Poetry Police

My hillbilly girlfriend in the 70s was funny. Ann was even funnier drunk. Her limit was two drinks after which she was transformed from an ingenue actress into a white trash beauty.

I wasn’t sure which I liked better.

One night at CBGBs she launched into a tirade about the poetry police coming to arrest Patti Smith and William Burroughs.

“Here come the poetry police.”

I poured her into a taxi for the ride home to our apartment on East 10th Street, as she ranted about TS Eliot, Keats, and Ezra Pound. The taxi driver told her to shut up. I informed him that she was a genius. I still think that.

Alice stopped drinking soon after that night, but this week I remembered that the poetry police this week, when the Qatari government sentenced Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami to life imprisonment for insulting the ruler of that wealthy desert country. Al-Jazeera has made no comment about this draconian punishment in fear of losing their financial backing from the news agency’s royal sponsor.

This offense against the ruling family was supposedly directed at the crown prince.

I couldn’t find any copy of the poem TUNISIAN JASMINE online.

The US has a big military base in Qatar.

No one in our government has said a word in the defense of free speech.

Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami has been held since November 2011. His trial was closed to the public. His lawyer said, “The judge made the whole trial secret. Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me.”

Ajami was jailed in November 2011.

His life sentence has been reduced to fifteen years.

All for saying the truth.

“We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites.
The Arab governments and who rules them are, without exception, thieves.

Beware of the poetry police.

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