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Myanmar: PEN Myanmar Joint Statement - “Call to the Global Creative Community to Show Solidarity with the People of Myanmar”

Wednesday 17 March 2021 - 9:28am

Pen Myanmar

Date: 17th March, 2021

Since the Myanmar military seized power from the elected government on 1 February, millions of people across the nation have protested against this illegitimate regime. The demonstrations have brought the young and old out onto the streets. The creativity of their protests has garnered worldwide attention.

Actors, directors, musicians, artists, poets and writers have all lent their talents to strengthen the movement that we call Myanmar‘s Spring Revolution. We have voiced out and performed online and on the street. Myanmar people have called for respect for our votes, release of our leaders, and an end to military dictatorship.

For the last two or three weeks, the military – which refuses to negotiate a solution, in defiance of the wishes of the international community, including the UN Security Council – has clamped down violently on peaceful demonstrators, including shooting them in the head with live rounds. Democratic leaders have been taken away, and their tortured bodies returned to their families. Armed soldiers wander the streets of our cities at night, shooting at random, terrorizing the residents. None of us is safe.

Our artistic community has been at the vanguard of these protests. One poet – Kayza Win - was shot dead in a protest in Monywa on 3 March. Writer Maung Thar Cho, writer Htin Lin Oo, writer Than Myint Aung, singer Saw Phoe Khwar, music producer U Kyi Win, award-winning actor Lu Min and filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi have been arrested. So have fifteen poets: Maung Yu Pye, Jonathan, Hsu Khet Yint, Nay Win, Arr Sway, Phyu Hsu, Eain Myu Nyein, Pay Thoe, Nayi (Myeik), Ei EI Tha Way, Moe Thu Eain, Nge Nemo, Sitt Naing, Khaing, and Te.

Other famous members of the creative community, including actors Pyay Ti Oo and Kyaw Thu, filmmakers Na Gyi and Ko Pauk, singers Anegga and Lin Lin are on the run. In the case of Kyaw Thu and his wife Shwe Zikweq, it is because they ran humanitarian clinic in Yangon treating protesters which the military raided and destroyed.

We know that the situation must ultimately be solved by the people of Myanmar. But we call on the international community to do what they can to support us in our fight for democracy. As creative professionals from Myanmar, we call on our creative brothers and sisters across the world, and from all artistic communities, to stand up and show solidarity with us in our struggle and support those in need!

PEN Myanmar

New Zero Art Space

Myanmar Poets’ Union

Myanmar Writers’ Club

Myanmar Writers' Union

Wathann Film Festival

Yangon Comedians Association

Mandalay Comedians Association

Myanmar Cartoonist Association

Myanmar Theatrical Association

Myanmar Graphic Design Association

Myanmar Motion Picture Organization

Myanmar Vocal Artists Association (MVAA)

Myanmar Performance Rights Organization (MPRO)

Association of Myanmar Contemporary Art (AMCA)

Beyond Pressure Festival of Performance Art

The Rendezvous Southeast Asia Urban Art Festival

For further information, please contact artistchaweithein[at]

PEN Myanmar Joint Statement