephUniversity in Beirut; in 1985, he settled in Paris, where he now works as a writer and literary critic. Among other occupations, he has edited the modernist magazine Mawaqif (Viewpoints), and translated some of the great French poets into Arabic. The following are excerpts from interviews with Adonis, which aired on ANB TV on November 26, 2006 and on Dubai TV on March 11, 2006.

November 26, 2006 Interview

to view this clip: MEMRI TV Clip 1335

Adonis: “The difference between Europe and the Islamic world is in quality, not in degree. What I mean is that the Christian view of the world is not political, but humanistic. It is human beings who are the basis for politics.

“A Christian has great liberty to separate his religious faith from his political activity. The mistake committed by the Church in the Middle Ages was rectified–obviously after a struggle and violent revolutions–and political rule was entirely separated from politics . . .”

Interviewer: “From religion . . .”

Adonis: “From religion, sorry. In our case, political rule was based . . . Ever since the struggle over who would inherit Prophet Muhammad’s place, political rule was essentially based on religion.”

Interviewer: “But there were great revolutions in the Arab and Islamic world. Take, for example, the ideology of Arab nationalism. This ideology may be connected with Islamic culture, but it is still a man-made ideology.”

Adonis: “But the ideology of Arab nationalism, in all its forms, is a religious ideology, in the sense that it has never raised any cardinal question concerning religion.”

[. . .]

“The Arabs have managed to turn democracy or the revolution into a dynastic or monarchic regime, which is handed down. Most Arab regimes are monarchic regimes, one way or another.”

Interviewer: “Including the republics . . .”

Adonis: “Especially the republics. In my opinion, while it is true that colonialism has played a role, and the wars with Israel have played a role, the greatest responsibility is, nevertheless, on us Arabs.”

[. . .]

“The Arab individual does not elect from among people of different opinions who represent different currents. The Arab is accustomed to voting according to pre-determined concepts. Whoever represents this pre-determined concept . . . The nationalist will vote for a nationalist, and the communist will vote for a communist. These are all types of religious sects. The tribal and sectarian structure has not disintegrated, and has not melted down into the new structure of democracy and the democratic option.”

[. . .]

“There can be no living culture in the world if you cannot criticize its foundations–the religion.

“We lack the courage to ask any question about any religious issue.

“For example, as a Muslim, I cannot say a single word about the Prophet Moses.

“The Prophet Moses did not say anything to me as a Muslim, whereas the Israeli Jew can criticize Moses and all the prophets in the Torah, and he can even question the divinity of the Torah.”

[. . .]

“We, in Arab society, do not understand the meaning of freedom. We say that freedom means writing an article. Freedom is much deeper than that.”

Interviewer: “Even writing an article is not possible.”

Adonis: “True. Arab society is based on many types of invisible slavery, and the ideology and political rule conceal them with worthless slogans and political discourse. The underlying structure of Arab societies is a structure of slavery, not of liberty.”

   

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March 11, 2006 Interview

to view this clip: MEMRI TV Clip 1076

Adonis: “Words are treated as a crime today. Throughout history, there has never been anything similar to what’s happening today in our Arab society–when you say a word, it is like committing a crime.”

Interviewer: “True.”

Adonis: “Words and opinions are treated as a crime. This is inconceivable.”

Interviewer: “You can be arrested for writing an article.”

Adonis: “That’s one example.”

[. . .]

“In the Koran itself, it says that Allah listened to his first enemy, Satan, and Satan refused to obey him. I believe that Allah was capable of wiping out Satan, yet He listened to Satan’s refusal to obey Him.

“At the very least, we demand that Muslims today listen to people with different opinions.”

[. . .]

Interviewer: “How do you view the plan for democracy, the ‘Greater Middle East’ plan?”

Adonis: “First of all, I oppose any external intervention in Arab affairs. If the Arabs are so inept that they cannot be democratic by themselves, they can never be democratic through the intervention of others.

“If we want to be democratic, we must be so by ourselves. But the preconditions for democracy do not exist in Arab society, and cannot exist unless religion is reexamined in a new and accurate way, and unless religion becomes a personal and spiritual experience, which must be respected.

“On the other hand, all issues pertaining to civil and human affairs must be left up to the law and to the people themselves.”

Interviewer: “Mr. Adonis, how do you view the democracy in Palestine, which brought Hamas to power?”

Adonis: “I support it, but I oppose the establishment of any state on the basis of religion, even if it’s done by Hamas.”

