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Jun-05-2012 04:00printcomments

William Gomes, Poetic Point Man on Human Rights, Battles Censorship: Experts Share Thoughts

"Very sorry to hear about the blocking of your site, surely an intolerable act. Very powerful words"
-
Noam Chomsky

William Gomes meets Warhol by Tim King
Gomes meets Warhol by Tim King

(SALEM) - Comments on the poem 'Anti State' and Bangladesh's blocking of William Gomes Website for this radical expression, are for the most part, incredibly supportive. However there are those who believe he is 'rocking the boat' for a lack of better terms. But we are talking about the most fundamental problem; a government trying to silence its opposition, rather than addressing its own core issues.

Those who haven't been paying attention to this developing story about human rights and media freedom and Bangladesh, likely will now. Several notable world educators, journalists, authors and activists have signed their names and offered words in support of William Gomes, our human rights ambassador and assistant editor, over his Website, WilliamGomes.org being blocked in his home country, Bangladesh.

This is a place stained in human rights abuse with a brutal, violent nature toward those in its government's grasp. Torture, intimidation; all sorts of daily violations of human rights color the air here with indifference. A strong-willed expatriate from this imprisoning place, is refusing to be silent or silenced.

William Gomes is a revolutionary, outspoken individual whose voice will be heard. We have asked Bangladesh officially, to stop its censoring of Mr. Gomes' Website and let it be seen by those people it most closely addresses. Please also bear in mind that William Gomes writes about issues affecting human beings in many countries; he is not singling out Bangladesh to be vindictive, he simply knows that we all must take care of problems in our own back yard as well of those in faraway places.

There is a reason that people like Professor Noam Chomsky, Dr. Frank Romano, Baseer Naweed and so many others took the time to comment over William's saga of media censorship and his fight for human rights advocacy; he has been working for years, preparing for a role where his work can move small mountains. It's obvious that Mr. Gomes has taken his gloves off, so to speak, and he is not messing around, and at the same time he is a gentleman and has the ability to discuss political issues with great intellect, and most importantly, provide the formula for governments to enact real resolution. The largest benefactors will be the governments that follow his lead, it is working.

We are breaking new ground as the first western news agency (that we know of) to designate a 'human rights ambassador' and one reason for this, is the importance of political meeting and dialog that must take place for this world to improve. We report about the abuse of human beings constantly, and we know at the same time, that journalism is not always enough; it takes more in many cases, and our media group is committed to helping the world find peace. To do this we must do more than just write and produce news. William Gomes is a central figure in the development of our new human rights program.

______________________________________________________

Experts Share Insight

In this world of tyranny and lies the corrupt are rewarded and those of virtue are punished, often times imprisoned, often times murdered. This is the reward for the truth tellers in our world of collective insanity. Should the liars and tyrants continue to have their way we can expect the mushroom clouds to be rising around the globe with the end of the world as we know it. If the truth tellers are victorious the people of the world shall be liberated and the future for our children shall be bright. William Gomez is a truth teller, and to my mind there is no one to be admired more. TJP

Ken O'Keefe

Ken O'Keefe is a US born activist against war; founder of the TJP (Truth, Justice Peace) movement and a tireless advocate of the Palestinian people.

Very sorry to hear about the blocking of your site, surely an intolerable act. Very powerful words.

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, and activist.

In the poem by William Gomes, he poignantly describes not just an ill in Bangladeshi society, but a worldwide affliction: the buying and selling of souls in the name of progress. Let this man speak as his prophetic words will ring truth... Let’s ask ourselves why its revelation bothers certain people? The key to Mr. Gomes’ poem is in the answer.

Dr. Frank Romano

Dr. Frank Romano is the author of STORM OVER MOROCCO, autobiographical narrative about following spiritual path while living with extremist religious sect.

Congratulations William, it means that you are the real threat to the government which is generally represented by the powerful groups and elites of the country though they claim they are the people’s representative. Keep it up, you are the real representative of the sentiments of people not only for Bangladeshis but of the oppressed people. William Gomes is the crusader of freedom of expression.

Baseer Naweed

Baseer Naweed is a Senior Researcher with Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

It is an attack on freedom of the press and free speech to block William Gomes website.

The government of Bangladesh should unblock it immediately.

Saul Landau

Saul Landau is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Pomona.

On the 28th of May, Memorial Day, I addressed the Democratic Club of Claremont, California, many of them veterans, on the same subject that William Gomes presented so eloquently in his poem, "Anti-state." That presentation is available on You Tube, titled "The Once Powerful Voice of the People." It is a condemnation of the United States' imperialistic status that is both illegal and contrary to the expressed principles and morals of the American Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Needless to say, I find the bravery of William Gomes as enunciated in his poem an essential expression of human rights, a necessary expression that should be made by every person that considers himself/herself a free individual responsible for determining his/ her own fate, and an act that asserts for all the essence of freedom in a democracy. I encourage the government in Bangladesh to recognize his rights and through him the rights of all citizens by extolling his right to freedom of expression in a free state. Anything short of that is hypocrisy, an act not to be tolerated by any nation in the United Nations that identifies itself as upholding the rights of all citizens.

