Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Zarganar to host film festival on Burma’s independence day in January next year

Burma’s independence day in January next year will be marked with the launch of a film festival organised by two of the country’s leading pro-democracy luminaries, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and comedian Zarganar.

Billed as the Art of Freedom Film Festival, it will open on 31 December and showcase both short films and documentaries. Suu Kyi is due to present awards to the festival’s winners on Independence Day on 4 January.

“The main theme is the idea that art can be created only when there is freedom, and film makers are to define freedom in their piece in whichever way they see it,” Zarganar, who was recently released from prison, told DVB.

He added that a number of entries were also likely to focus on the day Burma achieved independence after nearly a century of British rule. “Our main focus is about freedom and it doesn’t matter if they talk about history or not,” he said.

Also helping to organise the festival is former award-winning Burmese actor and director Kyaw Thu, whom since being banished from the film world has headed the highly-praised Free Funeral Service Society. The three will be joined by fellow film director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi.

Zarganar, who served three years of a 35-year sentence after criticising the Burmese government’s woeful response to Cyclone Nargis in 2008, said he will be entering his own film focusing on the life of Thiri Thudhamma Khin Kyi, the wife of Burmese independence hero General Aung San and mother of Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi herself is the subject of French director Luc Besson’s latest offering, The Lady, which stars Michelle Yeoh and which yesterday opened the Rome film festival.

DVB News

LONDON EVENT: Political Prisoner,Ko Zarganar,Film screening: This Prison Where I Live@ Foreign Office in King Charles Street

On 15 September, the FCO will show the film telling the story of the political prisoner Zarganar, a fierce critic of the regime in Burma and its most popular comedian. Find out how to get your place and listen to our new human rights podcast.

Members of the public are invited to attend the event, which will take place at the Foreign Office in King Charles Street, Westminster, London. Places will be first come first served. To attend, become a fan of the Foreign Office News on Burma Facebook page and view the event details and instructions. The film is directed by Rex Bloomstein, who will attend the event and will take part in a Q&A session after the screening.

Ahead of the event, the Foreign Office has launched our new human rights podcast series. This looks at a range of human rights issues, as well as focusing on the situation in specific countries. The first in this series focuses on Burma and freedom of expression, featuring an interview with Rex and excerpts from ‘This Prison Where I Live’.


Tickets are limited and there will be a maximum of 2 tickets per person.

Please RSVP on this page to show your support but to confirm your attendance you will also need to email: SEAPG.Enquiries@fco.gov.uk with your name and your guest’s name. You will then receive a confirmation of your place which you will need to print out and bring with you.

If you do not bring the confirmation print-out we can’t guarantee entrance!

The screening of ‘This Prison Where I Live’ is in conjunction with Rex Entertainment at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday, 15th September. Director Rex Bloomstein will take part in a Q&A session following the screening.

The FCO has helped to organise screenings of ‘This Prison Where Live’ all over the world and we are now pleased to give our Facebook members the chance to see it here.

‘This Prison Where I Live’ tells the story of the political prisoner Zarganar, a fierce critic of the regime and Burma’s most popular comedian. Containing secret footage of Zarganar filmed in 2007, it is an insight into the experiences of an extraordinary man and the journey made by Bloomstein and German comedian Michael Mittermeier in their attempt to share his story with the world.

This film simultaneously explores the scale of oppression in Burma and the resilience of those who struggle against it. The comparison between two comedians from two different countries reveals the importance of democracy and freedom of speech.

“The movie is an introduction to a remarkable man who needs the support of the world against his vindictive oppressors” – The Observer

Thank you for your continuing support. We look forward to seeing you at the screening.


The screening will take place on 15th September. Refreshments will be served from 6.00pm before an introduction to the film at 6.30pm. Please arrive at the main reception by 6:15 to be escorted to the screening.

Nearest Tube Station: Westminster



AMNESTY:No one release today

Heard the news… there will be amnesty, but they will release the ones who has filled the date to release. No one release today. Heard that Ko Zar ga nar will be release soon, let’s wait and see. Tomorrow will be Exciting !!!

Burma: Happy to hear that some prisoners will be released tomorrow. I am happy for anyone who will be released either normal or political prisoners.

by BDC

Another Trap for World Media regarding to Fake Election-Zar Ga Nar(a) Ko Thura (Aged 49) under eye exam

Photo shows comedian-cum-politician Zar Ga Nar(a) Ko Thura (Aged 49) under eye exam
by Eye Specialist Dr. Kyi Lwin at the Myitkyina Prison on 1 July, 2010
D Nyein Linn
Photo shows Ko Di Nyein Linn, a political prisoner, under eye exam
by an eye specialist at Monywa Prison on 22 July 2010

A responsible person of the Correction Department in Myanmar said the Eleven Media Group that over one hundred practitioners have been appointed to provide the healthcare services at the prisons and jails across Myanmar, and medical specialists were also invited to participate in this program.

It was learnt that 32 doctors, 50 healthcare officers and 27 nurses, totaling 109 medical personnel, are providing healthcare services to detainees and prisoners at the jails and correction camps across Myanmar at present. Moreover, these inmates have access to medical checkups twice a week, according to the report.

The Correction Department has kept the record photos of monthly healthcare services at their facilities. According to the photo taken on 1 July, the health conditions of Zar Ga Nar (a) Ko Thura, Myanmar comedian-cum-politician at the age of 49, who has been detained at Myitkyina Prison of Kachin State in northern Myanmar, was reportedly quite well.  In addition, the photo taken on July 29 showed that Ko Di Nyein Linn, a detainee at the Monywa Prison of Central Myanmar, was also in good health.

