Amnesty International campaign: Free Raif Badawi

Last weekend, I lost myself to my thoughts while cycling, pounding the country lanes crisscrossing the canal until I reached the flight of locks and junction with the canal path that would take me home.  I slogged through mud, half cycling half paddling until I emerged on the road again, to wheel my way with a flat front tyre.

Kingswood Junction, Lapworth 11 01 2015 (1)

The dredging boat “Shoveler” at Kingswood Junction, Lapworth, drawn as evening fell and the winter light faded. This was sketched in ink and water, then layered with conte crayon and pastel.

 

My thoughts have been shaped by last week’s slaughter of cartoonists and journalists in Paris and from there to the killing of Ahmed Merebet, decimation in Nigerian villages, refugees fleeing civil war in Syria, children killed at school in Pakistan. There are so many victims of extremism, intolerance and war and so many of these victims are Muslim.  These reports have fleeting existence in news media before being replaced.

Seamus Heaney’s poem Digging begins:

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

His writing has its roots in the physical act of digging, the hard slog, the smells of soil and potatoes, the sounds of cleaved turf.  He says of his forefathers:

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

But lacking their brawn and skill, he concludes:

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

Raif Badawi wrote a blog in Saudi Arabia.  Metaphorically, he dug with his pen.  He promoted the values of freedom, and importantly, tolerance and respect.  He is being beaten for it.  What little we can do, we should do.  I have linked to Amnesty International’s petition against this abominable act.

3 responses to “Amnesty International campaign: Free Raif Badawi

  1. I amended this post after a day. Our satirical magazine in the UK, Private Eye, holds up to ridicule those using profound events as self promotion resulting in copy containing farcical non sequiturs. Had I done this here? I have put back in a paragraph that links the two narratives, my thinking on my bike and what I have been thinking about. What many of us are thinking about perhaps.

  2. Pingback: Thoughts while cycling and having a pint | kestrelart

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