Mazen Darwish è “Writer of Courage” 2014

"To Mazen with respect and solidarity" Salman RushdieIl famoso romanziere Salman Rushdie, vincitore quest’anno del PEN Pinter Prize ha nominato il giornalista siriano Mazen Darwish  “Writer of Courage” di questa edizione.

Ogni anno il vincitore del premio intitolato a Harold Pinter sceglie uno scrittore straniero che si è distinto per il suo impegno nella difesa della libertà di espressione e dei diritti umani. Quest’anno il titolo è andato a Darwish che però non ha potuto partecipare alla cerimonia di premiazione svoltasi a Londra perché da oltre due anni si trova nelle carceri del regime siriano per la sua attività di presidente del Centro per i media e la libertà di espressione (Scm).

Darwish dalla sua cella è comunque riuscito a inviare il suo discorso di accettazione del premio, di cui riportiamo un lungo stralcio, tradotto in inglese da Alice Guthrie.

And so here we are today, paying the high, bloodsoaked price of that collusion, and finding ourselves the main victims of the obscurantist ideology now infiltrating our homes and our cities. What a great shame that it has taken us all of this bloodshed to arrive at the belief that we are the ones who will pay the price for preventing those with whom we disagree from expressing their views – and that we will pay with our lives and our futures. What a shame this much blood has had to be spilled for us to realise, finally, that we are digging our own graves when we allow thought to be crushed by accusations of unbelief, calling people infidels, and when we allow opinion to be countered with violence. The disastrous consequences of this are clearly evident today across the Arab world, and especially in Syria, my country, where the ugliest forms of fascism and the dirtiest kinds of barbarism are practised in the name of both patriotism and Islam in equal measure.

But when did patriotism come to mean erasing citizenship and ripping apart the motherland?!

And when did Islam come to mean killing the human spirit and destroying moral values?!

Ladies and gentlemen, despite the ugly and tragic situation in my country, and despite the scale of the bloodshed and destruction committed daily by megalomaniacs and the architects of the ISIS Caliphate, I honestly feel reassured about the future. Syria gave humanity its first alphabet, and her soil is blended with thousands of years of civilization, and she has always accommodated all religions, sects and schools of thought, so Syria will never be a slave to tyranny, nor a vehicle for terrorism.


Morality, freedom and justice form the true essence and purpose of Islam, as they do for all other religions and human value systems. And so it is on this basis that we must reassess our heritage and redesign our culture, to ensure that religion is compatible with human rights, and that they work in partnership. In this way, a system of moral sanctuary can be established, one capable of protecting the Syrian people, keeping them stable and secure, ensuring their unity and diversity, and guaranteeing justice and equality among them.

(È possibile leggere il resto del discorso sul sito ufficiale del PEN Pinter Prize…)