Freedom Memoirs – Day 43

We couldn’t include the number of fatalities in Hlaing Tharyar last night as various unverified sources reported different figures. Myanmar Now reported 59 deaths, with confirmed information from Hlaing Tharyar hospital, Thinganyun hospital and Yangon General hospital. North Oakkala hospital also received expired people but the exact figure is still unknown. Many feared if they reported deaths, terrorist army would come for the dead body for confiscation so as to reduce its official victim list. And that threat is very real as a funeral service in Mandalay had to be arranged without a dead body as terrorists refused to return it to the family. An innocent civilian was killed needlessly and the family wasn’t even allowed a proper goodbye. We have no word to describe that level of inhumanity.

Two factories were reportedly set on fire in Hlaing Thayar yesterday amid the tensions, one of which belonged to a Taiwanese company. Many said such incidents were staged by terrorists to turn the blame against protestors but some also argued those were protestors’ doing. Later in the evening, Chinese embassy issued a statement that requested the security of Chinese businesses in the country and did not mention a single line about the lives lost during this period. It’s no secret that China does not have a lot of fans in Myanmar and that statement only made it worse. “Boycott China” campaign has started to take pace again as people consider to buy less Chinese food and products from Mala Xiang Guo to luxury cars which seem a lot more effective and health-appropriate than burning down factories.

As a result of Chinese statement, junta imposed martial law in Hlaing Tharyar and Shwepyithar townships which effectively handed absolute power to the respective regional military commanders in keeping the area quiet in every way they see fit. The same law was extended for four more townships of Yangon and urban Mandalay areas this morning. In what seems like a war-zone where civilians in sandals are up against trained soldiers with excessive arms, certain laws are still imposed by junta every week in order to justify the illegal killings. The people of Myanmar remain unbroken.

Despite extreme crackdowns yesterday, residents of Hlaing Tharyar still took to the streets today in large groups and defied the coup. Terrorists also refused to show mercy as reports came in about the killing of a 50-year-old plastic collector from close range and two more women of the same destiny. In other regions of the country, Myingyan registered three deaths, Aung Lan two and Mandalay one according to Myanmar Now.

In addition, junta also ordered to disconnect mobile Internet networks nationwide, and only allowed wifi internet. The mobile internet cut slowed down the information flow on Facebook, where we used to see protesters going live to share ground situations. Many worried if armed thugs were committing more crimes during the internet outage, but later today, we learned that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s virtual court hearing was cancelled due to “internet issues” and postponed to March 24 according to a lawyer. First, nighttime internet shutdown and now mobile internet outage, we have to be prepared for a complete internet shutdown.

Talks about activating defensive plans are getting louder and louder every day. The CRPH today issued a self-defence procedure that consisted of five tasks such as conducting defence line and strategies, supply of food, funds, weapons and technology, evacuation, communications and investigations that are to be allocated among civilians on village level, township level, etc. Many interpret the move as a mere self-defence plan but some see this as a green light to fight back the terrorist group once and for all. However, when we are up against a cunning yet organised group of armed terrorists, courage is a good start but not the only factor to succeed. While nobody can question the courage of our people, there is always a question of discipline, consistency and unity among us. We must rise above all that to realise our dream of freedom and democracy. 

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