Poet An Ran Detained for Defending Chinese Muslims

The Huaisheng Mosque’s construction is attributed to the Prophet Muhammad’s second cousin, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas / Public Domain

“Islam has been practiced in Chinese society for 1,400 years. Muslims are a minority group in China, representing between 0.45% to 2.85% of the total population according to the latest estimates.  Though Hui Muslims are the most numerous group, the greatest concentration of Muslims is in Xinjiang, with a significant Uyghur population. Lesser but significant populations reside in the regions of Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai.Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples, ten groups are predominantly Sunni Muslim.” Islam in China, Wikipedia MORE



The detention of Muslim poet Cui Haoxin, also known by his pen name An Ran, is clear retaliation for his outspoken defense of Chinese Muslims, says PEN America.. On January 24, Chinese authorities detained poet and author An Ran in the city of Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, under accusations of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.” Such a charge is often employed by Chinese police as a catch-all provision against critics of government policy.

Days prior to his detention, An Ran tweeted his reaction to a story of a Hui Muslim woman who was detained by authorities in China and sent to an internment camp. An Ran retweeted the story and discussed personal experiences with Chinese authorities, mentioning his past detentions and the experience of others who have been surveilled and detained. The poet is a vocal supporter of minority rights. He has used his social media presence and his writing to raise awareness on stories of human rights abuses, including the dire human rights situation for Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

“While we don’t know what precisely triggered An Ran’s detention this time, it is patently obvious that he is being targeted yet again for his courage in acting as a voice of conscience against the government’s treatment of Muslim minorities, particularly the forced internment of millions of Uyghurs, Hui, and other ethnic groups,” said James Tager, deputy director of Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America. “The Chinese government must truly fear the power of free speech to engage in such repeated targeting of An Ran for his writing and his social media commentary. We call on Chinese authorities to immediately release An Ran and drop all charges leveled against him.”

Chinese authorities have repeatedly arrested and harassed An Ran in the last two years. In April 2018, while en route to a weeklong “re-education” course, An Ran was singled out for a search and questioned, detained, and then released. Four months later, police intimidated An Ran by conducting an illegal raid on his home, and attempted to censor his use of social media. In November 2018, authorities yet again questioned and detained An Ran for writing about religious repression in China on social media.

The Chinese government continues to deepen their crackdown against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, including Hui people. While authorities claim they are acting to combat Muslim extremism, numerous observers—including PEN America—have reported that the government’s policies are instead aimed at suppressing the cultural identity of Uyghurs and other minorities. PEN America has analyzed the digital rights situation in Xinjiang in its March 2018 report Forbidden Feeds, and has called the current situation in Xinjiang “one of the greatest human rights catastrophes occurring today, with massive implications for the right to free expression.”

A report on Radio Free Asia (RFA) indicates that while ” . . . Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps, Chinese officials have more recently begun describing the facilities as ‘boarding schools’ that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage “radicalization,” and help protect the country from terrorism.

“But reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media outlets indicate that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers, and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities.

“RFA has confirmed dozens of cases of deaths in detention or shortly after release since the internment system began, and while only a handful can be definitively linked to torture or abuse, several appear to be the result of “willful negligence” by authorities who do not provide access to sufficient treatment or of poor camp conditions that exacerbate an existing medical condition.” MORE

This post is complied courtesy of PEN America, Radio Free Asia (Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036), and Wikipedia.

*****

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Radio Free Asia’s mission is to provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press. RFA is funded through an annual grant from the United States Agency for Global Media, an independent U.S. agency; RFA has a legislative firewall that bars interference by U.S. government officials in the execution of RFA’s mission of providing reliable journalism to audiences otherwise deprived of uncensored, accurate press.


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Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

At the Storm’s Edge (PaleWellPress 2020) by Frank McMahon launches today; poetry sampler

At the storm’s edge
always, never knowing if it will discharge
and overwhelm, or if it will relent,
recede as the season drags itself upstairs and round the cot …
At the Storms Edge, Frank McMahon



CHECKING IN

You’ve packed your bags and checked them in,
been processed through security,
bought some scotch at the duty-free,
then sit, a latte in your hand,
waiting for the final call to board.
When.

Your partner, family, friend exclaim:
The flight’s delayed. How long?
Who knows? Then all the screens go blank.
People mill and swirl, bark down mobile phones,
hover for announcements.
You let it all wash round and wait for news.
There will be news, so just sit still.

Sit still. Sounds evaporate, eyes
evade the strident lights. Deeper
you drift as if drowsing on a beach
or by a pool. Some time, who knows when,

you feel the gentle pressure of a hand.
There is no noise, all screens are blank.
All travellers have gone. Save one.
Vaguely, someone’s face.

