Pensées en Cavales: Anthologie de la révolution (Fleeting Words: An Anthology of Revolution) is released in French today at an event hosted by the Canadian Embassy in Tunis. The anthology, published in May in Arabic, honours the writers, activists and photographers who contributed to the struggle for free expression in Tunisia and continue that struggle since last year’s revolution. Pensées en Cavales brings together journalistic articles, commentaries, prose and verse written both during the Ben Ali regime and since its fall, and is illustrated with images of the revolution.
Edited by Naziha Rjiba (‘Om Ziad’), President of PEN Tunisia and published in cooperation with PEN Tunisia and Atlas Publications, the anthology is part of the ongoing International Freedom of Expression Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG) project, supported by the European Union and Oxfam Novib.
The writers published in this anthology, including Mohamed Abbou, Sihem Bensedrine, Fahem Boukadous and Kamel Labidi, have been major focuses for successful PEN and IFEX-TMG campaigns in recent years. PEN has been closely involved with IFEX-TMG, a coalition of 21 members of IFEX, which was founded in 2004 ahead of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia with the aim of supporting free expression activists in the country.
One example of the courageous writing which is showcased in Pensées en Cavalesis Nashaz (Dissonance) by anthology editor Naziha Rjiba. Published in 1988 less than two months after Ben Ali’s succession, Nashaz demonstrates the boldness which won Rjiba the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award and has established her as one of Tunisia’s leading freedom of expression activists. She writes:
"I felt faint, struck by a dreamer’s dizziness and I took solace in my writing. We friends of the mad take solace in our pens, and mourn with our pens and laugh with our pens, and we love our pens and hate our pens."
The French translation Pensées en Cavales brings the voices and images of the Tunisian revolution to a wider audience. An English version will be published shortly. The publication launch will be held today at the Embassy of Canada in Tunisia, for whose support PEN International and IFEX-TMG are very grateful, along with project donors the EU and Oxfam Novib. Canadian Ambassador Ariel Delouya and EU Ambassador Adrianus Koetsenruijter are to speak at the event. For more information or to purchase a copy of Pensées en Cavales (in Arabic or French) contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and see: https://www.facebook.com/IFEXTMG http://ifex.org/tunisia/tmg/.