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The Farcical trial of Aung San Suu Kyi restores her to power as a legend of the revolution

NSAE SOT, Thailand — Refugees, militiamen and peace activists defied the Myanmar military’s brutal campaign of repression. salute the two-year prison sentence to their brilliant leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, with defiance, determination and even giggles. In interviews, they assert in interviews along the border area divided by barbed wire, rice paddies, and muddy waters that their own bloody “revolution” will free the air. only one day for Ms. Suu Kyi, but also to free all of Myanmar’s political prisoners, according to United Nations estimates of over or nearly 10,000.

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for his brave leadership during the 1988 democratic uprising, when the army killed hundreds of protesters near the front door of the US Embassy in Yangon (then was Rangoon), remained at the center of one of the staunch liberal movements despite criticism that she was at times arrogant towards her minions and rejecting the struggle of the persecuted Rohingya minority in Myanmar—So far to defend the regime against genocide charges in the United Nations court. Even as the authorities repeatedly offered — for more than three decades — an easy way out and an opportunity for her to give up her struggle, Suu Kyi’s willingness to continue her military captivity — even when it meant her silence — only cemented support for her National League for Democracy and the National Unity Government in exile.

Myanmar has been enveloped by a stretch of time since the torch nights and heavy rain days that I witnessed firsthand in August and September 1988 when Suu Kyi, who was married famous British historian, happened to visit her ailing mother in the capital and took to the political stage under a parasol in the form of a proud lioness. In those few odd weeks, she became both an icon and a magnet, a ghostly reminder of her own assassinated father Aung San’s role in the struggle for independence. her nation’s 1940s establishment. Although she looks fragile, gray and sometimes even emaciated from old age in recent years, the solid backbone of her support remains students and activists, some hours are also limp and gray, who are ready to take action against an ever more stubborn military junta. changed from calling Suu Kyi’s supporters “thugs” in 1988 to “terrorists” in 2021.

In Myanmar, the more things change, the more they resemble each other: General Khin Nyunt, a ruthless intelligence chief who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers, has been replaced by a group of crippled men and women. equally brutal by an equally brutal man. General Min Aung Hlaing, supervisor the army returns to full power in February.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is our leader even when she is in prison and cannot speak,” said Paing Ye Thu, a glasses-wearing and cheerful National League for Democracy activist who There is a student union that is working closely with the Karen minority insurgency. Cross the barbed wire that marks the Moei River, which flows deep north and south in militia areas along the Thailand-Burma border. “We will always share a brutal enemy,” added Paing, who spent two years in a windowless cell at the notorious Insein prison after performing in a poetry and dance competition. with “The Peacock Generation Poetry,” a satirical satire at the military in its songs.

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Protesters flooded the streets after the 2021 coup.

Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

Indeed, in four days of interviewing activists, militiamen and refugees along the border from the country that was and is sometimes known to the world as Burma, I discovered a hidden secret. in the nation’s democratic struggle: a caustic and ironic humour.

Aung Kyaw, 32, giggled over tea on Monday when he learned that authorities had sentenced Suu Kyi to several years in prison. Months earlier, Aung, who emerged in November from the malaria-infested jungles of Myanmar into the bustling gem town of Thailand, was beaten almost blindly by soldiers besieging his house. It is not far from the turquoise Andaman Sea in the city of Myiek along the southern panhandle of Myanmar .

In March, he stood on his own balcony, raised his smartphone, and filmed the scene below on Facebook for “Burma’s Democratic Voices,” a national broadcaster now living in exile. “About 200 soldiers and policemen shot me with slingshots and then they broke down my door. It was surreal: I yelled at them asking why they attacked the free press.”

Before the soldiers sent Aung Kyaw away for eight months in solitary confinement for filming them looting nearby homes, they drove him around in a van with a plastic bag on his head beating him and threatening him with a knife. threatened him with death if he did not reveal his editors and the sources. He kept quiet in their company.

“They wanted to pull my nails out with pliers, but luckily they couldn’t find any,” he said, laughing.

However, humor is often a cover for overwhelming outrage. Burmans congregate in rundown hotels in Mae Sot, some of whom are still awaiting official refugee status. They expressed anger a day earlier when a military vehicle rammed protesters in downtown Yangon, killing five protesters.

Thet Swe Win, a well-known peace activist, who recently met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to discuss what can be done to reconcile peace and stability in Myanmar.

