Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights / Jamal Khashoggi

I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.
~Jamal Khashoggi

Today's post is a response to the following message from the international literature festival berlin:
On December 10, 1948, 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was announced by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. On this anniversary, the international literature festival berlin (ilb) calls upon individuals, institutions, universities, schools, and media who value freedom of the press and human rights to organize and participate in a worldwide reading in memory of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Poems in honor of
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the memory of Jamal Khashoggi

Universal Declaration for Jamal
by Linda Mitchell

barbarous acts have outraged us.

Since Jamal,
of our human family, is murdered.

Because Jamal
championed freedoms of justice and peace.

Considering Jamal’s
rights should have been protected.

Insomuch as Jamal’s
dignity and human worth were disregarded.

We reaffirm
better standards for all peoples and nations.

Forasmuch as Jamal
is compatriot, colleague, father, spouse, friend, brother

We are not his
We are not his
We reaffirm
This Declaration
and, Amen

© 2018


Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

by Michelle Kogan
Golden Shovel built from Article 03 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A human life is the responsibility of everyone.
When a voice has
spoken for those oppressed, the
voice also needs right-
ful protection. To
slaughter any life
is a blight against all liberty
everywhere, and
all measures of human security
need to unite to right this heinous act of
dehumanization toward that person.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan


Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article VI
by Tabatha Yeatts

For you,
made of the universe,
breathing stars with every breath,

For you,
who unfurled like a flower
in the world's womb,

The right to be seen—
replete with spirit
a complete unit of life—

For you,
spark of life's fire,
wherever you go.


Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 18

by Harry Yeatts
iambic tetrameter blank verse pentastich

These folks hold tight to their beliefs.
Those folks over there do the same.
And both believe diff'rent from me.
So then we're all non-believers,
And have every right to be.

© 2018


Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
an acrostic

all I need is
determined by
elected officials who
question my value and
understand nothing of the
allowances made
to make
ends meet

perhaps it's time to
reject the
optimistic view
that these
elected officials
can comprehend
the truth of
nothing is ever secure.

© 2018 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes


freedom to be nice
by Donna JT Smith, © 2018
found poem from the UDHR

  with reason
  and conscience
  in brotherhood
  has rights
   religion or belief
   and friendship
 may nothing be
  aimed at


A concrete poem by Brenda Davis Harsham:

© 2018


Elizabeth Steinglass has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Liz!


Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

What a worthy tribute, very moving, Tabatha. I can't choose a favorite, they are all polished and wonderful.

jama said...

Thanks for sharing these powerful poems. Praying for justice for Jamal's murder.

Linda B said...

This is still on my list, yet I see that powerful words have been written by many, Tabatha. It seems that something is being planned to respond to Jamal's death. I am hopeful that "right" will overcome "might". Thank you!

Liz Steinglass said...

Wow. These are so powerful, each one separately, and ever more so together. Thank you all.

Linda Mitchell said...

Tabatha, thank you for your sincere care for the UN and Jamal and the way that poetry can address the catastrophe of his murder. Michelle's golden shovel is quite an indictment. The repetition of "For you" in your poem brings us waves of humanity. All non-believers is such a different way to see things in Henry's poem. Michelle H.'s reflection on what we should or should not accept from our leaders gives me reason to think. And, Donna brings a lightheartedness to a heavy topic in a way that works. It is good to be kind. I've never seen a concrete poem from Brenda before. What a delight. Thank you again, for this collection. I feel honored to be included in the poets that have given voice to Jamal's death.

Margaret Simon said...

There is power and comfort in poetry. A wonderful collection of voices here!

Mary Lee said...

Wow. I'm sorry I missed this call, but I am moved to my core by the collection gathered here. Powerful.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

So many different approaches and ways of expressing the importance of the UDHR in all of our lives. A powerful and poignant way to honor Jamal Khashoggi, too. Thank you for collecting our poems and creating such a powerful presentation, Tabatha! I'm honored to be a part of it.

Michelle Kogan said...

So many sensitive and powerful poems here–and a strong tribute to Jamal Khashoggi. Thanks Tabatha for putting out the call for this collection and sending in our poems!

Ruth said...

Oh wow, so good. I love the way you've combined the impersonal legal language with the details of the individual person, Jamal.