On Tuesday 23 November PEN Perth held a reading to protest the military coup which took place on 25 October in Sudan. Afeif Ismail spoke about the coup and about the severe limitations involved in the deal between the military and the civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, reached the day before the reading. The deal saw the release of some political prisoners, but far from all, and far from all writers. Poems by Afeif Ismail, Faisal Mohammed Salih, Alhaj Warag, Mohamed Elfaki and Faiz Elsileek were read in Arabic by Afeif and in English translation by Vivienne Glance, David Moody, Annamaria Weldon and Dennis Haskell. The event was shared via Zoom to other parts of the world.
The poems are very different from those in the West: rhetorical but full of imagery, passionate and fearless in their content, and in a folkloric tradition whereby the poets can be sure of a substantial audience. Two of the poems are printed below:
—Dennis Haskell, PEN Perth Secretary