Ambassador of Qatar to the United States
2555 M. Street N.W.
Washington D.C. 20037-1305
I am deeply concerned about the fate of poet Mohammed Ajami, who has been sentenced to life in prison for his work, "Jasmine Poem." I read about his plight in our "Los Angeles Times."
My suggestion that he be released, in the dark of night by a back door to the prison, would result in a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Mr. Ajami gets to go home, the Qatar government avoids the negative of appearing completely medieval in its administration of justice, and the poem takes on the importance all political poems enjoy when ignored by those in power. None.
You should try this. As a poet I can tell you it works great here in the U.S.
But seriously, the emir must be a very special guy if no one can speak a truth or, as you would have it, an untruth about him. Life in prison for some scribblings? Surely sir, your country adheres to a standard of justice more in line with a sense common to people the world over.
To wit: You kill somebody, you go to jail for life. You write a poem, you get a lifetime at a coffee shop and some pocket change to launch the literary effort.
You can't put up a wall around your kingdom and force its denizens to live in the past. Why, for example, I could get a large list of e-mail addresses in your country and, from my perch in California, pen "The Emir Really Sucks."
The emir lives in fear
he doesn't like to hear
the impact of his policies
on Qatari families
He doesn't give a fuck
if his subjects' lives suck.
And then I could send it to as many Qatari citizens as possible and everyone would know the truth about the emir: Which is that he can't hear the truth about himself.
What will you do? Arrest and sentence me to life in prison as well? Or would you empty the jails given that the secret is out?
Just some things for you to think about while you're informing the emir of our country's general embarrassment for him.