FEB 20, 2012 – Numerous musical activists have sprung up in Myanmar in a "Saffron Uprising" by the youth calling for more freedom and democracy in Myanmar/Burma, and one group ACID who put out the first hip-hop album ever in Burma/Myanmar, had songs that contained lyrics about the hard life in Burma/Myanmar and got them into trouble with the government. Two of the members of the group were arrested in 2008, including Zayer Thaw (photo left by Daisuke Furuta) and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for “breaking State Law and Order Restoration Council Law No. 6/88, Organizing under the Unlawful Association Act.” He was finally released in May of 2011 and in an interview told MSNBC, “I have to be careful about saying things now, Big Brother is watching.”
ACID is back together, and is part of a group of over 50 musicians coming out in support for Suu Kyi, who is running for a parliamentary seat. Many of the musicians gathered at her house last November, to plan an album to help her raise funds for her campaign. Then in December of 2011 Zayer was fortunate to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a part of a Burmese Civil Society group.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Zayer Thaw (to right of Clinton) and Burmese Civil Society members
(photo State Department public domain)
When asked in an interview by Free Muse about how it felt to be in prison he replied, "Once you get involved in politics in our country, you have a 90 percent probability of ending up behind bars. I took this into consideration before I decided to take part in politics, so I don't feel sorry for myself. In fact, I feel honored. They also asked him, “Why did you decide to get involved in politics?” and he told them, ”As an artist, I am always in touch with people and their feelings. Their hardships and sufferings always touch my heart. That's why I tried to give voice to their feelings.” Listen to a song from ACID and Zayer below, and you can get more informed and involved on this issue over at the US Campaign For Burma website here.