[Cameroon] PEN to publish Meyomesse’s prison poetry

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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 an e-book collection later this year.

The first poem to be featured on the website is ‘When i get out of here’ (‘Quand je sortirai d’ici’), translated by Elizabeth Heighway. 

When i get out of here

when
            i
              get out
                                    of here
          a different man
          i’ll be

i’ll bear no grudge against the earth
i’ll bear no grudge against the sea
i’ll bear no grudge against the forest
i’ll bear no grudge against you
 

i’ll pile up mounds of joy within my heart
i’ll pile up mounds of exultation in my heart
i’ll pile up mounds of jubilation in my
heart
because
             i will have overcome you
             solitude
             despondency
             despair
             hatred
             hardships
                            which have no name
                                    HUMILIATIONS
             i will have
                                    OVERCOME
                                                         you all

when
            i
              get out
                                    of here
            a different man
            i’ll be
 
policemen
   officers
      magistrates
         prosecutors
            judges
               handcuffs
                   cells
                        derision
                             mocking
 
UGH!
 
all i will have left is you
dark shadow of death
to
            a
                        gi
                                    tate
                                                            MY SOUL
 

Enoh Meyomesse

Translated by Elizabeth Heighway

 

TAKE ACTION

Help us translate his poetry

If you would be interested in volunteering to help to translate one or more of Enoh’s poems from the original French, please email cat@englishpen.org for more details.

Sign and share the petition

To coincide with Cameroonian President Paul Biya’s official visit to France on 30 – 31 January 2013, Internet Sans Frontières have launched a French-language petition on behalf of Enoh Meyomesse. You can sign and share the petition here.

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]

 

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