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Asian Artists, Authors Sign Open Letter Supporting People of Burma

October 3, 2007

Below is a Burma Open Letter signed by over 30 people in the arts who are of Asian background, as a way to show international support for Burma’s nonviolent resistance, which has been led by Buddhist monks and nuns and joined by people of all faiths, including artists and intellectuals. The severe violence against them by Burma’s military regime is decried in the letter, which calls for an end to the violence and release of political prisoners.

People in the arts who have signed this Burma Open Letter include authors Maxine Hong Kingston (“The Woman Warrior,” “The Fifth Book of Peace”), Michael Ondaatje (“The English Patient,” “Divisadero”), Amitav Ghosh (“The Glass Palace,” “The Hungry Tide”), and Le Ly Hayslip (“When Heaven and Earth Changed Places”) and artist/architect Maya Lin (designer of Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Civil Rights Memorial.) Signers include Pascal Khoo Thwe (“From the Land of Green Ghosts”), Mira Kamdar (“Planet India”), Vasanthi Victor (“When Peacocks Dance”) and Burmese performance artist Htein Lin.

Those who signed are from a wide range of Asian ethnicities and include writers (novels, memoirs, poetry, essays), visual artists, museum curators, filmmakers and performers. Many artists worldwide are now planning activities on behalf of Burma, including readings, concerts and performances, dedicated art pieces and commentary through art. Although artistic and intellectual expression are subject to severe censorship inside Burma, the people of Burma are known for their love of learning and the arts, so it is intended that this Open Letter will provide some comfort and encouragement to them in these very difficult yet still hopeful times.

information contact:

Edith Mirante

Project Maje

maje@hevanet.com

www.projectmaje.org

or:

Guernica

editors@guernicamag.com

www.guernicamag.com

==========

AN OPEN LETTER FOR BURMA

October 3, 2007

From people of Asian background in the arts:

We write to express our extreme dismay at the brutality of the military regime of Burma (Myanmar) against protesters who have been peacefully asking for change in that Asian nation. Led by Buddhist monks and nuns, tens of thousands of people have marched in Burma’s cities and towns in recent weeks. This has been an inspiring example of nonviolent resistance which has caught the attention of the entire world.

Unfortunately, the military dictatorship has chosen to meet this challenge not with negotiation, but with gunfire from automatic weapons. Monks and nuns have been viciously beaten and arrested, students and journalists shot in the street, and whole cities are now under a military reign of terror.

As citizens of the world, as artists valuing free expression, as people of Asian heritage, we write in support of the courageous Buddhist monks and nuns, and other people from all religions and walks of life in Burma, as they continue to seek peaceful change and national reconciliation.

We demand an immediate end to the violence against the protesters, and a release of all political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, dissident comedian Zarganar, and poet Bamaw Nyo New.

We support the ongoing struggle of the people of Burma for basic human rights, and we admire their expressions of compassion for all humanity. As fellow humans, we stand with them.

Sincerely,

1. Maxine Hong Kingston

2. Linda Kim

3. Htein Lin

4. Amitav Ghosh

5. Khin Aye Than

6. Ruby Walters

7. Doryun Chong

8. Charmaine Craig

9. Huma Dar

10. Maya Lin

11. Tamara Chin

12. Bharat Venkat

13. Jerry Zee

14. Taro Shinoda

15. Mira Kamdar

16. Eungie Joo

17. Byron Kim

18. Pascal Khoo Thwe

19. Maryam Kashani

20. Kim Beom

21. Audrey Chan

22. Wei Hua Peng

23. Hou Hanru

24. Clara Kim

25. Kris Kuramitsu

26. Michael Ondaatje

27. Haegue Yang

28. Paisley Rekdal

29. Yiyun Li

30. Le Ly Hayslip

31. Gitanjali J. Hursh

32. Vasanthi Victor

33. Pankaj Mishra

34. Huma Gul

35. Amy Tan

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