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The military junta persecutes the “voices of the revolution”

Bangkok, Jul 2 (.) .- Poets, writers, film directors and actors are some of the “voices of the revolution” that the military junta of Burma (Myanmar) has decided to silence by persecuting them to send them to prison and, in some cases, to the grave. “When poets and writers speak, people listen. When actors demonstrate, people follow them. They are some of the voices that feed the revolution,” Burmese professor Kenneth Wong, from the American University of Berkeley, told .. . Burma, which was home to and inspired writers such as the English George Orwell or the Chilean Pablo Neruda, still keeps the tradition of using prose to demand political and social change very much alive. For this reason, the verses began to appear in the networks moments after the military coup of February 1 that suddenly ended the young and incipient democracy in the country and that was five months old on Thursday. VERSES FOR FREEDOM The world of culture was among the first to raise its voice in rejection of the uprising and demand the restoration of usurped freedoms. “Burmese people recognize and appreciate poetry as a channel to discuss injustice and revolution in a safe way (…) thanks to the use of metaphor to avoid punishment and censorship,” says Wong, English translator of Burmese poems. To silence dissident voices, the military, who have shot to kill peaceful protesters, ordered the arrest of more than a hundred writers and famous people in the country who mobilized against the military regime. According to data from the Pen International association, at least 3 poets have been assassinated by the board and more than 30 have been arrested in Burma since the riot, joined by actors such as Paing Takhon and director Ma Aeint, among many other characters. Famous. FILM TO EXPLAIN THE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY Wong, who fled the country in 1989 as a result of the repression of the defunct military junta against the student revolution, friends directors and other members of the Burmese diaspora in the United States organized between 4 and 20 June an online film festival to reflect the constant struggle for democracy in Burma, which lived from 1962 to 2011 under a succession of military dictatorships. The charity project, which the academic describes as “a success”, had some thirty short films, films and documentaries, accompanied by several discussion forums, with the aim of “addressing the root of Burma’s problems and current incidents” . During this revolution, unlike previous ones in Burmese history, “everything happens live in front of our eyes” thanks to social networks and the internet, the professor remarks. “When I was on the street during the demonstrations in 1988 and we heard gunshots, we knew what was happening, but we did not know if the world knew what was happening. In 2007, during the Saffron Revolution, the videos were dripping. But this time, each day I can follow the demonstrations in the country live. ” During the festival the short film “Burma Spring 21” (The Burmese Spring of 2021) was presented, filmed and directed by Burmese directors who remain anonymous during the first days of the demonstrations against the military and which reflects the determined opposition from the field of the Burmese people. GROWING DURING DEMOCRACY New technologies have produced an enormous cultural change in a country that remained practically isolated from the outside world until the 2011 dissolution of the military junta, which allowed the coming to power of the Nobel Peace Prize Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party swept the 2015 and 2020 elections. A new batch of young people have grown up with the possibility of enjoying freedoms unthinkable until not long ago. “Previous generations lived all the time under a military regime, we never had the opportunity to know what democracy meant. However, young people today have developed between freedoms, even if they were not full, but they know what it is and what it is not. they will stop fighting to get them back, “says Wong. This decade of growing freedoms has led to a greater cultural awakening that has been captured in films, books and poems that challenge the concept of traditional Burmese society, of which the Army stands as its ultimate protector. “At the head, they shoot. They will never know that the revolution lies in our hearts,” wrote the poet Khet Thi after the coup, who died in May under suspicious circumstances while in police custody. Noel Caballero (c) . Agency

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