People of Myanmar gain support through music

By CELINE PANIS-PARDO
On March 3, 2021

Photo by Natalie Tsur

After what seems to be a month’s worth of underrepresentation in western media, the people of Myanmar have taken another step towards making their situation known through music.

The military coup that overthrew Myanmar’s Parliament has been in power since Feb. 1 2021, and with their regime, they have enforced strict regulation on media consumption, as well as what information reaches the rest of the world.

This "media blackout" has not only restricted the Burmese peoples’ accessibility to their elected officials, but it has entirely shut out their voice on a global scale. While the Burmese people currently residing out of Myanmar are worried sick for their families back home, the feeling of anxiousness over the situation is only escalated due to the still deadly and present COVID-19.

And while some Burmese citizens have been successful in sharing their video-recorded evidence of violence and brutality through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, these accounts have seldom made it to big news sources.

The movement has entirely been operating for the people, by the people. What was originally a battlecry during protests has been formally recorded into a song called “ကမ္ဘာမကြေဘူ (Kabar Ma Kyay Bu),” composed by Naing Myanmar, and dispersed through means of social media, specifically YouTube.

Lyrics translating to messages like “we [will] never surrender until the earth ends” and “we created the history with our blood” to a tune similar to that of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind,” the song delivers a sense of prolonged strength of the Burmese people while also acknowledging the strife and hardships they have gone through as a nation. 

Myanmar’s fight for and protection of democracy has never proven to be a linear path, rather a continuing struggle, as was the case for many current democratic global superpowers, and there was never any doubt that they would give up their voice without a fight.

So despite the ever growing fear and feeling of hopelessness, the song embodies and amplifies the movement, keeping very much true to the idea of “we have done it before, we can do it again.” 

Even with the media blackouts and the presence of the pandemic, the Burmese people remain strong and determined in their fight. 

Music cannot save the world, but it can certainly increase awareness of the severity of the situation. So whether it be through an actual protest in person or by social media, they share the same voice and the same song that echoes through their streets, carrying their legacy of fighting for democracy with them.

 

gpanispa@ramapo.edu

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