Writers tackle rights, chapter and verse
By Sumon Corraya, DhakaThe human rights day 2010 program by Bangladesh Christian Writers’ Forum (CWF) inspired budding Christian writers to promote human rights through their poetry.About 70 writers and poets of different ages gathered on Dec. 10 to hear prominent Bangladeshi poets Belal Chowdhury and Ashim Saha and Catholic human rights activist Roseline Costa talk about how their art could make a difference.The program discussed human rights issues in general and included a poetry recitation of poetry as well as films on human rights icon, the martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.“Law and order is worsening in Bangladesh day by day, terrorism is increasing and human rights are being violated.” Chowdhury, 68, a Muslim told the gathering.Costa, the coordinator of Hotline Human Rights Bangladesh, said it was the poet’s responsibility to make readers aware of the problems and awaken their consciences through writing.“Poetry or writing can be a strong instrument of promoting and ensuring human rights. If you put human rights in poetry and writing, people will be more aware,” she said.Participants were mostly young writers who regularly and randomly write in various Catholic and national magazines. They found the program encouraging.“Great poets have voiced for human rights in their poetry. The program inspires me to promote human rights through writing”, said Mark Sarker, 22.Senior Catholic writer Pascal Pamar, 58 said, “Poetry touches the human heart most and poets are the conscience of the nation.”“We’ve to put the voice of acid victims, tortured minorities in our writing.”Ronjona Biswas, 28, vice-president of CWF and a prominent Catholic poet said, “In the past I used to write to express the pain of my heart. Now I sympathize with the pain of people in the country, for justice.”In addition she said, “I believe that the efforts of my organization inspired young folks to write about pains of helpless and violated human hearts.”A Short Poem on Human Rights by Ronjona BiswasMantra is futile nowOnce mantra enchanted snakes,The snakes used to give in to the charmer, hide in his box;The charmer used to laugh at the power of the magic spell.Mantra has proved futile, worthlessSnakes are now indomitable, more poisonousDemocracy, Imperialism, Socialism, Autocracy – no mantra will workHelpless people are prey to the python.