Freedom Memoirs – Day 83

It is the day of the overly hyped-up and much-anticipated ASEAN Summit taking place in Jakarta with leaders and representatives of ASEAN coming all together to discuss about Myanmar, including the civilians-killer in chief, Senior General of Myanmar’s terrorist military, Min Aung Hlaing. The media reported that ASEAN leaders have reached a consensus on 5 points — ending the violence by the Myanmar military; allowing humanitarian assistance; special envoy; continuing the dialogue, and releasing all political prisoners. Some of the ASEAN leaders released statements afterwards highlighting that the interest of Myanmar people must always be the top priority, and calls for the military leaders to end violence, and at the same time ask all parties in Myanmar to refrain themselves. 

Instead of asking people in Myanmar to refrain themselves, why don’t these ASEAN leaders and nations impose targeted sanctions towards these military leaders, and at least start an initiative for a global arms embargo so that the violence could be finally stopped?

While the ASEAN leaders continue to disappoint us with their “calls” for actions, with no actual actions backing up their words, youths of ASEAN continue to show their solidarity with the people of Myanmar. Many Indonesian showed up in front of the ASEAN Secretariat, where the summit was taking place, to protest against the Myanmar junta and their inhumane crimes against peaceful protesters. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for standing with us. And ASEAN governments continue to show how much of a disappointment they are. We heard that at least three protesters were arrested by the police, and some of the lawyers providing legal assistance to the protesters were also arrested. The disappointment of the ASEAN bloc never seems to end, it seems. 

While the junta leader made his first official trip outside of the country, anti-junta protesters in Myanmar were staging “funeral strikes” by holding mock funeral ceremonies for him. Thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Kachin State took to the streets in Myitkyina with the message of ‘We will fight till the end’, and people in Hpakant township showed their support for KIA/KIO and the National Unity Government-NUG. Elsewhere, Mandalay continued to march on under the scorching heat of summer, and thousands of people in Demoso township in Kayah State came out to protest against the military like they did almost every day now. The morning march in Meiktila with teachers and young students encountered a heavy crackdown, and the locals said the soldiers shot rubber bullets into the crowds, knowing very well that there were young children in the peaceful march. Reports said seven teachers from the march were abducted during the crackdowns. 

Today’s theme of protest is a paper strike, many participated by writing messages asking for freedom, democracy, and calling for an end to the violence against the abducted youths and for those in interrogation centers. Some went outside to spread the messages in their neighborhood streets, and others joined in by participating online. Internationally, Myanmar citizens and associates in Japan also marched today to show their support of NUG, and there was a video of people in Hawaii holding signs on the side of the roads to show their support for Myanmar people. 

It’s almost three months that our people have been taking the streets to voice out against the military. Whether it would be a quiet predawn right after the curfew lifted; under the noon’s heat; with the sun at dusk or late at night, or from the northern mountainous region to the plain fields of the central region to southern tip, or from the Eastern Shan hills to the Western Rakhine and Chin ranges, Myanmar people have yet to fail each other in showing solidarity. 

On the other side, there must be trouble brewing on the side of Myanmar’s security forces. Last night, there were reports that a fight broke out between police and soldiers at the Ministries’ housing in Hakha, Chin State. Reports said that two soldiers were killed with several police officers injured. In the past couple of days, the media also reported about 3-4 military officers who have defected from the Tatmadaw, and some of them talked about more soldiers wanting to defect, but fearful of repercussions to their families. We know information is much more limited in the military base than the rest of us out here, but we hope more people will come to the light. 

In Bhamo District, Momauk township in Kachin, clashes between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the military continued to intensify with Myanmar’s military fighting back with heavy artillery and airstrikes. There were a lot of bomb blasts in Yangon today too, from a blast this morning near the ‘political-party-swinger’ Daw Thet Thet Khine’s house (which her personal assistant later denied) to four blasts in South Okkalapa. 

Myanmar Now also reported today that movement leader, Ko Wai Moe Naing from Monywa have been charged with 5 counts including homicide. They are so desperate to oppress the people that they would throw many bogus charges at every detainee. 

Honestly, we wish ASEAN leaders could read the reports coming out of Myanmar from the ground every day. The leaders believed they “succeeded” today at the meeting because Min Aung Hlaing accepted a proposal verbally. Our people are not safe. Our country is slowly becoming a failed state because of a group of power hungry people. What exactly did they even succeed?

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