Interviewer: “Even if it liberates Palestine?”

Adonis: “Yes, because in such a case, it would be my duty to fight this religious state.”

[. . .]

Interviewer: “What are the reasons for growing glorification of dictatorships–sometimes in the name of pan-Arabism, and other times in the name of rejecting foreigners? The glorification comes even from the elites, as can be seen, for example, in the Saddam Hussein trial, and in all the people who support him.”

Adonis: “This phenomenon is very dangerous, and I believe it has to do with the concept of ‘oneness,’ which is reflected–in practical or political terms–in the concept of the hero, the savior, or the leader. This concept offers an inner sense of security to people who are afraid of freedom. Some human beings are afraid of freedom.”

Interviewer: “Because it is synonymous with anarchy?”

Adonis: “No, because being free is a great burden. It is by no means easy.”

Interviewer: “You’ve got to have a boss . . .”

Adonis: “When you are free, you have to face reality, the world in its entirety. You have to deal with the world’s problems, with everything . . .”

Interviewer: “With all the issues . . .”

Adonis: “On the other hand, if we are slaves, we can be content and not have to deal with anything. Just as Allah solves all our problems, the dictator will solve all our problems.”

[. . .]

“I don’t understand what is happening in Arab society today. I don’t know how to interpret this situation, except by making the following hypothesis: When I look at the Arab world, with all its resources, the capacities of Arab individuals, especially abroad–you will find among them great philosophers, scientists, engineers, and doctors. In other words, the Arab individual is no less smart, no less a genius, than anyone else in the world. He can excel–but only outside his society. I have nothing against the individuals–only against the institutions and the regimes.

“If I look at the Arabs, with all their resources and great capacities, and I compare what they have achieved over the past century with what others have achieved in that period, I would have to say that we Arabs are in a phase of extinction, in the sense that we have no creative presence in the world.”

Interviewer: “Are we on the brink of extinction, or are we already extinct?”

Adonis: “We have become extinct. We have the quantity. We have the masses of people, but a people becomes extinct when it no longer has a creative capacity, and the capacity to change its world.”

[. . .]

“The great Sumerians became extinct, the great Greeks became extinct, and the Pharaohs became extinct. The clearest sign of this extinction is when we intellectuals continue to think in the context of this extinction.”

Interviewer: “That is very dangerous.”

Adonis: “That is our real intellectual crisis. We are facing a new world with ideas that no longer exist, and in a context that is obsolete. We must sever ourselves completely from that context, on all levels, and think of a new Arab identity, a new culture, and a new Arab society.”

[. . .]

“Imagine that Arab societies had no Western influence. What would be left? The Muslims must . . .”

Interviewer: “What would be left?”

Adonis: “Nothing. Nothing would be left except for the mosque, the church, and commerce, of course.”

[. . .]

“The Muslims today–forgive me for saying this–with their accepted interpretation [of the religious text], are the first to destroy Islam, whereas those who criticize the Muslims–the non-believers, the infidels, as they call them–are the ones who perceive in Islam the vitality that could adapt it to life. These infidels serve Islam better than the believers.”

   

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November 11, 2006

Verse for Veterans: First Foe to Flanders Fields

   


   

by Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)
   

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars
   

Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
      That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
      To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
      The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
      A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
      As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
      Loved I not Honor more.
   

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at sea in the First Dutch War (1665) the night before an engagement
   

by Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset (1638-1706)
   

Song, Written at Sea
   

To all you ladies now at land
            We men at sea indite;
But first would have you understand
            How hard it is to write:
The Muses now, and Neptune too,
We must implore to write to you–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

For though the Muses should prove kind,
            And fill our empty brain,
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind
            To wave the azure main,
Our paper, pen, and ink, and we,
Roll up and down our ships at sea–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Then if we write not by each post,
            Think not we are unkind;
Nor yet conclude our ships are lost
            By Dutchmen or by wind:
Our tears we’ll send a speedier way,
The tide shall bring them twice a day–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

The King with wonder and surprise
            Will swear the seas grow bold,
Because the tides will higher rise
            Than e’er they did of old:
But let him know it is our tears
Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Should foggy Opdam chance to know
            Our sad and dismal story,
The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe,
            And quit their fort at Goree:
For what resistance can they find
From men who’ve left their hearts behind?–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Let wind and weather do its worst,
            Be you to us but kind;
Let Dutchmen vapor, Spaniards curse,
            No sorrow we shall find:
‘Tis then no matter how things go,
Or who’s our friend, or who’s our foe–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

