Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Join and raise yourVoice of protest for Comedian Zargana in notorious Insein prison in burma

the Mandalay Gazette shows politician U Win Naing (L), comedian Zarganar (R) offering food and water to monks

World Writers‘ Association ‘stunned’ by the sentencing of Burmese Poet and Comedian Zargana

25 November 2008
International PEN is stunned by the forty-five year prison sentence handed down on 21 November 2008 to poet and comedian Zargana in Burma. One of Burma's most courageous defenders of the right to speak out against tyranny, Zargana is among a number of leading dissidents to have been sentenced in recent days in special courts held inside the notorious Insein prison for their peaceful opposition activities, many to staggeringly harsh sentences. He still faces further charges, and it is feared that more years could be added to his sentence in the next hearing scheduled for 27 November.
Zargana has long been a scourge to the Burmese government, and spent several years in prison in the early 1990s for his support for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. In 1988 he was briefly imprisoned for six months, and during that time produced some of the most outstanding poetry to come of political prisons in recent years. One of these defiant verses proclaimed:
With row upon row of iron bars

They can cage me.

With the heat of seven suns

They can roast me.

With a battalion of ogres

They can guard me.
But if I took my scarlet blood

And sprayed it all across the sky

The bars would melt

The ogres kneel

Their suns kowtow before me.

The Burmese authorities cannot justify the shocking sentences against Zargana and scores of other prisoners of conscience recently sentenced in Burma, alongside those who are already imprisoned. International PEN calls to writers worldwide to protest the sentences and to call for the release of all Burmese prisoners of conscience.
Jiri Grusa, International President
Eugene Schoulgin, International Secretary
On behalf of the Board of International PEN
For further information, please contact

Cathy McCann at International PEN WiPC,

Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER. Tel: +44 (0) 2074050338, Fax: +44(0) 2074050339.


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