“Oppose those relying on external elements, acting as stooges, holding negative views. Oppose those jeopardizing stability of the State and progress of the nation. Oppose foreign nations interfering in international affairs of the State. Crush all internal and external elements as the common enemy.”
—“People’s Desire,” text from government billboards found throughout Myanmar
I remember June 2, 2012, the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited Mae Sot, on the Thai-Myanmar border, as one of the best days of my life. It was the kind of day where everything oozes exhilaration and reverie; simple acts like eating breakfast and getting dressed feel ceremonious. On such a monumental day, you carefully curate the comrades you want to be with, choosing those who’ll understand. I remember collecting my best friend, both of us barely able to speak as we walked into a crowd of thousands of other reverberating, nervous-laughing souls. Grinning ear-to-ear together, donning red National League for Democracy (nld) hats, we waited hours for her car to drive by. When it did, we seemed to dissolve with jubilation, clutching at our hearts and the people around us, fists pointed toward the sky and toward children perched on shoulders, children for whom the day meant everything, as we allowed ourselves to believe, for once, that things in Myanmar would get better.
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