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                                   of january 21 2016


01 Marsiglia 1 Foto di gruppo finale OUI.jpg


Success beyond imagination. Over 100 people responded to the call of Dominique Sorrente, seconded by Richard Martin, in support of the palestinian poet Ashraf Fayad, condemned to death for apostasy in Saoudi Arabia, in November 2015. An attentive & solidaire public met in the lounge Léo Ferré of the Toursky theatre to share this encounter organised by the Sciptorium, and co-organised with the Toursky theatre, the Union of Poets & co and the review of the Archers.

Marsiglia Dominique 1.jpgRather than formal speeches, a moment in three time : sign posts, traces, evocations. Dominique Sorrente set the tone in his opening remarks, pleading for poetic liberty against the golden calves of our age, and more specifically, religious derailment and rhetorical propaganda. « We cannot remain arms folded, in face of this unjust decision, this act profoundly directed against poetic liberty. Beyond petitions, we have searched the proper way to react with our meagre means, a time of poetic fervour….. » declared the organiser of the evening.

There followed brief but intense interventions by Richard Martin of the Toursky, Brigitte Gyr of the Union of Poets & co, Henri-Frédéric Blanc for the review of the Archers, and Isabelle Pellegrini of the Scriptorium. As the evening was to be foremost a moment of sharing and of action in poetry, one could hear the poems incriminated by the Saudi judges, drawn from the « Internal Instructions » of Ashraf Fayad, followed by the reading at multivoices of a beautiful text of the syrian poet Abou Afach, with some fragments in arabic. The italian poetess Viviane Ciampi, who especially for this occasion came from Genoa, shared a text of Erri di Luca with a captivating personal performance.

2 Marsiglia 4 Viviane ORA.jpgThe other art forms were present for the evening : the plastic arts with the slide show of calligraphies « giclure » of Hamid Tibouchi projected to the back of the stage ; music via the tonic Ghani and his Kabylie-Marseille group, followed by Abdelsattar on the oud, as well as the singer Christian Donati interpreting Bernard Dimey. The « Ivres Vivants » trio presented an original creation dedicated to Ashraf Fayad «  I am the archer of words » pronounced with fervour and gravity by Lionel Mazari, accompanied by the hear-warming voice of Audrey Gambassi, with Dominique Sorrente on guitar, for a captivating finale by the trio on the song of « The Poets », veritable hymn written by Aragon in other circumstances set to music by Jean Ferrat, which remains so relevant in our troubled times : «  A wailfull song rises from a full throat/ is it towards the Hölderin star/ is it towards the Verlaine star…. »

There remained the challenge of combining the vibrations of the moment with the desire for tangible practical action. This was executed in simple words by a young exiled palestinian representing Amnesty International.Marsiglia Brigitte Gyr.jpg

The evening stretched over two hours, out of the ordinary world. It was a distinct life moment, well expressed by one of the participants over the friendly drinks following the presentations : It really warms the heart for him, the condemned poet, and for all of us who wish to continue to hope ». A moment of hope against an exceptional violence. At the start of the evening, Dominique Sorrente gave encouraging news ; he heard that the saudi judges of Abha had just delayed, two days before this reunion, their decision on the recourse requested by the lawyer of Ashraf Fayad. A fragile indication but in the right direction, showing a possible hesitation of the judges, and likely of the Saudi government, in face of the international protests on this cause.

The gathering of support held in Marseille, at the initiative of the poetry association The Scriptorium, is only the third such meeting in France to-date, following those organised by official institutions, the Maison de la Poétrie of Paris and the University of Strasbourg. An example for other cities and regions, a proof that civil actions can have non-negligable impact in this domain. Marseille, by this gesture of a few, has shown that far from trivial quarrels, ever more insignificant, the spirit of solidarity in poetry exists.

                         Marsiglia cantante nera Chanteuse kabyle.jpg       Marsiglia Isabelle Pellegrini.jpg                   

                                              Marsiglia segretaria cantante AUDREY.jpg                                    

Reminder : the petition is ongoing. It has reached 190 000 signatures to-date. You can sign it under Ashraf Fayad on the web site

The objective of the evening was to sensibilise as wide a public as possible to lead to annulment of the sanction, and pay tribute to the poetic voice in all its forms in this human dynamics.

And also, to send a message of solidarity via poetry from Marseille to Ashraf Fayad.

                                                      Sophie Leenknegt    

                     (translated from french by Maurice Frojmovic) 


                                             03 Marsiglia Dominique con pubblico e manifesto REMERCIEMENTS.jpg


Photo credits of this noteblog: Lino Cannizzaro 





To go further, consult the article in french by Maryvonne Colombani in the journal ZIBELINE




A lovely and unforgetable evening of solidarity in Marseille for the poet Ashraf Fayad condemned to death for apostasy. It was only the third in France of a long series that will unfold world-wide. For are not poets also « sentinels » charged with the defence of liberty, draped in modest dress which is their voice, brought together by the spirit of anxiety ?

Written by : viviane ciampi / 30 january 2016

How well the poetic voice can still burn in this world. It is our duty to keep its flame alive.

Written by : Lucchesi Jacques / 01 february 2016



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