Thursday, May 1, 2014

Virtual PEN reads 23 + 23 = 1

                           
Sarita Jenamani lives in Austria and is born in Oriya in
the Indian Union
        23 + 23 =1

   Yes, this refers to the 46 chromosomes in one cell.  In the context of the book, the cell is the cell of memory. "It is individuals, persons who make friendships and contacts and not States," write editors Harald Kollegger and Helmuth A. Niederle in an introductory essay.

Sarita Jenemani is a poet. She has written poems and the article below on  Pen International Women Writers Committee. She is also a contributor to 23 + 23 = 1 published by PEN Austria. The publication was launched on 
 5 March 2014.

Authors were asked to pick an author from a country different from their own and respond. Sarita writes on Benares by Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges. Sarita was born in India.
Sarita Jenemani responds to Jorge Luis Borges
Sarita is keen on the growth of the more women participation in the cell of the memory of world history and writing. Recently shared the story of women writers committee in Vienna where she lives and the structure of one of the world's strongest writer's group: Pen International Women Writers Committee.

Women Writers Committee and Austrian PEN

By

Sarita Jenemani 

The PEN International Women Writers Committee (PIWWC) currently chaired by Ekbal Baraka of Egypt is one of PEN International's committees. The others are Writers in Prison Committee, Marian Bratsford, Canada, The Linguistics and Translations Committee, Terry Cabras, Spain, and the Peace Committee which meets has a long history of meeting annually in Bled in Slovenia and is currently headed by Tone Persak of Slovenia.

The PIWWC, it is the only PEN Committee that has maintained tradition of being coordinated from different regions of Europe. This means that it is well represented all over the world.

In  The Women Writers Committee was voted into existence at PEN's General Assembly in Vienna in November of 1991. Meredith Tax of American PEN Center served as its first chair. Especially around the time of its inception in 1991, a number of new PEN centers were created through the direct efforts of members of the Women Writers Committee.  The Women Writers Committee (WWC) is being represented in new centers and in the development of new centers. In the years since the creation of the PIWWC, the profile of women within PEN International has been risen markedly.

The WWC continues to support diversity. Frequently women speak through interpreters in Committee meetings, giving the first access to participation by these delegates. The WWC has given a chance to build confidence to these and other delegates who have later been heard in other committees and the General Assembly. Like all the other committees in PEN International, the PIWWC meets every year at the PEN International World Congress. During the period of 1995 to 2007 it has hold regional conferences around the globe. ‘Our voice’, a series of four anthologies were collected and printed by hand by Biblioteca de Textos Universitarios in Salta, Argentina during the period of 2001 to 2008. This was helpful for writers from countries with very weak and discriminatory publishing industries; but in fact it included also submissions from writers of every region including writers with many successful publications.

Following the PEN Congress in Belgrade in 2011, a special section of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee's website Diversity was opened for writers of the PIWWC in order writers to know each other through their work.

Apart from the above mentioned activities, WWC has never forgotten the core value of PEN. Since its creation the WWC has written appeals on behalf of every case of imprisonment, threat, murder or other provocation that has come to its attention, from Nawa Al Saadawi to Pussy riot.   PEN Austria, the birth place of WWC also constantly worked for the cause of women authors raises its voice against the odds that women and women writers face day by day. Advocating girls' right to education and women’ martyrdom for freedom of opinion PEN Austria dedicated international Women'
s' Day 2013 to support Malala Yusufzai, the young Pakistani blogger from swat valley who was shot by Taliban for her fearless appeal for education to all girls in the valley. President of the P.E.N. Club Austria, Helmuth A. Niederle and well known Kenyan author Philo Ikonya, launched P.E.N. Club Austria's initiative “Time to say No!”. There are many other writers who have involved themselves in speaking up and registering their protest against the cruel attack on Malala. The project dedicates itself to the right to education, an universal human right that fosters and guarantees democracy founded on constitutional legality. This is independent of and not based on or limited by gender.

Time to say No!  This call has received overwhelming response from writers from round the globe in as many as ?? languages.  It is a landmark project of PEN Austria’s campaign for women's right for education. On 7th of March 2013 the work was presented in an press club of Vienna and covered by major print media, electronic media as well as social media making a roaring resonance.

Later, in the year 2013, PEN Austria again raised its voice against the violent clashes between police and opponents of the Islamic-conservative government of Turkey. The response to this call has also been published in the form of a book that comprises poems, proses and letters.  PEN Austria has always reacted quickly and vehemently to the violations of women’s’ as well as against the general human rights.

PEN Austria is duly represented by women in its body that actively respond to the situation that seeks to put curb on human rights. In 2013 Austrian capital Vienna has witnessed a violent deportation of Asylum seekers to their endangered land. Austrian PEN extended its support for the staying right of these distressed asylum seekers on humanitarian ground. PEN board member Ms. Susanne Dobesch and Dorothea Nürnberg addressed this issue in form of a book depicting its diverse aspects.

Whether it is standing for the cause of violation of women writers or providing women a platform to present their opinions and voices, PEN Austria has always raised to occasion. Furthermore, it is constantly cooperating with the like-minded organizations to work together for the rights of women as well as women writers.