Literary Corner
Obrazi miru

Ob 50. obletnici Blejskih srečanj smo izdali izbor pesmi članov svetovnih centrov PEN, ki se redno udeležujejo naših srečanj. Knjižica je čudovit pogled nazaj in popotnica za naprej.

Drugačnost bogati


Globina drugačnosti je neskončna. Če bi jo poskušali oceniti, je tako, kakor če bi hoteli prešteti in primerjati vse kapljice vode v morju. Nemogoče. In prav kapljice lahko kljub svoji raznolikosti in zaradi trdne povezanosti tvorijo morja in oceane.

Sovražni govor je vojna napoved




Če bi se že v uvodu dotaknila starega slovenskega pregovora Beseda ni konj, bi kaj hitro razbila pomen in realnost tega pregovora. Besede lahko strejo močen oklep in razbijejo še tako trdno grajen zid posameznikove  samopodobe. Povzročijo lahko boleče rane, po katerih je zdravljenje še zahtevnejše. Pogosto se zarijejo v našo notranjost in tam ostanejo za veliko časa, do takrat ko smo pač pripravljeni iti naprej. Velikokrat se pretvarjamo, da ne bolijo, vendar imajo besede moč, predvsem zato, ker jim slepo verjamemo ali pa se bojimo, da jim bodo verjeli drugi.

Drugačnost bogati

Drugačnost bogati


Drugačnost je del našega vsakdana in del vsakega od nas. Čeprav to pogosto želimo prikriti, da bi zadovoljili našo potrebo po pripadnosti, smo drugačni čisto vsi. Večino svojega življenja mislim, da je drugačnost slaba in manjvredna. Hvala, zloglasni mediji!

Sovražni govor je vojna napoved

Sovražni govor je vojna napoved


Tišina. Nemočno vstanem, da ne bom drugačna, da ne bom izstopala, da ne bom predrzna.


»Jutro!« vpeljano prečesa razred učitelj zgodovine. Razvaljenih obrazov za klopmi ne spregleda. »Druga svetovna vojna!« še enkrat, tokrat z dvakratno mero entuziazma, maha pred tablo, a še vseeno premalo zanimivo, da bi me pritegnil.


Skoraj neopazno pogledam skozi okno. V daljavi takoj opazim nevihto. Čudno – ko pa je še včeraj pripekalo sonce.


v knjižnici že dva tisoč let knjige načrti
v plamenih liste odnaša iz spomina veter
črke in strani zleplja kri v otrplih prstih


Veno Taufer: VUKVAR

I had an apparition of Vukovar and I took a walk for a few
    streets -
around the block - with my hands frozen - up to the tobacco shop
and on returning I thought so that's the way they used

No Events!
A A  




Thank you Serbian PEN! Thank you Vida and thank you to all of your members. You have organized a wonderful Congress. People who attend have no idea how much work is involved and how many hours are taken up that could have been used for writing. So, a very personal thank you from all of us who have come from other countries.

When we say, we members of PEN International, that we represent literature and freedom of expression, and that you can't separate one from the other, it is a simple statement of fact. This is our 90th year. We are, we have always been, the only truly international literary organization. We have invented the idea and the implementation of freedom of expression campaigns.
Sometimes, the obvious has to be reiterated. There are some governments , some people in power – those that George Konrad, one of our former presidents, calls 'professionals of power' – who say: 'Ah.. they're only writers, only words' . And it is true that we do not have tanks or banks or the capacity to bear a huge deficit or support a large bureaucracy. But if we are only writers, why is it that about 850 of our colleagues are in jail around the world? Why is it that writers are still killed with a terrifying regularity? We have that great power which is language and imagination – through poems and plays and novels and essays – a power that sets free the spirit of readers. It is with the words of imagination that people work.

