Everybody in Myanmar knows who is Ko Wai Moe Naing, but let me introduce him to the colleagues abroad.
Ko Wai Moe Naing has been the leader of protests in Monywa, a business hub on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River and the largest city in Sagaing Region and city that became one of the centers of regular, daily mass non-violent protests against the military junta.
Ko Wai Moe Naing was detained today after regime forces drove a large vehicle head-on into a group of motor scooters carrying him and other anti-regime protesters. After being violently knocked to the ground, witnesses said the 26-year-old was beaten and dragged away.
He is in a serious danger. His family and friends demand for lawyer and doctor to get access to him.
Ko Wai Moe Naing said recently that the reason he defied the regime was simple; because he utterly rejected it. “We simply don’t want to go back to the dark age [under the regime]. What haunts me most is how I would survive under their rule,” he said. “So, when it comes to arrest or death, neither of them matter to me,” he added.
Upon learning of Ko Wai Moe Naing’s arrest on Thursday, Ko Tayzar San, another prominent anti-regime leader in Mandalay, called on people to accelerate the anti-regime protest. “I remind junta that there are many more Wai Moe Naings among the people. If you arrest one, another will take the front line.”
I feel embarrassed that I need to add that he is a Muslim. Because in normal world and in decent society it would not be necessary to say what is his religion and his ethnic origin. It will be only important to talk about his bravery, about his charisma, about his rhetoric talent, about his dedication and about kindness of his personality which gave him nick name Little Panda.
But in country like Myanmar and in situation in which we are now, it is also very important that he is young, that he is Muslim, that he is leader and that he loved by all nation. When Myanmar military realized that their plan to tightly control “disciplined” transition to democracy in which generals will serve first in the army in uniforms, and later on will finish their careers as presidents, house speakers, ministers and members of parliament. When they realized that people will overwhelmingly vote for the NLD in the 2015 elections, military intelligence services tried to prevent that by activating radical nationalistic Buddhist movement and has instigated waves of hate campaigns through social media (some of Myanmar intelligence officers have been trained in Kremlin’s troll factories much before the rest of the world realized what is going on). Hate campaigns, with a little bit help of triggering interference of intelligence services instigated communal violence and inter-religious conflicts between communities. Most of that manufactured and managed by guys from security apparatus and by fierce nationalistic monks speaking hate instead of Buddhist kindness.
Next time when military flamed the anti-Muslim emotions in the population is when they organized and executed huge ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslim community. That was also done as trap for elected and popular government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar military has long history of unscrupulous instigation of inter-communal, inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict in order to legitimize its own brutal rule.
That is why it is so important that somebody as Little Panda, a young Muslim man from mid-size city deep in Myanmar interior, in the midst of Buddhist Bama part of the country, can become beloved and adored National Leader and National Hero. He himself become strong symbol what Myanmar could be and what Myanmar should be.
If only, junta and military will not prevail once more over the will of the people.