Myanmar poets killed after coup

On March 4, her sister received a summons from the police to the Monywa morgue. She identified her brother’s body, Ms. Khin Sandar Win said. A bullet hole pierced his left temple. A long gash ran across his chest.

The family wondered if the gash indicated that his internal organs had been removed, a desecration increasingly seen among those killed by the military in Myanmar. But Mr. Chan Thar Swe was cremated before his relatives could find out more.

His mother now spends her days looking at photos of him, his oldest child, on Facebook. With his ashes, that’s all she has of him.

“My brother didn’t support us financially because he was a poet, but he protected us whenever we needed it,” Ms. Khin Sandar Win said.

At the funeral of Mr. Chan Thar Swe, another poet, Ko Khet Thi, recited a poem he had written for those who had been killed by the security forces, many with a single bullet in the head and some then that they weren’t even protesting.

They started to burn the poets

When the smoke from the burnt books could

No longer suffocate lungs heavy with dissent.

Weeks after the funeral, Mr. Khet Thi, a former engineer, was taken into custody and later found dead, according to his family. His corpse also had an unexplained incision in his torso, the family said.

“I am also afraid of being arrested and killed, but I will continue to fight,” said Ko Kyi Zaw Aye, another poet from Monywa who was close to the two men.


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