There is a giant fish hanging over my kitchen sink. It is a salmon, carved by Nova Scotia folk artist William Roach, and for more than 20 years it has carried a decoration on its left front fin: a button reading “I am Salman Rushdie”.
Bo Xilai, the former boss of the Chongqing Communist Party, was recently sacked after a corruption scandal involving his family. Jiang Weiping, an Honorary Member of PEN Canada, is a Chinese journalist who served a six year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” after he published an exposé of Bo’s corruption more than a decade ago.
“As a dentist I could only open one mouth at a time,” quipped Zarganar. “But when I tell jokes I open many mouths.”
PEN Canada welcomes the release of Maung Thura – the Burmese poet and comedian better known as ‘Zarganar’ – in an amnesty for several hundred prisoners in Myanmar. Zarganar is an Honorary Member of PEN Canada and the recipient of our 2008 One Humanity Award.