[Cameroon] ‘Doors’ by Enoh Meyomesse

Enoh Meyomesse is a Cameroonian writer and activist.  On 27 December 2012, having already spent 13 months in prison, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges that are widely believed to be politically motivated.  PEN considers his incarceration a violation of his right to free expression, and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release.  

In November 2012, Meyomesse self-published a powerful collection of poetry he has written whilst in detention, Poème carcéral: Poésie du pénitencier de Kondengui (Les Editions de Kamerun, November 2012). You can read the collection in French here.

To show our support for Enoh Meyomesse and to help raise and maintain awareness of his case, English PEN is now working on a crowd-sourced translation of the collection, from French to English. Taking inspiration from our hugely successful Poems for Pussy Riot project, we will be posting translations of Meyomesse’s poems on our website over the coming months, with a view to publishing e-book and print-on-demand collections later this year.

The third poem to be featured on the website is ‘Doors’ (‘Les Portes’) translated by Natasha Lehrer.

Doors

You are everywhere
                   doors
                   and i hate you
                            to death

you are everywhere
                   doors
                   doors of the bedroom to sleep
                   doors of the veranda to go out
                   doors of the bathroom to wash
                   doors of the toilet to relieve oneself
                   doors of the yard to walk
                   doors of the library to study
                   doors of the infirmary to be treated
                   doors of the ladies quarters to rinse one’s eyes
                   doors of the chapel to worship God
                   doors
                            doors
                                     doors
                                               doors

always
                   doors
                            everywhere
                                               doors

eternally
                   doors
                            METALLIC
 
and BANG!!!
         the sound of steel
         on my soul
         you slam shut
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
the porter slams you
avoids crushing
                   my fingers
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
you make my soul tremble
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
         i curse you
         i abhor you
         i loathe you
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
you clang
                   in my heart
and remind me
                   that i am no longer a
                                     free man
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
doors
         doors
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
you are everywhere
 
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
and BANG!!!
 
i hate you
                   to death
 
but
         thanks to God
         you will open one day
         and then
                   at last
                            i will be
                                                FREE

 

TAKE ACTION

Send a message of support

If you would be interested in sending a message of support directly to Enoh Meyomesse, please email cat@englishpen.org for further details.

Send a letter of appeal

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the conviction of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse on charges of supposed complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold, and the seven-year prison sentence handed down to him on 27 December 2012;
  • Noting that PEN believes the case against him to be politically motivated;
  • Calling on the Cameroonian authorities to quash the conviction and to release Meyomesse immediately and unconditionally.

Write to:

His Excellency Mr. Nkwelle Ekaney
Cameroon High Commission
84 Holland Park
London
W11 3SB 
Fax: 020 7792 0608
Email: info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk’ subject=”Freedom for Enoh Meyomesse”]

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the continued detention of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse.

According to PEN’s information, on 27 December 2012 writer Enoh Meyomesse was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined FCFA 200,000 ($400) on charges of supposed complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold.

Meyomesse had already been detained for 13 months prior to this conviction, despite all previous charges against him having been dropped in June 2012. He continues to be held in the over-crowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé where he has been held in solitary confinement and subject to torture, and there are widespread concerns for his well-being.

I firmly believe that the case against Enoh Meyomesse is politically motivated, and respectfully call on the Cameroonian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely,

[/ecampaign]

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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