Interview

We Believe Nothing From a Dog’s Mouth: Myanmar Democracy Activist

By The Irrawaddy 19 August 2021

Two pro-democracy activists died and three others were seriously injured and detained in Myanmar earlier this month when they jumped from a building on 44th Street in Yangon to avoid capture by junta troops. The media reported that another activist, Ko Kaung Min Thant, who was at the building at the time, was killed by junta forces.

Ko Kaung Min Thant was, however, hiding at the top of the building for some 12 hours before he escaped. He talked to The Irrawaddy about the raid.

Can you tell us about yourself before the February 1 coup?

Before the military coup, I was just an ordinary citizen. I was not interested in politics. It was said young people should engage in politics but it was my life and I chose how to live it. I was a carefree type. I tried to get along with everyone. I was attending a graphic design course. I played mobile games, hung out with friends at teashops and wrote songs.

So why did you participate in anti-regime activities?

Most of those who were born after 2000 don’t like restrictions. They will try new things, judge which is bad and stop those things. Many of us want to live free. We don’t feel free after the coup. We see dogs [junta soldiers], dog vehicles and dog faces wherever we go. This made the revolution inevitable.

We don’t get any benefits from participating in the revolution and I do not want to profit from it. We are only making sure that there is no more dictatorship in our future.

Had you ever thought of the possibility that you might have to go through a tragic experience like the August 10 junta raid when you joined the revolution? 

No, I had not. We had previously always managed to escape. As we gathered at that building, we had thought that we might be able to escape if we ran to the rooftop. But when we were really chased, we thought we would rather be captured dead than alive. I managed to hide on the roof when junta forces in civilian clothes arrived.

How do you feel after you escaped?

Brothers and sisters from the building on 44th Street have been on my mind. One of our comrades [on the street], Min Thitsar Aung, once said that he didn’t feel attached to his friends as much as those he met during the revolution. He called us his family and said he won’t let any harm come to his family. I feel the same. So I don’t feel like I am free and happy. There are things that remain to be done.

Activists jump from a building in central Yangon to escape a junta raid.

The military regime said the activists were on dope when they raided the building on 44th Street. What is your response?

Those with a brain don’t believe whatever the regime says. Why should young people take drugs at this time while they know they can harm them? It is the psywar [psychological warfare] of the regime to make such an accusation. They did so perhaps to cover up the fact they shot at us and hit the wounded youngster with a rifle butt after they jumped to escape. I have nothing to say about their accusation. You can’t expect anything truthful from a dog’s mouth.


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