Language, Music and Censorship

When tradition becomes resistance

Julie Trébault by Pen America

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Chaired by Julie Trébault (France/USA), PEN America

with Sara Curruchich (Guatemala), Tejiendo Sonidos;
Rahima Mahmut (China/UK), World Uyghur Congress

In 2020, Bangladeshi authorities began arresting Baul musicians under the infamous Digital Securities Act. Baul music, they claimed, was antagonistic to the dominant religious and spiritual philosophies of the country. In China, Uyghur musicians like Abdurehim Heyit have been brutally targeted for their music. Although Chinese authorities maintain that he is still alive, many believe that he died in custody in 2019.

With a global surge of attacks on musicians practising their folk and indigenous traditions, the burden of protecting and advocating for them and their work falls on all of us. This session will create a safe and dynamic space to explore how those committed to artistic freedom and indigenous people’s rights can help support, defend, and uplift such musicians who are censored, threatened, and/or imprisoned.