Beauty queen brings Myanmar’s democratic struggle to the international stage –

Beauty queen brings Myanmar’s democratic struggle to the international stage

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Myanmar model Han Lay did not win the Miss Grand International beauty pageant last week, but will be remembered as one of its most passionate contestants.

The 22-year-old turned her head in Thailand on Saturday during an emotional speech calling for “urgent international aid” for her country, the same day 141 protesters were killed in a crackdown by military rulers who, according to her, they were selfish and abused their strength. Energy.

On Friday, he said his compatriots in an anti-coup movement would not back down in a fight that has so far claimed nearly 550 lives in the two months since the generals toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

“I can say one thing, that the citizens of Myanmar will never give up,” he told Reuters.

“They told me they would fight on the street and now I am also fighting on stage. So I think if they don’t give up, we will win. “

Myanmar has been in chaos since the coup, with daily demonstrations and strikes designed to paralyze the country’s administration, many of which have been lethally suppressed by security forces with live ammunition.

The victims have been mostly young, born in the last years of the half-century rule of the armed forces before ushering in a brief era of democracy and economic reform in 2011.

Recalling Saturday’s contest, she said her speech, during which she struggled to hold back tears, caused deep pain that she has been unable to contain.

“I controlled my feelings in that moment because I need to talk to everyone for two or three minutes,” he said.

“I need to talk,” he said. “I cried a lot and also all night when I got to my room I cried a lot. Until now, when I talk about Myanmar, I also cry a lot. “

He said he couldn’t focus on the competition and felt guilty for people suffering at home.

“Beauty queens need to smile all the time, they need to connect with all people, in a very personal way,” he said.

“I can’t be happy here because (while) doing my daily activities here, a lot of people died in Myanmar.”

The competition’s founder, Nawat Itsaragrisil, said Han Lay’s decision to speak out against the board means he will have to stay abroad.

“If she (is) going to return to Myanmar at this time, she will not go home, she will go to jail,” he said.

Written by Martin Petty, edited by William Maclean


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