May CommQuote

Kaya Genc in the Spring 2015 INDEX ON CENSORSHIP interviews two Turkish poets, Ömer Erdem and Nilay Özer, about the struggles of writers in Turkey today.  Included in the profile are poems from each translated in English for the first time.  I’m taking the liberty to “retweet” this stunning one by Omer Erdem who notes unequivocably,  “Turkey has never treated her poets well.”

And then they shut her in a room
And then they shut her in a room
they even bolted it
they dangled a horse from a skyscraper
they crammed a sea into a picture
they wiped the eyes of a photograph from an album
we’ve shut her up they said
we’ve shut her un in a room
they gathered in a park in the evening
they fired up their blood
they spoke here and there
they placed feed in the beaks of birds
and coffins on the backs of ants
she wrapped felt around her tongue
i’ll punch myself to the ground like felt she said
then I’ll sweat tiny tiny drops she said
steam of sweat she said flame of breath
poverty is no rope to my neck
it is a gourd violin she said
a pair of keys in the door
and a hairless wall were her close friends
her arms were longer than her legs
they shut her in a room
with no right
and no left yesterday a shocked sun not informed of winter
came to visit
and for three days she has been wiping
out the walls…

Ömer Erdem


2015 World Press Freedom Index

The news is grim from Reporters Without Borders which has just published its annual index on press freedom around the world, 2015 World Press Freedom Index.     rwb

The findings are “incontestable. There was a drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year. The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents.”

Data for the 180 countries includes an Abuses score, an Underlying situation score, and an Overall score.  Each country’s variance in rank and overall score from the previous year, 2014, is also indicated. Besides this charted data, the Index provides a narrative as well, pointing out the most striking developments in the year, overarching themes, and insight on how press freedom correlates with other country indicators.