Within hours, she became the symbol of the resistance of Burmese youth against the murderous army. Kyal Sin, 19, was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “Everything is all right” when she was shot in the head by deadly security forces at a pro-democracy rally Wednesday in Mandalay, central Burma.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on Thursday, March 4, on the Burmese army to stop “killing and imprisoning protesters.
At least 38 demonstrators were killed in the country on Wednesday, the deadliest day of repression since the February 1 coup. In images taken shortly before his death and posted on the Internet, Kyal Sin is seen lying half-length behind a makeshift barricade. Then she crawls and runs for cover, while detonations resound in the middle of clouds of tear gas.
When her death was announced, the slogan on her T-shirt went viral on social networks, where messages poured in: “You’re our heroine”, “You’re already shining in the stars”, “We’ll continue the fight to the end”.
“There will be no forgiveness”.
In a country accustomed to bloody repression by the army as in 1988 and 2007, the young dance and martial arts adept, nicknamed “Angel”, was not unaware of the risks. A few days before her death, she had taken the lead on her Facebook page, communicating her blood type and giving her consent for an organ donation in case something happened to her.
“Ange” voted for the first time on November 8 in the legislative elections, which were won overwhelmingly by the National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi’s party.
Proudly, she posted a picture on Facebook that day of kissing her purple-stained finger to show that she had gone to the polls. “I did my duty as a citizen. (…) I voted with my heart,” she wrote.
Less than three months later, the junta, alleging irregularities in the election, overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi. Kyal Sin quickly joined the civil disobedience movement, appearing on social networks with red flags in the colors of the NLD and saluting with three fingers as a sign of resistance.
The teenager has always lived in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, where her parents run a beauty salon. “Their business was going well, she could have lived quietly, but she was very angry, she wanted to bring down Min Aung Hlain,” the junta leader, explains Linlae Waddy, her childhood friend.
Thousands of people attended her funeral in Mandalay on Thursday. “There will be no forgiveness for you until the end of the world,” sang the congregation, gathered in front of her coffin surrounded by flowers, while young people promised to “fight against the dictatorship until the end.
At least 54 people have been killed and more than 1,700 arrested since the February 1 coup d’état. The actual number of deaths, however, could be much higher. Among the victims were four minors, including a 14-year-old teenager.