AT THE STORM’S EDGE

At the storm’s edge
always, never knowing if it will discharge
and overwhelm, or if it will relent,
recede as the season drags itself upstairs and round the cot.
Or the days may reverse to that moment sundered
between joy and shock, the seconds scattered
across the antiseptic floor, silence drowning
the other’s cry.

………….Light aches on the newborn’s face
in the muffled house. A ghost demands
its feed, forever probing at the teat
with blue, waxed lips, growing thin on dreams.
At the storm’s edge there is always a prayer.

The ghost is clothed, in a shoe-box laid,
carried away, an exit to be registered.

© 2020, Frank McMahon

Frank’s poems are shared here with his permission.

FRANK McMAHON is a well-regarded poet in our community, a frequent contributor to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt among other activities. I am awaiting a copy of his collection for review, meanwhile his publisher has announced the launch of Frank’s At the Storm’s Edge, a debut collection.

Frank McMahon’s poems of love and fury revel in a keen sense of the natural world and a stark understanding of humanity’s fragile place in the broad sweep of history. Acutely observed and laced with arresting imagery, his writing is full of “music arcing back to a vanishing world”, in which the personal and the political are wound delicately together and sing out from the page in potent harmony. Never sentimental nor didactic, McMahon is a poet who thinks deeply and respects his readers; a poet who tells the truth but tells it slant.

At the Storm’s Edge is available through Amazon US HERE and Amazon UK HERE.

FRANK McMAHON was born and raised in Birkenhead, Merseyside. After graduating he began his career in Social Work/Welfare as a practitioner and manager, working for three Local Authorities, British Red Cross and ActionforChildren. He also served for nine years as a school governor. His last full-time post was to set up and manage a SureStart Children’s Centre. “There is nothing like working with and for young children. They constantly teach you to look at the world with fresh eyes and be open to new experiences.” Frank is married with two children and six grandchildren. When not writing (plays, a novel, short stories and poems) he enjoys walking, (The Cotswolds are his new playground); his allotment (save for the weeds), golf, chess, travel, music, and counts himself fortunate to have some wonderful friendships. He is a member of Somewhere Else Writers Group in Cirencester, whom he thanks for their patience in reading and critiquing his work. As part of that group, he works with Corinium Radio on programmes and plays. 


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Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Japanese-American Poet and Photojournalist, Jun Fujita, is the focus of Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation Exhibition

Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Graham and Pamela Lee private collection. More photographs HERE.

The November sky without a star
Droops low over the midnight street;
On the pale pavement, cautiously
A leaf moves.
– Jun Fujita



Groundbreaking poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita is the focus of a new exhibition presented by the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation. A multi-media experience comprising poetry, photographs, personal correspondence and archival artifacts, Jun Fujita: American Visionary explores the life and career of one of Chicago’s master chroniclers.

As the first Japanese American photojournalist, Fujita captured many of the most infamous moments in Chicago history, including the Eastland Disaster, the 1919 race riots and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. As an English-language poet writing in the Japanese tanka tradition, his poems appeared regularly in Poetry magazine, published in Chicago since 1912.

Jun Fujita was a visionary ahead of his time, both in his visual and written art forms, as well as his contemporary 45-year partnership with Florence Carr,” said Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director and exhibition cocurator. “We’re honored to partner with the Newberry to further expand and unfold the layers of his life and Chicago legacy through this exhibition.”

As anti-Japanese xenophobia crested during World War II, Fujita faced hostility, prejudice, and persecution. The U.S. government declared him an “enemy alien,” and his assets were frozen. Yet despite this adversity, Fujita achieved unprecedented success in his profession and offered an alternative model of what it means to be “American.”

“Jun Fujita put forth a vision for what’s possible, particularly love, acceptance, and sanctuary in a place bent on exclusion,” adds Fred Sasaki, Poetry art director and exhibition curator.



Morning Woods
A static mood, in the morning woods
Wet and clear –
In a majestic pattern, leaves are spellbound
By a fawn, ears perked.

JUN FUJITA was born Junnosuke Fujita on 13 December 1888 in Nishimura, a village near Hiroshima, Japan. When he was older, Fujita moved from Japan to Canada, where he worked odd jobs to save enough money to move to the United States of America, which he considered to be a “land of opportunity.” He moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended and graduated from Wendell Phillips Academy High School, a four-year predominantly African-American public school whose notable alumni include Nat “King” Cole, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Archibald Carey, Jr. Following his high school graduation, he studied mathematics at the Armour Institute of Technology, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology, with plans to become an engineer. To help pay his way through college, Fujita took a job as the first and only photojournalist at the Chicago Evening Post, which later became the Chicago Daily News. MORE [Wikipedia]

Read more of Jun Fujita’s poetry HERE at Poetry Foundation. His collection is available through Amazon but is unfortunately prohibitively priced. It is not available through the Gutenberg Project or Internet Archive. Poems and journal articles about Fujita’s photography are accessible at JSTOR HERE.



