Freedom Memoirs – Day 164

Two months ago, people of Myanmar queued in front of ATM machines to cash out, and as recent as last week, we saw queues in front of oxygen plants. And today, we saw a long queue of caskets, waiting to be cremated at the cemetery in Yangon. Myanmar Now media reported that social welfare groups have been organising around 600 cremations and funeral services each day in Yangon for about a week now. Majority of the deaths are believed to be Covid victims. While the people battled against Covid, the coup leader and associates prepared a quarantine center with full facilities in military-controlled area, and aired the footage on state-owned TV last night. Since we have seen how the regime’s soldiers raided and looted facilities from Covid treatment centers in the early days, the footage only fuelled more anger towards the junta. 

It is pretty obvious now that the regime is using Covid as a weapon to slow down the momentum of our revolution, keeping us busy while we struggle for our lives, and expecting us to submit ourselves to their rule. Yet, the people continue to show their rejection towards them on the streets despite the deathly virus outbreak. Today in Yangon, women’s marching strike called “21st Century Panhtwar Queens” was staged. The legendary queen of Beikthano was considered to be a strong, spiritual lady of war and fame. With many queens marching on the streets of Yangon, sarong flags were waving, and protest-chants against the military regime were recited. Marching protests and guerrilla protests with similar energy were organized by protesters in Mandalay, Laungon township in Taninthayi, Kalay and Sarlingyi in Sagaing Region, Hpakant in Kachin State, Paung in Mon State. 

As the people’s non-violent protests and disobedience grew stronger, junta’s atrocities also continued. Today in Taunggyi, Shan State, a private car was chased and attacked by the regime’s troops. The car crashed, killing all three passengers according to the report from Khit Thit media. The reason for such attack on a private car is still unknown. 

It was quite eventful in Mandalay Region today. This morning, a bomb attack took place at Mandalay City Development Committee’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and consequently, a fire broke out and burned a fuel truck according to Myanmar Now’s report. In Myit Nge township of Mandalay Region, a female ward administrator, appointed by the regime, Daw Thet Thet Cho was shot dead this morning at crowded Myit Nge market. The gunfire was opened in a close range and targeted at her head. A local resistance force N.G.U:FF claimed responsibility for the death. 

Similarly in Bago, attacks on regime’s lackeys took place last night. Two explosions took place at Mazin ward administration office around 8pm, and one witness said injuries were reported but the details are unknown. In Kalya Ni ward, next to Mazin ward, a bomb blasted at a military patrol station near a high school. The regime’s soldiers opened fire and arrested two men on motorbike after the bomb blast. This morning, Bago People’s Defense Force claimed responsibility for these attacks. Although the people’s forces target the junta’s lackeys and infrastructure, the plan backfires when the regime’s soldiers arrest civilians as retaliation. 

Interesting news came from Karen State as well. This morning, Karen National Union (KNU)’s Department of Information announced that shootouts took place between Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the regime’s forces eight times from July 12 to July 13 in KNU-controlled Mudraw district. The clashes killed 11 regime’s soldiers and injured 16, but no casualty reported from KNLA side. If we recall, the KNU temporarily suspended the Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO)’s Maj-General Saw Nerdah Mya last week for an ongoing investigation but General Saw Nerdah Mya publicly rejected the suspension over the weekend. Yesterday, an internal letter from the military council’s forces was circulated on the social media. The letter said that KNDO’s Saw Nerdah Mya was plotting an assassination to KNU leaders, and providing military training to PDFs, and thus, the regime’s forces should take action beforehand. Today, KNDO issued a statement to reject the accusations from the letter, and warned the manipulation by the military council. One of the KNU leaders also talked to Myanmar Now that the resistance forces including PDFs and NUG should be aware of the regime’s attempted manipulations. 

On the international front, the regime’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wunna Maung Lwin attended the Special US-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Despite the explicit rejection by Myanmar people, ASEAN leaders continue to invite the military junta’s representatives to their meetings, which make us more and more disappointed at the bloc. US Secretary Antony Blinken tweeted that he urged “strong action on the military coup in Burma” and the ASEAN leaders plan to stick to the empty five-point consensus to which the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing doesn’t even accept. As long as the 10-member bloc continue to give the regime’s representative a seat at its meetings, we can’t expect any “strong action” from ASEAN.

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