Grim first person account of a musician in hiding recalls the nightmare in Myanmar

Internet shutdown and crackdown on protesters by the military have made it difficult to know what is happening inside Myanmar. But a first person account circulating on social media is revealing

Grim first person account of a musician in hiding recalls the nightmare in Myanmar

Shalini Sahay

Some social media handles we followed have been silent. Others have been erratic. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find out what is happening. What has been reported is that the Myanmar Air Force has been bombing border districts adjoining Thailand and the military has been killing civilians indiscriminately.

One of rare accounts to have come out is that of a musician in hiding. Edited excerpts of his account, circulating on various platforms, provide a heart rending picture of a helpless people.

• Some NLD party members were just taken at night, and their bodies were sent to their families the next day. There was no explanation. Nobody was going to trial, prison, or nothing. They didn’t even provide the cause of death. There were so many bruises on the bodies and the face. One guy, there was no teeth in his body, and there was no organ in his body. They took him at night, and just called the family to get his body.

• They arrest the students, the protesters, and then when they grab them, to some people, they point a gun to their head and shoot in the street. What kind of terrorists would do such things in public? And these kids are only like 19 or 17 years old. I mean, they’re harmless. They’re kids.

• We know we can’t fight them back with Molotov cocktails and bricks and stones. But people are doing the best they can because we don’t want to give up just because of the guns. Everybody is ready to fight back, and now everybody is preparing for getting a gun, too.

• There is no normal life anymore. I mean, everything is closed. Everything has stopped. All the food coming from outside of the city stopped. There’s no transportation, no buses. People are staying inside. All the banks are closed, we can’t even withdraw our own money. We are eating what we have, and people are helping each other. The next thing is starvation.

• Nobody is safe. Anything can happen. Now they are stopping and searching cars. They will search your purse. If they see money inside, they would take it. They’re not even acting like security forces, they are acting like bandits.

•A singer of a band was taken… he was known as a NLD supporter because he promoted National League for Democracy and their leaders. Nobody knows where he is right now. He was in one of the bands called Rock Your Vote, like urging young people to vote. There was a talk show plus live performances in a studio, and a music video urging young people to vote. It actually worked, and it went viral among young people. And maybe that’s why now a lot of young people are so angry that their votes are being ignored.

• They have destroyed the Burmese education system, because they can then control stupid people easier than smart people. Also, businesses, I mean, you can’t even imagine how they control the businesses...

• In 1988, I was seven. Exactly my son’s age, right now. I knew how I had to struggle, how I had to work so much harder than artists from the other side of the world, just because I was born in Myanmar, just because I was born in this shithole here. And I thought my son would not have to go [through] the same process, because things looked better. I was so hopeful. And now when I look at my son, oh, my God, he has to do it all over again.

• We will not be saved by the U.N., for sure. The U.N. will probably release 1,000 more statements, and maybe they will release stronger statements, but…

• The military cannot go back, too. They committed crimes. If there’s civil war, I think they would bomb us all. They will use air strikes for sure, on their own civilians. The Myanmar military is preparing for war. I’m not sure if they are expecting U.S. troops or the U.N. troops, as we hope. I’m not sure. But the military is stationing forces in the hospitals, in schools. If the international airstrikes come, they will not bomb the hospitals and the schools, right? They took the hospitals and they kicked out the patients.

• I thought, “Now we are more civilized. And now, because of new information flow and globalization and all, this kind of thing could never happen again. And if this kind of horrible thing [did] happen and [was on] Twitter and everything, the whole world will know it. And the whole world will stop it from happening… But it is happening. We are being butchered. And if this injustice can happen somewhere in this world, the reality is it can happen everywhere. Democracy, peace, security — they are fragile.

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