Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
Myanmar troops killed several members of a local "defense force" in a day of clashes, the junta said Friday, with local residents and media reporting at least 10 dead.
The country has been in turmoil since a February coup and a military crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 1,000 people, according to a local monitoring group.
In some areas, locals -- often using hunting rifles or homemade weapons -- have formed "defense forces" to fight back.
Junta troops were attacked with "small arms and homemade guns" as they entered Myin Thar village in the western Magway region on Thursday, army spokesman Zaw Min Tun told state-backed People Media.
The soldiers, who were searching for members of a local "Peoples' Defense Force" had killed a number of fighters, he said, without giving an exact figure, adding they had seized 23 guns.
"More than 10 people from my village were shot and killed," one Myin Thar resident said on condition of anonymity.
Soldiers set fire to several houses after the clash, they said.
A resident of neighboring Thar Lin village said locals fled at the sounds of the fighting and were now sheltering in a local monastery or in the jungle.
Local media reported between 10 and 15 locals had been killed.
Clashes involving civilian militias and the military have largely been restricted to rural areas but in June at least six people died in a gun battle in the country's second city of Mandalay.
On Tuesday around a dozen military-owned communications towers were destroyed, the same day a shadow government working to reverse the coup called for a "people's defensive war against the junta."
The "National Unity Government" which claims to be the country's legitimate government, is made up of dissident lawmakers in hiding or exile, many of them from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party.
The junta has defended its power grab by alleging massive fraud during elections in late 2020 which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won by a landslide. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Myanmar, Self-Defense, Junta troops, Pauk Township
Firebrand Buddhist Monk Ashin Wirathu was released from prison by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) on Monday, two years after he was booked and imprisoned for making seditious remarks against the former leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ashin Wirathu was born on the 10th of July 1968 in Kyaukse province which is one of the numerous offshoots of the vast Mandalay Division of Myanmar (then called Burma). He is a Burmese Buddhist monk and the founder cum leader of the extremist 969 Movement in Myanmar. He was infamously dubbed as the "The Face of Buddhist Terror" by Time Magazine in 2013. Some even went a step further and unceremoniously christened him " Buddhist Bin Laden ".
Ashin Wirathu is known for his fiery stance against radical Islam. He on numerous occasions has given derogatory press statements against Muslims. Once speaking to Time Magazine, he upfrontly said that they [Muslims] are breeding fast. Also, they steal our women only to rape them. They would like to occupy Myanmar, but I won't let them. One must strive to keep Myanmar a Buddhist country.
Myanmar is a predominatly a Buddhist country and Muslims respresnt a tiny fraction of the overall population. Photo by Joseph Gatto on Unsplash.
In yet another interview in 2013, he vehemently declared Muslims as African Carp. Justifying his claims he stated that they breed quickly and are very violent in nature and also they eat their own kind. He even went further to highlight the burden on the masses by saying that even though Muslims were a minority in Myanmar, ordinary Myanmmarse are reeling under the burden they bring us.
He gained limelight when on one occasion, he opined, "You can be full of kindness and love but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog." He mentioned the word "Mad Dog" slyly alluding to the Muslim community.
Ashin is the founder and the leader of the infamous " 969 Movement ", a Buddhist revivalist movement that advocates a complete socio-economic boycott of Muslims throughout Myanmar. It also seeks to ban marriages between Buddhist women and Muslim men and annul the existing ones.
The inspiration for the unique name comes from Buddhist scriptures, with the first number "9" denoting the nine special attributes of the Buddha, the middle number "6" represents the six special characteristics of his Dharma while the last number "9" represents the nine attributes of the Buddhist monastic order or the Buddhist Sangha.
The black flags of Radical Islam. Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash.
When quizzed on his fierce stance against one particular community, he said "I am defending my loved one like you would defend your loved one. I am only warning people about Muslims. Consider it like if you had a dog, that would bark at strangers coming to your house – it is to warn you. I am like that dog. I bark."
With Afghanistan taken over by the Radical Islamic outfit Taliban, jihadism is on the rise in Asia. With the new Delta variant of the novel coronavirus ravaging through Asia, the continent has turned into a hotbed for new deadlier mutations to arise. The belligerent act of the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan has invoked Radical Islamists all over the globe to launch a global offensive. By freeing Ashin Wirathu Myanmar has deployed its best available weapon against the onslaught of Radical Islam.
Keywords: Islam, Radical Islam, Ashin Wirathu, Myanmar, Terrorism.
Aung San Suu Kyi also known as "The Lady" is the most revered and distinguished figure in Southeast Asia. Her journey from being a regular housewife in Oxford, England to being a pro-democracy political activist and winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 has been arduous, perhaps perilous at times. The military junta of Myanmar, officially known as Tatmadaw has been ruling Myanmar ever since its independence in 1948 with an iron fist.
