No matter a citizen’s political views, no American should ever deny how fortunate they are to be living in the land of the free. Sure we’re loaded with problems, but we’re also lucky to be able to squabble, fuss, and argue about them without fear of repercussion. We’re allowed to refer to our leaders under any given name we decide best suits them, and if we choose to slam their very existence, so be it. To realize our good fortune one needs to look no further than Kenya, or Ethiopia, or Afghanistan, or at the worst of the worst, Myanmar where torturing civilians has become the order of the day.
Since February when the military seized power from Myanmar’s government, they’ve reigned with terror. Thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians have been rounded up and systematically tortured, and at least 1,200 of them have died from the abuse.
Young men and boys across the country have been abducted with some of their dead bodies being returned as a scare tactic. At the height of the pandemic, the military targeted doctors, nurses, and medics. They were killed on sight.
Here are the stories of two survivors. A monk and an accountant. They are but two of many, many, many…
As a 31-year-old monk was running from his military pursuers he was grazed by a bullet causing him to fall. His attackers slapped handcuffs on him as they unmercifully beat him with rifles and batons. Then, to give the appearance of criminal intent and justify their actions, the soldiers placed Molotov cocktails in his hands and took his picture.
The soldiers then defrocked the monk and made him put on civilian clothing. From there he was escorted to one of the countries newly established torture chambers, this one being located in Mandalay Palace.
The monk said, “the interrogation camp in the palace was really like hell.” He was made to hop like a frog for hours before being tossed into a cell without a toilet. Prisoners had to urinate in a corner and were given plastic bags to defecate into.
After about a week he was sent to another prison where he shared a tiny cell with roughly 50 other detainees. They slept on the floor and if anyone dared to raise their head at night they would promptly get shot with a slingshot. This was great fun for the guards.
“Sometimes, especially when they were drunk, they tended to torture the prisoners,” he said. “If they were drunk, they also tended to come to us and ask why we’re saying our prayers at a certain time…Then they shoot us with a slingshot.”
A 21-year-old accountant was hauled into a police station where he was surrounded by soldiers who kept kicking his thighs and his ribs. Then they started smacking him in the head until he almost fainted. Next, he was yanked from the floor, blindfolded, and driven to an interrogation center in Yangon.
He was asked if he knew about or had anything to do with some bombings that had taken place. When he told them no he was thrown to the ground and tied to a wall. He was beaten with a PVC pipe until it snapped and then kicked repeatedly in his chest and on his head.
When the beating caused the young man to pass out, he was awoken by a bucket of ice water being dumped on his head. Soaked in water, the soldiers began jabbing him with electric probes.
He said, “I was shaking so much it felt like I was going to die. Then they zapped me the second time, and then I passed out again.”
He was finally released, but only after his family paid a good sum of money.
So yes. We could have it a lot worse than we do. But it does give someone cause to wonder. Could something like this ever happen here? Nah…Of course not…