Song, Video Depicting Fighting Dropped From Myanmar Peace Conference Opening Event
By Kyaw Kha 19 August 2020
Naypyitaw — A music video, “Let Us Have Peace”, featuring war scenes, was not allowed to be performed at the opening of the fourth 21st-century Panglong conference, which kicked off on Wednesday in Naypyitaw.
“[Organizers] were asked to change all the fighting scenes and the [singers’] clothes. They were not allowed to wear black. It was banned during the final rehearsal [on Tuesday]. We don’t know who gave the instruction,” a source told The Irrawaddy.
The seven-minute video features young men who have taken up arms due to their beliefs and the sorrow of their mothers who lost their sons. It highlights the plight of people in conflict zones, including those who lost lives or limbs due to landmines.
“Let Us Have Peace” was composed by Thit Lwin Aung (Loikaw) and sung by Naw Gu Gu. The video was directed by Min Thike, who won the best short film award at the first Art of Freedom Film Festival in Myanmar in 2012.
Instead of “Let Us Have Peace”, “Essential Peace, Necessary Peace”, which was screened at the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) last year, was performed.
Both songs were created by the same people. But Essential Peace only features the troubles of those affected by the war and not fighting scenes.
In the live broadcast on Wednesday, performers wore white clothes.
Director Min Thike posted on Facebook on Tuesday evening: “I couldn’t get to sleep. I wish it was [over]. I want to go back to Yangon.”
There were reports that the video was banned at the last minute by the State Counselor’s Office minister, U Kyaw Tint Swe, and not by Myanmar’s military. The State Counselor’s Office oversees the peace negotiations and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the chair of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center, which accepted the music video.
“[The video] was banned because it includes scenes of the rebels shooting government soldiers. If those scenes were not included or if the scenes were of government soldiers shooting the rebels, the video should have been passed,” said a senior government official in Naypyitaw.
Writer Ma Thida (Sanchaung), who translated the lyrics for English subtitles, said: “The message of the song is that it wants to dry the tears of mothers who grieve for their sons who left home for their beliefs. The song didn’t specifically label the Tatmadaw [military] or ethnic armed groups. It only reflects events in our country. There was no deliberate fabrication.”
The Union Peace Conference is due to end on Friday and participants will hold talks to add further agreements to the Union Accord.
Only 10 NCA signatories attended the conference, and the seven-member Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee led by the United Wa State Army and the Kachin Independence Army did not attend the conference.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.
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