Fighting Myanmar’s Junta with Humor


| 1/25/2008 5:11:17 PM


In Kyoto Journal Roy Hamric writes about the Moustache Brothers, a persecuted comedy group in Myanmar that’s described as a cross between Franz Kafka and Lenny Bruce. 

In 1996, the three brothers were invited to speak at a pro-democracy rally. Up on stage, Par Par Lay, the group’s leader, joked: “In the old days, we called a thief a thief. But now, we call them junta members....” The junta members didn’t laugh. Par Par and his fellow Moustache Brother Lu Zaw were sentenced to six years in prison, including stints of hard labor and solitary confinement. 

In 2001 Par Par and Lu Zaw were released, but banned from performing in public. So the Moustache Brothers started to stage nightly performances for tourists in their home, which is where Hamric caught them last summer. “Foreign travelers have kept our family and our art alive,” the third brother, Lu Maw, explained. “Tourists are our Trojan horse. Without them, we’d be up the river. We need tourists and journalists to see our show and talk about us. We’re living on the edge. Are you with me?” 

In September, Par Par was arrested again for giving alms to a monastery. After a month in prison, he was released

Brendan Mackie



 



Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter