One of the world’s leading writers’ associations says nine poets have now been detained and two shot dead as part of the military junta’s crackdown in Myanmar.
PEN International said the latest poet—a former visiting fellow at the University of Iowa—was arrested by the junta on Tuesday, the same day that several of the caged laureates were sentenced to a month in prison.
Poets Myint Myint Zin and K Za Win never even made it as far as a police station. They were armed only with their subversive thoughts and words as they stood up against the brutal regime behind the Myanmar military coup last week. But the military didn’t care and fatally shot them anyway, according to a statement by Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. “The poets had words; the government had guns,” Tripathi said. “The poets did what they could with the tools they had—write, express, speak. The government did the only thing it knew with the tool it had. Its forces fired.”