Friday, December 16, 2005

The trial of Turkish author Orhan Pamuk was adjourned today. Pamuk is on trial for "denigrating Turkishness" during an interview in which he brought up the issue of Armenian genocide by the Turks. People are hopeful that he will eventually walk free. Still, as the article states, "damage has probably been done just by putting him in the dock."

"Turkey's image as a dynamic, reforming country negotiating its way into the EU has taken a hammering since the country moved against the prize-winning novelist for making what many outside Turkey would regard as a tame remark in an interview with a Swiss journalist."

The Independent Communications Network found 16 journalists had been put on trial in Turkey in the first nine months of this year, with 12 of them being found guilty.

The Publishers Association said that, in the 18 months until this summer, 37 authors were tried for criminal offences in connection with the publication of 47 books.
I am grateful that novelists are not being jailed in our country for speaking our minds, at least not yet. I hope our freedom of speech will survive this administration. It was recently revealed that the Counterintelligence Field Activity, an agency of the Department of Defense, has been spying on individuals and organizations who are speaking out against the war in Iraq.

The American Friends Service Committee, one of the peace groups under surveillance, has drafted a letter regarding this issue that you can send to your senators and representative with the push of a button. The letter ends with these lines:
The Department of Defense has characterized these groups as threats. I see a government agency spying on Americans exercising their rights as the real threat.
I hope many of us will speak out on the issue so we all can continue to speak out freely.

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