Burma Solider

David Hamrick

This post comes to us from David Hamrick, a Senior public relations major from Winston-Salem, NC and an Associate for Heelprint Communications.

A recent New York Times article brought to light a stirring and compelling case of dissent in the world today, in a region where few of us regularly turn our attention. The piece, “Documentary Shows Rare Look at Dissent in Myanmar Military” by Seth Mydans, was published January 21st and can be seen here. The article, while providing a review of the documentary Burma Soldier, also provides useful insight and additional information on the issue at hand.

Traditionally known for its cohesiveness and operation as a unified front, the military of the nation formerly known as Burma is the subject of the newly-released documentary. The film is centered around Myo Mynit, who served as a soldier before leaving to join the ranks of the democratic opposition led by Aung Sun Suu Kyi. Mynit lost an arm and a leg during his time serving in the military ranks, and also served a 15-year prison sentence after his connections to the opposition movement were discovered.

Mynit tells about his experience in the Myanmar army, from his personal discomfort with torture and murder to the conflicts among low-ranking soldiers of different background and status. In a candid monologue occasionally leading to tears, a former member of the rank-and-file military that puts on a united front to the outside world is able to put a crack in their perceived image and shed light on some of their more horrifying practices.

The story told is a refreshing reminder that voices of dissent are still speaking out every day, even if they are not always heard immediately. There are still many sources of oppression in today’s world, and sometimes the only way they can be brought to attention is by the words or actions of a brave dissenter. Myo Mynit, along with Suu Kyi and the democratic movement they represent, are a refreshing and inspiring example in today’s world of the change people can bring with courage and determination.