Junta Backed paper


Zarganar’s sister-in-law demands junta revoke bar on jail visits

The sister-in-law of political prisoner and comedian Zarganar, demanded today authorities lift a new regulation that blocks her from seeing him, she said.

The 49-year-old entertainer and activist has been in junta custody since June 2008 after originally being sentenced to 59 years in prison, commuted on appeal to 35 years, for public order offences after speaking to foreign media about the millions of people left homeless in the the Irrawaddy Delta in the wake if Cyclone Nargis. He has been serving his sentence in Myitkyina prison, in the capital of Kachin, the northernmost state of Burma.

He had also before the “crime” led a group of entertainers to help Nargis victims ignored by the authorities.

According to the new regulation, the prison authority will let only Thura’s wife or children visit him. Zarganar’s wife Lwin Mar Oo, his 24-year-old son Myat Kaung and 19-year-old daughter Nge Oo Mon are now living in Los Angeles, in the United States.

“I’ve seen him regularly in visits since he was in Insein prison. Now they maliciously imposed a new regulation that permits only his wife and children in these prison visits … They should not do it. So I’d like to demand [that the junta] lift this new regulation”, his sister-in-law Ma Nyein told Mizzima.

She last met Zarganar on May 17 and news spread about a possible rule allowing only immediate family members to visit Zarganar. The prison authority confirmed the rule on June 25. Continue reading “Zarganar’s sister-in-law demands junta revoke bar on jail visits”

London Calling: 3May “Free Zarganar!” – An afternoon of comedy, poetry, performance and dance.

Burma’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for his criticism of the Burmese government’s handling of Cyclone Nargis which hit Burma on 2 May 2008. The cyclone devastated the country – more than 140,000 people died and millions were made homeless.

To mark World Press Freedom Day 2010 and to pay tribute to our brave colleague Zarganar, the Free Zarganar Campaign coalition will be holding a lively and colourful afternoon of comedy, poetry, performance and dance in Trafalgar Square in London and will be calling for his immediate release.

Everyone is welcome to come and join in, so do spread the word!



Carole Seymour-Jones, Deputy President of English PEN and Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee will introduce the event

Journalist and friend of Zarganar Bo Bo Lansin will tell us about Zarganar’s work and the role of artists in Burma

Freelance journalist and former political prisoner Nita May will talk about freedom of the press for women in Burma and give us the lastest news on Zarganar

Former political prisoner and close friend of Zarganar Aung Thwin will recount his own experiences of prison life and memories of living with Zarganar

Activist and former colleague of Zarganar Dr Win Naing will talk about Zarganar’s family and about his experiences of working with him in the late 80s.

With additional performances by:

The Burmese Theatre Workshop and actress Camila Fiori

The Burmese Theatre Workshop is a non-political London based Burmese touring theatre company, the only one in the world. The Company was established at the Drill Hall in June 2009 by ten Burmese actors and one wheelchair using Brit who wanted to create well crafted, challenging theatre that would empower Burmese people to change themselves and the people around them and to raise the profile and standing of Burmese theatre in the UK. Their work promotes the creativity, culture and heritage of Burmese people, promotes new writing, emerging artists and new audiences.

Camila Fiori is an actress with a performance and visual arts background. Her work explores boundaries and cross-overs in both content and form. Her work encourages integration and celebrates the right to share our voices. As a PEN aficionada and Equity member with a personal and political interest in freedom, exile and imprisonment, she supports the campaign to free Zarganar.

Who is Zarganar?

Burmese poet, comedian, filmmaker and actor, Zarganar, has long been an outspoken critic of Myanmar’s military government. He was most recently arrested on 4 June 2008 for his public criticism of the government’s response to the humanitarian crisis that emerged in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. After it emerged that the Myanmar government was obstructing international aid that was to be distributed to the devastated Irrawaddy Delta and the surrounding areas, Zarganar began to lead efforts to raise and distribute aid from private donors. Despite assurances from the authorities that private donors would be given free access to cyclone affected areas, Zarganar and at least 21 others were later arrested for their participation in the voluntary aid effort.

Zarganar was regarded as a reliable source of information from within Myanmar by the Burmese exile media and regularly gave interviews to journalists abroad. Through the interviews he exposed the devastation which had not been reported by the tightly-controlled Myanmar media. Zarganar and other volunteers documented the devastation caused by the cyclone and the voluntary relief operations that followed. They collected video footage and photographic evidence from the affected areas. At the time of his arrest, the police confiscated Zarganar’s computer, copies of several banned films, DVDs believed to contain footage of the cyclone damage, and US$1000 that had been collected for the cyclone victims.
Two days after his arrest, state-controlled media published warnings against the production of video footage of relief work for foreign news agencies.

Zarganar has insisted that humour in Burma will prevail. “Burmese people love to laugh. If I can’t speak, jokes will still spread. People will make them up themselves.”

** The Free Zarganar Campaign was launched by a consortium of human rights and freedom of expression advocates. Our goal is to mobilise public opinion and win his immediate release. We are now working with private citizens to further highlight Zarganar’s cause, mobilise worldwide opinion and press the Burmese military leaders to release Zarganar immediately.**



For further information on Zarganar, please see http://zarganar.blog.free.fr/ or email zarganarblog@gmail.com