16 September 2021
Two women leaders of Myanmar’s anti-coup movement, Esther Ze Naw Bamvo and Ei Thinzar Maung, are listed among “The 100 Most Influential People of 2021” yesterday by Time magazine.
Recognizing the two ladies’ roles and leadership in the recent anti-coup movement in Myanmar, “Esther Ze Naw Bamvo and Ei Thinzar Maung were a vision of strength, honor and justified anger as they led people on the very first anti-military protest in Yangon” wrote Time Magazine.
Ester and Ei Thinzar took to the street just five days after the 1 February coup, leading hundreds of brave young people, also known as Generation-Z, to peacefully protest against the military’s coup and end all forms of authoritarianirian rule in Myanmar. The protest soon spread across Myanmar, leading to a nationwide upraising, later known as Myanmar’s Spring Revolution.
Esther, a leader of the Kachin Peace Network, is a longtime activist on ethnic minority rights. She was one of the few people in the past who were courageous enough to speak up for the Rohingya, the most oppressed ethnic minority group in Myanmar, according to Time Magazine.
Like Esther, Ei Thinzar also is a young activist who constantly fights for democracy and the rights of ethnic minorities in Myanmar. She was arrested in March 2015 for leading a protest to amend the Myanmar education law. She was also a member of All Burma Federation of Student’s Unions, a group advocating for Myanmar’s education system changes.
Ei Thinzar was named Myanmar’s youngest-ever Deputy Minister of the Women, Youth and Children Affairs Ministry in the shadow government, also known as National Unity Government (NUG). The NUG was formed following the 1 February military coup by ousted lawmakers from the National Leagues for Democracy (NLD).
“In fact, I only knew when people came to talk about this last night. It means that the world recognizes and respects Myanmar’s issues, and I am happy about it,” she wrote on Facebook.
Along with the two activists, MiMi Aung, a Burmese American engineer and project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion, was also listed among the 100 most influential people of 2021. MiMi Aung was on the list for leading a team of NASA’s engineers and scientists, who made the historic first flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars.