It was a somber evening in the Mystical dorm room. The Gifted Four were sitting quietly and working on their homework.
It didn’t take long for Scorch to be distracted. She remarked sadly, “Hasn’t it been a year of coups and takeovers?”
A coup is a sudden, violent seizure of power; it is pronounced as ‘koo’.
Verum, Orak, and Felix looked up from their books with wide eyes. They understood just what Scorch was talking about. From the recent 25th October coup in Sudan to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban on 15th August, it has been a year of changing politics.
Right when the Mysticals were deep in thought, Verum’s crystal ball brought back news from Myanmar. Verum’s hand made a loud ‘thwack!’ as she placed it on her thigh. She said, “How could we forget Myanmar?”
On 1st February 2021, the Myanmar military led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing orchestrated a coup. This coup removed the democratically elected government from power. The military claimed the November 2020 elections had been fraudulent. The leaders of the elected government were detained. In the country-wide protests that followed, at least 1,265 people lost their lives while over 10,000 have been detained by the government.
Verum added, “These people include journalists too! My crystal ball has brought the news of Danny Fenster, a journalist from the United States (US). He was the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, a local English-language news site.”
“When and why was he arrested?” said Scorch.
“Fenster was arrested on 24th May 2021 at the Yangon International Airport. He was taking a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from where he was to board a flight to the US,” said Verum, “But the authorities arrested him as they suspected him of working for Myanmar Now. Myanmar Now is one of the five independent media organizations banned by the military government. However, he resigned from Myanmar Now in July 2020.”
“What happened next?” said Orak.
“Last week, a military court sentenced Fenster to 11 years in jail for breaching immigration law, unlawful association, and encouraging dissent against the military,” said Verum, “But help came in the form of Bill Richardson, former US ambassador to the United Nations. Richardson is also a hostage negotiator. With his help, Fenster was pardoned on humanitarian grounds and allowed to return to the US.”
“But what about all the journalists still imprisoned in Myanmar?” said Felix, sadly.