Freedom Memoirs – Day 80

Day 80 since the coup, 21st April 2021. Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of U Win Tin, a venerated journalist, activist and founding member of NLD, who kept on wearing blue, the prisoners’ color, even after his release in 2008 till his passing in 2014, in solidarity with many political prisoners still confined. Today, the freedom-loving people across the country staged protests donning blue shirts in part as a show of resistance to the junta, and in part as a sign of homage to him. Small protests or individual photos, today social media newsfeeds are filled with blue shirts. Of course, it is tragic considering today’s oppressive environment is reflective of the time when he got sentenced 20 years in the aftermath of 1988 revolution, but it is up to people of our time to change this. 

In a related note, U Win Tin was consistently known to be someone who had zero trust towards the army’s sweet talks and their reform charades after 2010 and these put him to disagree even with more trusting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, although he was ever supportive towards her. Seven years after his death, we all can see why his vigilance is rational.

The protests continue in many parts of the country in Mandalay, Tant See, Yangon, Shwe Bo, Bagan, Yay Phyu, Nanmati, Hpakant, Kayin, Yay and others by the youths, the monks and people from all walks of lives. In dry-zone town of Myingyan, a town under sieged by junta’s forces for a few days, a fire broke out mid-night and destroyed 7 houses, reportedly firefighting efforts were deterred by soldiers shooting anyone who approach the burning site and that led to all affected houses getting burned to the ground with nothing salvaged. In Sagaing Region, death toll from Yinmarbin was reportedly 6 after clashes yesterday.

In Yangon, curfew extension is announced in 3 wards with immediate effect starting today, instead of 8pm to 4am, these 3 wards in North Dagon and North Okkalapa townships will have curfew between 6pm to 6am. The junta suppression on CDM doctors and general public also continues, this time by using passports as a mean. The junta last night announced that all doctors who are charged under penal code 505, i.e. sedition, will now have their passports revoked, and Myanmar expatriates in overseas who criticize them will be refused to extend their passports by the respective embassies. 

Earlier today, local media, quoting Moscow Times report the junta have acquired $15m worth of surface-to-air missile system and radar systems from the Russians in February. The irony is how among the first things the junta does is to set up those surface-to-air missile systems, despite its propaganda mouthpieces’ claims of how impossible foreign military intervention is. Are they considering EAOs setting up air forces, if not for foreign forces? There is no telling yet. However, the fact that the junta can and is still buying arms openly at the global stage is spit in all the noble democratic values shared by civilized societies and would like to call for improved coordinated efforts to put arms embargo.

Speaking of junta, the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing seems to have decided to go to ASEAN summit to Myanmar in April 24 at Jakarta. Past few days seen a lot of issues on whether he will personally go, whether his foreign minister will go, should ASEAN invite junta in the first place, and the role of legitimate National Union Government (NUG). However, for now as far as the summit participants is concerned, we think it is safe to assume that the junta will be there, unless any more development happens between now and the 24th. For the outcome of the discussion, even the most optimistic Myanmar nationals do not hope much, the junta will keep on doing anything it had done before to tighten its grip, and the people will keep on resisting.

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