A poem for Ashraf Fayadh

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Saudi courts, your rule of fear is finished
- the sentence on this poet negates your faith.
Your hollow incantation "God Is Great"
is plainly false if God can be diminished
by lines of verse. Should murder be admonished
to Ashraf Fayadh, forevermore his fate
will hold as evidence that you're afraid 
of poetry. Frankly I'm astonished:

astonished that a land so steeped in culture,
in literature and learning long ago
aspires to quash the language of the future.
Your ploy to silence Ashraf is absurd.
Exercise your wisdom and you'll know
that poets can be removed but not their words.

Ashraf FayadhSaudi Arabiafree speechexecutionpoetrypoetatheismreligion

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Comments

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jeremy young

Sun 17th Jan 2016 04:06

"Here's one, just to demonstrate how mistaken the Saudi courts are in thinking they can silence anybody"

yes I took that poem as a theme - the difference between us is that I recognise why it is revolutionary, and why he stands condemned as an apostate for writing what he did

this statement alone

"you too tend to forget that you are
a piece of bread"

and that is before you get into

"prophets have retired
so do not wait for yours to come to you

and for you,
for you the monitors bring their daily reports
and get their high salaries..

how important money is
for a life of dignity"

he's certainly a brave man, deserving of support, and doesn't deserve to be beheaded

at which point - this being the internet - there should be a but... but... I'll not succumb and simply pose the question posed by Tom Holland, in a debate on free speech (with regard to the film innocence of muslims) 'but what of god?'

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Tim Ellis

Sat 16th Jan 2016 18:12

Fair comment Wolfie, but I spent much of my early life arguing with people who said international pressure would never change South Africa, and history has shown that I was right and they were wrong. The uprisings of people against their leaders during the "Arab Spring" have so far mainly proved disastrous. I don't believe Ashraf is in any way a revolutionary, he's just someone who's been unlucky in falling victim to a dysfunctional legal system whilst trying to express himself through poetry, something we take for granted in free-world democracies. Us poets all need to show our support for him because it is our own freedoms that are being challenged here too.

At the end of the poem I'm pointing out the futility of trying to suppress poetry by killing the poet. Ashraf's poems will be available for all time, or at least for as long as the Internet exists. Here's one, just to demonstrate how mistaken the Saudi courts are in thinking they can silence anybody http://monakareem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/ashraf-fayadhs-disputed-poems-in.html

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Tim Ellis

Fri 15th Jan 2016 22:32

Thanks for the comments guys. If there's anybody that's not yet signed the petition for Ahraf Fayadh, it's here https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution?from=issue
I wrote this poem for an open mic event we held in York last night to express solidarity. Feel free to share.
I'm going to stick with "admonished" - I think the mild rebuke that the word implies does jar with the word "murder", but in doing so it emphasises the excessiveness of the punishment Ashraf has been sentenced to. Plus it's a good weak rhyme for diminished and a strong one for astonished, which neatly ties together the octet ; )

Robert Mann

Fri 15th Jan 2016 20:21

Tim - sentiments that all those with a 'free' voice can relate to. Not sure you meant the word admonish though. Did you mean administered?
Rob

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