Jun Fujita: American Visionary runs from January 24 through March 31 at the Newberry. The exhibition is free and open to all.

Throughout the exhibition, a series of related public programs will further explore its major themes. These programs include:

Curator Talk with Katherine Litwin, Fred Sasaki, and Graham Lee
Tuesday, February 4, at 6:00 PM

The Love and Life of Jun Fujita
Thursday, February 13, at 6:00 PM

Photographic Memory: Carlos Javier Ortiz Reflects on Jun Fujita’s Iconic Images
Tuesday, March 10, at 6:00 PM

*****

This post is compiled courtesy of the Poetry Foundation, Wikipedia, and Amazon. The poems are courtesy of Poetry Foundation in concert with JSTOR.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

About the Newberry Library
At the Newberry Library, visitors and researchers explore centuries of human history, from the Middle Ages to the present. The library’s collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is accessible to all in Newberry reading rooms, program spaces, exhibition galleries, and online digital resources. Since its founding in 1887, the Newberry has remained dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. As individuals engage with Newberry collections and staff, they discover stories that bridge the past and present and illuminate the human condition.


Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“African Lament” . . . by Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean poet on the run

Vodun altar in Abomey, Benin courtesy of  Dominik Schwarz under CC BY-SA 3.0

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela



In yesterday’s essay by Mbizo, we learned what life is like for him and for artist-activists who are exiled for so passionately loving their countries and humankind that they are left vulnerable for standing against abuses of power. Through Mbizo’s essay today, we learn exactly what are those abuses and what is the fallout from them.

Thanks to those of you who donated to the fundraiser for Mbizo sponsored by the International Human Rights Arts Festival. It was a successful. Mbizo was able to buy food and a second-hand computer on which to continue his work when he has access to electricity.  A few have provided letters of support to the organizations that fund writers-at-risk moving to safe harbor. We now have the attention and support of a couple of those organizations. Progress! We still seek a host for Mbizo in Germany or someplace in Northern Europe preferably, though England or U.S. would work as well. If you can help, please email me at bardogroup@gmail.com. Thank you! / J.D.


When chickens sprout claws and chase the eagle up the misty mountain, the corner has turned the road and normal is redefined. Shouted whispers armed with lethal prayers are  unleashed at the naked torso of a man, whose crime is spotting the looters of the lone old lady’s granary, leaving her myriad orphaned grandchildren with emptiness for dinner. Her acidic inner tears cough curses behind cupped hands as she coaxes the dying brood to rest in peace. What is stolen, is then sent to the market for the moneyed to fill their carts and celebrate the independence of a nation.

An itchiness wraps the land with a grandiose malady of anxiety and paranoia for the eyes of state hoots everywhere assessing the hearts of the masses for disloyalty. The music of the land has turned to a one liner in praise of a uniformed gravestone dressed in military fatigues. Even empty farts of the quarreling bowels must be timed to resonate with the loving tribute of the figure looming over the dry dreams of ruler ship. What a time of it the
dwellers of this land have. Daily they’re served with weighty slogans in praise of structures bent by the wind of gluttony. They watch in resignation as every rural youth runs across the border searching for sense and direction to a full stomach.

Africa, the land of mystery and the bucket list of many a Foreigner is a case of rot trading insults with vulgarity. You have been set up by outside drama kings of commercial shenanigans and now you are setting yourselves up. The irony is not lost on your coarse manner in which you treat your fellow kin. Your hand is rough and your manner immoral. Your heart is darker than your night sky’s on a moonless night. You are drunk on the ideas imported from lands that know not to respect the Creator. Blaming the past is a past time and preoccupation akin to prescription intake of medication. The only news welcome to your elephant ears specially tuned to hear dissenting voices is a deal where you earn more than the economy of older nations. Largesse is your middle name and spares nothing and no one when it comes to grander.

Africa, your name is a shocking pronunciation in decent society. You rape your own without shame and invest where others provide security. You cripple every effort of social growth fearing your exposure by opened senses. You imprison the voices of truth and murder protesters. You sponsor battles and wars against unarmed masses. You bring your people to their knees through ignorance and denial. Your only class is repeated mantras of the rising star of “your Nation” even as the world looks on in horror.

