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Young Burmese speak of destroyed dreams, futures snatched away

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From Channel News Asia

Under military rule, young Burmese speak of destroyed dreams, futures snatched away

The coup has upended the plans and dreams of many people in Myanmar.

(*Names have been changed to protect the individuals’ identities.)

YANGON: Eight months ago, artist Zar Ni* was, in his words, just like every other young man. The 21-year-old was busy making plans and wanted to study abroad after the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

“I had so many things I wanted to do,” he said.

Then on Feb 1, the Myanmar military seized power from the civilian National League for Democracy (NLD) government and detained its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others.

Zar Ni was shocked, then upset and unsure of what to do next. He now feels as if his future has been “snatched away”.

“I had so many plans ahead. They’ve destroyed all my dreams,” he told the programme Insight.

He is not alone in feeling a sense of loss. Grocery shop owner Ko Toe* said his countrymen have “lost all hope”.

Doctors and hospital beds are in short supply as COVID-19 rages. Myanmar has seen many public servants, including healthcare workers, going on strike in protest at military rule, joining a widespread civil disobedience movement.

“Our healthcare situation is hopeless. We’re helpless,” said Ko Toe, 49, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“You can’t go to hospitals. You’d be denied entry. You try to treat yourself at home with oxygen. It’s almost impossible to get a doctor to see a patient.”

Adding to the pain are the rocketing prices of basic goods such as coffee and detergent, he said.

According to journalist Ko Than Lwin*, “there are fights everywhere”. “We’re in a civil war now,” said the 40-year-old, stressing that the people do not accept military rule and armed oppression.

On a personal level, he feels his future is “very dim”. “When I look forward, all I see is darkness,” he added.

The junta seized power citing allegations of fraud in the November 2020 parliamentary elections won by the NLD.

Since the coup, amid the protests and resistance from insurgent groups, the military has killed over 1,000 civilians, according to human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The country is also battling a third COVID-19 wave. There have been more than 406,000 cases and over 15,000 deaths in Myanmar since the pandemic began.

Continues with photos


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16 hours ago, z909 said:

The Burmese citizens need to think in terms of armed opposition, as military repression has gone on for far too long.   

A good suggestion but how on earth do you make it happen? As fedssocr has pointed out, groups opposing the army are joining forces. But let's be honest. What chance do they have? The Burmese army has a strength of around 400,000. It has sophisticated weaponry. It also has China on the side of the generals. Just as Kissinger visited Jakarta just before the Indonesian army invaded East Timor in December 1975 and informed the dictatorship that the USA would not stand in the way of the annexation, so a visit by China's top diplomat Wang Yi to Yangon just before the Burmese army seized power is assumed to have given the generals China's green light.

The world can blame China all it wants but no doubt China will point directly at the role of the US in the East Timor invasion. State Department documents in the National Archive are unequivocal - 

"that the Secretary of State fully understood that the invasion of East Timor involved the "illegal" use of U.S.-supplied military equipment because it was not used in self-defense as required by law . . .

"In 1979 the U.S. Agency for International Development estimated that 300,000 East Timorese—nearly half the population—had been uprooted and moved into camps controlled by Indonesian armed forces.  By 1980 the occupation had left more than 100,000 dead from military action, starvation or disease, with some estimates running as high as 230,000."

This much is only what we know, for much of the material regarding the annexation of East Timor remains classified. 

Kissinger claimed he never held discussions with General Suharto about East Timor. That has since proven to be a lie, for both Ford and Kissinger discussed the issue when they visited Jakarta that month. In Kissinger's memoirs Indonesia's brutal repression in East Timor is not mentioned and even Indonesia as a country is hardly mentioned, no doubt as Kissinger had acquiesced to having broken the law. Former President Ford similarly omits such mention. So the US is in no position to point the finger of blame at the Chinese who are alleged to be supplying weapons to the Burmese military.

In Myanmar today, the leader is a dreadful murderer and tyrant, Min Aung Hlaing. He masterminded the murder, rape, torture and explusion of the Rohingya and has zero intention of letting them back. Whatever happens in the next election (if it does happen), the tyrant has no worries since he has ensured there will be a majority military presence. Only massive intervention by the general population is likely to result in any change. With China determined to maintain stability in its bordering countries, will the world's second largest superpower permit this to happen? 



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