On PEN's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, Jennifer Clement, American-Mexican writer and PEN International president writes to poet Dareen Tatour, under house arrest in Israel.
I offer you my solidarity, my deep respect, and the value with which I hold your words, your poems: the ones you have been placed under house arrest for writing and speaking. I hope it helps – just a little– to know those words have reached me, and thousands of others, and been heard. Your voice continues to be magnified through your work and your message resonates clearly. We are listening.
When I read about your case, and heard that your poem’s mistranslation has led to these charges of ‘support for a terrorist organisation’ and that the prosecution has tried to prevent an alternative translation from being presented in court, I felt deeply disconcerted. Poetry – for me – is about the precision of every word the poet chooses, the nuance and the metaphor, the balance and the care. For your words to be distorted in this way, for your brave and essential act of resistance to be turned into something it’s not, is an act that takes away your truth.
Please know that this attempt to silence you has not worked. That we in PEN stand in solidarity with you, and will continue to do so all the time you are detained. We join you in asking for freedom of expression and the right to peacefully protest.
I send you and your family my best wishes,
Day of the Imprisoned Writer