The Audacity of Angry Folks

Last December, Zin Linn and two activist friends attended the pro-Suu Kyi rally at Yangon’s Mahabandoola Park during the televised hearing of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). They sat at a table with a sign: “I stand against genocide, change my mind,” a play on the Steven Crowder meme. They distributed two flyers: The 10 Stages of Genocide translated into Burmese, and the 2008 Constitution’s definition of the concept of a “state”—which declares the state as those in the government organisation.

“My anger taunts me. I feel guilty not taking action about the causes I care about. In this case, there were so many innocent people in the crowd who didn’t understand ICJ or even [what] Aung San Suu Kyi [stands for]. I want to show people I’m not part of this inhumane event,” Zin Linn told New Naratif.

It wasn’t the first time this 23-year-old folk musician has expressed his opinions in bold, dangerous ways. Under the name Angry Folks, he performs folk songs at workers’ and indigenous rights protests around the country. Most of his time in 2016 and 2017 was spent eating, sleeping and singing for strikers in Yangon’s industrial zones. With his flat cap and guitar, he’s like a modern-day Bob Dylan or Woodie Guthrie.

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