Myanmar beauty queen takes up arms against junta

Published May 13, 2021
This handout photo from the Miss Grand International beauty pageant, taken in Aug 2013 and released on Wednesday, shows Myanmar contestant Htar Htet Htet waving during the competition in Bangkok.—AFP
This handout photo from the Miss Grand International beauty pageant, taken in Aug 2013 and released on Wednesday, shows Myanmar contestant Htar Htet Htet waving during the competition in Bangkok.—AFP

YANGON: A former Myanmar beauty queen has joined ethnic rebels to take up arms against the country’s military junta, posting photos of herself with an assault rifle.

Myanmar has been in chaos and its economy paralysed since the military seized power on Feb 1, ousting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Htar Htet Htet represented Myanmar in the first Miss Grand International beauty pageant in Thailand in 2013, competing against 60 contenders in swimsuit and national costume rounds.

Fast forward eight years and glitz and glamour is a far cry from the jungle of Myanmar’s border regions controlled by ethnic armed groups.

The 32-year-old gymnastics instructor posted a picture to her Facebook page this week dressed in black combat fatigues and carrying an assault rifle. “The time has come to fight back,” she wrote on Facebook.

“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.” Tuesday marked 100 days since the putsch but the deadly violence did not deter crowds in Yangon taking to the streets demanding a return to democracy.

“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,” Htar Htet Htet wrote from an unknown border territory.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021

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