jueves, 26 de marzo de 2009

Roberto Benigni ask for the release of the Burmese actor/director Zarganar imprisoned in Burma/ Roberto Benigni pide la liberación de Zarganar

Zarganar is the pseudonym or stage-name for U. Thura the 48 year old poet, director, author and the most famous satirical comedian in Myanmar. Zarganar was arrested last June and condemned to 59 years of imprisonment. In a matter minutes a brief mock trial staged by an “Orwellian” regime, turned him into a “non-person” Zarganar is accused of having violated six paragraphs of the Burmese code of law, the truth was that together with his friends, (also condemned to heavy penalties) Zaw Thet Htway, Thant Zin Aung and Khin Maung Aye, he had put together an aid group of 400 amongst intellectuals, students artists and writers to bring relief to the villages hit by the cyclone Nargis. After having visited the inhabitants of the 42 villages devastated by the cyclone and abandoned to their fate causing the deaths of 140,000 people and leaving two million homeless, Zarganar exposed his disapproval of the military regime’s conduct to the international press and how it had neglected to help the victims of a cyclone. Zarganar has been condemned to 59 years imprisonment (then reduced to 34 by the Court of Appeal) with the charge of having brought humanitarian aid and condemning the Burmese government of indifference towards the fate of the civilian population. Faced with this absurd and unjustifiable sentence against our Burmese colleague, Italian authors from cinema, television and documentary films, members of the association “100 Autori”, which includes more than 300 members, a significant number of all the Italian authors including the nine time Academy Awards winner Bernardo Bertolucci, Marco Bellocchio, Liliana Cavani appealed to the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini “the Italian Diplomatic Corps promptly demands the immediate release of the director and comedian Zarganar held prisoner without a valid motivation” During the first meeting held by the “100 Autori” in Rome last February, a proposal was made by a few influential members, that the association changes its name to “Zarganar” in respect of our colleague in prison in Burma. Following the appeal made by “100 Autori” to the Foreign Minister, a second appeal was made on the 3rd of March by “Documè” a numerous group of authors, documentary film makers from the region of Piemonte. A third very significant appeal was made on the 11th March from more than one hundred documentary film makers belonging to the D.E.R Association from the region of Emilia Romagna. Senators and Members of Parliament from the Intergruppo “Amici della Birmania” assured the Italian authors that they “ will sustain the request for the release (of Zarganar) with the Foreign Ministry” Only a few days ago, Roberto Benigni’s full support came from abroad where he is currently on an international tour with his show “Tutto Dante” the Italian actor and director and Academy Awards winner for “La vita è bella” sustains the cause “to the immediate release of Zarganar”, Confined in the remote prison in Myitkyina in the state of Kachin, the Burmese satirical comedian has not yet been informed of Benigni and his Italian colleague’s solidarity towards his cause. He has been defined by the international press as the “Lenny Bruce from Burma”, “Dario Fo from the East” the “The Asian David Letterman” the Burmese actor has always felt very close to Benigni’s poetical. In 1995 when an Italian journalist interviewed him saying, “I’m Italian… tell me something” Zarganar’s answer was “Italia! Ah! Roma! Binighni! Binighni!” The journalist couldn’t understand the actor’s accent so Zarganar a great and enthusiastic fan wrote on a piece of paper B E N I G NI in capital letters! Zarganar has had a hard life. Son of Nan Nyunt Swe, the well known writer and political activist and Kyi Oo candidate to the Independent Government and who passed away March 20th. In 1988 Zarganar served one year imprisonment for having participated in student uprisings against the country’s dictatorship. In 1990 he was yet again jailed for having impersonated in a satirical parody general Saw Maung who was at the time head of the Army. When he was released he was forbidden to act in public, in films or to work as a producer or playwright. The few things that he was allowed to do were carefully monitored by military censorship. After a few years he was allowed to work, but after the release of his film “Lun” in 1997 he was banished for three years from the television and movie industry. In 2000 he was allowed to make films and video, but he was forbidden to perform as an actor. In 2006 he was definitely banished from cinema and television as punishment for having been interviewed by the BBC. In 2007 he was arrested together with Kyaw Thu another Burmese celebrity, for having participated in public remonstrations against the military regime and for having openly brought food and drink to the young monks who were preparing to march in protest. The stage-name “Zarganar” (in Burmese tweezers) comes from the time of his medical studies, as a young man he wanted to become a dentist. But as the Moustache Brothers an extraordinary group of comedians from Mandalay, once said during one of their performances, “dentists in Burma have no work” only when they saw the look of wonder and awe on their audience’s faces they would complete the cue with, “because nobody can open their mouths in Burma!” They never managed to shut Zarganar’s mouth. After the cyclone Nargis disaster he courageously exposed the facts, “the population has not received relief from neither the United Nations nor from International Orgs. Many professional organizations, the United Nations amongst them, deposited their aid directly in the warehouses belonging to the authorities…” Today Zarganar lives in the same severe condition as other Burmese political prisoners, incessantly and violently oppressed and tortured. Even the International Red Cross has been forbidden to verify their physical condition. There are presently more than 2000 political prisoners of whom 200 are young Buddhist monks. The latest mockery by the Burmese regime against international communities and western governments took place last February. The generals announced that they would free 6000 prisoners for good conduct, it was soon discovered that only 20 of the convicts that had been released were political prisoners. The Italian authors are in ferment and are working on new and resounding initiatives to obtain the release of Zarganar. The Burmese actor and film director will not be forgotten!