Saffron Revolution: A Nonviolent Army for Democracy

In 2007, thousands of Burmese monks joined in a massive uprising against their country’s authoritarian military regime. The Saffron Revolution, as it came to be known, brought the attention of the world to the Southeast Asian country where the flow of information is tightly controlled. Though the uprising did not overthrow the military government, many of those involved in it consider it a success. “The Saffron Revolution showed the world the cruelty of this regime. This is one tangible victory,” says monk U Gawsita. Since the protests, pressure from the international community has mounted, and many countries support trade embargoes against the regime. Bowing to international pressure in November 2010, the government released Aung Sui Kyi, the Nobel-prize winning leader who had been under house arrest for 15 of the previous 21 years. Despite these efforts, the regime maintains power with the help of loyal trade partners China and India, along with hundreds of millions of dollars per year from oil companies Chevron and Total. This short film both explores the impediments to democratic reform in Burma and highlights the brave leaders of the Saffron Revolution. As one monk says, “If you use only one hand, nothing happens. But with thousands of hands, things will change.”

The film is also available on Vimeo.

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