Pray for Myanmar: The Burmese Fight for their Voice

by Matthew Escosia
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By: Shaina Semaña

 

If you’re a regular user of the internet, chances are you’ve seen the headlines made by Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin when she held a sign which says “Pray for Myanmar” during her walk in the Miss Universe pageant’s national costume contest. The powerful call is in response to the ongoing coup in Myanmar which caused a state of emergency in the country.

Many people admired Thuzar Wint Lwin’s expression of patriotism, but what surprised most people was the lack of global coverage of current events in Myanmar. What was going on and when did this all start?

SEA Wave - Miss Myanmar - Miss Universe

Image from Thuzar Wint Lwin’s Instagram Account

Myanmar has been under state of emergency since February of last year as mass protests occured in the country after the military took charge of the government. The protests started when the country’s elected leader and Nobel Prize awardee Aung San Suu Kyi was detained due to alleged election vote manipulation, along with members of the National League of Democracy. Since then, military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hliang has taken charge of the government, with his justification of the coup earning him sanctions from countries such as the US and UK.

For over a year now, Myanmar has been struggling to fight for its democracy. Protesters took to the streets in hopes to make their voices heard but were only confronted by violence from the government, with hundreds of protesters arrested and bystanders and even children killed. Despite this, citizens still continue to fight.

People from all walks of life have expressed their resistance, including celebrities; it wasn’t just Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin who used her voice and influence to speak up. In fact, Myanmar’s junta even released a wanted list of people who are actively participating in the protests, which includes celebrities and social media influencers who were charged for violating a section in the Penal Code for “spreading news to affect state stability”.

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Image from AFP/Getty Images

Included in this list is Burmese actress May Toe Khine, who immediately took to Twitter to express her surprise in being included in the list and asked for continuous support in the Burmese fight for freedom. Meanwhile, popular model and actor Paing Takhon was arrested from his home in the morning of April 8, 2021 for taking part in protests and expressing his resistance through social media posts (which have now been taken down by the government). Beauty blogger Win Min Than was also reportedly taken by the police from a hotel she’s been staying in.

Thuzar Wint Lwin is not the only beauty queen who showed the world that being a true queen is talking the talk and walking the walk. Miss Grand Myanmar Han Lay has been actively participating in protests and shared ways to help the country through donations on her social media accounts. She was also one of the prominent figures who called for the release of University of Yangon students who were arrested for fighting against dictatorship. More recently and most remarkably, Han Lay took to the Miss Grand International stage last March 2021 to speak about her advocacy for her country.

SEA Wave - Miss Myanmar

Image from Han Lay’s Instagram Account

To this day, Myanmar is still struggling under the coup. Even when faced with threats of violence from the very government that swore to protect them, thousands of people stand and fight for the democracy that they cherish. If you wish to help, you can donate to international aids that seek to send help to Myanmar or directly reach out to local organizations. Check out this article to know where you can donate.

Featured image from Thuzar Wint Lwin’s Instagram Account

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