Freedom Memoirs – Day 19

Today is the 19th day of living under an illegal coup; it already felt like living in an eternal nightmare. For many of us, this is the endgame, but some journalists and academics continue to speculate disheartening messages that this fight is unlikely to succeed. Whether it is them being realistic or pessimistic, we will just ignore them and mark their voices as background noises. This fight is our fight, and this is the willpower of millions of people. We must continue to fight. 

The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) is the key here in what is now called ‘Burma’s Spring’ to succeed. It continues to grow, but not without struggles and tears. Civil servants who join CDM are targeted with unreasonable charges, arbitrary arrests and physical abuses. Yet, success of CDM should not go unnoticed. With all private banks joining CDM, the military-owned Myawaddy bank is on verge of bankruptcy with no cash available in the bank as people continue to withdraw the money as one way of joining the CDM and boycotting the military. In Mandalay, nine policemen have joined the CDM which was welcomed by the public. We hope more members of the security force will stand with the people they serve. 

Together with CDM, cancel culture and social punishment has also grown with influential figures who failed to join CDM, or who have agreed to take positions in the illegally found state administration council led by the military generals. Public will continue to shame them, expose them and cancel them. More key government staff have resigned and joined CDM which has shaken up the military despite them doing everything to stop people from joining CDM, inciting fear among the public, and writing in their newspaper to call the civil servants to come back to work. 

The protest continues to grow. The military nastily targets smaller towns avoiding densely-populated former capital, Yangon, due to presence of large media coverage and foreign diplomatic missions. So far, protests in Myitkyina, Mandalay, Myaungmya, Mawlamyine and Naypyidaw have been brutally crackdowned by the police with one casualty in Naypyidaw. A 20-year-old Mya Thwe Thwe Khine is a victim of police violence in Naypyidaw, who was pronounced dead this morning after being hospitalized with a live support for 10 days. With this unfair blood shed by one of us, we are even more determined to continue the fight. 

This morning in Myitkyina with a population of just 150,000, two teachers on their way to a protest rally, were physically harmed by the police and detained. Within a day, more than 10 young protestors were arrested together with two teachers. Unnecessary security forces were already deployed in the northern Myanamr’s town of Myitkyina to break up the protest rallies and to arrest more and more people. Since miltiary’s take-over, more than 500 people have been detained across the country. 

Protests in the former capital, Yangon, have become more strategic and innovative by the day. Car broken-down-on-purpose campaigns are held widely in traffic areas. People are protesting rather humorously by collecting onions and rice on the street to stop the traffic, sleeping, chilling and meditating on the roads, crossing the roads in circles repeatedly. Protests in front of embassies have increased and become strategic by using the language of the respected embassy and using different approaches according to what a certain country stands against the illegal coup. For example, people condemn China, Russia and Singapore for failing to condemn the coup, and they do that by writing an open-letter in their language, calling out the nation in their language, and even using satirical cartoons condemning their stance. International pressure also adds fuels into our fight, Singapore and Indonesian foreign ministers have called for ASEAN to look for possible ways to intervene in Myanmar’s fight for democracy. With the military unable to secure legitimacy from the international community, the universe is on our side. 

It’s about time justice prevails in Myanmar to heal the wounds and traumas people have experienced for decades under the successive military rule. Myanmar has been broken by many divisions and civil unrest with a status of having the longest civil war in history. In the conflict-torn northern Shan state in a township called Kyaukkmae, the fight broke out between different militant groups known as ethnic-armed groups (EAOs). Collaborated attacks on Restoration Council of Shan States (RCSS) by Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) claimed the death of four civilians including one pregnant woman with 8 injured civilians while some 800 people have become internally displaced persons (IDPs). We hope that there will be a day where all Myanmar people see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that we are all free from continued violation of human rights and civil unrest. Until then, we must resist, and continue to fight! Let there be peace in Myanmar. Let there be peace on earth!

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