“I joined the Burmese civil disobedience movement”

On the morning of Friday February 19, Myit Su Naw joined the civil disobedience movement in Burma which has been spreading like wildfire across the country since the coup d’état of 1er February led by the army.

Myit Su Naw is 32 years old. Coming from the Christian Kachin ethnic group, one of the 135 ethnic groups in his country, he lived a childhood under the dictatorship. “We would like to wake up from this nightmare. We’ve been through hell in the past, very dark times. We never want to know that again. “ The movement he has joined is carried in large part by the younger generation, who refuse to see their very recent freedom crushed under the soles of military boots.

That day, he waited for instructions from a group of friends by text message. After the arrest of the main government figures, including the Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi a month ago, a curfew, including digital, was introduced every evening from midnight in the city of Myitkyina. Around 9 am, the network returns, communications resume. The appointment “Was only fixed at the last minute, so as not to risk being short-circuited by the military”. Before leaving, Myit Su Naw hid his lower face with the surgical masks he uses to face the health crisis that still rages. He put on his motorcycle helmet typical of the region, black, round, molded with a visor. We could only see his eyes, dazzled by a still low sun. Covering your face almost entirely is a strategy to avoid being recognized in the middle of a crowd. “Leaders spotted during the day can be kidnapped at night”, he explains. Two friends of his, journalists, were kidnapped a month ago, “No more signs of life since”.

The mother of Myit Su Naw, 56, was the first to set off, sitting like an Amazon in the back of her young son’s scooter who was driving. She gave him life alone, without doctors, by candlelight. It was in 2001, at the time of the junta. For her, the idea that the military dictatorship is reinstated is unbearable. And for the first time in the country’s history, minorities and majority ethnicities seem to unite against the full powers of the army.

At 10 am, under 33 degrees, Myit Su Naw found the crowd. “Going to protest gave me back my strength. Since the coup d’etat I lived in fear, he explains. In the street, I am always afraid, but at least I feel in control of my destiny. “ They were over 1,000 like him. “In the procession, I walked in front. The young men stand at the head, at the end of the procession and on the sides. We leave the old people and the women inside the procession, this is normally where there is the least risk. ” This did not stop the police from “Shoot with a slingshot at children aged 4 or 5 who were walking in the cœheart of procession. They were injured in the skull. “ During the period that his country is going through, the young teacher regrets not being able to encourage his students, he would like to tell them to “Not to be influenced by fear”. At the end of the line, he starts to cry: “If the soldiers win this battle, we will lose another thirty years. Time will stand still. Education, knowledge, freedom, all will be taken away from us again. “

Apart from the demonstrations, which do not take place every day, the city is empty. “When night falls, around 7 pm, you have to go home otherwise the soldiers can kidnap you, beat you or kill you”, he warns. In these streets which, in normal times, swarm with mopeds at a leisurely pace, with street shops which offered a hearty vegetable soup for a few kyats and where Western-style cafes have sprouted, with the opening of the country to tourism, “Everything has been at a standstill for a month, worries Myit Su Naw. More banks, more markets, we have to expect the worst. “

“We are all in danger, he continues. When I saw this crowd coming on Friday, I wanted to cry, to scream. Freedom is like a bird. She can fly wherever she wants, anytime. I think we will win this battle if we stay united. We need time, foreign countries must not abandon us. The Tatmadaw (name given to the Burmese army, editor’s note) will kill people. We are going to experience hunger. They will release other prisoners into the wild to stir up trouble between us, to divide us. “ In Myitkyina, as in many cities, criminals were released by the government to divide the crowd. “It will get worse before we get to victory. It will also need to get worse to get better. ”


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