Myanmar dispatch: A red rose for Aung San Suu Kyi Dispatches
Contributed to JURIST
Myanmar dispatch: A red rose for Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar law students are reporting for JURIST on challenges to the rule of law in their country under the military junta that deposed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. 

Today in Myanmar, simply wearing a red rose on our heads holds a significant meaning. This is an incredibly marvelous act that the military juntas find threatening and attempt to stop people from posting their selfies wearing a red rose on their social media and random pedestrians commuting around the city with a red rose.

If you think of a red rose, specifically attached to an influential political figure amid Myanmar’s transitional journey towards Democracy, you will think of this iron lady called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The woman who says “Real freedom is freedom from fear.” She is also the same woman who was prisoned from 1991 to 1995, from 2000 to 2002, from 2003 to 2010, from 2021 to today []. The lifetime of the iron woman who advocates “freedom” has gotten her own freedom stolen many times. The whole country is now wishing her Happy Birthday though she may not hear them directly because she is still under house arrest since the beginning of the coup.

Being a law student today, she plays an important role in many life decisions I had to make in academics and my future career. I first knew her when I heard the slogan saying “Free Aung San Suu Kyi!” back in 2010 when I was just a middle school girl. A mere spark of curiosity about why a person is unfairly detained for many years planted in a young woman’s heart that we might have to question and doubt many things we saw and heard in our daily life. This made me approach my father who was a second-year student from Yangon University during the 8888 movement because I wanted to know more about her, leading to more about “politics.” I knew nothing better as a middle schooler but I simply doubted the way my 8th grade history textbook described the military regime at that time and how the SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) and the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) were portrayed as the lifesaver of the country. Even at that time, the propaganda to save the face of Myanmar’s military regime was systematically spread in our school textbooks. Our textbooks say these Senior Generals are good people but it would be a common sense question for people of any age why these so-called good people imprison this innocent lady.

Throughout these years, I have witnessed her try all possible ways to mobilise the change she wishes to see for her people. I am inspired by her. I have criticism against her like I would for any other political leader in a democratic society. All in all, it is an honour to exist during such a significant time when she emerges as Myanmar’s key political leader.

Similarly, she must influence many other young Myanmar women, especially Myanmar women pursuing legal education and political science.

With the success of this revolution, may she be free as well. With this success, I hope this is the last time political leaders are imprisoned for doing what they have to do. Since she has paved the way, I strongly believe many political leaders will emerge in the land of Myanmar.

When I am writing this dispatch, I am sitting indoors in front of my laptop, and of course, wearing a red rose on my hair. I cannot post my own selfie of this on my Facebook account. As much as I want to scream on the streets, “အရေးတော်ပုံ အောင်ရမည်,” meaning “May the revolution be a success,” I cannot do this without huge risk. Reporting this dispatch is the safest way to be heard as a law student residing in Myanmar.

Happy Birthday to the iron lady who’s turning 78 today.

Our correspondent adds:

This morning, near Myo Ma Market and Bo Gyoke Street in Kalay of Sagaing Region, the military juntas arbitrarily detained more than ten women, who were wearing roses and selling roses. They were reportedly brought to the police station for investigation.
Wearing and selling roses are considered grave crimes by the military junta. Any direct and indirect expressions of our opinions are strictly prohibited.