Freedom Memoirs – Day 21

It’s been 21 days now. The stronger the resistance of the people, the more violent acts used by the dictator & co. 

Before the blood of Mandalay folks dried, a man in the neighbourhood watch from Shwepyitha Township, Yangon, was shot dead by the police around midnight. As soon as the news was spread, netizens rushed to Twitter to tweet at the international community before the Internet shutdown at 1 am. Within six hours, the military took the lives of three men so easily as if they were from the slaughter house. 

The fury of millions of Myanmar people ignites in the form of large protest today. Mandalay residents rise above the bloodshed and brutal crackdown with sit-down protests in major parst of the city. Similarly, people from other cities and towns show support in fighting the atrocity of armed forces as if they share the pain. Dressing blood-stained shirts, lying on the ground as a group of man-down, protesters across the country expressed their feelings on the streets. While peaceful protesters in Myawaddy, a Thai-Myanmar border town in Kayin State, march in the streets, soldiers from Karen National Union (KNU), one of the largest ethnic armed groups, provide security along the way. Solely based on that one particular scenario, we can’t say if non-violent way of protest is the best way to engage with junta, but one thing we know for sure is that they dare not mess with the armed forces as much as they would unarmed civilians. Quite heroic. 

While the public is physically and mentally occupied with participating peaceful protests and enduring brutal crackdowns, an important move made by the State Administration Council (SAC) has gone unnoticed by many. The basic structure of the country’s administration is solely based on the village and ward administrators of the General Administration Department (GAD). They have basic information of residents, and are responsible for peace and security of the respective areas. Holding the fundamental authority, these villages/ward administrators are important links between the public and higher level of authorities. During the NLD administration, the government managed to reorganize the GAD and moved it under the Ministry of Office of the Union Government, detaching it from the former Ministry of Home Affairs which is under the military control. The coup leaders have now been replacing new village/ward administrators who cooperate with the SAC. With the new SAC administrators, the safety of public, especially prominent protest leaders, are no longer guaranteed. Hence, we see in the news that some wards/villages reject the newly appointed administrators in their communities, but unfortunately we do not know how many gave in to new administrators, or shall we call them traitors?

Meanwhile, the General Strike Committee (GSC) has been formed with alleged agenda to coordinate the people’s effort in fighting against the military. With the ultimate goal to take down the dictatorship, the committee plans to coordinate strike committees, support the CDM movement, and to represent the people. In the list of member organizations and point of contacts, we see several familiar names of prominent activists and organizations, including those who boycotted the 2020 Election as it was based on the undemocratic 2008 Constitution. While we welcome every collective effort of democratic forces as long as they do not plan to negotiate with gun-waving thugs, it’s important to remember that everyone of us is a leader in our own ways and we must continue so in the fight against dictatorship. We will think twice to let any individual represent the whole movement for the time being.

In other news, people are gearing up for a massive strike against the military coup tomorrow with shutdown of offices, shops and supermarkets to level up the civil disobedience movement. The date marks 22-2-2021, the 22222 strike as many say. Lunch donors, trash clean-up teams and transportation teams for protesters are also planned since a large crowd is expected on the streets. We don’t know who started the idea of 22222 strike but it is going to be epic tomorrow. 

This is Mohinga Matters reporting the Day 21 of military coup. We hear that Internet shutdown in Yangon will begin at 1 am tonight until noon tomorrow. Regardless, we will see you guys out in the streets and up online.

P.S. We have posted our daily entries mostly at 7:30 pm so far, but as banging pots and pans at 8 pm remains our most significant task of the day, 8:30 will be our new regular time slot for freedom memoirs.

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