Filmmakers Michael and Carole Wilson traveled to Myanmar in 2014 to document the nascent pro-democracy movement. The film MYANMAR UNVEILED reflects the hopes and the uncertainties of that time. Tragically, the developments that marked the first steps toward democratization and national reconciliation have been overturned. On February 1, 2021, the military staged a coup and has reinstated a reign of terror that grows more brutal by the day.
MYANMAR UNVEILED was an emotional journey into a country (formerly known as Burma) that was sealed off from the international community for over 60 years by a brutal military dictatorship. It was entering the modern world following surprising reforms in 2011 – greater freedom of press, the opening of trade with the international community and the release of many political prisoners – but the country’s fate still hung in the balance as civil war and ethnic cleansing stained the progress of the pro-democracy movement.
Seen through the eyes of prominent pro-democracy leaders, many of whom had just been released from prison or returned from exile in the 2012 amnesty, the film caught up with a country undergoing major transformations politically and economically. Our witnesses expressed the wish for the spirit of peace and reconciliation to prevail during their country’s tumultuous transition from a military regime to quasi-democracy.
Despite the optimism of the 2015 election, a pall still hung over the country as ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya (a Muslim population) continued under the direction of the Burmese military and nationalist Buddhist monks. The reluctance of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out against these horrors, as well as a tightening of the press once again, had diminished the joy of the 2015 elections where Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy gained a majority in Parliament. Unfortunately, the military maintained control over the most important sectors of government. After the 2020 elections where the National League for Democracy won yet more seats in Parliament, the military stepped in and squashed all hopes of a free country.
Michael Henry Wilson and Carole J. Wilson have always been deeply interested in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. They saw Myanmar Unveiled as the third part of a trilogy: In Search of Kundun exemplified the wisdom of the Dalai Lama and Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle celebrated Nelson Mandela’s brilliant statesmanship. They hoped that Myanmar Unveiled would be yet another example of the spirit of reconciliation. Tragically, this will not be so.
To learn more about the British colonization of Burma and its damaginglegacy, click on this red link.
THE LEGACY OF COLONIALISM