A poem, a call – freedom for Assange!

Video projection during protest at Belmarsh prison/Source: Instagram Reproduction
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By FRANCISCO FOOT HARDMAN*

“I make an appeal here, knowing that this website has the participation, both authoring and reading, of a huge number of teachers: talk about Julian Assange in your classes”

Julian Assange, Australian journalist, founder and editor of the international and independent news website WikiLeaks, is threatened with death by North American imperialism. This, with the direct complicity of the UK Supreme Court, which approved his next extradition. Convicted in absentia in the USA for the crime of espionage against US military security bodies, with an absurd sentence of 175 years in prison (it is the first case in history of a journalist convicted of espionage!), imprisoned in degrading solitary confinement since 2019, in London, with his health worsening, he could be extradited at any time to North America, that is, to face a life sentence and certain death.

During the seven years that he was in asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange was united with the lawyer and human rights activist Stella Morris, with whom he had two children who, until now, have never been able to meet, see or visit the country. father. They married in 2022, in a ceremony that took place at Belmarsh Prison.

In Brazil, two weeks ago, there was the international release of a documentary directed by Ben Lawrence, Ithaka: Assange's fight,in the cities of Brasília, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and São Paulo. Since then, it has been showing in several cinemas. The person at the forefront of this new stage of mobilization is Julian Assange's own father, John Shipton, an exemplary figure, who takes the film's scene alongside the journalist's wife, Stella Morris.

He was received in Brasília by the Minister of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Lula government, Sílvio de Almeida, who issued an official note of solidarity with the Assange cause. Among the various entities that supported this gesture, the Arns Commission stands out. All these voices denounce the arbitrariness and violence of this process and its affront to international humanitarian laws and human rights. And President Lula, on more than one occasion, offered Brazil as an immediately available place for asylum for Julian Assange. Other governments had already done so, including Mexico.

In contrast to this urgent and obligatory campaign, the major Brazilian corporate press, in its usual greed towards North American imperialism, looks the other way and ignores this global attack on human rights and press freedom. But what, after all, was Julian Assange’s “crime of espionage”? Provide access, for readers around the world, to the unspeakable and heinous war crimes committed by the USA in its genocidal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, in the first years of this century. Deliberate bombing of civilian populations, torture of defenseless prisoners, these and other practices of horror and barbarity committed by the greatest military power on the planet, in the name of its peculiar conception of “person American".

In my courses this semester at the Institute of Language Studies at Unicamp, both postgraduate and undergraduate, which are dealing with the complex and recurring relationships between war and literature in modern and contemporary history, we spoke in class, as I consider this reference mandatory , about the importance of the facts discovered and narrated by Julian Assange and the ignominious persecution that the USA unleashed against him, as a true war operation. I make an appeal here, knowing that this website has the participation, between authorship and reading, of a huge number of teachers: talk about Julian Assange in your classes, inform your students, denounce this abominable and quite hypocritical side of the champions of “freedom of information”.

I end this call with a manifesto poem written by independent Australian journalist and activist Caitlin Johnstone,[I] Free Assange, which is in your book Poems for Rebels (Ed. Author). I am making a free translation here, dedicated to my current students. So that they don't forget, so that they don't lose heart.

Free Assange
Free Assange
because the world is getting darker
while the Bastards turn off the lights
one by one
Free Assange
because heaven is being occupied by deadly machines
while mothers cry over little tattered bodies
and the journalist talks about download tweets
Free Assange
because they took everything from us
and we are left voiceless, stupid gear-turners
We can only argue about who to bomb next
Free Assange
because perception control can worsen
they will soon confiscate our ears and eyeballs
in wheelbarrows labeled “NSA”[ii]
Free Assange
why the missiles are being launched
and the planet is on fire
and soon there will be nothing you can do but cry
Free Assange
because if we let them kill that bright light
we can also smooth the end of the world
waiting for the Bastards to suffocate our lives
Free Assange
because if we don't stop those who want to take it
We won't be able to stop them from taking everything else
and we will not survive, and we will not be worthy of
Free Assange
because we decide here and now
What our species is made of
and what will be, if she will be
Free Assange
why is this
our last chance
our last window to stop them
Free Assange
because we are much more than what they tell us
Free Assange
because we have the right to know
Free Assange
because it's now or never
Free Assange
because he would do the same for us
Free Assange
because fuck them, that's why
Free Assange
because we are still in this fight
Free Assange
because we can win
Free Assange
because we can
Free Assange
Free Assange
Free Assange.

*Francisco Foot Hardman He is a professor at the Institute of Language Studies at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of São Paulo ideology and the eternal modernists (Unesp).
https://amzn.to/45Qwcvu

Notes


[I] See your super active blog: .

[ii] NSA = National Security Agency, ie, National Security Agency, a secret body of the North American government that, for a long time, denied its existence. In charge of police-military and digital surveillance of governments, bodies and people around the world (NT).


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