Khin Bhone Moh
A strike column, consisting mostly of women, is vigorously protesting against the military dictatorship, chanting the slogan “Revolutionary Dark Rose will root out the dictator.”
Brave women wearing red clothes and holding red roses can be seen in the strike column.
Those demonstrations have still been seen in most areas of Dawei Township almost two years after the military coup. This is the strike column of the Red Rose Women’s Union (Dawei), led by women.
Starting on August 28, 2021, women activists involved in anti-military movements gathered together and started the “Rose Color Women’s Movement” in Longlong Township, Dawei District.
Those movements protested against the military dictatorship by wearing red clothes, holding red roses, and demanding women’s rights.
After that, women in Dawei Township, Thayet Chaung Township, Kampok, A-she-taw, etc. in Dawei District organized and led the “Rose Color Women’s Movement” against the military dictatorship.
Due to the belief that women’s participation should play a major role in revolutionary activities, women from four townships in Dawei District joined together to form the Rose-Colored Women’s Union (Dawei) on March 27, 2022.
“We are brave women.” “Rose Red” means bravery and is also called the “rose-colored women’s movement.” “So, we called it the Rose-colored Women’s Union because it is organized by such a group of red-colored women,” said Ma Rosy, an executive of the Rose-colored Women’s Union (Dawei).
Ma Rosy, aged 22, was a university student before the military coup. After the military coup, she stopped her education and joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Then, like all the other youths, she decided to embark on the perilous revolutionary journey.
She then joined in the demonstration and the Rose-Colored Women movements, organizing women of the same mindset. Later, when the Red Rose Women’s Union ( Dawei) was established, she went on to take part in it, too.
“As there are some countries where tyrants could be overthrown with women’s power, I am taking part in a place (pillar) that can topple the tyrants with non-violent movement,” Ma Rosy recounted the way she joined the group.
Since February, she has assisted CDMs and refugees and joined in the boycott.
When she walked the path of revolution, her family did not permit her to do so due to the fact that she is a female. Then she left her home and went straight on the path of revolution, in line with her beliefs. She suffered some hardships, like the strikes that cracked down, and she ran away because of insecurity.
“Sometimes the house I live in is not okay, and they don’t want to accept me,” she continued. “Since I am a woman, they blame me for what I am doing.” “And I have been criticized.”
She said there were some pains in her mind after she left her home as her family did not accept her involvement in the revolution, and in addition, she faced her relatives who were not on good terms with her.
She went on to say that she could keep on overcoming those difficulties with the encouragement of her comrades.
Like Ma Rosy, Esther, aged 39, is also a member of the Red Rose Women’s Union (Dawei). She is in charge of social relief and communication in the group.
Since the February military coup, she has participated in the strike column.
She was arrested by the military for her participating in anti-dictatorship activities and was detained in Dawei Prison for nearly 200 days.
After her release, she joined the Red Rose Women’s Union (Dawei) and continued her activities against the military dictatorship. Because of her involvement in these activities, she suffered insecurities and hardships in obtaining accommodations.
“I will keep on fighting despite all kinds of difficulties,” Esther said.
Despite the difficulties, she was able to overcome them because she had the feeling that she had to participate in the revolution from somewhere.
She was also more satisfied to be part of a women-led strike group. Esther’s family also supported the revolution, so she was able to work without worrying about her family.
However, what Esther is worried about is that the people’s participation in the revolution will gradually weaken and the speed of the revolution will fade away.
It is said that although there are times of difficulty and discouragement, they aim to achieve a revolution one day.
Like Ma Rosy and Esther, another person who is against the military dictatorship is John, aged 23. She did not accept the military coup, and so she joined in the protest.
She joined a strike group led by women because the military has been bullying the public with weapons and another thing is to increase the participation of women in the anti-dictatorship movement.
“As for me, believing in the non-violent mass movement, I know that I cannot take up arms.” If the revolution is to continue in the long term, I have seen that it must have the people’s support and the ability to organize people. “That’s why I work as an activist for strikes,” said John.
I had to work against my family for revolutionary activities.
There were times when I was depressed because of the difficulties. I spent so much time thinking about the next generation.
In the strikes led by the Red Rose Women Union (Dawei), they protested against the military dictatorship as well as discriminatory ideas against women.
The members said that because of this action, the public’s opinion has changed.
“I notice the attuite of people has changed.” For example, regarding the washing on clothes issue, I explained to them that boys’ and girls’ clothes should be washed together or separately, or should not be separately washed and they agreed. This is our success,” Ma Rosy said.
As a group, we will continue to work hard to get equal rights and reduce discrimination against women. Additionally, she urged the comrades in the revolution as follows:
“I understand how hard and tired they must be right now. Some may be discouraged, yet don’t forget to stand up again every time you fall. As women, we will root out the tyrant by our slogan, “The Revolutionary-Dark Rose to Kill Off the Tyrant,” and we urge you to fight the military dictatorship together while trying to eliminate discrimination against women,” John said.
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