On October 9th, 2012 the 14-year old Pakistani blogger was shot on her way back home from school. She was attacked by Taliban-terrorists, because of her activism on womens´rights. She had written in her blog that girls living in Swat-valley are permanently hindered from attending school.
We cannot be silent.
You may ask why this attack matters to PEN? As well as the fact that we are against any form of violence, we see this cowardly assault as an attack on Freedom of Expression. Without writing and reading there would be no books, no poets, essayists and novelists and these are the people that PEN represents. Without literacy freedom of expression is challenged.
The right to education is an universal human right. It is a basic right which fosters and guarantees democracy founded on constitutional legality. This is independent of and not based on or limited by gender.
We have to take a firm stand and say ‘NO!’ to those who question the right to education or who want to abolish it partly or completely.
Please write a poem, a short story or a letter of protest in the language you literary use. We would like to record this protest in as many languages as possible and publish it on March 8th, 2013, International Women’s Day when we shall present the worldwide concert of literary voices.
Please send your contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philo Ikonya, Board Member, PEN International Helmuth A. Niederle, President PEN Austria