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Burma Freedom Walk at Solano Stroll to salute Peaceful
Demonstrators and all those arrested in Burma.
Protest Media Coverage.
To show our solidarity and support, concerned people of San Francisco Bay Area took to the street again on Sunday, September 9, 2007. But this time, marching in front of hundreds of thousands people at the Solano Stroll fair, the largest of this kind in California. We dedicated this march to those are being arrested in Burma during ongoing peaceful walking demonstrations. And our message to the United Nations and international community is to take swift and effective measures to stop the violent crackdowns by thuggish regime on peaceful protesters due to repression and hardship. This is our fourth action in a row since the beginning of peaceful walks and the arrest of student’s leader three weeks ago
The fair started off with a parade, which we participated with a popular Burmese Ozi and Dobat dances with songs and Than Gyat and marchers with free Burma banners and sings. (Read more about Ozi and Dobat dances http://goldenlandpages.com/hotspots/dance/dance.htm)
We arrived to the gathering sport by 9:30 and were able to rehearse several times. We also saw other groups doing all kinds of dancing and rehearsing on the streets. The parade started at about 10 am and lasted nearly 2 hour. Our group included teenagers, colleague students, graduate students, adults, parents, and activists altogether about 30 participants. Many of us wore Burmese and ethnic dresses, bamboo hats and Burmese slippers.
In the parade, two students led the group holding a big Free Burma vinyl banner with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi face packed inside the large Burma Map that states "Free Burma, Release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Riht Now". A dancers and Doe-Patt-Waine followed. Others holding sings and photos walked after the performers. The last of the group were teenagers carrying a large BADA banner and signs. A professional volunteer videographer recorded the march.
Soon after the march started, we were in full swing. To attract the crowd, we first performed with dance, music and song pulling all the attention from the crowd packed shoulder to shoulder on each side of the street. Some of the song we performed were "Mya-Nanda", "Kabamakya" . As soon as performance was over, we all chanted, with full force, “Free Free Free Burma”. “Free Free Free Aung San Suu Kyi”. Among hundreds of groups marching in the parade, no doubt that we were the most visible and energetic group.
We also often chanted Than-Gyat
(couplets of refrains with balanced rhymings)
that one of us has composed based on the current situation.
It was well
received by the media that interviewed us. It simply asked the three THARs (in
Burmese): Buddhist Monks (Phaya-THAR), Soldiers (Sit-THAR) and students (Kyaung-THAR)
to join hands together and defeat the people's enemies towards democracy and
After the parade, our effort shifted to the booths: food and information booths located next to each other. As our organization name sounds like a bit political, we were placed between "Green Party" booth and "OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT 2008" booth. To raise fund, at the food booth, we offered Chicken Curry with potato; drinks and water. At the information booth we had Pat Waine (Drum Circle), Saung Gauk to show case our culture and musical instruments. For awareness and fundraising, we had BADA brochures, Daw Aung Suu Kyi posters and buttons, and music CDs. We also hanged the large Free Burma banners, photos of political prisoners and one rare collection of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi touring upper Burma. Besides, we often played the Patt Waing and Saung Gauk to attract the passersby. Many (some Burmese) stopped by; chatted with us, views the photos; and also try out the Patt Waing.
By midday, the street was literally full with people. Many of us, for being first time to this fair, were amazed to see that great very many people. As far as eyes can see there was a sea of people moving into both directions on the more-than-a-mile-long SOLANO Street that was literally filled with all sort of participating booths on each side. No wonder the fair official website states that 250,000 people attend the fair annually and that it was honored by the Library of Congress as a National Local Legacy in 2002. (FAIR OFFICIAL WEBSITE)
These days we live and breathe the events in Burma. The hardship, the stories, the courage and many new unsung heroes of Burma -- following the footstep of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, have really inspired us. We are determined to help spread awareness of their peaceful struggle for democracy and freedom. However, it is always challenging to pull even a few hundreds to any political event. But, this time in this fair, our messages were delivered to hundreds of thousands. We believe our participation in this fair has raised the awareness greatly about Burma and the peaceful struggle of her people. Thank you all very much for making this happen!!!
We will do more for the people of Burma.
Please join us again!
Towards Free Burma!