The fundamental human rights are not open for negotiation. But what do we do when a democracy starts to legalize torture? Larry Siems, writer and the Director of Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center in New York, discusses in this text how USA legalised torture after 9/11.
How would Americans feel if we learned our government had secretly allowed a foreign government to violate some of our most basic laws and fundamental principles on American soil? Shouldn’t we be just as outraged to know our government conspired to violate those laws and principles abroad? That it did so in secret no longer absolves us: plenty of the record is public now; now we know. And with Poland’s former spy chief under indictment for facilitating the CIA’s torture, and with similar investigations under way in several other countries, we, and the world, will soon know more.
One of Ethiopia’s only remaining independent papers, Fitih (Justice), ran this cover of a photoshopped image of Eskinder Nega reaching through the bars of his prison cell to receive the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. The newspaper featured a moving editorial in favor of Mr. Nega.
Salman Rushdie: The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
Novelist and PEN World Voices Festival founder Salman Rushdie examines the many faces of censorship in contemporary society and the role of the author within a climate of forced silence and intolerance.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s moving piece in The Root on the travails of married journalists Serkalem Fasil and Eskinder Nega. Nega, who is in prison, won the 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. His wife Serkalem Fasil accepted the award on his behalf. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a journalist and correspondent, was the master of ceremonies at the PEN Gala in New York.