I am a Burmese exile taking a near-permanent refuge in New York and Sydney. Here are my essays about Burma and anything else I feel like writing about. And posting the articles I like from selected sites. Bridging Burma to the world this Blog is more of a Politically-Oriented Literary Blog than a Plain News Blog or a Sophisticated Thoughts Blog.
I really like to write about what I had to go through before at the MIS Interrogation Camp. Not because of my vendetta against my torturers but to reveal to the new generation the true nature of present Government now wearing a hero mask to hide their true demonic face.
The reason I was arrested and tortured by the MIS (Military Intelligence Services) men is because of the bad system of military dictatorship. That bad system is forcing them to do bad things. In my opinion our country will be really peaceful in the future without this Fascist Military Dictatorship.
The day I was captured was in April 1991 just after the Thingyan water festivals. Right on the Burmese New Year’s Day. I was captured by MIS Captain Htun Kyi and his men from MIS Battalion-12. The place of my capture was at Thar Thar (a) Myat Htun Soe’s house in the Kyauk-myaung’s Da-mha-seindar Street of Tamwe Township in Rangoon.
By then MIS was desperately searching all over Rangoon for me after they had captured my mate Bo Ni Aung (a) Bo Ni with war-weapons and explosives. I got the news of Bo Ni arrest soon. But I didn’t have enough money to flee the country and also I had nothing to do with weapons and explosives found with Bo Ni. So I did try to hide in Rangoon instead of fleeing back to the Thai border.
But MIS men didn’t think like I did. Once they got Bo Ni with dangerous stuff they considered Bo Ni’s well-known long-time colleague me also dangerous and so they really worked doubly hard days and nights to capture me. Followings are the details of my capture.
Eagle-one has caught the Sparrow!
MIS street arrest in Rangoon.
Time was about 2 in the afternoon of Burmese New Year’s Day in April 1991 just after the water festivals. One of my molars was giving me trouble and so I went to a local dentist to pull the bloody tooth out. The place was cheap and nasty and the result was that I had a severe bleeding from that tooth-hole on my gum which was infected and the massive tooth-ache was giving me a high fever and a swollen cheek on that side of my face.
So I had to lie down low on the floor of mezzanine in Thar Thar’s (Myat Htun Soe) house. Then, my friends Moe Thu, Thar Thar (Banana), and Ma Yin Yin arrived and they were really worried for me as they’d heard all the news of MIS searching me as their most wanted man.
They were all telling me it wasn’t safe for me to stay in the country. And they were really concerned about me becoming seriously sick. The difficult thing for me was even if they gave me money to go see a doctor my situation was too dangerous to go out of the house. So they all were worrying about both my safety and my health.
Then suddenly I heard loud noises from front of the house. So I looked down through the blinds and saw two men from the local Ward Council. They were loudly yelling at Thar Thar’s sister and mother.
“Hey, open the door; we’re checking the Guest List!” We immediately knew who they were really after once we heard the so-called Guest-List-checking.
(Translator’s notes: In Burma a draconian law from the British-colonial-era requires every household to report the list of guest staying overnight to local authorities. And the local administration called the Ward Council together with army and police strictly reinforces that law by searching any house unannounced at any time without a search warrant.)
By then we all were in a state of panic. Moe Thu peeked through the crack in the window and yelled out towards me, “Soldiers outside blocking the house, you’re in trouble!”
Everyone around me was in panic but I kept my cool and tried to look around the outside of the house. Two Ward Council men at the still-closed front door were demanding to let them in. There were bunch of soldiers squatting behind the front fence while more soldiers were in the rear lane behind the house. I was completely trapped.
All my friend were saying in unison, “You just run and escape, the rest we will fix later, you just run, run,” but I had no way out.
While Thar Thar’s mother was almost opening the front door, Thar Thar ran down from the mezzanine floor and yelled out, “Don’t open, don’t open yet, Uncles, who really are you?” and I knew he was trying to get more time for me to run.
But I knew I had not a chance of escape as the house was already surrounded by the armed-soldiers. So I told them, “You all do not need to get hurt for me,” and all cried out loud. I stood up at the top of the stairs and told Thar Thar downstairs to open the front door.
While I was telling Thar Thar to open the door I saw a stocky bald man in undershirt rushed into the front yard. Behind him running along were some soldiers. They were moving like they were on a battlefield. And they kicked in the front door open and that made Thar Thar’s mother and sister cry out with fears.
“Sit down, sit down on the floor, father-fucking bitches, you’ll get shot, sit down on the floor right now,” the bald man threatened the women. He then looked up and saw me standing near the stairs and yelled out to his men, “Up there, up there, go up there,” and at the same time yelling at me, “Son-of-a-bitch, don’t move, you wanna die?”
The ceiling of the mezzanine was quite low and we all had to stoop to stand up there. The first soldier running up didn’t realize that and he immediately hit his head hard with the ceiling. He was angry and straight away he bashed Moe Thu at nearby with his G3 butt while yelling at him, “Bastard, who are you looking at?”