Yesterday, I was asked - quite rightly - what difference does it make that writers from 89 PEN centres are gathered in Belgrade. It is the right question.
The first answer is that this Congress is a public expression of reconciliation. Of course, writers in the Balkans have never stopped talking to each other. But, this Congress is a formal evocation of the imagination of the Balkans.
Today, the leaders of 10 Balkan PEN centres sat together on a stage and created the Balkans PEN International Network. The founding members are Bosnian PEN, Bulgarian, Croatian, Kosovar, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian and Turkish. This is an historic event. It is a message to the world.
Second, the gathering of hundreds of writers from around the world matters because it is a force for imagination and transparency. Our charter is clear. We believe in unlimited freedom of expression. But we also believe that no matter how controversial or difficult our words are, the ultimate purpose is to bring people together. The great Serbian Canadian writer, David Albahari, has rightly written that “knowledge can never catch up with the power of ignorance”. This is true. But the imagination can catch up. Imagination can leap over ignorance. Let me give you an example: When a virtually unknown radio journalist is killed in Mexico – the most dangerous place in the world today to be a writer – they leave, in Ivo Andrić’s words, “a memory clearer and more lasting than that of so many other more important victims”.
This year our former President, Mario Vargas Llosa, won the Nobel Prize for literature. And the founding president of our Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Liu Xiaobo, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Two men of courage. Two masters of the imagination. One of whom remains unjustly in prison. And several of our centres were central to what is called the Arab Spring. In some cases they are now a key part of the rebuilding civil society in their country.
The core of what we do is this: imagination and the transparency that imagination creates, and the acceptance of complexity – all of this is above politics and below politics. It’s everything except politics. In a society without this democracy of the mind it becomes possible for lies to install themselves, as if they were language. And as Danilo Kiš put it, “when everyone lies, no one lies”.
We are in the business of open memories, memories that do not oppose people, one against the other. We represent an open idea of how people can live together.
This is the 77th Congress. The Congress in 1933 in Dubrovnik was organized by this Centre. It was a complex, but historic moment for PEN. We were faced by the rising forces of authoritarianism, even within our own centres. The divisions of European society had become the divisions of PEN. Our President, a great writer, H. G. Wells, but also an anti-Semite with confused public views, found himself caught in an atmosphere of impossible divisions. But, complex thought it was, Wells and the delegates found their way through in order to stand with the imagination and transparency and therefore against authoritarianism.
In 1933 we found an ethical shape - long before governments took a stand. And at every PEN Congress since 1933, those ethical standards stand before us as the measure of what we do. I like to think that in leading with wisdom in Dubrovnik, Wells found his own way to a personal understanding of PEN’s ethics. It was a noble moment for him and for PEN.
There are always those who believe that writers can be dragged away from their independence in the public place. And I believe that the next few years will be difficult. There are many strong and negative forces at work. But the meaning of PEN is simple. Our central ethical force is the independence of our imagination and our creativity. And we know what this means because for 90 years we have defended that independence.

Adopted at the 79th World PEN Congress in Reykjavik, September 2013
Bled Manifesto of the Writers for Peace Committee
PEN International,the world’s leading association of writers, promotes a culture of peace based on freedom of expression, dialogue, and exchange. PEN is dedicated to linguistic and cultural diversity and to the vibrancy of languages and their cultures whether spoken by many or few.  PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee has therefore approved this Manifesto calling for the universal right to peace, based on the Lugano Declaration for Peace and Freedom (1987), on the  Appeal of Linz Protesting Against the Degradation of the Environment (2009)  and on the Belgrade Declaration of the Writers for Peace Committee, approved at the 77th Congress of PEN International (September 2011).1. All individuals and peoples have a right to peace and this right should be recognised by the United Nations as a universal human right. 2. PEN promotes discussion and dialogue between writers from countries in conflict and across regions of the world where wounds are open and political will is unable to address tensions. 3. PEN seeks to bring together people from around the world through literature and discussion amongst writers and with the broad public. 4. PEN considers one of the world’s greatest challenges to be the transition from violence to debate, discussion and dialogue. We aim to be active participants in this progress promoting where necessary the principles of international law. 5. In order to achieve the conditions for peace, freedom of expression and creativity in all its forms must be respected and protected as a fundamental right so long as it respects all other basic human rights in accordance with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.6. PEN acknowledges that it is of primary importance to be permanently committed to creating conditions that can lead to ending conflicts of all kinds. There is neither freedom without peace, nor peace without freedom; social and political justice is inaccessible without peace and freedom. 7. In order to achieve sustainable conditions for peace, PEN calls for the respect of the environment in conformity with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992). We condemn the excesses of technology and financial speculation that contribute to the impoverishment of a large part of the world’s population.  8.  PEN respects and defends the dignity of all human beings. PEN opposes injustice and violence wherever they are found, including oppression, colonisation, illegal occupation and terrorism.  9. In accordance with the principles of freedom of expression and justice, every individual or group involved in conflict has the right to demand non-violent solutions to conflict and should be free to petition and appeal to  international institutions and government authorities. 10. All children have the right to receive a comprehensive peace and human rights education.  PEN promotes the implementation of this right.
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