Cameroonian writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges that are widely believed to be politically motivated. His next trial hearing is due to take place on 18 July 2013. PEN considers Meyomesse’s incarceration to be in violation of his right to free expression, and we are continuing to call for his immediate and unconditional release. Please join us.
Throughout his time in prison Meyomesse has continued to write prolifically, and in November 2012 self-published a powerful collection of poetry he had written whilst in detention, Poème carcéral: Poésie du pénitencier de Kondengui (Les Editions de Kamerun, November 2012). Since 5 April 2013, Meyomesse has reportedly been prevented from writing in prison and has effectively had three of his new works confiscated.
To show our support for Enoh Meyomesse and to help raise and maintain awareness of his case, English PEN is working on a crowd-sourced translation of his poetry collection, from French to English. We are posting translations of Meyomesse’s poems on our website regularly, and will be publishing e-book and print-on-demand collections later this year.
English PEN would like to thank Katerina Thomas for the following translation of Enoh Meyomesse’s poem ‘Ecrivain’.
elsewhere you are treasured
and on your bulging breast sparkle
medals and medals
from your heroic fights
elsewhere you are revered
and atop your fragile but also
powerful body sparkles a halo of wisdom
that brings glory
your pen is loathed
it is hated it is abhored
like the bird of death
the people say
at last we shut his fat mouth
at last we shut his fat throat
at last we shut his fat baritone
voice that wakes the sleeping souls
he will no longer insult us
he will no longer shout at us
he will no longer abuse us
Translated by Katerina Thomas
** Translator’s note: The original ‘écrivain’ – ‘writer’ has been kept in order to take the poem to its final line. Here, ‘l’écrivain’ is broken into three syllables; ‘le’ meaning ‘the’, ‘cri’ meaning ‘cry’ and ‘vain’ meaning ‘in vain’, or ‘The cry in vain’. **
Send a message of support
If you would be interested in sending a message of support directly to Enoh Meyomesse, please email email@example.com 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.
His Excellency Mr. Nkwelle Ekaney
Cameroon High Commission
84 Holland Park
Fax: 020 7792 0608
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 ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ subject=”Freedom for Enoh Meyomesse”]
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 on charges that are widely believed to be politically motivated. He had already been detained for 13 months prior to this conviction, despite all previous charges against him having been dropped in June 2012.
Enoh Meyomesse 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. Since 5 April 2013, Meyomesse has reportedly been prevented from writing in prison and has effectively had three of his new works confiscated. There are widespread concerns for his health and well-being.
I believe that Enoh Meyomesse has been detained in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and respectfully call on the Cameroonian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.
I would welcome your comments on my appeal.