Category Archives: DoveTales

First Amendment Essential to Peaceful Activism, by Andrea Doray, Plus Young Writer Contest Results

President’s Corner:

A free press, and freedom of speech, are essential to peaceful activism

by Andrea W. Doray

Andrea DorayI am a writer. And – as far as I know – no one is offering a bounty for one of my ears.

Not so for Akram Aylisli, a highly regarded writer, poet, and scriptwriter from Azerbaijan who once received that country’s most prestigious literary prize. However, in 2013, the leader of the Modern Musavat party announced that he would pay a bounty equivalent to $12,700 USD to anyone who cuts off Aylisli’s ear.

The impetus for this threat was Aylisli’s novel, Stone Dreams, which provides a sympathetic view of Armenians in Azerbaijan’s ongoing ethnic disputes. Aylisli is accused of describing only Azeri abuses against Armenians, and not addressing attacks by Armenians on Azeris.

Azerbaijan’s president also stripped Aylisli of the title of “People’s Writer.” And although the Minister of the Interior has announced that calls for violence are unacceptable, the threat to Aylisli remains.

Although he was already 75, Aylisli began contemplating seeking asylum abroad with his family. A writer, he says, has the right to express his thoughts without being considered a traitor. However, government officials in Azerbaijan have labeled Aylisli’s book as treasonous.

A year ago in 2016, Aylisli said that he had been stopped from travelling to a literary festival in Italy by border police when he arrived at Baku airport. His bags, which had already been checked in, were taken off the plane and searched. He was taken into the custody of the airport police and falsely, he says, accused of creating a public disturbance. He was interrogated and held by the police for more than 10 hours.

Aylisli, self-described as a 78-year-old writer in poor health and suffering from a heart condition, allegedly punched a border guard, a claim that was later used by the border service as an explanation for denying the border crossing.

Index on Censorship later released part of the speech he had been due to make at the Venice festival. In it, Aylisli writes: “I was a hero for some and a traitor for others. I never for a moment felt I was a hero or traitor, just a regular writer and humanitarian who is able to feel the pain of others.”

The editor of Index on Censorship Rachael Jolley told The Guardian that the Index on Censorship translated and published extracts from the speech because they felt it was important for the public to read what he was planning to say about the role of the writer and the right to criticism.

The situation, as I see it, is suppression of a perspective that does not support the nationalist stance on the Azerbaijani/Armenian conflict. And that is called censorship, even though, in Azerbaijan as in other countries – including the United States where I live – authors have a constitutional right to write what they want without pressure or government interference. Book bans and book burnings notwithstanding, American constitutional rights fare better than those in Azerbaijan.

Yet, even in a country where freedom of the press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, writers are under siege. Just yesterday, April 30, 2017, Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff for the current administration under Donald Trump, said and repeated on the record that abridging or abolishing the First Amendment is something the Trump White House is currently considering.

It’s taken much of the USA’s 200+-year history to give voice to differing perspectives about events surrounding Native Americans, slavery, immigration, child labor, internment camps, McCarthyism, Kent State, Iran Contras, waterboarding, WikiLeaks, extraordinary rendition, and others, and one man is threatening to sue news outlets – not just in the United States – and jail individual writers and journalists on vague charges of treason. All because the sitting president doesn’t like his press coverage.

I personally have written, with critical opinions, about many of these subjects. And, to date in my country, no matter what I write, how I write it, or who I please or offend with my writing, I’m reasonably assured of keeping both my ears. And if that should ever change, we all have a much larger problem.

I do, however, have some words of advice for the White House, and for regimes around the world, that want to try. As Edward Bulwer-Lytton famously wrote in 1839 – and as systematic oppression against writers has proved since antiquity – the pen is mightier than the sword.

Let’s all pick up our pens and wield them as swords against any who would suppress and oppress free speech. Let’s accept our roles as writers and humanitarians who are able to feel the pain of others. And let’s teach our coming generations that peaceful activism begins on the page.

To this end, we at Writing for Peace are pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 Young Writers Contest. These young people from around the globe submitted their unique perspectives in poetry, essays, and fiction, and we are enriched through their wisdom. You will find last year’s winning entries in the latest edition of DoveTales, our international journal of the arts, which is now available for purchase.

If I may paraphrase Russian-based bestselling author Boris Akunin’s comments from one of his blog posts about Akram Aylisli, “Don’t you know that the state cannot win in a war with a writer?”

I couldn’t agree more.

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Andrea W. Doray is an award-winning journalist, author, poet, and essayist in Denver, CO, and is occasionally a columnist for The Denver Post through their Colorado Voices panel. Her weekly opinion column, Alchemy, which appears in Colorado Community Media newspapers, has received a first-place award from the Colorado Press Association.Learn more about Andrea and her work here.