Africa, when shall you awake to the fact that the truth has no price and that greed is a short holiday before time catches it with the proverbial fire, purges it and shames it, sending a story for history to chronicle? Africa, the land of giant mines, rich forests and magnificent wildlife, what other blessing do  you need when you mismanage the very resources others covet? The very brains you chase across borders for their truth are the very priests that would have presided over the senses of your  sickly mind, healing it enough for you to see the insanity of your ways.

Past the jungle of netting goons, your sons find welcome respite in soils away from their hearth. They brood over lost times and relationships even as they toil to stay alive. They survive. They thrive. And make names for themselves thousands of miles away from where their umbilical cord weeps with yearnings for the footsteps of lost sons.

As you spit nonstop at the news of their success, having shorn your followers of any and all sense of truth making them fear to tell anything close to reality, you continue your marauding verbosity that makes for sad entertainment at news hours in your own media which – if you cared to check – airs to emptiness in the homes of those you assume are your faithful’s.

A dictator is a sick and wounded skunk whose stench is only accommodated by fellow skunks and vultures who thrive on the dead and dying. He loves his own stories and jokes and misses the well camouflaged yawns and embarrassed looks of those in attendance. Then, there is the opposition politics. Lol!

Another lot of voices with eyes on what’s wrong but with no plan on how to make the wrong right. If they have, the chance is crippled by marred protests as they try their hand at contesting the tick on the tit at statehouse.

Theatre of the absurd is the daily show in most of our beloved states. Pockets lined with promissory notes at deals to be sealed upon succeeding in a coup or bought and botched elections, confusion is the ration to the nation each tribe pitted against the other in the quest of looting and not governance.

Which way for Africa really? Which way for its people who are pawned in their homes and on their streets by the lawlessness masquerading as law keepers? Which way for a people who know not which way the sun will rise tomorrow and whose tune shall be embraced?

Africa, the land of much is married to less that is lessening by the day. With leaderships whose allegiance is to self-first, then the sponsors of the seat which sit the leader, the land breeds continuously with a narrative that reads like a never-ending dirge. Africa, you lament at the bent of your story told by foreign mouths, but check the faces of those you gore on the heads with yet unpaid bullets for telling it as it is. Which angle does their mistreatment, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment without trial and even death under a ghastly cloud of mischief tell? How else can death from lack of medicines and hunger be told except as it it?

Militarizing social interactions where each is afraid of the next and the death of human camaraderie is told by the silent tongues and opaque staring eyes. And they tell much, those who suffer in silence. They tell about those who ride the nights under fire from your goons. They tell much of those who rely on bush treatment for their ills. They tell much those who follow you as you abuse their manhood for a morsel and stale beer leftovers from your high table. They tell much those who see your motorcade snaking around town with top of the range fuel guzzler while TB wracking lungs wheeze at the roadsides to cheer your dead soul on to your next mission of visionless leadership.

Africa, the land of diversity and resilient souls, when shall you learn to be your own men and stand for what is right even if it’s the neighbor playing truant with his kin. You have mirrored the world and come up with prefects capable of predicting treads of upcoming disasters. Why do you wait till the rapist is through the wreckage of life before arriving for talks armed with first aid bandage for the deep gushes of inflicted injuries? Are these fine institutions for window dressing to show the world you live in a modern bungalow or is there more? If there is more, what is it and where has it worked and what are the results for earning mileage and allowances besides the hefty salaries? Perhaps its job creation for the elderly and the relations of their sweethearts to loot from the wider continent under guise of Africanism.

One has to wonder why a distant figure takes human interest in a human who is thrown to the dogs by his own, for that is the fate of Africa with those either insane enough to stand to the truth, or foolish enough to dare it knowing the consequences.

Africa, the land of beautiful drumbeats and of majestic sunrises only rivalled by their sunsets. When shall you ever sit long enough to read the history of what brings you to where you are? Politics has no friendships but a whore serving for a moment for a fee.

Politicking has a price and when it involves you trading with the devil you must know he is worse than Shylock. He shall come calling. This time not for repayment but for your soul and soil. Africa, once upon a time when your eyes only knew the truth, a stranger came calling. He hoodwinked you, stole your wit and your children. Another has come calling. This one has a magic purse and rains on your every wish with a sly eye.

As you smile all the way to a numbered account and palatial homes far away from your beggary populace, remember this. The man you bludgeon for telling the truth is not the enemy, neither is he after you or your raw power. He is the hope of the land you are dispossessing. He is the voice of those you have silenced. And like all who are dead to truth, your day is well on its way. What shall your defense be when the deadness you have blanketed your people with wears off?

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.



 

FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton