Last night a powerful manifestation about freedom of speech and the state of human rights took place in Mechelen, Belgium. It was co-organized by Pen -Flanders and Passa Porta. Different writers spoke or read about related subjects: Chris De Stoop read about emotional rights. The premise was that families are dangerous places and that emotional neglect and worse can kill a child's spirit. Dejean Anastasevic pointed out that elements of human rights are perverted by large corporations, diminished to publicity slogans. He was furthermore rather stunned by the high court's decission to let go General Gotovina. Fatene Al-Gorrha was absent, seen the escalation of violence in Gaza, she went back to her family and to report about the situation. Naema Tahir, from Pakistan, read an impressive text in Dutch concerning forced marriage and a girl's revolt against it. Pen-Flanders president David Reybrouck interviewed Tahar Ben Jelloun, who wrote several books about the Arab Spring. His is a knowledgeable voice of reason. An author I absolutely love to read. The African author sang, rapped his poetry accompanied by an African type lute: a beautiful strength interwoven with melancholy. Several active Pen members were present and we are more committed than ever to defend the rights of authors and journalists and to oppose blasphemy laws. We writers in free countries need to work for the freedom of colleagues in difficult places.