The little mezzanine was soon filled with soldiers and they forced all of us to squat with their G3 rifle barrels pointing right at our faces. Then the bald man and two men in mufti came up the stairs.
“Grab Ye Min Htun, grab Ye Min Htun,” shouting the bald man as he came up the stairs. Once he got near me he yelled, “That’s him, that’s the bastard,” and stomped onto my face with his feet. He had an Elephant-star flip-flop on his feet, I still remember. “Please don’t do that, please don’t do that,” all my friends were then begging them not to hurt me and I could hear them.
Another MIS street arrest in Rangoon.
By then my face was badly hurt and I was seeing blue stars in my eyes as more and more army-boots were landing all over me from every possible directions. As I leaned myself down to protect my chest and face from the blows of the army-boots I could hear Ma Yin Yin begging, “Please don’t hurt him, he isn’t well at all, he’s sick!” and the violent noises from their bashing of Moe Thu still shouting, “This is unjust and unlawful, why can’t you guys follow the laws!” I still remember their bitter voices even today.
After they had kicked me to their full satisfaction they handcuffed me from behind. The cuff was so tight I felt like my hands were jumping up and down. The blood from my nose was dripping drop by drop onto the floor.
Then the bald man stared at me in handcuffs and said, “Bastard, aren’t you Kalarlay (a) Ye Min Htun? Aye, listen, I am MIS Captain Htun Kyi. I know what you’re doing here. You’re sent by KNU to assassinate our leaders of the State,” he was wrongly accusing me real serious with a straight face.
“No, that’s not true, I don’t know how to shoot a gun and I don’t know how to use explosives, I’m just staying here at my friends’ house,” I replied.
“Aye, aye, you’ll be forced to tell us everything,” he just shut me up and then his two men lifted me up from underarms and dragged me downstairs.
“Eagle One to Eagle Two, Sparrow is caught, Eagle One to Eagle Two, Sparrow is caught,” following us closely from behind, bald Captain Htun Kyi was shouting my capture into his walkie-talkie.
Out of the house, on the main road were two army trucks and between the trucks was a MIS’s E2000 medium-truck and soldiers and policemen were all around the trucks. A small crowd was gathering at a distance and one of the men dragging me yelled out to them, “We caught one of the bombing-terrorists sent by the jungle insurgents.”
“No, I am one of the Uprising-students, I’m not insurgent, I am a student!” I immediately yelled out to the crowd and the MIS men pulled me back and all blocked me from the crowd’s sight.
While one was putting me in a tight headlock and squeezing my neck tight one other man was violently dropping a cloth-bag over my head. They then dragged me up into the back of E2000 truck and lay me down on my tummy on the floor and stepped me with their boots.
One then sat on my waist as the truck suddenly sped out of there. That one sitting on my back was causing me not able to breathe as the dried blood and the bag cloth were blocking my nostrils too. So I raised my head a bit and shouted, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe anymore!”
“Aye, aye, that’s good, once you get there your breathing will stop too, I guarantee, you little mother-fucker,” replied the MIS man on my back and they all laughed at him as if they were delightfully entertained. Someone even stepped onto my head to stop me speaking. I had to breathe through my mouth while careful not to suck the blood from my nose into my lungs.
Back then I was miserably thin and so small compared to those stocky MIS men. I was just over 18 and I would be only 19 on July 22. They used massive number of Military Intelligence officers and soldiers in a war-like operation to catch a little student like me who was just a mere teenager. After that they brought me into one of their two MI interrogation camps notorious for extreme brutality to interrogate and torture me.
But at that time I didn’t know where they were taking me as I just collapsed silently on the hot metal floor of E2000 truck with all the wounds and bruises all over my body from their boots and fists and rifle butts with my injured head and thin body still under their stomping army-boots.
(Born in 1976 Ye Min Htun grew up in Rangoon and attended State-High-School N0-6 Bo-ta-htaung. As he wrote before his revolution began during the failed 8-8-88 Uprising tight in front of City Hall in Rangoon. During that Uprising he was the messenger taking a letter from the Student Leader Min Ko Naing direct to the protesting people of Thaya-waddy Thone-ze area.
Later he was accused and blacklisted by SLORC military Government as the hijacker of a double-decker ship he used to transport bags of rice from the Delta Town of La-but-tar to Rangoon where the critical rice shortages were during the Uprising.
After March 27, 1989 Revolution Day Protest Marches he was one of the most wanted men by the MIS and he fled to the Thai Border with many other students. Preferring underground activities to the armed-rebellion he came back to Rangoon to distribute political leaflets.
He was captured by MIS Captain Htun Kyi on 17 April 1991 and jailed many years till 10 February 1997. In 1998 he fled Burma and finally ended in Malaysia and continued his political activities there. In 2009 he was granted political asylum in US.
He is now studying his favorite subject Political Science in the Michigan State University.)