Freedom Memoirs – Day 49

Deaths continue, arrests continue, getting arrested and deaths in overnight custodies continue, and despite all these, the people’s resistance continues. Myanmar Now reports that between Mar 14 and 20, casualties at the hands of junta’s forces account for at least 180 people and 70% of all casualties since coup begin. 

Due to the repeated brutal crackdowns, protests in Yangon become smaller and more sporadic compared to last week, but Yangon residents are not giving up. People are still coming out, rallying behind the banner of justice and chanting slogans longing for a future where democratic norms reign. But it has become increasingly dangerous for one to simply walk in the streets at the moment. The junta is amplifying its brutality, they are removing barricades and terrorizing the neighbourhoods; one is at risk of becoming forced labour and your properties could get robbed or vandalized even when you are staying indoors. Despite living under fear, the youths are as resolute as ever, although there are allegations of some members of old generations becoming weary. Surely this will be another test, but the people have managed to do outstandingly for all the previous tests and we have no reason to doubt about overcoming this one.

The junta has become restless and obvious that want to crush out any dissident at earliest possible, which is why they are resorting to unleashing hell on protestors in the hope that people back down and stand in line, despite obvious risks of getting exposed by deploying such tactics in cities. Their risk mitigation strategy seems to be hiring the notorious Israeli-Canadian lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe whose main strength seems to be ability to spew out outright lies. We woke up to his interview with BBC this morning and made us think, “This guy would really put Trump to shame.”

Outside Yangon, massive rallies are still ongoing in defiant of junta, today’s battlefield township could be Aung Pin Lal ward in Mandalay. While no final details on injuries and casualties are confirmed yet, shootings and arrests are reportedly continuing till 6:30pm.

The junta’s continued ruthlessness, by arresting of ambulatory teams in affected areas (today’s arrest of volunteers in Hlaing Thar Yar), shooting on sights, ramming with vehicles to protestors (such as today’s incident to a protest-group-on-wheels in Pyay), continues. Today also sees yet another CSO getting searched by junta’s force. One girl is a casualty during raid on “We Love Yangon” volunteer group.

Then again, ruthlessness is no substitute for competence. The junta is losing, their killings only strengthen people’s resolute, their attempts to show a thriving business and routine daily lives have always failed, as in their push to reopen banks and today’s attempt to re-open Zay Cho Market in Mandalay; no shopkeepers and even those who were opening in previous days do not open as the junta deploys security forces to guard the stores. We are not sure what makes the junta think that deploying security forces who are robbing the stores will somehow compel the stores to be opened. Such absurdity perplexes us. 

Another highlight of junta’s attempt to incentivize public into submission seems to be getting COVID-19 vaccinated. Out of the blue the junta has welcomed senior citizens above 65 to get vaccinated, after months of taunting public with their vaccine privileges, we have no clue what changed in their twisted minds. However, the people are too skeptical at the junta’s intentions to get themselves vaccinated. 

Today also witnessed 3 different ministers from the CRPH issuing letter in support of CDM. We are sure it will do nothing to protect people from arrests and killings. But such kind of moral support is always heart-warming.

We wish people to be safe in coming week. The rabid dogs have no reasons to slow down. But neither are we. We are more resolute than ever and we will keep up the fight. 

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