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The writers' freedom is everyone’s freedom

  • Published at 04:14 pm November 20th, 2018
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Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

PEN is an international association of poets, essayists and novelists working in post-liberated Bangladesh as PEN Bangladesh from 1972

Continuing with their tradition of promoting freedom of speech, DLF 2018 held a session titled “PEN: lekhok er mukti, lekhar swadhinota (PEN: freedom of writer, freedom of writing)” on the last day at Vaskar Novera Exhivbition Hall, where the audience found  the opportunity to know more about PEN Bangladesh and engage in conversation with their representatives.

PEN is an international association of poets, essayists and novelists working in post-liberated Bangladesh as PEN Bangladesh from 1972.

The panel of speakers consisted of Kumar Chakraborty, Md Akhtar Hossain, Mohammad Moheuddin and Moom Rahaman. Journalist Udisa Islam moderated the discussion session.

Writer Mohammad Moheuddin, secretary general of PEN Bangladesh, started the discussion with a brief introduction of PEN International and PEN Bangladesh, lamenting at one point that “PEN Bangladesh was never as active enough as it has been since last year.”

Poet and essayist Kumar Chakraborty talked about the history of oppression against freethinkers of all kinds, from scientists to artists, opining that banning books has never been a solution.

When the notion of whether writers should keep in mind the sensibilities of certain cultures and societies when writing came up, authors Akhtar Hossain and Moom Rahaman talked about the need for writers to keep in mind a particular national setting, saying “There is nothing like absolute freedom.” This resulted in strong reactions from the audience, who countered his statements by saying, “More freedom is better than less freedom.'' Akhtar Hossain cleared his view later on by discussing the relationship between censorship and freethinking.    

The session ended with Moom Rahaman saying, “The Freedom of writers represents freedom of all.”