In 1989 during the heydays of the regime, speaking out against the junta could cost one their life. The previous year, Burma's generals had repealed the country's constitution, imposed martial law, and violently suppressed pro-democracy protests. The junta imposed a total information blockade. Newspapers and publishers were asked to register with the government and limit their publishing to the regime's propaganda.
Phone Thiri Kyaw, a well known young actress in Myanmar joined the pro-democracy protest in Yangoon, Myanmar.Photo by Saw Wunna on Unsplash.
It was during this nadir, that the pro-democracy activist cleverly devised a way to circumvent the junta information blockade and propagate the pro-democracy agenda. Initially, the information blockade seemed to work, but months later, rumours began to spread about the new one-Kyat banknote.
At first, its portrait of Aung San, the father of modern Burma, seemed perfectly normal. Holding the banknote up to the light, however, revealed a watermark that subtly altered the face, making the nose narrower, jaw rounder and eyes softer. Unseemly morphing the picture of Aung San into a picture of his daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the Burmese democratic movement.
Soon citizens began finding other hidden messages from the anonymous designer. Four concentric rings around an eight-petalled flower form four sets of eight, a reference to the '8888' pro-democracy demonstrations named after the date they began, August 8th, 1988. Even the medium was slyly appropriate. The 8888 protests were triggered by bizarre currency reforms that rendered three-quarters of Burmese banknotes worthless overnight.
Pro-democracy protests in Yangoon, Myanmar. Photo by Saw Wunna on Unsplash.
Soon, this one-Kyat note was also worthless, as it was promptly withdrawn from circulation when the regime detected the subterfuge. Its designer and his fate both remain unknown till today.
With the novel coronavirus pandemic ravaging through Myanmar, the country is a hotbed for new deadlier mutations to arise. The belligerent act of military junta seizing power from Aung San Suu Kyi in a military coup has invoked harsh US sanctions on Myanmar. The future of Myanmar and the fate of its poor citizens seems bleaker as time passes.
Keywords: Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, Democracy
- Myanmar Holds First LGBT Boat Pride Parade - NewsGram ›
- Manipuri people on the verge of losing their identity - NewsGram ›
- 1,700 Child Soldiers Reunite With Their Parents In Myanmar ... ›
- Myanmar Deploy Firebrand Buddhist Monk Against Radical Islam - NewsGram ›
- Myanmar Deploy Firebrand Buddhist Monk Against Radical Islam - NewsGram ›
- Myanmar Junta Troops Clash With 'Self Defense' Forces - NewsGram ›
Burmese beauty queen Htar Htet Htet has turned rebel, promising to bring down the brutal military junta in Myanmar or die fighting it.
Htet Htet represented Myanmar in the first Miss Grand International beauty pageant in Thailand in 2013.
Eight years later, the 32-year-old fitness instructor, who contested against 60 participants, has joined ethnic armed groups in Myanmar’s border regions.
Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what’s happening around the world.
Hundreds of ethnic Bamars or Burmese, angered by the death of protesting comrades in military/ police firings, have joined the newly-formed urban rebel groups like the Federal Army and United Defence Force.
Nearly 800 Burmese have been killed in these indiscriminate firings.
Like Htet Htet, these angry youths are now training in weapons use and guerilla tactics on basis of Myanmar’s old ethnic rebel armies like the Karen National Union.
Some may have returned already to Burmese cities for action.
The former beauty queen recently posted her pictures with an assault rifle on her Burmese Facebook page, in which she wrote: “The time has come to fight back. Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard, or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed.”
It was not clear which rebel base was Htet Htet undergoing training and for how long.
She did not reveal further details, but her appeal to fight the junta may boost recruitment to the Bamar urban insurgent groups.
“Htet Htet is quite an icon among the Burmese youth, beautiful and sexy but very political and socially conscious,” said her friend, who is another beauty queen and presents a popular TV program.
But she asked not to be identified for obvious reasons.
“She is quite a draw and very courageous. I wish I could do what she did.”
These Bamar groups are believed to be responsible for individual assassinations and select strikes against police informers and on an off-take station in the Chinese financed and operated oil-gas pipeline connecting terminals in Myanmar’s Rakhine province and China’s Yunnan province.
Chinese interests have become a target because most in the pro-democracy movement see Beijing as the principal backer of the Myanmar military regime.
“That will be further reinforced by the junta’s recent clearing of 15 foreign investment proposals, almost all Chinese. Beijing is having a windfall backing a blood-thirsty junta which is shooting its own boys and girls like flies,” said Kolkata-based Myanmar watcher Amrita Dey, who edited a volume on the Burmese democracy movement.
Dey says the 2021 generation is different from the 1988 generation that led the country’s most powerful uprising in the last century.
“The current generation is tech-savvy, better exposed to the world, and more educated, having benefitted from a decade of relative openness. And this generation is more passionate about democracy because they have somewhat experienced it and feel they have so much to lose,” Dey told IANS. (IANS/KB)