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Resilience and Resistance Despite Junta’s Repression

By Burma Partnership  •  January 22, 2010

We have just learned that the health condition of a young female political prisoner is rapidly worsening to the point of being life threatening. Ni Mo Hlaing was sentenced to 5 years in Thayet Prison in 2009 for assisting the Cyclone Nargis survivors, has become seriously ill since October 2009 with gastritis, meningitis, and gout. At the recommendation of the prison doctor, her family has filed a request that she be moved to a prison closer to them, but the authorities have not yet responded.

On another count, Burma-born US citizen, Nyi Nyi Aung, along with two other activists, Min Min Htun and Aung Thu, was placed in solitary confinement for the second time on 12 January. On 17 January, his aunties were denied from visiting him. Today, Nyi Nyi appeared at court hearing, where the judge confirmed that the verdict would be handed down on 27 January. His finance, Wa Wa Kyaw has issued a statement saying, “As a Burmese-American, I applaud our government’s policy to engage with Burma, as it is the only way to have any chance to change the junta’s behavior. But we need to engage in a way that achieves concrete and meaningful progress and is not just talk for the sake of talking.”

On 18 January, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal was heard in the Supreme Court. With elusive justice under the junta’s legal system, it could be another week before the verdict is declared.

Despite the junta’s continuing imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners, who are tortured, denied medical care and fair trials, and attempts to prolong their control through this year’s elections, the people of Burma remain hopeful and resilient.

The Free Burma Rangers recently wrote of the Good Life Club counselors singing, dancing and teaching children in an IDP village in Karen State. These villagers, forced to flee SPDC army attacks and rebuild their lives over and over, are an example of the desire of the Burmese people to one day lead normal lives, free from the regime’s harsh rule.

Burmese youth continue to find creative ways of resisting. Mon, Shan and Kachin youths have all recently organized activities in their communities to oppose the junta’s elections.

And in a recent interview, NLD Central Executive Committee Member U Win Tin showed that despite nearly 20 years of imprisonment and torture, Burma’s true leaders emerge from jail more resolute in their commitment for a free Burma.

As Daw Suu once said, “Even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”

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