Loujain al-Hathloul, Saudi Activist for Women’s Rights, Released– But U.S. Must Keep Up Pressure on Saudi Arabia

Happy news, rare in the realm of human rights in Saudi Arabia, occurred on Wednesday when it was learned that Loujain al-Hathloul, held in a Saudi prison for more than three years on what human rights observers agree were ridiculous, trumped-up, politically-motivated charges was released by the Saudi government under certain autocratic conditions. As reported… Read More Loujain al-Hathloul, Saudi Activist for Women’s Rights, Released– But U.S. Must Keep Up Pressure on Saudi Arabia

To Honor Poetry on World Poetry Day, Help Imprisoned Poets Across the Globe

By John Kaufman PEN International is profiling four poets on World Poetry Day now being held either in prisons or under house arrest for dissenting against injustice through art and/or journalism: Aron Atabek of Kzakhstan, Liu Xia of China, Amanuel Asrat of Eitrea, Dareen Tatour detained by Israel. To see what you can do to… Read More To Honor Poetry on World Poetry Day, Help Imprisoned Poets Across the Globe

The “Human Rights Poetry” of Yevgeny Yevtushenko Very Relevant Today

By John Frederick Kaufman Speaking of his poetry, here’s what Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who died yesterday in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 84, told the Associated Press in an interview back  in 2007: “I don’t call it political poetry, I call it human rights poetry; the poetry which defends human conscience as the… Read More The “Human Rights Poetry” of Yevgeny Yevtushenko Very Relevant Today

The Novelist & the President: what a true democracy is

When the American novelist/essayist Marilynne Robinson sat down with President Obama for a chat on matters literary, religious and political, President Obama asked her to — “Tell me a little bit about how your interest in Christianity converges with your concerns about democracy.” Robinson: Well, I believe that people are images of God. There’s no… Read More The Novelist & the President: what a true democracy is

Both China & U.S. need to improve the human rights of women

Yesterday, at a U.N. summit meeting on women’s rights hosted by, of all nations, China and its president, Xi Jinping, we learned that China will “reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and women’s development,” according to Xi. So far, that reaffirmation has failed to recover the human rights of five Chinese female/feminist activists who were imprisoned… Read More Both China & U.S. need to improve the human rights of women

“Becoming Our Enemy”

Becoming Our Enemy   Sometime we’ll have to risk Becoming our enemy. It will take some warming up, Eyes and teeth offered Shyly, arms unarmed. No words at first to blur The strange exchange, just Purest greeting: a bow That looks away from Betrayal towards the common ground.   By John Kaufman

The courage not to be brutal

Torture and war are intimately related. Torture is a subset of war: brutality directed at an individual and justified in the name of “defense.” What was the justification across the Bush administration for the CIA’s recently revealed program of brutal “enhanced interrogation”? The “war on terror.” Torture is the intentional inflicting of terror on someone judged, without a fair… Read More The courage not to be brutal

Opposing More U.S. War in Iraq, Middle East and Ukraine

I’m breaking my summer silence once again to declare, for what it’s worth, my strong opposition– to the United States’ new bombing campaign in Iraq, the return of military hostilities between Hamas and Israel, and the ongoing war in Ukraine which is increasing the likelihood that Putin will order Russian troops to invade Ukraine, possibly… Read More Opposing More U.S. War in Iraq, Middle East and Ukraine