Former Myanmar Beauty Queen Takes Up Arms Against Military Junta

The beauty queen could be the junta's most feared enemy yet.

The 33-year-old Htar Htet Htet represented Myanmar at the Miss Grand International beauty pageant in 2013. Now, she is a rebel fighter wielding an assault rifle and rallying her people to topple down the military junta that forcefully took over the government in February. 

Quoting Argentine revolutionary icon Che Guevara, Htet posted photos of herself on Twitter as she posed in the jungles of Myanmar. 

“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall,” she wrote. 

Photo by Htar Htet Htet | Twitter.

Photo by Htar Htet Htet | Twitter.

On her Facebook account, she also posted similar lines in an apparent call to arms. 

“The time has come to fight back. Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed,” Htet wrote.

Htet has joined the ranks of Myanmar’s ethnic freedom fighters, whom the junta has been bent on eradicating ever since it took power. It has been bombing ethnic strongholds in the countryside using Russian MiG-29 fighters, displacing tens of thousands of civilians.

More: Myanmar Deploys Russian Jets to Bomb Ethnic Rebels

The junta’s heavy-handed approach that threatens to decimate the ethnic group is largely seen as a warning to the rest of Myanmar. The brutal campaign seeks to break civil unrest and protests, which had been rampant across major cities after the military forcefully took over the government on February 1. Myanmar’s military toppled Aung San Suu Kyi after she won a landslide election victory under the party National League for Democracy.

Htet is believed to be among the ethnic freedom fighters taking a last stand on the country’s border. 

“I will fight back as much as I can. I am ready and prepared to give up everything. I am even ready to pay with my life,” she wrote from the secret location. 

A fatality list of civilian victims was published on April 11, describing every victim’s name, parents, age, sex, hometown, place of death, and cause of death.

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It has been more than 100 days since the junta wrested power from the civilian government. Although the unofficial death toll is pegged at over 780, hundreds more are reported missing and are feared dead, according to the Human Rights Watch. It is the military’s way of dissuading citizens from participating in protests and rebellions. 

But as the bombs fall and the deaths increase, Burmese outrage for the military does not seem to be abating, and a beauty queen rallying her people to arms sends a message more powerful than all the bombs that will ever be dropped on Myanmar.

Photo by Htar Htet Htet | Twitter.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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