Photo Essay by JPaing at MPA
Maung Saungkha, 31, was born in Kyaukpadaung, Mandalay Region. Due to his upbringing in Central Burma, he is unable to pronounce certain letters properly in the Burmese language. Maung Saungkha is a poet, human rights activist, and the leader of the Burma People’s Liberation Army (BPLA), an armed group founded in 2021 following the brutal crackdown on anti-coup protests.
Maung Saungkha said the BPLA will resist any form of military dictatorship. Its goals are to pursue a federal democratic union under a new constitution that would guarantee freedom, justice, equality, and human rights. “We can’t call ourselves revolutionaries just because we’re living in the jungle. Our goals will not be accomplished without sacrificing our own personal freedoms and desires in order to fight for the freedom and security of all people. That’s why during our military training we had to constantly think about how we revolutionize our minds in order to defeat the enemy,” he said.
Maung Saungkha added that a Jan. 1, 2023 graduation ceremony for new recruits from different ethnic nationalities across Burma into armed units like the BPLA, the People’s Defense Forces (PDF), and Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs) is the biggest achievement for the Spring Revolution. The poet-turned-revolutionary is convinced that this alliance will defeat Burma’s dictatorship and return the country to democracy.