His parents were killed in 2022 after he escaped from prison
Myanmar activist Sann Minn Paing released a song on YouTube a year after his parents were killed by junta forces. His Facebook post announcing the song and his demand for justice went viral, reflecting the continuing resistance and online pushback against the military government.
The military grabbed power in February 2021, which was immediately fiercely resisted by pro-democracy forces. Sann Minn Paing, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, was among those who challenged the junta and was arrested for being part of the civil disobedience movement. According to a report by The Irrawaddy, an exiled Burmese media group, he spent a year at three interrogation centers and four police stations in Yangon. Since he was only 17 at the time of his arrest, he was transferred to a juvenile facility.
Together with 13 other young prisoners, he escaped on September 23, 2022. Authorities killed his parents inside their house on September 29.
“I still suffer from mental trauma. But I try to keep going. I don’t know when I will die. So, I want to create a piece of art that will last and that demands justice for my parents, in case I die before the revolution succeeds. So, I created this song.”
In an interview with The Irrawaddy, he said he wanted to inspire other victims of the junta brutality to continue the fight for justice.
“I could never repay them. This is the first thing I have done for my parents. If we bow to every act of oppression, we won’t be able to stand up in this life. I hope my song will encourage families who have been affected by the fascist military to demand justice in the future.”
A report by the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar revealed that as of October 2023, junta forces have killed 4,000 civilians, destroyed 75,000 civilian homes and infrastructures, displaced over 2 million people, and driven 15 million into food insecurity over the past two years.
The title of the song is “The Day The Sun Disappears Before The Sunset.” A music video was uploaded on YouTube which depicts the artist’s anguish and guilt over the death of his parents.
Even after the death of his parents, he continues to be involved in the pro-democracy movement. In his song, he speculates about what might become of him due to his resistence.
Sann Minn Paing’s rap song is an example of the creative forms of resistance used by young activists and artists who joined the ‘Spring Revolution’ against the junta dictatorship. Other forms of resistance have included subversive pro-democracy messages through clothing and “silent strikes,” where citizens closed their businesses and stayed indoors on the same day as a method of resistance. In October 2021, a group of rap artists released a music album featuring anti-junta songs.
Listen and watch the song of Sann Minn Paing on YouTube: