Monday, September 18, 2006

18 years and we live on..

“When the army shoots, it shoots to hit.”
Ne Win addressing Burmese people on 23 July 1988.

Myenigone, Yangon, Burma. September 1988…
Pyay road was filled with people. A few were sipping tea in front of the tea shops, some talking under the shady trees, some selling privately published newspapers and others wandering around the various street sellers to find anything useful for the use at home. It was sunny and with tree trunks blocking the Pyay road, the air was free with smoke smell.

With Parliament height on one side and Maharmyaing height on the other, I wonder why our place was named Myenigone (Red Hill) while it actually was a low lying area between the two heights. I was with my dad and his friend sitting in a tea shop. Suddenly we saw army trucks moving down from People’s Parliament side. I heard a few shouted “Army! Army!”. For the 11 year old with months of experience living the life under the sound of gun fires, I knew exactly what would happen in a moment and stood up and ran together with every single one in the shop.

Loud G3 assault rifle fires together with G4 machine gun fires were heard and bullets rained down before the trucks were halted to a stop at the road blocks. Our teashop was nearest to the soldiers who were enjoying shooting everything they see and sending out abusive words at the same time. Luck was on our side. We were hiding at the back of the teashop but the soldiers gave a miss to our shop. They continue shooting and marched straight down until they reached the junction of Sanchaung street and Pyay Road where they sat and shot aimlessly again into the streets.

It seemed to me like they had a lot of ammunition to use. The shooting went on for nearly 20 minutes. The soldiers then raided the two teashops near the junction. The captain shot and killed one of our neighbors in cold blood for not coming out from where he hid right in front of the people he captured as porters.

We were left smelling the gun powder. The beautiful scenario about half an hour ago was gone. Everywhere I saw people with worried faces. We didn’t know exactly who were killed how many were killed. Uncertainty loomed everyone in Burma.

(This was exactly what I experienced back in 1988 as 11 years old. The aim to relive this memory is to let the world and our next generations get an idea of what exactly happened in Burma then. The army didn’t choose who to shoot and when to shoot.)
It has been 18 years since the military took over the power by killing hundreds of thousands of people including students and monks countrywide. May our heroes rest in peace!

“We will never forget. We will never forgive!”


Ka Daung Nyin Thar said...

it's frightening indeed.. n cruel..

personally, i've never encountered like that.. but personally, i've already felt enough of the suppression.

We definitely know who are bad and who are real.. it's called reflection of hearts.