Fighting to govern Myanmar, from a small office in Washington | ET REALITY


When he was social welfare minister in the ousted government, Dr Win Myat Aye had a staff of 6,000 and a posh office. These days, he’s often on the move: sheltering in safe houses in Myanmar’s border areas and eating boring pan-Asian takeout in Washington.

“I feel more and more enthusiastic about the moral position of the right side,” he said.

Most days in Washington, Moe Zaw Oo, the deputy foreign minister, works from an oval table in the middle of a small workspace. Mrs. Aye Chan Mon sits at a small desk next to her, arranging her agenda and fighting the printer, who, like printers everywhere, needs convincing to do her job. She checks Facebook to see friends in the jungle fighting for democracy, as part of a loose coalition even more loosely affiliated with the NUG.

“We had dreams,” he said. “They were crushed.”

In some parts of Myanmar that are successfully resisting army rule – and those areas are growing with recent advances on the battlefield – the NUG is providing health and education services, complementing what ethnic armed groups have done for years. . Funding comes from housewives in Bangkok, sushi sous-chefs in New York and tech entrepreneurs in Singapore, among others.

Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, NUG’s health and education minister, oversees schools and clinics, some camouflaged with foliage to avoid airstrikes. Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, once an orthopedic surgeon to Myanmar’s top generals, now provides telemedicine to NUG fighters in the forest, squinting at the screen to examine war wounds.

“I was very rich,” he said. “Now I know, we have to try something new. We need a federal democracy. Otherwise, we will not be able to live together.”

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