Message for UNESCO Director-General and of World Poetry Day 2021

Dear Madam Audrey Azoulay,

Since 2005, we poets in Myanmar/Burma have celebrated World Poetry Day (WPD), and since then, WPD has become an auspicious day, a day we share with poets of the world, past and present and even towards the future.

WPD has been celebrated not only in cities like Yangon or Mandalay but also in many parts of the country where poetry-conscious people and people-conscious poets come together to hold hands in spirit with the poetry world at large.

This year, however, will be a widely defining celebration. Poetry and democracy are one life with two inter-twining bloodstreams, enriching one another.

Madam Director- General,

Today, poets of Myanmar, again embody the Shelleyan doctrine of poets being ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the world’. We poets in Myanmar are in the forefront of our revolution for democracy. As poetic expression of democracy and democratic expression of poetry are the two sides of an indeterminate coin, we wish to celebrate democratic expression as per poetry. We also acknowledge that poets are against all forms of oppression, call it patriotism, nationalism, rule-of-law ism, or even poetryism.

As I write, sounds of gunshots at 23:35 blast holes in the military-administrated night killing sleep in bed.
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