Our Friend is Gone, but Our Resistance in Myanmar Lives On | Op-Docs

From The New York Times.

San Zaw Htway was an artist, activist, political prisoner and dear friend.

From 2013 to 2017, we lived and worked in Myanmar with San Zaw Htway, who spent 13 years — of a 36-year-sentence — imprisoned under harsh conditions. He died at the end of 2017 after a cancer diagnosis.

San Zaw Htway touched many lives, serving as a dedicated trauma counselor to former political prisoners and teaching children and refugees to make artwork using recycled materials, as he did when he was in prison. After the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar, a Burmese friend wrote to us asking, “What would San Zaw Htway have done in a time like this?”

And so the idea for this short documentary was born.

We asked San Zaw Htway’s loved ones, some of whom are in hiding or are involved in the resistance, to write to him as an act of remembrance and a way of seeking solace and hope in the midst of the military’s brutal crackdown. This film is composed of their words, read by narrators to protect the identity of the writers.

Until the end of his life, San Zaw Htway retained his gentle wisdom and joy; his many years of suffering did not harden him to the world. As the people of Myanmar continue to live under violent military rule, we hope this film will shine a light on his legacy and the Burmese activists who have followed in his footsteps.

– Film and Text by Petr Lom and Corinne van Egeraat

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