Desert Tale

Number 4, Volume 4

Pen International

I joined PEN America, an affiliate of Pen International, because it is the world’s oldest human rights organization, and has a powerful voice for not only world culture but helps writers harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and killed for their views.
As a poet, translator, columnist, and novelist, I believe in freedom of expression and the promotion of literature.  Also, I want to help Asli Erdogan, writer and human rights activist be released from prison in Turkey. She has not been permitted to have water or medications, and her health is seriously in danger.  She is a prize-winning novelist who worked at the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, and was arrested for alleged links to the outlawed PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, for “undermining national unity.” Turkish police arrested her stating that she wrote propaganda for the PKK, the Kurdish Party, (pro-Western) but she deserves humane treatment and to be released from jail.

I am blessed to be a British-American author living in the USA where freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, and where I can write without the fear of persecution.

As a member of PEN International, I call on Turkish authorities to safeguard freedom of expression and human rights and to release all journalists and writers currently imprisoned.

Along with other writers, I have attached my name to a letter to the president of Turkey appealing for Asli Erdogan’s immediate release.

Alinka Zyrmont