Me Me Khant, Sandra Kong, and Mike Haack
On March 3rd, 2021, the Burmese military shot a bullet into the neck of a 19-year old pro-democracy protester in Mandalay. The bullet killed her, but it awakened a revolution with entirely new energy and power. The whole nation rose up to say her name, tell her story, and carry on her legacy.
Her name was Kyal Sin, meaning “a star” in Burmese. She goes by the English name “Angel” and Chinese name “Deng Jia Xi” which represents hope. Like many other young adults in Myanmar who came of age during the recent democratic transition, she was a carefree, energetic teenager chasing opportunities. She was a Hip-hop dancer, an aspiring singer, and a Taekwondo instructor and champion. An only daughter of a single father, she was a flower ready to fully blossom.
Yet, the military coup on February 1st changed the course of her life, ending it only a month later. Angel, who voted for the first time in the 2020 election, felt that her voice was robbed by the coup and joined thousands of young people marching to demand for democracy in an enormous nationwide movement, now known as the Spring Revolution. She was a fierce young woman at the frontline who looked out for the safety of others before her own. She kicked open a water pipe to help people hit by tear gas and warned her fellow protesters about incoming bullets. Videos show her rallying her fellow protesters, chanting “Are we all together?” On the day of her death, she was wearing a shirt that reads, “Everything will be Ok,” as if she was sending a message to thousands of protesters across the country whom she left behind. And the message was outcried by the nation – in songs, poems, and arts in tribute to her; protesters would say to each other, “Everything will be Ok.”.
Thousands have sacrificed their lives in Burma’s democratic struggle in the past six decades, but few stories have trembled the nation like that of Angel’s did. She has now become the symbol of the relentless struggle for democracy in Myanmar, representing the younger, newer generation that is fighting for their future. She is now the face of a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated movement, coined the Civil Disobedience Movement. She is now regarded as “a fallen star” guiding and shining light on the movement; an “angel” who is fueling the movement through an unpolluted story of bravery and courage; a fallen hero whose “hope” has lived on in the hearts of protesters across the entire country.
One slogan of the Spring Revolution is “you can pluck spring flowers, but you cannot stop spring from coming.” Nearly eight hundred people, including Angel, were killed in the first 100 days of the revolution. Nearly eight hundred spring flowers plucked too prematurely. Nevertheless, spring will finally come, the revolution will prevail, and “everything will be Ok.”
Last week, Total and Chevron announced they would cut some of their payments to the Myanmar military. It’s not enough but it is a good first step. Your actions did that. Now we need to keep the pressure up. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign and share this petition.