“Aung San Suu Kyi has made her mistakes, especially in the past supporting some of the military actions against the Rohingya minority, but we are bridging our differences and ours. will prevail,” said Win, who recently spent seven months with the minority. Karen rebels in nearby Kayah state — a personal journey that he says “opened my eyes.”

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Rohingya refugees are herded into restricted areas on the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh.

YE AUNG THU / AFP

Despite boycotting the November 2020 general election, in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) crushed the military’s own preferred party, Win has now returned to support. own support for the NLD political faction after the February 2021 military coup. “This does not mean that I will ignore the past treatment of minorities and what Ms. Suu did. Kyi refuses to talk about the military’s treatment of the Rohingya when she gets the chance. She’s still wrong about that.” Win, who saw off his wife and children on a flight to the US this summer, said he will stay in Thailand to set up a peace building office and continue to fight for minority rights.

Following tit-for-tat killings in Myanmar’s Rohingya region, near neighboring Bangladesh, the military quelled an ethnic insurgency by burning villages, executing civilians and forcing 700,000 civilians unarmed. Page had to leave the country mainly between 2016 and 2017. Suu Kyi, for her part, was repeatedly urged by her associates, including her Nobel co-recipient and close friend the Dalai Lama. The Lama, condemning what human rights groups call “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”, sided with the army of events before her own ouster in February of this year. Some supporters still blame her for not standing up to protect her countrymen. Others have long since forgave her as they got caught up in the chaos of their own battle for survival.

As early as 1988, Suu Kyi positioned herself as a stoic and Gandhian pacifist even as her supporters turned violent. They shot at the soldiers with homemade slingshots that fired at bicycle spokes dipped in cow dung in a fruitless attempt to poison their enemies. At improvised courts set up in monasteries, the head monks ordered the beheading of military enemies. When the army slaughtered fleeing protesters and dumped their bodies in mass graves, we found only piles of bloody flip-flops behind them.

The new militia that emerged this year was even more deadly. Last month, the exile community raised millions of dollars in just one day to support the “defensive” people’s war against the army. The whispers in the GEM market along the Moei River suggest that there is more funding for the ongoing war. Hastily made smartphone video clips of the People’s Self-Defense Forces’ new bombings of military targets circulate daily. Ms. Suu Kyi’s Government of National Unity, which now operates mainly in exile, claims that nearly 3,000 army members have been killed in fighting between June and November this year. The authorities called those numbers “fake news” and denied recent reports of defections by security forces. Along with Thailand, a military dictatorship with a reputation for being less brutal, Myanmar maintains one of the most formidable militaries in the region. Called the “Tatmadaw,” the army is armed with Chinese aircraft, a growing Russian arsenal, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and reservists. During the recent attacks on the border towns that the refugees described to me, soldiers allegedly shot fleeing residents and burned their homes. Small walkie-talkies and drones, purchased by Burmans, are two of the hottest items on sale in Thailand’s bustling electronics stores.

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Aung San Suu Kyi has held a special place in the hearts of the Burmans for decades.

YE AUNG THU / AFP

However, Myanmar’s fight for democracy remains haunted by torture chambers, reports of rape and kangaroo courts. According to reports, Ms. Suu Kyi herself was put on trial by the authorities in a living room, a courtroom inside a house adjacent to the house where she is currently serving a “house arrest” sentence in the courtyard. The golf club is less populated, located in the new capital Naypidaw. She hasn’t made any recent statements to her followers, but her presence is still clearly visible. “Aunt Suu is with us here!” is a popular chorus heard on the streets of Mae Sot.

The tactician’s clumsy treatment of their enemies certainly only enhanced her legend and her sustaining power. Chit Hlaing, a 30-year-old Rohingya man whose wife is waiting for him in a run-down hotel on the edge of town, says he supports Aung San Suu Kyi despite what he says are her efforts. to keep “close friends and enemies closer.” Similarly, many of her countrymen believe that Suu Kyi must balance her principles to stay in power before she is ousted.

“Suu Kyi is highly qualified to lead us and she can fight for democracy and human rights and I believe she will in the future,” said Hlaing, 30, who is now waiting for his flight to his new home in America. “The Burmese are good people and we love each other despite the brutal army. We want to help each other wherever we go — and we’re still waiting for the world to notice. I decided to come to the United States to seek dignity and less discrimination, but I still support the revolution.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/farcical-trial-of-disgraced-aung-san-suu-kyi-restores-her-power-as-the-legend-of-the-revolution?source=articles&via=rss The Farcical trial of Aung San Suu Kyi restores her to power as a legend of the revolution

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