Life in Prison for a Poem

Dear Friends of 100 Thousand Poets for Change,

Please find below an extremely important petition, “LIFE IN PRISON FOR A POEM”, that Terri and I and Pina Piccolo (100 Thousand Poets for Change-Bologna, Italy) have been working on with friends.

As poets and artists we have a personal stake in seeing this poet released from prison. His persecution is the persecution of all poets and we feel this is something we can’t stand by and watch without taking immediate action.

We are very excited by the broad community support we have received thus far and it would be a great honor to have you join us in support of this action by signing the petition and forwarding it to like-minded friends.

Thank you for all you do!

Peace and love,

Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion
100 Thousand Poets for Change

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A poet has been sentenced to life in prison for reciting a poem.

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Qatari poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami’s crime consisted of reciting a poem extolling the courage and values of the popular uprisings in Tunisia. For that he’s been sentenced to life in prison.

Please join with a remarkable list of prominent poets from around the world and urge the court in Qatar to reconsider.

Rather than making itself an instrument for cracking down on dissent, we believe that the Court should uphold Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami’s right to free speech. The poem he recited called for an end to intolerable conditions, a demand that for the past two years has been aired by millions throughout North Africa and the Arab world.

In this spirit, we poets and non-poets who perceive the need for worldwide change at the social, political and ecological level, call on the Court to review the appeal, stop siding with repression and lend its ear to the movements that have sprung up all over the world for dignity, social justice and freedom, virtues that poets all over the world are endeavoring to voice and deliver.

Please sign the petition and forward this email widely to like-minded friends.

— The team

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