|Zarganar is Burma’s most famous comedian, and for his relentless commitment to speaking the truth he has served more than 11 years in prison. Now he is free (released October 2011 with conditions), and today we have a special video message from him to YOU, the amazing members of U.S. Campaign for Burma.
In his own words he says, “Now, many political prisoners in Burma have been released, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you on behalf of my fellow former political…“You guys have been doing a great job!” While he is free and able to travel around, Zarganar is also concerned about other political prisoners who are still in jail and he urges you all to “please continue your campaign for the release of all the remaining political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.”
Upon his release, Zarganar was able to make an advocacy trip to the U.S. in February 2012. Khin Than Myint, a leading advocate for women’s rights, and Bawk Jar, a Kachin activist, were also able to join Zarganar on this trip. The USCB secured many meetings for them with top U.S officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council Samantha Power; Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma Ambassador Derek Mitchell; and Burma’s long time human rights supporter and House’s Chief Deputy Whip Congressman Joseph Crowley. He was also honored at Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary comedy show The Secret Policeman’s Ball in New York City.
As much as you have heard and read about the changes happening in central Burma, the situation in the ethnic areas hasn’t changed. Widespread human rights abuses continue despite the fact that Burma claims to have transitioned into the civilian government. Read this recent report from the Free Burma Rangers about abuses that have happened in Karen areas since the so-called ceasefire agreement in January. USCB and the people of Burma still need your support as Zarganar says, “please continue your effort to help us achieve real freedom and sustainable national reconciliation in Burma.”