Freedom Memoirs – Day 162

Since Min Aung Hlaing and associates robbed the rights of Myanmar people back in February, the nation has been thrown into multiple layers of chaotic struggles. We have seen thousands of people standing together under the sun back in February and March to fight for our freedom. We have seen thousands of people standing in lines in front of ATMs in April and May for cash survival. With the third wave of Covid-19 raging through every nook and cranny of Myanmar, people are facing another deadly struggle—insufficient oxygen supplies for Covid-19 patients. Today, we saw a new scene of people standing in lines under the rain to fill up oxygen tanks in Yangon and Sagaing Region’s Kalay town. We also saw a scene where civilians are standing in lines in front of a hospital, waiting to be told to go home if they are tested positive for Covid.

The regime’s spokesperson Zaw Min Tun admitted during a press conference today that the military has controlled and limited the supply of oxygen to the public from the oxygen plants a few days ago “to curb the online frauds for oxygen needs and to stop the public from refilling their oxygen cylinders unnecessarily.” The regime will say whatever they want to get away from the truth, but they can’t outrun the truth. The regime’s manipulation of private and government-owned oxygen plants in recent days and threatening oxygen tanks shops in Yangon’s South Dagon today to close shops have caused major panic among the public and many Covid patients are dying due to insufficient oxygen supplies. Just over the weekend (without including today’s numbers), there have been over 12,000 positive cases of Covid and over 210 people died. 

As of today, at least 90% of the country is facing the third wave of Covid with 296 of 330 townships nationwide have recorded new cases of coronavirus infections since May. Twelve more townships of Yangon Region were placed under stay-at-home order starting from today after reporting the highest record of positive cases on July 11. Instead of trying to manage the deteriorating on ground situation of the Covid third wave and the growing social problems in Myanmar communities, the regime is just busy adding more charges against the detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Today, Myanmar Now reported that the military council filed four corruption charges in Mandalay Region High Court according to her lawyer. She is currently facing a total of 11 charges which are all bogus, let’s all be real. 

In more bogus news, regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun also said during today’s press conference that the media are exaggerating the recent explosions against the regime’s forces. He even called the media “dalan” (informants). He said, “Before there were more than 10 incidents of bomb explosions and some of the news media didn’t even report on them. Now there are less than 10, but they are covering them and making a big deal of them.” Honestly, the military council’s press conference days are always entertaining because they would say so many ridiculous things.

This morning, reports came out that Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) forces and Min Aung Hlaing’s army lackeys clashed near Loi-lin Lay town in Kayah State’s Loikaw Township. A resident of Ti-lone village said that the junta’s troops are using heavy artillery near the village to fight against the KNPP forces, causing thousands of villagers to flee from their homes to hide in the forests on the border between Kayah and Shan States. On top of the Covid third wave worries, people in conflict-ridden regions constantly have to be on the edge due to fresh conflicts erupting everywhere as the result of the coup. Mizzima reported that the Chinland Defence Force in Mindat and the military council will be negotiating to extend the ceasefire that was agreed starting from June 23 till July 4. Here’s to hoping the ceasefire continues on for the next few weeks so that the residents of Mindat can live in peace during the Covid third wave without being threatened by Min Aung Hlaing’s lackeys insistently. 

That’s not the case for the residents of Mohnyin Township in Kachin State. Myanmar military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia group in Hopin town has been spreading a hit list among the people which included 43 people, both normal civilians and National League for Democracy (NLD) party members. The hit list said if anyone from the regime’s side were killed in Hopin, they would avenge the life of someone from the 43-person list. In Sagaing Region’s Mingin Township, junta’s soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members are reported to have been threatening the boat owners by shooting at them, and robbing the boats that passed through Chindwin River near Pan Satt village. 

Today reports came out that many dead bodies were discovered in the areas the regime’s troops were stationed previously in Sagaing and Kayah State. In a village of Kayah’s Demoso Township, beheaded bodies of a family were found in a ditch at the back of the house, and in Sagaing’s Kani Township, social workers found 14 dead bodies of IDP with gunshot wounds and hands tied up. The violence and ruthless killing of the civilians by Min Aung Hlaing’s lackeys never seemed to end. 

Despite all these, people of Myanmar still embraced all of these struggles and came out in the rain to protest against the military regime across the nation. In some of the protests, people are seen marching together but still following the Covid measures and distancing themselves. The messages from some of the protests from Shan State, Tanintharyi Region and Mon State focused on overcoming both the coup and Covid, and from Sagaing Region, Kalay protesters are telling the entire nation to “stay strong”. As usual, Mandalay continued to show the rest of the country how headstrong and vigilant they are with multiple marches, motorbike rallies and “pay no electricity bills” protests. Yangon youths from Sanchaung and Dagon Myo Thit townships combined forces to march the streets of North Dagon township as well.

Coup and Covid, the two most deadly battles that Myanmar people have to fight day in and out since February 1. People are exhausted. Resources are depleted. Energies are drained. But this is to remind each other and all of us that we are in this together, and these uphill battles are the ones we need to fight together. 

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