Home Page > Centres News Item > Swedish PEN: Birdsong for Dawit Isaak

Swedish PEN have taken part in a project to raise awareness for the Swedish journalist, Dawit Isaak, who has been imprisoned in Eritrea without trial since 2001. The project was initiated by Swedish actor Rafael Edholm, who together with Freedawit.com (incl. organisations such as Swedish PEN, The Swedish Journalists’ Union, The Swedish Writers’ Union etc), produced a music video for Dawit, titled ‘Birdsong’.

‘Following is a Birdsong which we hope reaches Dawit next time the nightingale is between lands on his trip to South Africa. FreeDawit.com

It is time
but inside
I share your hunger
It is for you we sing

If one is silenced, we must talk
Our nightmare someone else’s day
It is too low, well below our radar
But when the wind blows hard tears will come

And in the wind a whisper, it reaches me, pointing out a direction, the birds’ line, above the trees.
It’s for real, I think it will be real If you can imagine it then you are

We must dream high ’cause your space is tight They try to put a
birdsong in chains But all know they’re lying Try your voice ’cause
it’s good enough And brother! Hear how beautiful it sounds They try to
put a bird song in chains but can they chain all the birds at once?
So here we sing

[Extract translated by Henrik C. Enbohm]

Music and lyrics: Daniel Boyacioglu and Moh Denebi and Sebbe Staxx

Click here to view the video on YouTube.


Dawit Isaak Manifesto launches on 10 year anniversary of his imprisonment
2002: Dawit Isaak