Since the coup that the military perpetrated in Myanmar (formerly Burma) on February 1 against the Government of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Sasa assiduously changes residence to avoid being found. Become the international mouthpiece of the self-proclaimed underground civilian government, made up of members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Salai Maung Taing San has put medicine aside in his native Chin (Western Burmese state). ) to turn to the "salvation" of their country. “Atrocities are being committed that should not be allowed, in the eyes of all. The world has the power to prevent a new genocide, but it is not doing so ”, he vehemently denounces in an interview with EL PAÍS.
Hidden in his current refuge, where he hopes to evade the search of the military, who accuse him of treason – a crime that can carry the death penalty in ancient Burma – Dr. Sasa, as he calls himself, is visibly tired. “A full-blown civil war awaits if the military is not stopped. And the war could escalate into genocide. These generals have so many weapons that they won't stop until they use them all. The world has two options: either avoid it or allow it to happen ”, he warns in a video call without hiding his fatigue and disappointment. An understandable exhaustion: when the generals struck in the capital, Naypyidó, the doctor was there to inaugurate the new parliament as a deputy of what would have been the second term of Suu Kyi – leader de facto the country since 2015 – but had to flee. And since then he has not stopped doing it.
Sasa, who won a seat for his successful campaign in Chin, posed as a taxi driver to elude the military while they detained Suu Kyi, State Councilor; President Win Myint and dozens of colleagues. With the NLD decimated, he did not hesitate to step up and take care of the diplomatic relations of the Committee for the Representation of the Parliamentary Union (CPRH, for its acronym in English), as they have designated what he calls "the only legitimate Government of Myanmar ”. "We won the elections," he alleges. Sasa, a member of the Mara ethnic group and a Christian, carries out his mission as ambassador with the same passion that led him to found the first medical center in his region in 2007 after graduating as a doctor in Armenia. And his criticisms and messages are directed mainly at two countries: China and Russia.
“A call from Beijing and Moscow could stop all this. It is very easy for them to do it and stop the bloodbath ”, he assures convinced. The doctor denounces that a large part of the Tatmadaw arsenal, as the Burmese Armed Forces are called, comes from China and Russia, its main suppliers of weapons between 2010 and 2020, according to the International Institute for Peace Research in Stockholm. The Army reportedly used SU-30 fighters from Russia to carry out aerial bombardments in the state of Karen (in the southeast of the country), where ethnic guerrillas operate. More than 600 people, including dozens of children, have been killed by Burmese security forces since the coup, which is facing strong opposition across the country – in the form of mass protests and strikes – according to the Association for the Protection of Political Prisoners.
Sanctions to generals
Both China, Myanmar's main trading partner, and Russia are permanent members of the UN Security Council and averse to imposing sanctions on generals. "The access of the military to the international financial system and the arms trade must be stopped, it is the only way," he reiterates. The role of Beijing – practically the only ally of the previous Burmese Military Junta (1962-2011) – in the current situation has been highly questioned by pro-democracy protesters, although China has denied any interference and its Embassy in Myanmar would have been in contact for the first time with the CPRH this week to seek solutions, according to the local media The irrawaddy. "We spoke with all parties and we transmitted the same to all of them: respect democracy and the will of the Burmese people," emphasizes Sasa, without confirming or denying the talks with Beijing.
It sends that message to Western countries as well, especially after the British Foreign Office announced on Thursday that it accepts the decision of the Burmese military regime to end the mandate of the ambassador until then in London, Kyaw Zwar Minn. The Burmese diplomat had to spend Wednesday night in his car after the military attaché denied him entry into the legation and informed him that he was no longer the representative. “It is unacceptable for any country to accept ambassadors proposed by the generals. They are the murderers and enemies of the Burmese people ”, condemns the doctor.
The head of CPRH diplomacy accumulates titanic tasks. On the one hand, it persuades the international community to be recognized as the legitimate Burmese voice and strives to demonstrate the violations perpetrated by the Tatmadaw – its legal team presented 180,000 evidence of the abuses committed since the riot this week to the UN, and on the other it helps to increase domestic support. With Suu Kyi under arrest – "we do not know how she is doing, only that her lawyer was able to see her on video," she says – the mission is to attract other political parties, civil organizations and organizations to her project to create a federal government and army. ethnic guerrillas. At least ten of these insurgent groups have already shown their support for the civil disobedience movement.
A member of the Mara minority – divided mainly between Chin and the Indian state of Mizoram – and Christian, Sasa has denounced in the past the flight to Bangladesh in 2017 of more than 730,000 Muslim Rohingya from the western state of Rakhine, as a result of a campaign military that the UN investigates for constituting a possible genocide. "Our plan is for the Kachin State, and any other, to be ruled by Kachin people and have the right to self-determination," he says, moving away from the concept of Myanmar as fundamentally Buddhist and bamarcentric (The majority ethnic group in the country, with a total of 135 recognized, including the Rohingya) "We want to build the Federal Democratic Union of Myanmar, and reform the system hijacked by the military," adds the doctor, now a politician, with biographies of Aung San Suu Kyi, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela peeking out of the shelf that decorates their forced hideout.