🇲🇲 Will anything be ok?

Open your wallets

Hello friends, 

Today is different from our usual letter. It’s a public holiday here and I spent yesterday on Twitter scrolling — whirling images of smears of blood from the Philippines and Myanmar.

I’ve tried hard to keep on top of everything for us these last six weeks. There are multiple documents with a scattering of links, half a dozen paragraphs about Kyaw Moe Tun, and sanctions and ‘what is China’s role here?’ 

And every day I monitor Twitter and make sure I don’t miss a word Frontier publishes or a post from Hear the Voice of Myanmar on Instagram. 

I’ve raged from group chats on WhatsApp to the letters page of the Canberra Times that what’s happening in Myanmar isn’t bigger news to the world, that the deaths of dozens of people — mostly very, very young people — isn’t being seen as the tragedy it is, rather something that just happens to people unlucky enough to be born there and not here

Last week something changed though. I think it did for everyone watching from outside because the response has been marked. 

Another day, more photos of teenagers with their skull enveloped in on itself. Shot in the head by a military who says it’s protecting those same teenagers from the election meddling of the party whose colours they’re decked out in. 

Here was Angel, a 19-year-old from Mandalay, on the frontline, pointing and shouting. Here’s Angel, dead on tarpaulin

I’m not sure what it is when one death becomes the icon. It’s not fair to the other dozens of dead — which includes protestors much younger than Angel — or to the family and loved ones of the exalted who are stripped of private mourning and forced to replace it with a much larger message. That isn’t a Myanmar question though, I suppose. That’s a humanity thing. 

Police and military exhumed her body, allegedly fearing it would become a shrine to Angel or to the civil disobedience movement. Just about the vilest thing I ever heard. 

The conversation is changing quickly now. The ‘we don’t need harsh words, we need help’ calls to foreign governments of the last month are giving way rapidly to ‘do something or shut up.’ 

There’s not much we outside can do, our leaders don’t listen to us either. But we can give money. 

Myanmar Now is an extraordinarily valuable news source that is doing some of the toughest reporting out there. The publication accepts donations via PayPal. Frontier Myanmar has been one of my favourites in the region for a long time and the new subscriber-only emails are a must read for anyone looking for insight. Please support them if you can here.

I’ll be donating half of March’s newsletter income to the Myanmar Students Association Australia, which is undertaking a huge drive in Australia to collect funds for half a dozen different organisations. At this stage that should be about AUD$600, but you can help either by donating directly or signing up below:

Stay safe everyone, we can’t let the world burn out on this!
Erin Cook