Qatar Airlines is now flying into Philadelphia and all the local politicians, or it seems, are excited to have them here. I am aware of the economic impact of such an add on at the airport, however, there is a poet, Mohammed al-Ajami who was sentenced to life in prison for writing a poem. The sentence was later reduced to 15 years. Mohammed al-Ajami, a poet, who wrote a poem, is serving 15 years for doing so. The question: Will the city known as the cradle of liberty do nothing for a few Qatar bucks? In the past we have contacted Pa. Senators Casey and Toomey and nothing was accomplished. Possibly contacting Philadelphia City Council or the Mayor’s office would help. Bucks over liberty, a song that never grows old.
The offending poem appears below, yes this poem deemed so offensive to the Emir that a man sits in a cell with no apparent hope of release.
We are all Tunisians (Tunisian Jasmine)*
Mr. Prime Minister Mohamed al-Ghannoushi
You don’t hold constitutional power
We don’t wax nostalgic for Ben Ali or his times
For us that’s past history
The dictatorship of a despotic and oppressive regime
Against which the people have raised their revolutionary voice
We only criticize the disgrace and the horror
And when we praise somebody it’s only because of our personal convictions
Oh revolutionary hail the struggle with the blood of the people
Carve the value of rebellion in the soul of the free
And tell those who are holding their shroud
That every victory bears its ordeals
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that country whose foolish king
Believes he can rely on the American military
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country whose people are empty bellied
While its government time and again praises the growth of finance?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country where you go to sleep a citizen
And you wake up stateless the next morning?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that repressive and hereditary regime?
Until when shall you remain a slave to selfishness?
Until when shall the people remain unaware of its value
And fail to choose its own government?
Enough with tyrannical regimes!
Tell the one who torment his people
That tomorrow someone else will take his place
He should not rest assured that the country belongs to him or his offspring
Because the country belongs to the people and so does glory
Join your voices in a chorus for a single destiny
We are all Tunisian in the face of repression
Governments and Arab governments
Are all- without exception
A gang of thieves.
And there is a question that rings obsessively in the minds of those who wonder
But shall never be answered by the official sources:
If we import all kinds of things from the West
Why can’t we import freedom and the rule of law?
– g emil reutter