Literary Corner

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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  

l was forced to leave my hometown


l was forced to leave my hometown, so l walked away with nothing with me, l continued walking aimlessly looking at the horizon, telling my desperate soul: "You have had a home sheltering you and a life, now all that is gone, you are lost, no home, no safe haven to go to, nothing."

BUT l had a glimpse at that same horizon, and saw a generous, blessed, wonderful and kind land pointing at me as if inviting me whispering:"Sameer you should never worry! Because l am Slovenia your new hometown!" So, many thanks Slovenia.
Lepa hvala, Slovenija, lepa hvala, Ljubljana.

Sameer Sayegh is an Iraqi poet who writes in Arabic and English. He was born in 1949. He holds Bachelor in English language and literature. He translated and published several poems from English to Arabic. He also wrote and published a short story in English. He worked as translator in the Air Force for one year at compulsory service, and as translator for the Iraqi Red Crescent, as a simultaneous interpreter for the head of the German Red Cross in Mosul, and for experts and lecturers from Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Italy, in addition to the coverage of the Crescent's activities. He worked as a cultural correspondent for both Al- Jumhuriyah, and Azzaman daily newspapers.

Statement by the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International and the Slovene PEN Centre

Appalled and indignant, members of the Slovene PEN Centre and of the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International join John R. Saul, president of PEN International and other distinguished representatives of PEN International and numerous PEN centres in their protest at the brutal murder of the Japanese journalist. Without mercy, members of the so-called Islamic State who brutally murdered a number of journalists in the same horrendous way, like criminals in Mexico and terrorists across the world, are killing people who do their job or perhaps try to rescue their colleagues.  The crime is ever more hideous in this case because it was committed, like numerous terrorist crimes lately, in the name of a monotheistic god, who in fact commands peace and tolerance. It is most shocking that members of the same religion were brutally murdered while they were praying for peace in a mosque in Fotocol, Cameroon. The right to peace, freedom of expression and tolerance towards people who think differently are the values defended by PEN International and every PEN Centre in their own environment and across the world, Slovene PEN Centre being one of them and especially the Writers for Peace Committee.

Tone Peršak
President of WfPC

Marjan Strojan
President of Slovene PEN Centre

PEN brings together leading Ukrainian and Russian writers to promote a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine

Leading Ukrainian and Russian writers brought together by PEN International and Swedish PEN to promote a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine

Prominent Russia author Lyudmila Ulitskaya joined leading Ukrainian writer and scholar Aleksandra Hnatiuk, and writers from several PEN centres at the PEN meeting in Stockholm today.

Stockholm,  9 June, 2014 – PEN International and Swedish PEN brought together prominent Russian author Lyudmila Ulitskaya, leading Ukrainian writer and scholar Aleksandra Hnatiuk, and writers from several PEN centres, including the Swedish PEN President, novelist Ola Larsmo. The meeting is being led by PEN’s International President, John Ralston Saul; its International Treasurer, Jarkko Tontti; and Executive Director, Carles Torner, to support the dialogue between Russian and Ukrainian writers, to discuss the increasing number of imprisoned and persecuted journalists in Russia and seek solutions to the ongoing crisis.

Writers participating came from the PEN Centres of Finland, Estonia, Slovenia, Norway and Germany, as well as the Chair of PEN’s Writers for Peace Committee, Tone Persak.

Following the escalation of violence in Ukraine after the Russian occupation of Crimea, PEN International and some of its centres have led a series of meetings for writers to debate, build solidarity, foster dialogue and to provide a platform for voices from all sides of the conflict. At the initiative of Russian and Ukrainian PEN, over the last two months PEN has organised and participated in meetings in Kiev, Warsaw and Bled to facilitate dialogue among writers from Russia, Ukraine and across the region bringing together leading economists, scholars, artists, journalists, civic activists and human rights defenders.

Further information on the outcome of this week’s meeting will be released on Wednesday (11 June).

For more information please contact Communications Manager, Sahar Halaimzai: Sahar.halaimzai@pen-international.org t. +44 (0)20 7405 0338

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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