[Copy of the letter] To His Excellency, Ambassador K.M. Shehabuddin

2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20007, U.S.A.

Dear Sir,

I am a composer, saxophonist, director, living in Paris for many years. With my wife singing and my ensemble playing, we have made an opera, with Taslima Nasrin, called "The Cry".

This work has been performed by us, in 6 countries (14 times) and is scheduled to play in Finland, Belgium, Italy, Israel, and again in the U.S.A., where it was recently put on by the Smithsonian Institution.

Taslima, perhaps foolishly, returned recently to your country, to attend to her dying mother. Now she is threatened with hanging by the mob, or arrest by your government. Her crime was speaking what she thought, and writing it.

Sir, I must vehemency protest! This woman is a first-rate artist, and an international spokeswoman for many people, all over the world. Her work has been published in many different languages, and she was awarded the Sakharov Peace Prize, a few years ago.

Our own collaboration with her, involved 10 artists and musicians, from 8 different countries, and soon will appear on a double compact disc: "The Cry".

You must protect her; she is Your (one of Your) Living National Treasures. Allow her, and help her to get safely away from Bangladesh, and back to New York, or Stockholm, or Paris, or wherever she can be (relatively) free to live her life and do her work.

Someday she will be universally recognized as the great artist that she is.

I count on You, Sir.

Yours truly,

Steve Lacy, Paris - October 2, 1998