It’s a crisp winter morning in Yangon. I am sitting on my balcony, sipping my locally brewed Tamarind Kombucha that my friend Ma Thiri dropped off this morning. She came with her dad in his vintage brown van. Thiri’s small food joint survived COVID-19 restrictions, but she is not sure if her small business would survive this coup. As I saw her off, they waved the hunger-game inspired ‘three fingers’ salute. Thiri said, “My uncle was an NLD student leader. My dad and his family burnt all records and papers at home and uncle went underground.” Since the coup, leaders of political parties, activists, and civil society have been arrested. The chairman and members of the Union Election Commission of each region and state were abducted. Journalists are scared and vulnerable. They have gone underground. Since day one of the coup we heard about a list of ‘wanted’ journalists prepared by military intelligence.
In my courtyard, colleagues turned on Kabar Ma Kyay Bu, the national anthem, in full volume. They are going out to protest today, Union Day (February 12), when we celebrate the unified republic of Myanmar. In 1947, the Panglong Agreement was signed by Aung San, father of detained state chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and minority ethnic leaders who agreed to join the Union of Burma in exchange for federal autonomy. Protestors from ethnic minorities too have joined the civil disobedience.