To pass our tedious hours away
            We throw a merry main,
Or else at serious ombre play:
            But why should we in vain
Each other’s ruin thus pursue?
We were undone when we left you–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

But now our fears tempestuous grow
            And cast our hopes away;
Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
            Sit careless at a play:
Perhaps permit some happier man
To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

When any mournful tune you hear,
            That dies in every note
As if it sighed with each man’s care
            For being so remote,
Think then how often love we’ve made
To you, when all those tunes were played–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

In justice you cannot refuse
            To think of our distress,
When we for hopes of honor lose
            Our certain happiness:
All those designs are but to prove
Ourselves more worthy of your love–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

And now we’ve told you all our loves,
            And likewise all our fears,
In hopes this declaration moves
            Some pity for our tears:
Let’s hear of no inconstancy–
We have too much of that at sea–
                      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
   

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by Robert Burns (1759-1796)
   

My Bonnie Mary
   

Go fetch to me a pint o’ wine,
And fill it in a silver tassie,
That I may drink, before I go,
A service to my bonnie lassie.
The boat rocks at the pier o’ Leith,
Fu’ loud the wind blaws frae the ferry,
The ship rides by the Berwick-law,
And I maun leave my bonnie Mary.

The trumpets sound, the banners fly,
The glittering spears are ranked ready;
The shouts o’ war are heard afar,
The battle closes thick and bloody;
But it’s no the roar o’ sea or shore
Wad mak me langer wish to tarry;
Nor shout o’ war that’s heard afar–
It’s leaving thee, my bonnie Mary!
   


   

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by William Cowper (1731-1808)
   

The Nightingale and Glow-Worm
   

A nightingale, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus, right eloquent:
“Did you admire my lamp,” quoth he,
“As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For ’twas the self-same Power Divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.”
The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
Hence jarring sectaries may learn
Their real interest to discern;
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other;
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life’s poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other’s case
The gifts of nature and of grace.
Those Christians best deserve the name
Who studiously make peace their aim;
Peace both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.
   

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by Edmund Hamilton Sears (1810-1876)
   

It Came upon the Midnight Clear
   

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men
From heaven’s all-gracious King”–
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel-sounds
The blessed angels sing.

But with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;–
Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;–
Oh, rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When Peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.
   


   

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by Louise Driscoll (1875-1957)
   

The Highway
   

All day long on the highway
The King’s fleet couriers ride;
You may hear the tread of their horses sped
Over the country side.
They ride for life and they ride for death
And they override who tarrieth.
With show of color and flush of pride
They stir the dust on the highway.

Let them ride on the highway wide.
Love walks in little paths aside.

All day long on the highway
Is a tramp of an army’s feet;
You may see them go in a marshaled row
With the tale of their arms complete:
They march for war and they march for peace,
For the lust of gold and fame’s increase,

For victories sadder than defeat
They raise the dust on the highway.

All the armies of earth defied,
Love dwells in little paths aside.

All day long on the highway
Rushes an eager band,
With straining eyes for a worthless prize
That slips from the grasp like sand.
And men leave blood where their feet have stood
And bow them down unto brass and wood–
Idols fashioned by their own hand–
Blind in the dust of the highway.

Power and gold and fame denied,
Love laughs glad in the paths aside.

   

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by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918)
   

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
   


   


   

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September 30, 2006: Massacre. September 29, 1960: Tenzin Gyatsu’s prayer.

   


   

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.

–Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
   

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A Romanian ProTV station on a massacre of Tibetan refugees by Chinese soldiers on Nangapa pass in the Himilayas on Sept. 30, 2006. See more coverage and get involved in the struggle to free Tibet at Students for a Free Tibet and Tibet Will Be Free.
   

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from his website
   

a prayerby His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet
   

Words of Truth
   

Honoring and Invoking the Great Compassion
of the Three Jewels; the Buddha, the Teachings,
and the Spiritual Community

   

O Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and disciples
of the past, present, and future:
Having remarkable qualities
Immeasurably vast as the ocean,
Who regard all helpless sentient beings
as your only child;
Please consider the truth of my anguished pleas.

Buddha’s full teachings dispel the pain of worldly
existence and self-oriented peace;
May they flourish, spreading prosperity and happiness throughout this spacious world.
O holders of the Dharma: scholars
and realized practitioners;
May your ten fold virtuous practice prevail.

