Cameroon: ‘Gaspard’ by Enoh Meyomesse

Writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse’s appeal against his seven-year prison sentence is scheduled to take place at a civil court in Cameroon on 21 November. Following the postponement of four previous appeal hearings earlier this year, Meyomesse has been required to spend a further five months in prison on what are widely believed to be politically motivated charges. We continue to call on the authorities to quash the conviction and to release him immediately and unconditionally. Please join us

Ahead of Enoh Meyomesse’s rescheduled appeal hearing on 17th October, we wrote to the Cameroonian authorities urging them to do all they could to ensure the hearing went ahead. Unfortunately the hearing has been postponed yet again, until 21st November, but Enoh’s friends assure us that he remains in good spirits and is greatly encouraged by PEN’s ongoing support. He also continues to write prolifically, despite having been denied access to the computer room in the prison in which he is being held, and has requested that we send pens and paper to enable him to continue to do so.

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, Poème Carcéral : Poésie du pénitencier de Kondengui, 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. If you would like to be notified once the full collection is available, please email cat@englishpen.org.

The following is a translation of Meyomesse’s poem ‘Gaspard’, translated by Darius Sobhani:

Gaspard*

Gaspard!

this cry shoots
through a lightning bolt that crawls furtively along the black
sky of my eternal Africa the people
suffocating behind the sandy doors and the skyscraping
walls resembling female heads
caught in electric barbed wire

and

all
gone
INS
TAN
TA
NEOUS
LY

and
every one of those chained up by their feet
every one of those chained up by their wrists
every one of those chained up by their eardrums
every one of those chained up by their eyes
every one of those chained up by their hearts
every one of those chained up by their souls

and
those whose fingers slit indifferently the
pleas of hands violated indifferently the
groans of throats sacked all the opened
teeth
oh unnameable demons
I
then
saw
you
among
cherubs

Gaspard!

and
the tobacco pouches
the cigarette butts
the stumps of the ford
oh abominable name with which you christened
the Indian cannabis
the sacks of King Arthur
you the brew that cruelly corrodes
the soul of my people while it sips
you so delicately and gulps you down
into its gut with delight
the sweetie-pills that madden
the walking telephones that unite the world
all
all
all
shot

INS
TAN
TA
NEOUS
LY

OH SPELL
OF SPELLS

and

the courtyard like an African market just a
moment ago falls quiet as a stream that
trickles casually among the giant trees of
the tropical forest

*Name given to the prison guards at Kondengui

 

TAKE ACTION

Send notebooks, pens and messages of support

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

Social media

If you are active on social media, please share information about Enoh Meyomesse’s case with your friends and contacts. We’d be really grateful if you can use the hashtag ‪#‎FreeEnoh so that we can monitor social media activity more easily.

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 do all they can to ensure that the appeal hearing scheduled for 21 November 2013 goes ahead;
  • Urging the 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=”Release 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 ongoing imprisonment 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 reportedly been held in solitary confinement and subject to torture. There are widespread concerns for his health and well-being.

In April 2013, it was reported that Meyomesse’s lawyers had succeeded in having his case referred to a civil court for appeal. His appeal was expected to be called to the Courts of Appeal for the first time on 20 June, but was postponed until 18 July. Due to a legal technicality, the July hearing also had to be rescheduled, as did ones that were due to take place on 19 September and 17 October. The hearing is now expected to take place on 21 November.

I respectfully call on the Cameroonian authorities to do all in their power to ensure that Meyomesse’s appeal hearing goes ahead as scheduled, that the conviction is quashed, and that he is released immediately and unconditionally.

Yours sincerely,

[/ecampaign]

About Cat Lucas

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

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

One Comment on “Cameroon: ‘Gaspard’ by Enoh Meyomesse”

  1. I appeal to all poets and writers of this plannet to raise their voices to release Meyomesse immediately unconditionally.Voice is given by God.It is birth right as a humanbeing. No state or Govt. can stop it. Afterall a poet is a global citizen. He lives in a geographical area but writes for the all creations.

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