by Lucas Stewart, Editor-at-Large, Kitaab, Myanmar
Burmese former political prisoner, editor and translator, Letyar Tun remained silent as two other panellists on the stage debated back and forth on the methods of responsible speech, the control and freedom of public protestations, silence versus action. As poet/literary critic Gwee Li Sui and social commentator Sharaad Kuttan wrapped up their, often opposing, arguments on the language of protest, Letyar Tun finally picked up his microphone and spoke slowly and softly, ‘when a baby cries, it wants something. That is the language of protest’. As someone who spent eighteen years in prison, fourteen of them on death-row for not staying silent in the face of oppression, it was a powerful statement which encapsulated the theme of this year’s Cooler Lumpur Festival: Dangerous Ideas.