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2017 Young Writers Contest Results

Judges: Chip Livingston, poetry; Bradley Wetzler, nonfiction; and Nick Arvin, fiction

Poetry~

First Place: Lisa Zou from Chandler, Arizona, for “Bowls.”

Second Place: Jacqueline He from  San Jose, California, for “狐狸精 // Fox Spirit.”

Third Place: Cindy Song from Rockville, Maryland for “Scaffold.”

Fiction~

First Place: Wajudah Muheeb from Lagos, Nigeria, for “Rainbow Nation.”

Second Place: Jessica Hansen from Burwell, United Kingdom, for “The Exodus.”

Third Place: McKinsey Crozier from Cadillac, Michigan, for “Breath Free.”

Nonfiction~

First Place: Euijin Oh from Seoul, Gangnam-go, South Korea, for “The (Un)Fair Trade Culture: Piracy in the Caribbean.”

Second Place: Riley Mayes from Portland, Maine, for “Smiling at Strangers .”

Third Place: Brandon Sklarin from Smithtown, New York, for “Cuba, My Grandmother’s Journey.”

Finalists~

Poetry: Laura Hinkle & Soo Young Yun

Fiction: Andrew Kim & Ye Joon Han

Nonfiction: Celine Lee & Danielle Zarcone

Congratulations to the winners and finalists. First, second, and third place winners’ work will appear in our 2018 edition of DoveTales, edited by Andrea W. Doray. Many thanks to our judges for the time and thought they put into these decisions.

Writing for Peace would like to thank all of the writers who submitted poetry, fiction and essays for our 2017 Young Writers Contest. We understand it is no small thing to commit to a themed work and then send it out. All participants will shortly receive printed certificates. We hope you will continue to write, research, explore, and ask the questions that need to be asked. The 2018 contest will open on September 1st, 2017 and run until March 1st, 2018.

2017 DoveTales, “Refugees and the Displaced” Now Available

2017 Front CoverThe fifth edition of our annual literary journal, DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, will be shipped on May 1st. Our “Refugees and the Displaced” themed DoveTales is a timely affront to a status quo comfortable with the suffering of others. With contributors from every continent on the planet except Antarctica (we’re working on that), this is a book that is meant to challenge assumptions and explore issues of peace, social justice, and our responsibility to our fellow man. Cover art is by Canadian artist, Allen Forrest. You can purchase your copy here.

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

2017 DoveTales Now Available for Preorder

2017 Front CoverDoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts

“Refugees and the Displaced”

Our 2017 Edition of DoveTales is now available for Pre-order. Refugees and the Displaced includes work from artists and writers, established and emerging, from every continent of the globe (except Antarctica). You’ll also find there the winning entries from our 2016 Young Writers Contest.

Featured Adviser is Sam Hamill:

Sam Hamill was born in 1943 and grew up on a Utah farm. He is Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press and served as Editor there for thirty-two years. He taught in artist-in-residency programs in schools and prisons and worked with Domestic Violence programs. He was the founding editor of Copper Canyon Press, directed the Port Townsend Writers Conference for nine years, and in 2003, founded Poets Against the War. He is the author of more than forty books, including celebrated translations from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Latin.

Contributors include:

Susanne Aspley, Ross Baxter, Rana Bitar, Mark Blickley, Irene Bloom, Elena Botts, Craig Brandis, Miki Byrne, Lauren Camp, Mark Canfield, Lorraine Caputo, Mary Carroll-Hackett, Maryah Converse, Joe Cottonwood, Edward D. Currelley, Lorraine Currelley, Andrea W. Doray, Suzanne Edison, Martín Espada, Bernadette Gallagher, Rachel Gallagher, Adele Gardner, Nancy Gerber, Anuja Ghimire, Juleus Ghunta, Alexandra Grabbe, Sam Hamill, Max Harris, Cheryl R. Hopson, PhD, Emanuel Kane, James Kincaid, Phyllis Klein, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko, Chris ‘Irish Goat’ Knodel, Robert Kostuck, Adam Kotlarczyk, George Kraus, Bruce Lader, Brett LaFave, Joan Leotta, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Randel McCraw Helms, Carmel Mawle, Djelloul Marbrook, Joshua McGarry, Sandra McGarry, Silva Zanoyan Merjanian, Michael Meteyer, Dean K. Miller, E. Ethelbert Miller, Shirley Muir, Barry W. North, Carl “Papa” Palmer, Sophia Panieczko, Frances Park, Jenni Parker Gribble, Olga Pavlinova Olenich, Simon Perchik, Shirani Rajapakse, Pilar Rodríguez-Aranda, Althea Romeo-Mark, Ruth Sabath Rosenthal, Wilderness Sarchild, Deirdre Smith, Marydale Stewart, Sugar Tobey, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Lindsey Weishar, Noah Weisz, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Cassondra Windwalker, Barry Zabell

Learn more about our contributors here.

