Meltem Arikan

When drawings being scribbled,

colours dripping red,

words being silenced,

thoughts being limited,

lives turn to nothing,

can you touch pain with politics?

Can you perceive pain with your beliefs?

Lives smeared with blood,

your loved ones lying on the ground



Can you hold on to reason,

and when fear like dark clouds

leaks within everyone,

and when fear feeds more fears

and when fear swells hatred

with its giant steps,

can you cure desperation with laws?

When walls are being built again

for the sake of freedom and security,

with violence and blood,

can you create peace with concepts,

when a person without blinking an eye

can kill another person,

when another can glorify death

for the sake of religion?

The moment you declare

you believe,

if the world stops turning,

if reasoning,



goes blind against beliefs

and even a pen could be perceived as a weapon,

how can thoughts be free?

What would expressing yourself mean?


This poem was posted on 14 January 2015 at

 Meltem Arıkan is a Turkish novelist and playwright. Her fourth novel Yeter Tenimi Acıtmayın (Stop Hurting My Flesh) was banned in early 2004 by the Committee to Protect the Minors from Obscene Publications, with the accusation of "Writing about the non-existing incest fact in Turkey, attempting to disturb the Turkish family order with a feminist approach.” The ban was lifted after two months and Arıkan has been awarded with “Freedom of Idea and Statement Prize 2004” by the Turkish Publishers’ Association. She published her 9th novel in 2009.  Stop Hurting My Flesh was recently republished in Turkish and will be published in English in 2015. 


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