Humble sentient beings, tormented
by sufferings without cease,
Completely suppressed by seemingly endless
and terribly intense, negative deeds,
May all their fears from unbearable war, famine,
and disease be pacified,
To freely breathe an ocean of happiness and well-being.
And particularly the pious people
of the Land of Snows who, through various means,
Are mercilessly destroyed by barbaric hordes
on the side of darkness,
Kindly let the power of your compassion arise,
To quickly stem the flow of blood and tears.

Those unrelentingly cruel ones, objects of compassion,
Maddened by delusion’s evils,
wantonly destroy themselves and others;
May they achieve the eye of wisdom,
knowing what must be done and undone,
And abide in the glory of friendship and love.

May this heartfelt wish of total freedom for all Tibet,
Which has been awaited for a long time,
be spontaneously fulfilled;
Please grant soon the good fortune to enjoy
The happy celebration of spiritual with temporal rule.

O protector Chenrezig, compassionately care for
Those who have undergone myriad hardships,
Completely sacrificing their most cherished lives,
bodies, and wealth,
For the sake of the teachings, practitioners,
people, and nation.

Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers
Before the Buddhas and Bodhisativas
To fully embrace the Land of Snows;
May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear.
By the profound interdependence of emptiness
and relative forms,
Together with the force of great compassion
in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth,
And through the power
of the infallible law of actions and their fruits,
May this truthful prayer be unhindered
and quickly fulfilled.
   

This prayer, Words of Truth, was composed by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, on 29 September 1960 at his temporary headquarters in the Swarg Ashram at Dharamsala, Kangra District, Himachal State, India. This prayer for restoring peace, the Buddhist teachings, and the culture and self-determina-tion of the Tibetan people in their homeland was written after repeated requests by Tibetan government officials along with the unanimous consensus of the monastic and lay communities.
   

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
   

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October 11, 2006

Ko Un

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Born in 1933, Ko Un is a former Zen monk, a former prisoner, and a poet. Here we sample from, his web site:
   

Ko Un

   

There, on the page called “Ko Un on Ko Un“, he writes:

For instance, who today would contradict someone who insists that the death of codes brings life to a poem, as in the case of the different numbers on freight trains waiting in line at Daejeon Station, whose numbers are no longer a code but a poem.

It is in this context that I reject the recent trend of interpreting a poem as text. There is no such thing as a poem that can simply be seen as a text. No poem can stay on a desk or an Internet screen. Poems do not exist in material anthologies.

The universe and space, the imensities of time are the stage for poems. Even a very short love song or elegy is a poem of the universe. That explains why poems should faithfully fulfill their public obligations to the world.

On the page “Who is Ko Un?“, Robert Hass has written:

Ko Un is a remarkable poet and one of the heroes of human freedom in this half century, a religious poet who got tangled by accident in the terrible accidents of modern history. But he is somebody who has been equal to the task, a feat rare among human beings.

On the “Chronology” page, after a section on Ko Un’s former lives, we find this for the year 1942:

By the time he was eight, he had already studied classical Chinese texts that even much older children usually had difficulty in mastering. In 1942 when he was in grade three, his Japanese headmaster asked him what he hoped to become in the future and got the answer, ‘The Emperor of Japan.’ Ko Un was severely punished for this effrontery.

And this for the year 1952:

Before the war was over, in 1952, he joined the Buddhist clergy and became the recognized disciple of the great monk Hyobong. For the next ten years he lived a life of Zen meditation, always on the move. He traveled the whole country, living by alms.

From his page “What They Say About Ko Un“, we are linked here to discover three of his poems:
   

Words Without Borders: Ko Un

   

and find a link to this, copied from Korean Culture Magazine from Spring 1999 (click to enlarge):


   

and this, copied from The Washington Post’s “Poet’s Choice” of January 4, 1998; which contains the poem “The woman from Sonjae” by Ko Un, translated by Brother Anthony of Taiza and Young Moo-Kim, and with discussion by Robert Hass:


   

He has several more sections, but the one I especially want to note is “Works in Translation” where at each translated compilation’s page, there are poems that pop up with a click into windows that perfectly fit the poem on its nicely done background. For instance, from Beyond Self–108 Korean Zen Poems pops
   

Echo

   

and from Morning Dew pops
   

Sunlight

   

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Here are his most recent poetry volumes, translated into English:

Flowers of a Moment (2006)

   

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The Three Way Tavern: Selected Poems (2006)

   

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Ten Thousand Lives (2005)

   

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