William A. Cook, Ph.D.

Dr. William A. Cook is author of The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, writer, peace activist, and Professor of English, University of LaVerne.

It is one of many stupidities of our AL govt to ban his site. Patriotism is NOT mortgaged to anyone – everyone has the legitimate right to speak up.

Hasan Mahmud

Hassan Mahmud is an expert on Sharia Law who advocates that Sharia is inconsistent with modern time.

I am against censorships that are meant to protect the politicians. Censorships should be exercised for very limited purpose of preventing law and order violation or on such other reasonable restrictions. Everybody must be entitled to their opinion, however bitter that might be.

Irfan Engineer

Irfan Engineer is the Director of Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

I read your different poem. It is full of emotions with the flare of aggression and overwhelming desire to change and an outstanding intention to resist the existing and established description of state. Well that is your personal expression and expression is purely a private affair. I personally feel that if we the journalists poets writers critics and intellectuals are convinced to change something as you proposed then we first turn

the world into a Hide park London so that the change we the intellectual propose may be acceptable to the humanity that has been tuned to live within the orbits of so-called socially approved features of living and such is a Herculean job that you know and I am also aware of the fact that is why that although I liked a different creation that is full of ‘something different’ but as an editor of a daily newspaper I shall hesitate to register such approval and that is what the life is and it is humanity that has unanimously decided to live the prison of existing rules and procedures. I am thankful to you for sending me a very different creative effort. I do hope that we shall be interacting in future also. Whenever you come to Pakistan please do let me know about your visit.

Dr. Naveed Shibli

Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology at Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Who is William Gomes?
Every journalist who lasts very long at it comes to realise that the profession has certain no-no's.
Cartoonist Aaron McGruder commented, "I want the news delivered unbiased. I thought that was the whole point with journalism."
Well yes, but the news organizations that hire journalists are full of biases. It doesn't take long to realize that not only news media but governments have rigid political positions that control what gets reported.
Ellen Goodman said "In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right."
Many people wrongly believe that simply because a country is a democracy, with provisions for a free press, that news coverage is fair and objective.
Freedom of the press means freedom for those who control the press to publish what they like.
In a country like America, the illusion of a free press hides the control exercised by lobbyists (including Zionists), advertisers, and corporate interests.
America doesn't censor media, like some countries do, by closing newspapers or internet access down. They don't imprison or ban reporters thus creating the illusion of press freedom.


The man responsible for Wikileaks, Julian Assange commented "It is the role of good journalism to take on powerful abusers, and when powerful abusers are taken on, there's always a bad reaction."
Who is William Gomes?
The trouble that Assange has gotten himself and his sources into should be adequate evidence to support what he said about a bad reaction.
Bob Woodward had it right when he wrote "The central dilemma in journalism is that you don't know what you don't know."
Who is William Gomes?
William Gomes is a journalist from Bangladesh, where he is in trouble because he knew what he wasn't supposed to know.
Gomes has taken on what Assange called "powerful abusers" leading to a "bad reaction".
Bangladesh wants to silence Gomes by shutting down his internet presence as a journalist.
Bangladesh has charged Gomes with sedition, a crime punishable by death.
William Gomes is the conscience of Bangladesh. His crime? He has written truths unfavourable to those who want his voice muted.

Dr. Paul J. Balles

Dr. Paul J. Balles, a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived and worked in the Middle East for 40 years.

Well, this is an utterly reprehensible and a cowardly act by the government. It’s clear that the regime finds itself cornered, with activists and writers breaking their silence. We need to speak in one voice against these bullying tactics adopted by the government and its agencies in Bangladesh.

I extend my full support to you Gomes.

Syed Zafar Mehdi

Senior Correspondent at Hindustan Times, New Delhi.

When the leaders of the world signed onto The UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, they never imagined "common people" would hold them to it!

The Preamble affirms that "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." Article 19 upholds that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Eileen Fleming

Eileen Fleming is the author of Beyond Nuclear, journalist, peace activist, and Candidate in 2012 for the House of Representatives in Florida.

Does the daughter of Bangla Bundhu know about it? If yes then she is another female tyrant South Asian has hoisted to power. Do not worry. Have patience. Tyranny in Bangladesh always had a short run. This has been the history so far. Remember what Faiz Saheb said: “Jab takht ultaey jain gay, Taj uchhallay jain gay.”

Mehmud Ahmed

Mehmud Ahmed is located in Brampton- Ontario Canada

Your poem is a cry from the heart expressing the frustration felt at the prevalence of corruption in the state authorities to the extent that it drives one to reject the state itself. It is right to reject corruption, so any attempt to block or suppress free expression of this kind is a human rights violation that would inevitably leave the state poorer in art, culture and awareness of the moral degradation eroding the credibility and dignity of the state itself.

