Four officials spoke about life in the dreaded Tatmadaw, which has turned its weapons back on civilians. “The Tatmadaw is the only world” for most soldiers one said

Capt Tun Myat Aung leaned over the hot sidewalk in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, and picked up cartridge cases. Nausea crawled into his throat. He knew the grenades meant guns had been used, real bullets aimed at real people were fired

That night, in early March, he logged on to Facebook and found that in Yangon, several civilians had been killed by soldiers from the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s military is called. They were men in uniform just like him

Days later, the captain of the 77 light infantry division, notorious for its massacre of civilians in Myanmar, from the base and was abandoned. He is now in hiding

“I love the military so much” he said But the message I want to give my fellow soldiers is, if you choose between the country and the Tatmadaw, please choose the countryâ ????

The Tatmadaw, who has a standing force of up to half a million men, is often portrayed as the robotic rank of warriors bred to kill since the fall of Myanmar’s civilian leadership last month, which sparked protests across the country According to a surveillance group, it only sharpened its wild reputation, killing more than 420 people and attacking, arresting or torturing thousands of others

On Saturday, the deadliest day since February, according to the United Nations, security forces killed more than 100 people after a coup, including seven children, including two 13-year-old boys and one 5-year-old boy

In-depth interviews with four officials, two of whom have been abandoned since the coup, paint a complex picture of an institution that has ruled Myanmar thoroughly for six decades.From the moment they enter boot camp, the Tatmadaw troops are taught that they are guardians of a country and a religion? that will collapse without her

They occupy a privileged state within a state where soldiers live, work and socialize separately from the rest of society, and adopt an ideology that places them well above the civilian population, officials stated, constantly from their superiors, in Barracks and being monitored on Facebook. A steady propaganda diet feeds them on enemies on every corner, even on the city streets

The cumulative effect is a bunker worldview where orders to kill unarmed civilians must be obeyed without question.While the soldiers say there is some dissatisfaction with the coup, they think a full breakdown of the ranks is unlikely that makes it more bloodshed likely in the coming days and months

“Most soldiers are brainwashed,” said a captain who is a graduate of the prestigious Academy of Defense Services, Myanmar’s West Point equivalent. Like two of the others who spoke to the New York Times, his name gets because of the possibility not published in retaliation He is still on active duty

“I joined the Tatmadaw to protect the country, not to fight our own people”he added I am so sad to see soldiers kill our own people”

The Tatmadaw has been on a war basis since the country gained independence in 1948, fighting communist guerrillas, ethnic uprisings, and advocates of democracy forced into the jungle after military raids within the cultic borders of the Tatmadaw, becoming the Buddhist ethnic majority the Bamar is glorified at the expense of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities who have faced decades of military repression

The Enemy Can Be Inside, Too A target of the Tatmadaw’s wrath is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader who was deposed and imprisoned in last month’s coup. Your father, Gen. Aung San founded the Tatmadaw

Today the enemies of the Tatmadaw are again at home and not abroad: the millions of people who took to the streets for anti-coup rallies or took part in strikes

On Saturday, Armed Forces Day, Senior Gen was Min Aung Hlaing, the commander in chief and instigator of the coup, gave a speech in which he promised to protect the people from all dangers a ???? As tanks and soldiers parade down the wide avenues of Naypyidaw, the bunker-filled capital of a former junta, security forces shot and killed protesters and bystanders alike, in which more than 40 cities experienced violence

“They see protesters as criminals because if someone disobeys the military or protests, they are criminals” Captain Tun Myat Aung said Most soldiers have never tasted democracy for a lifetime. They still live in the darkâ ????

Although the Tatmadaw shared some power with an elected government in the five years leading up to the coup, it kept the country under control.It has its own conglomerates, banks, hospitals, schools, insurance agencies, stock options, cellular networks and vegetable farms

The military runs television stations, publishers and a film industry with exciting offers such as “Happy Land of Heroes” and â ???? One love, one hundred wars one ???? There are tatmadaw dance troupes, traditional music ensembles, and counselors admonishing women to dress modestly

The vast majority of officers and their families live on military grounds, with every movement being monitored. Since the coup, most of them have not been able to leave these complexes for more than 15 minutes without permission

“I would call this situation modern slavery,” said one officer who deserted after the coup. We must follow every instruction from our seniors. We cannot question whether it was fair or unjustâ ????

officers ???? Children often marry other officers ???? Children, or the descendants of tycoons who have benefited from their military connections, foot soldiers often breed the next generation of infantrymen. The State Board ecosystem, as the junta who seized power last month calls itself, is a tangle of interconnected pedigrees / p>

