Monday, February 21, 2005

Bengali author Taslima Nasreen, whose poem "Eve Oh Eve" I quote in my book Fruitflesh, has been exiled from her home in Bangladesh since 1994. Her work was considered blasphemous by conservative Muslims, and her life was threatened as a result. She has been living in Sweden ever since. In the last couple of years, she has been trying to regain Indian citizenship, but so far has not had any luck.

I have such deep admiration for her and for other poets and writers who continue to speak their truth despite the threat of imprisonment or death. I would like to think that I would do the same under the same conditions; I hope I would have that kind of courage. I will close with a few lines from "Eve Oh Eve"--words that show Taslima Nasreen's fierce dedication to freedom...

Why would Eve merely suppress her wishes,
regulate her steps?
Subdue her thirst?
Eve, if you get hold of the fruit
don't ever refrain from eating.

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