This was the second year that we put on Burma Voices, a fundraising/awareness event featuring a performance with spoken and performed monologues written by people from Burma about their experiences with the violence and oppression of the Burmese government. After the show the audience could participate in a petition campaign to urge Obama to place political pressure on the Burmese government.
The event was held in Kimball Theatre, and over 50 Whitman students and staff came to listen to the monologues presented and acted out onstage, as well as enjoy a traditional Burmese meal. Various monologues performed depicted the lives of students, soldiers, refugees, political prisoners, and other individuals affected by the Burmese military government. One monologue from Ko Kyaw Zaw, a refugee stated about his arrest:
“This time, I was sentenced to three years in prison. During this third arrest, they tortured me a lot. But this was not different from anybody else. It’s normal to be tortured. I lost consciousness because of all the beatings, and they threw water at me to wake me up so that they could continue.”
The event was somber, and regard was given to the privileged lives we personally lead. Audience members were asked to reflect upon the day-to-day privileges that they have, and to become mindful of how these are not the same in other parts of the world. The actors exited without a final curtain call, in order to show respect for the monologues given by the Burmese people.