Burmese soldier turned promoter of democracy. Myo Myint, part one

Myo Myint in Umpiem Mai refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, June 2008. © Nic Dunlop. All rights reserved.

It is time to begin telling the story of a Burmese political refugee who has become a friend of mine since we were first introduced nine months ago. Myo Myint’s story is an amazing and inspiring and horrific tale. I will bring his life’s many facets to you in installments in the coming months.

If this whole endeavor I’ve named Yearning to Breathe Free should end prematurely and never result in a fully produced exhibition and/or documentary, at least I have met Myo Myint. We share the same middle-age decade, possess similar body types — except he’s missing some of his, and we share a love of literature. Oh, and we both like beer.

And that’s about where our similarities end. Our life experiences are vastly different. So different that it’s almost laughable . . . but for the fact that his tales make you want to cry. And herein lies the poignancy of our having met and become friends — a Westerner born into a democratic, free land and an Asian born into a one-party-ruled, brutal land — now both living in the middle of America.

A benefit, I think, to the United States of America opening her arms to offer refuge to those needing a new home is a rich worldly awareness that refugees bring into the lives of all of us.

So. Where to begin telling you about Myo Myint? For nearly five years now, a soft spoken, courageous Irish-born photojournalist and author, Nic Dunlop, has worked to share Myo Myint’s story in a documentary film. The movie is nearly finished and will soon air on HBO. I’ll post its air date here when it is known.

As an introduction to Myo Myint and my own storytelling of his life, I am posting the movie trailer here. Thanks to Nic’s kindness and permission, I will be illustrating Myo Myint’s considerable tale on this blog with Nic’s photographic images, as well as with my own photos, video, and scans of the few articles Myo Myint was able to conceal as he smuggled himself out of Burma and the torment of hell . . . .

Burma Soldier feature documentary, directed by Nic Dunlop, Annie Sundberg, and Ricki Stern.

A LeBrocquy Fraser / Break Thru Films production.

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10 Responses to “Burmese soldier turned promoter of democracy. Myo Myint, part one”

  1. Amber Fiess Says:

    I was at the screening tonight and was really touched and amazed by your story. Thank you for sharing that wiht me and allowing me to learn more aobut your people. I am an ELL Assistant at Shawnee Middle School and am privledge to have meet soem very bright and lovely Burmese/Karen young men. So gratful for the experience.
    Welcome to Fort Wayne!

  2. i watch dvb tv about yr story very sad,im christian ,not that God not love u
    God show u as a sample how muuch u suffer so all in this world came to know how myamar govement treaat myamar people,u are the best man.

  3. Please check out BUrma Soldier on facebook for news

  4. Ngwe Shein Says:

    Dear Myo Myint,
    The documentary footage has sent me into shock what has happened to your life, ranging from being a soldier through your settlement in the United States. Throughout this video footage, your life has changed, especially your language. I think, at least, you can speak English properly. As far as what I could learn from your shot is some citations such as “If I had been a fallen soldier, I would have been unable to do as much for my country.” What a worst case scenario is Burmese Army goes at large – raping a forced-labor girl and eventually shooting her to death.

  5. Came across the story and watched it, very interesting and touching story glad he made it away from Burma, nice looking man.

  6. I watched this documentary on HBO and I must say, WAWWW … what a life you been through! your story made me cry, esp. for those who didn’t make it and the ones still suffering today. You are a strong man and one day you will be remembered when all these madness come to an end.
    They can take your limbs away but not your brain …

    Welcome to America!!

  7. Hello Mr. Myint,
    I would very much like to meet you as I travel back to Ft. Wayne Indiana for my first visit starting this Thurs thru next Tues. I loved your film and for me it was very personal. I work with refugees all over the world (Cameroon, Guatemala, Palistine, Viet Nam etc) and ironically my grandmother was born in Burma in 1894 when her parents were missionaries. Most of her siblings died of typhoid and she was sent back to Ohio to live in an orphanage and went to Dennison college. I have something I want to show you that is over 100 years old. If you can call email me at bevblas@yahoo.com, I will give you my number so we may go to lunch. I was so inspired by the film. I am dealing with my own tradegy from the loss of my son in March and I know that if I meet you, I will sense I will have some hope. Your film gave me that indeed. I will be in Osh Kosh for the first time and my schedule is open.
    thank you, I hope you are still in Fr. Wayne.

  8. Sorry, the computer is playing tricks on me….I just wanted to end to say thank you for such an inspirational film and what I need most of all…HOPE.

    You are the connection to my dear Grandmother Marie Tilbe.

    Peace and Kindness,

    Beverly Marie Blashill Jutry

  9. Jon Bailey Says:

    To Myo Myint and the makers of the documentary: God bless you! I was moved to tears. Tyranny and torture always make me cry. Burma has suffered so much. Your sacrifices will touch the world and reverberate across time. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the peacemakers.

    When I need courage, I’ll think of the political prisoners of Burma. You are the most honorable people on earth.

    Yours in Christ,

    Jon Bailey
    Minneapolis, MN

  10. Al Brown Says:

    and the struggle continues but progress towards democracy is being made

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