DECORAH, Iowa (FOX47) — The citizens of Myanmar have been suffering ever since the military took control of the country two weeks ago.
The majority of the 54 million citizens of Myanmar in southeastern Asia want a democratic government. They have endured decades upon decades of military rule.
The National League for Democracy candidate Aung San Suu Kyi won the election at the end of January by a landslide. Just when they thought they were finally going to have a real democracy, on Feb. 1, the military staged a coup led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The military claimed fraud.
Since then, homes have been set on fire, drinking water has been poisoned, people have been shot in the street and the internet has been shut down.
Nora Nyi Myint is an international student from Myanmar studying at Luther College. Her family is still there, right in the middle of the destruction.
“It’s just been getting worse,” Nyi Myint said. “I don’t know when I’ll get to go home. These days, I’ve been having a lot night terrors, and it comes in many different forms. I have night terrors of drowning. I have night terrors about gun shots, which I’ve heard before in my country. In my own home. “
Nyi Myint’s mother is supporting protesters in their home city of Yangon. She said there are more than 700,000 people protesting in that city alone. Protesters who get arrested could face a long prison sentence.
“I’m worried for my family,” Nyi Myint said. “I’ve been doing a lot of petition writing, and I’ve been appealing to a lot of people. Numbers matter in the support we can get.”
The military has taken control over all media, the internet and other communication, like cell phone service.
“They are trying to shut everyone out,” she said. “It’s hard to stay in communication with my mom. Trying to get any news right now is slow because journalists are getting arrested.”
She said her dad works on a ship right now and has no way of contacting the family.
Nyi Myint hasn’t been home since 2019. She said there is no end to the chaos in sight.
Even though the Midwest may seem far removed from the situation in Myanmar, Nyi Myint said there are still things people can do to help. She said sharing the story, signing petitions and talking to local and state politicians may be simple, but it’s powerful.
She said President Joe Biden’s recent sanctions on the military leadership is a good start, but more still needs to be done.
Nyi Myint has been documenting the situation and her experiences on her Facebook page.