2016 Young Writers Contest Winners:

Fiction: Vivian Zhao, 1st; Julianna Lee, 2nd; Jake Pritchett, 3rd

Nonfiction: Jared Anwar, 1st; Grace Choi, 2nd; Jaeeun Kim, 3rd

Poetry: Lisa Zou, 1st; Lydia Chew, 2nd; Ritika Bharati, 3rd

Art and Photography by:
Amy Bassin, Mark Blickley, Lorraine Currelley, Allen Forrest, SK Lockhart, Mohammad Ali Mirzaei, Farima Qolami

Front Cover: Allen Forrest, Face In The Crowd, Ink, Previously Published in Tidal Basin Review, Issue Winter 2015

Order your copies of DoveTales now here.

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

A Special Peace Correspondent: The Coming Student Edition, by Elissa Tivona

elissa-tivona-3With the snow recently melted, the first crocuses that break through packed patches of dirt seem, in a word, impossible. I am awed that nature understands how hungry the human heart is for the green promise of growing things. Those tender, fierce flowers awaken a yearning I barely notice at other times of the year.

Likewise in sleepy winter months when the Peace Journalism course gets underway, the intensity and resolve that drove me to create a new curriculum lie dormant. I start out with reasonable intentions: to explore news media’s complicity in shaping violent environments and to teach students methods for turning that woeful trend around.  I craft assignments pointing students toward enlightened, alternative approaches for reporting news, that ask young reporters to elevate social solutions rather than feature stories of persistent strife. But, by the concluding weeks of the semester, I am ready to jump out of my skin. I’ve been staring into too many faces dulled by too many years of schooling and too little inspiration. I have days when I leave campus dispirited and think, “Why bother? This is just not working.”

Still, I keep pushing and prodding up until the day they submit a final assignment. Their challenge is to tell an extended, multi-dimensional, nuanced story; to avoid demonizing one stakeholder over another; and to reach for promising solutions—case studies, prototypes, models, social experiments, moments of insight— real news stories of real people who expend energy in efforts to heal and solve some of the greatest challenges of our day.

And, behold, the crocuses start to emerge.

I offer results of this pedagogical experiment: student stories that point to possibility for new media. These are the green and growing insights of a new generation of young writers.  You will notice a range of voices: some with sustained and focused messages, others that falter.  But each effort loosens the soil, making a little more room for media that nourish hope and dignity rather than perpetuate violent conflict and infamy.

Look ahead to the June edition of The Peace Correspondent, highlighting the work of Colorado State University students. These novice writers feature articles in four categories: Take Another Look, longstanding conflict and new perspectives; Heart to Heart, conversations on challenging topics; On Our Minds, where news media and mental health intersect; and The Peace Correspondent’s regular column Spotlight on Solutions.  Go in peace, friends, spring is here.

Elissa J. Tivona is a renegade journalist who believes media can be part of the solution to achieving sustained peace. She helped establish the Peace and Reconciliation minor at Colorado State University: and she developed the innovative curriculum for the program’s core course, Education for Global Peace, as well as curriculum for a new Journalism offering at CSU, Journalism, War and Peace. Along with her work as an educator, Tivona writes for both academic and popular publications. She is an active volunteer, including: serving on the Board of Writing For Peace; vice-president of the United Nations Association, Northern Colorado Chapter; consultant to Tiyospaye Winyan Maka, an NGO building sustainable homesteads and right livelihoods in collaboration with the Lakota people; and longstanding convener of multi-faith peace advocates in Northern Colorado.

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Coming Soon! Our 2017 DoveTales, “Refugees and the Displaced”

2017 Front CoverThe fifth edition of our annual literary journal, DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, will be released on May 1st. Our “Refugees and the Displaced” themed DoveTales is a timely affront to a status quo comfortable with the suffering of others. With contributors from every continent on the planet except Antarctica (we’re working on that), this is a book that is meant to challenge assumptions and explore issues of peace, social justice, and our responsibility to our fellow man. Cover art is by Canadian artist, Allen Forrest. Watch for more information as it becomes available in the next few days on our website, and mark May 1st on your calendar!

 

Young Writers Contest Results

Results are coming on our 2017 Young Writers contest. Announcements will be made on May 1st here in our blog. Stay tuned for the excitement!

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.