Even during the five years of political opening, a quarter of the seats in parliament were reserved for men in green. They did not mingle with other legislatures or voted as anything but a bloc. The main ministries remained in military hands

“I am glad to be a servant of the people, but to be in the military is to be a servant of the leaders of the Tatmadaw”said a military doctor in Yangon I want to quit, but I can’t. If I do, they will send me to jail. If I run away, they will torture my family members”

The Tatmadaw’s cloister might explain why their leadership underestimated the intensity of opposition to the coup officers trained in psychological warfare regularly propose conspiracy theories about democracy in Facebook groups preferred by soldiers, according to Social -Media experts and one of the officers who spoke to The Times

In this paranoid world, the knock that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, extradited to the military’s proxy in last November’s elections, has been easily portrayed as electoral fraud

A Muslim cabal funded by oil-rich sheikhs is accused of attempting to destroy the Buddhist beliefs of the majority of Myanmar. Influential monks, who include army generals among those who pray at their feet, preach the Tatmadaw and the Buddhist monks must unite to fight Islam

In fact, a predatory west could conquer Myanmar at any moment The fear of invasion is believed to be one reason why the military moved the capital from Yangon near the coast to the inland plains of Naypyidaw at the beginning of this century

“Now soldiers are killing people with the mindset that they are protecting their nation from foreign intervention,” said the captain on active duty. His brigade is one of those deployed in a city to violently subdue an angry population. p>

The feared invasion is not necessarily with the plane or the sea, but with the “black hand” Foreign Influence George Soros, the American philanthropist and democracy advocate, is accused in Tatmadaw circles of trying to undermine the country with heaps of money for activists and politicians. were funded from abroad

Captain Tun Myat Aung said that while he was in his freshman year at the Defense Services Academy, he was shown a film depicting democracy activists as frenzied animals that soldiers cut off in 1988 Heads In truth, thousands of demonstrators and others were killed by the Tatmadaw that year

One of Captain Tun Myat Aung’s men was recently hit in the eye by a projectile from a demonstrator’s sling, but the captain admitted the losses were remarkably lopsided in the other direction

Tatmadaw Facebook feeds may show soldiers besieged by violent protesters armed with homemade fire bombs, but it is the security forces who attacked medics, killed children and forced bystanders to crawl in deference

According to soldiers speaking with The Times, a break in mobile data access for the past two weeks was aimed both at isolating troops who were beginning to question their orders and at the wider population cut off

Shortly after the coup, some soldiers on Facebook expressed their solidarity with the protesters The military is losing Don’t give up, folks? A captain who is now in hiding wrote on his Facebook feed The truth will win in the endâ ????

The Tatmadaw’s island situation serves a different purpose For decades, the military has been fighting on multiple fronts against multiple enemies, mainly ethnic armed groups, demanding autonomy.A close esprit de corps is required to keep desertions low and loyalty high

Accident rates are not published in Myanmar as they are a state secret, but leaked documents viewed by The Times, such as a list of fallen soldiers in the western state of Rakhine several years ago, indicate that every year at least hundreds of Soldiers die

The captain on active duty said it was customary for unmarried soldiers to draw lots to marry the widow of someone who died in combat. The woman, he said, had no choice of who her new husband would be

“Most soldiers have been separated from the world, and for them the Tatmadaw is the only world,” he said

Ethnic minorities, who make up roughly one-third of the population of Myanmar, live in fear of the Tatmadaw charged by United Nations investigators with genocide, including mass rape and executions, but such campaigns were most famously unleashed against Rohingya Muslims they were also directed against other ethnic groups such as the Karen, the Kachin and the Rakhine

As the 77 As a member of another ethnic minority, the Chin, understood their fear of the Bamar majority

, Captain Tun Myat Aung said he could sense the disgust of people of different ethnic groups

Although he says he shot only to wound, not to kill, Captain Tun Myat Aung spent eight years at the frontline. He said he had developed a relationship with only one group of ethnic minority villagers during that time he

But the Tatmadaw saved him too His mother died when he was 10 His father drank He was sent to an ethnic minority boarding school where he excelled at Defense Services Academy where he studied physics and English

“The military became my family” he said I was automatically happy when I saw my soldier’s uniformâ ????

On Feb. 1, at dawn from Yangon, Captain Tun Myat Aung half asleep climbed onto a military truck and buckled his helmet on. He didn’t know what was going on until a fellow soldier whispered about a coup

Days later he saw his major holding a box of bullets in his hand real, no gum He cried that night


World news – FI – In Myanmar’s army: “They see demonstrators as criminals”