Freedom Memoirs – Day 51

Night raids along with random firing have become a new normal for many townships across Myanmar for the past few weeks. Our nights are now full of terror and anxiety. We fear for the unknown numbers of the lives lost that will greet us first thing in the morning when we wake up. Last night, a fire broke out in Dawbon township in Yangon. A township administrator office was set fire by an unknown person or a group of persons. Within a few minutes just like what happened at Aung Pin Lae ward in Mandalay the night before, the terrorist forces started firing live rounds to random houses in the ward. We all saw a live video of the firing before a nightly internet cut. We felt powerless as there is nothing we could do to help except praying that there is no report of casualties. 

Every morning, we could only hope nothing bad happened during our nights of terror with no information flows due to internet cut. However, we learned this morning that at least 50 people from Dawpone were detained due to the fire, and 7 night guards from Kyaukmyaung, Tarmwe township were arrested in their homes. Civilians’ properties were also destroyed. We believe that arrests of people were made possible with the help of ‘Dalan’. The Burmese word ‘Dalan’, ‘informers of the military’, helped the terrorist forces make their ways to people’s home with a proper name list to arbitrarily arrest them. 

Without a doubt, the terrorist forces are determined to eliminate all their “enemies” before the National Armed Forces day that falls on March 27. (Historically, the National Armed Forces Day was known as Resistance Day for Myanmar as it commemorates the start of Burmese resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945, later the junta changed it to suit their nationalist agenda). Their ‘enemies’ are peaceful protest leaders, night guards, civil servants who join Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), CDM support groups, MPs, activists, medical covers, and charity groups. CDM staff continued to be under pressure; some of them were dismissed and some of them were forced to move out from their residential quarters. Today, railway workers from Mawlamyine were forced to move out of their homes after it’s been done to railway workers from Yangon and Mandalay previously. It seems like the whole population is their target, and the whole country is held hostage.

Despite all these fear-mongering attempts, people kept on protesting. The people-less protest, pre-dawn protests,candlelight vigil night protests and pots-and-pans banging continue across rural and urban townships of the country. An extraordinary resilience was shown in central Myanmar city Monywa, the largest city in Sagaing region situated on the banks of Chindwin River, managed to hold large protest rally everyday since the first week of the coup in February until today despite the violent crackdowns that killed at least 12 people in the city alone. In the north, Kachin state also came up with different creative protest campaigns to avoid further violent crackdowns. The whole Myanmar is determined that giving up to the terrorist armed forces is not an option. Today, there was a report of one death in Mandalay as the terrorist armed forces could not stop shootings in residential areas. The latest news we received from Mandalay shootings at the residential areas report that there are unconfirmed numbers of fatalities, and the youngest one was reported to be a seven-year-old girl.

In the press conference of the terrorist armed forces today, a video of former Yangon Chief Minister’s confession that backs the corruption case of the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was shown to the public as evidence. According to the badly-tailored video, the former chief minister said bribes were given to the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s charity foundation. The video was weirdly disturbing as the man who was supposed to be talking about the corruption hardly moved his lips. Public is right to think the video is “Deep Fake”. We only wished they could do better. In the same occasion, the spokesperson of the terrorist armed force, Zaw Min Tun also threatened the media to avoid contacts with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and to stop reporting on CRPH, and doing so would be unlawful. 

On the international front, after the European Union imposing sanctions on 11 individuals from the military linked to the coup on Monday, the US blacklists Myanmar police chief and 2 army units over deadly crackdown of peaceful protests. While it is a welcome move to freeze US assets of these blacklisted chiefs and generals, we doubt that it would affect them so much and soldiers in two army units, ‘the army’s 77th Light Infantry Division and 33rd Light Infantry Division’, as they have no business with the Americans and no plans to travel there. Previously, the army has made it clear that they could learn to live with a few friends. However, we hope that these sanctions would bring positive changes and alter their minds to kill. 

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