Thanks,

In solidarity,

Angeline Shannan

You are wrong and you encourage fanatics like as the Jamat – BNP. So our Govt has done well. You should write for our Govt not for the Jamat – BNP.

Dr. Milton Biswas

Dr. Milton Biswas, is an Associate Professor at the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.

I salute to them who was shaheed (died) in the war. Now I can say that you know better then me, right? How you think that the flag only the peace of cloth? It has lots of history which came through blood like’s your father (shaheed in the war). Might be you thought the flag is only cloth. That is your opinion . That is your belief too. But I have one question from you – can you burn the flag or change the color? Not only Bangladesh including where you ……. physically stay in countries land. Never Never and never! Right! Try to understand brother. You can speak against political, corruption or govt system but not the nation identity.
Thanks
SALIM ,VA-USA

Friends, Flag is a peace of cloth. Does not make any difference whether it is green and red or blue and violate. What means the most is the philosophy behind the flag. We said "Sob manusher ei desh amader." Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian- does not matter, this land belongs to us all. Even the people who do not believe what we believe and support. Let thousand flowers bloom. Let people think whatever they would like to believe. That is the freedom. That is the mukti. And that was the core of our “Muktijudhdho.” I lost my father in this war. I think I have paid my dues in the liberation of this land enough. I do not like to see that we are walking back like “bhuts”.If we try to stop other opinions then we would be following the same paththat the Pakistani army took to put our voices down. Let us relax and beconfident and free and accept other’s opinions.
We do not have to buy their opinions but let us not shut them down either.


Thanks
Jewel

Washington, DC

Whats this Gomes Guy wrote that we have to be so sensitive! Let him write, he has freedom of speech. You may disagree on any message of his writing but you have no right to outcast a person in a democratic society – would be an act of a mean! Let him write, you are free to analyze and criticize his poetry with rational argument.What Bangladesh is now, we need to do self criticism and expression of honesty – not repeating “My mango is the best”. be truthful! I hope Alapon is a neutral Yahoo group to facilitate equal right of expression.

Good luck,

Nazrul
Somalia

That’s sad. But you seem to be generating some anti-state (State of Bangla Desh) fan following. Does anything about this comment bother you?
Bangladesh is one such state which was born on the bodies of pro Pakistan patriots and it was now prosecuting those loyalists in the name of killing Bangladeshi killers. One must understand that cruel practices do not long last and this phase will also soon be over.:We may join you in the metaphorical war against those you call criminals in your poem. We may join you in setting ablaze the parliament. But what after that? Should we rather wait till the full impact of the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt are before us?


Tara Prakash

Pakistan

I really impressed by ur heart touching poetry,after a long time I have seen magic in the verses,keep it up.

Regards

Nourang Hayat Shahi

Who are you Mr Gomes? You cannot write poem that provokes burning of national flag. GoB has done the right thing.

Dr Gholam Mostofa

Mr. Gomes you wrote a very good poem except you ended up burning the country and Constitution which is not the property of the corrupt rulers. The name Bangladesh has nothing to do with them either. Please correct that part and repostthe poem. I think everyone will like it.

Luna

If you have not seen the controversial poem by Mr. William Gomes, it is included below:

I am ANTI STATE!

Yes, I am!
I am against the state, which runs on the basis of injustice
I am against the state which comes out of killings
I am against its every system
I am against its governments
I am against its Presidents, Prime Ministers
I am against its criminal hierarchy
I am against all those leaders of criminals in the parliament
Yes, they are criminals!
They are the traders of injustice,
They are the killers of justice
They are root and reasons of injustices
They are the creator of poverty
They create poverty
They are traders of poverty
Yes! When people are poor, they are powerful
Yes, they are powerful and I am poor!
Yes, I am people!
They are running the corporate state of injustice
They are traders of hatred,
They sell hatred
They sell riots!
They do everything for power!
They are traders of religions
They sell the ALLAH, RAM, BUDDHA, JESUS!
They have declared war on people
They have declared war on peace
I declared war on these criminals,
I declared war on their System
I declare that I am anti state
For sure, I am for the people!
I am people!
I will burn their RED and GREEN flag,
I will burn the constitution of injustice
I will burn down the parliament
I will burn down all into ashes
I dream no red and green flag
No traders of injustice
But a place full of peaceful of people!
No mater, if need to change the name of Bangladesh
I declare, I will change it!
I will change for peace, for people
I declare, I am anti state!

______________________________

Tim King in 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from The Associated Press the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, Electronic Media Association and The Red Cross In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.

Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 20+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide with an emphasis on Palestine and Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines. You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)

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Fuad August 15, 2013 7:47 am (Pacific time)

I liked the poem, the bit about burning the constitution of injustices especially as the symbolic level. Its a bit Bidrohi. I think you will like Amir Sulaiman's " Danger ". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WczGIhmaJ_M


Matt Johnson June 6, 2012 1:08 pm (Pacific time)

There is not a sigle thing in this world more important than press freedom. Without it our goose is cooked. Everyone should support this journalist, those who do not are cowards.

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