In the first week of October 2017, PEN International’s President, Mexican author Jennifer Clement, and PEN’s Executive Director, Catalan poet Carles Torner, visited Tatour at her home in Reineh near Nazareth. They conveyed the solidarity of Pen members worldwide with Dareen in her struggle for freedom of expression. They also presented to Dareen the new Pen Charter dedicated to promoting Women’s rights and expression opportunities, and recorded her enthusiastic response.
After their visit, Pen International issued a new call for action for Tatour – published on their site. It encourages Pen chapters to adopt different activities against Dareen’s persecution.
These visit and call of action was also reported in Mondoweiss.
Tatour’s Case tops Pen America site for October 2017
Thanks Pen America for choosing to highlight Dareen Tatour as their featured case for October 2017.
They have updated her case page here: https://pen.org/advocacy-case/dareen-tatour/
Their blog post, and call for supporters to sign the JVP petition, went live on October 1 and is available here: https://pen.org/october-featured-case-dareen-tatour/
Dareen Tatour Solidarity became major issue in the struggle to defend free
speech in Israel
The Yaffa Solidarity event (August 30) put the case of Dareen Tatour at the center of the struggle about freedom of expression against the onslaught of the Israeli government led by minster for “culture” Miri Regev. After the event Ms. Regev didn’t only call for cutting public funding for the Yaffa Theater but also called on the chief of the Israeli police to interrogate the organizers and the management of the theatre for incitement.
In an unprecedented move, the legal adviser to finance minister Kahlon started the process for cutting funding to the Yaffa Theater, enacting the much denounced 2011 “Nakba Law”. This move started a new phase of organization by actors, directors and theater managers to resist government pressure. (Some of it is covered by the report about the Yaffa event in Mondoweiss.)
There are many examples how the issue of freedom of expression is making more waves in Israeli public debate, and Tatour became a symbol of cultural resistance.
On September 19, when the Ophir Awards for Israeli cinema (“Israel’s Oscar”) were announced, on the stage one Arab actor, Lamis Amar, declared that “we will continue to create… even if imprisoned like Dareen Tatour”. (You can read about it in Haaretz in Hebrew).
At the same time Regev, which was not invited to the ceremony, issued an anti-Ophir video that started with congratulating herself with “not coming to dance to the songs of the famous Palestinian poets Darwish and Dareen Tatour”!
The essence of the political clash after the Yaffa event is very well summarized in a video by Assaf Harel.
Supporters of Dareen Tatour and of Free Speech and Arts held a solidarity night in the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Yaffa on August 30, 2017. The hall was crowded and many people stayed to watch the program on a big screen in the entrance.
After complaint from extremist, both Israeli minister of "Culture" Miri Regev and "centrist" finance minister Kahlon threatened to stop the financing of the Yaffa Theater for agreeing to host the event - even though the theater itself is not in any way responsible for the event itself.
See a report about the threats from Ms. Regev to the Yaffa Theater here. (Mr. Kahlon joined later, only on August 29.)
On August 25, 2017, Pen America held a special event in New York for the freedom of persecuted artists, including Dareen Tatour..
You can watch the video from the event here, 3 poems from Tatour come at the end.
The case of Tatour is recognized world-wide as unjust persecution for legitimate political and artistic expression of protest. She became a symbol for many hundreds of Palestinians that were arrested and prosecuted by Israel for expressing protest against the occupation in social media.
More than 300 prominent writers, intellectuals and artists published an open letter calling for Tatour’s release. Among those who endorsed the letter were Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Dave Eggers, Claudia Rankine and 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, including renowned poet Alice Walker and journalist Kathryn Schulz.
Since then, more than 8,000 people have signed this letter.
Jewish Voice for peace and Adalah-NY were most helpful with the organizing of this petition.
Here is a link to the site of the petition.
More than 200 writers, poets and democratic activists, including David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, signed a Hebrew petition with similar demands.
Here is a link to the original petition in Hebrew.
PEN International studied the case of Dareen Tatour and came to the conclusion that the charges against her establish violation of her right for free speech and the freedom of poetry. They issues several statements related to her case.
On The Day of The Imprisoned Writer, November 15, 2016, Tatour’s imprisonment was one of a few cases highlighted by PEN.
Tatour’s case was one of the main themes in International Translation Day 2016, translating the poem “Poet Behind Bars” to 15 languages.
She was also one of the poets highlighted in the World Poetry Day on March 21, 2017.
On World Poetry Day 2017 PEN called for the public to take action in solidarity with Tatour.
Declaration by English Pen
Declaration by Pen center USA
In June 2017 Dareen Tatour was awarded the Danish Carl Scharenberg award for her poetry and for standing against injustice.
A Hebrew online literature magazine, Maayan, gave Dareen Tatour the 2016 prize for creativity in struggle.
The first poetry night in solidarity with Tatour was held in Haifa al-Ghad club in Wadi Nisnas, with the participation of several young Palestinian poets.
You can write solidarity letters to Dareen Tatour by old mail (as she is not allowed access to the internet), using the following address (the English should be enough)
الرينة صندوق بريد 29
الرمز البريدي (الميكود) 16940
Reineh – zip 16940