August 14, 2022

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“Peaceful resistance no longer works” – VG

The choice was made: When Han Lai used a pageant queen to speak publicly about the junta in her homeland, she could no longer go home.

Armed struggle is increasing, Myanmar plunges further into civil war and the regime is implementing advocates of democracy. Now, persecuted Miss Myanmar, Han Lai (23), tells VG that armed struggle is the people’s only hope.

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Last week, the military regime was executed In Myanmar, there are four recognized advocates of democracy. But the regime’s attempt to silence critics means that more people are choosing to advance. In this VG interview, psychology student and beauty queen Han Lai tells her story.

At the beginning of April 2021, Han Lai stood on stage in Bangkok, Thailand.

Last time in the Miss Grand International beauty pageant, Lay was representing her native Myanmar.

Early on, she decided to do something that would put her life in danger – she wanted to address the military junta of her homeland in the middle of it.

Two months ago, the military overthrew the country’s government and seized power in Myanmar. The people’s hopes for the country’s democratic development were shattered. In the days and months that followed, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country. Peaceful pro-democracy protesters were shot dead in the open street.

On the same day as the Miss Alien pageant alone, 140 protesters were said to have been killed by soldiers.

Won’t be Silent: Han Lai on stage in Bangkok during the Miss Grand Final.

Lay took the floor:

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Today in my country Myanmar many people are dying. Please help Myanmar. “We need immediate international assistance,” she said from the stage.

The speech only lasted two minutes, but it was enough to turn Lai’s life upside down.

Shortly thereafter, the military council announced that she was on a wanted list, and she realized that she could no longer return home in Myanmar.

In an interview with VG this week, she told Han Lai that she felt responsible.

The beauty queen’s mission is to be a spokesperson for her country. I had a platform where my voice could be heard as a person from Myanmar. I did it for my people, she tells VG.

Show resistance: Han Lai demonstrated in Yangon after the coup, before leaving the country.

They took to the streets

In the week following the military coup, Lai took to the streets of Yangon to protest with his fellow students and friends.

Many of them were arrested and imprisoned for the resistance they showed. kill a friend.

So her friends urged her not to return from Thailand after her speech. The military junta hunted down celebrities and social media influencers who expressed their opposition to the coup.

That’s why Lai is still in Bangkok.

Leave your studies away: The People’s Defense Force, a rebel force made up of many young students who were once peaceful protesters, is now at war with the military regime in Myanmar.

He thinks people should carry guns

As a result of last year’s military coup, the armed rebellion in Myanmar has grown and intensified. Many describe the situation now as open civil war.

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Han Lai fully supports the rebellion.

We started with peaceful protests. We had a very large movement that engaged in civil disobedience. But the army used violence to suppress us. More than 1,000 people were killed during these demonstrations. So our people chose to take up arms, because peaceful resistance no longer works, she says.

In Myanmar, there have been conflicts between government forces and rebels of different ethnic origins for several decades. Over the past year, many young people opposed to the junta have given up their studies to fight the regime militarily.

The opposition shadow government, formed by members of Myanmar’s former ruling party, has set up the so-called People’s Defense Force.

According to the Washington Post This rebel force now consists of about 60,000 rebels.

Tamarod: Members of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) rebel group photographed in October 2021.

A lot of young people my age are now fighting bravely against the junta. I admire their strength and respect their sacrifice. She says they need a lot of support and we should never forget them.

The military council describes both the shadow government and the armed resistance as terrorists.

Lay also stresses why she believes armed war is now the best solution.

We cannot fight a brutal military regime without an armed revolution. The difference between us and them is that we respect human rights and international law, she says, before contacting the international community:

– Please don’t forget us. We need your help.

Active: Han Lai displays the banner symbolizing resistance to the military regime.