An Evening Without...
Under the USA Patriot Act, the U.S. government is once again engaging in "ideological exclusion."
On April 27, 2006, PEN American Center and the ACLU sponsored "An Evening Without..." to highlight the problem of ideological exclusion, and what the groups say is censorship at the border.
Prominent authors and actors convened in lower Manhattan to read from the works of foreign writers, scholars, and political figures who were once -- or who are now, in the case of Tariq Ramadan and Dora María Téllez -- banned from the United States because our government does not like their political opinions.
Readers included writer/director Todd Solondz, Tony Award winning actor Liev Schreiber, Academy Award-nominated actress Debra Winger, novelist Martin Amis, novelist Russell Banks, poet/novelist Gioconda Belli, poet Naomi Shihab Nye, author/historian Barbara Goldsmith and author/poet Eloy Urroz.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero read a statement by Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan, a leading voice for European Muslims and currently a visiting professor at the University of Oxford in England. Ramadan accepted a teaching position at the University of Notre Dame in 2004, but had to abandon the post when the Bush administration revoked his visa. After PEN and the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging Professor Ramadan's exclusion, the administration retracted its allegation that Ramadan had endorsed terrorism, but still refuses to allow him to enter the country.
Other readings featured selections from writers who were excluded during the Cold War. Among the featured luminaries were Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, Italian playwright and Nobel laureate Dario Fo, Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, English writer Graham Greene, Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, and Mexican author Carlos Fuentes.
For more information on ideological exclusion and "An Evening Without…" go to www.aclu.org/exclusion
For more information on the PEN World Voices festival go to www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/1096
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