What’s Happening in Myanmar? Explained
Myanmar, a country whose democratic process has long been overshadowed by the country’s military known as Tatmadaw (Burmese: တပ်မတော်) was once again disrupted by a successful military coup that took place on 1st Feb 2021, in the early hours of Monday before the first parliamentary session of the newly elected government in November elections. These elections were won by Noble Peace Prize Winner, Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party namely “ National League for Democracy” (NLD) which was the ruling party of the country since 2020 and was seen as a symbol of the revival of democracy in the country. Several political leaders of the country most importantly Aung San Suu Kyi, a person who once defended the same military in the International Court of Justice against possible genocide charges are now detained by the same military.
Justification of Coup
Tatmadaw’s Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing in his statement given to a military-run television gave a statement calling this coup a response to the fraudulent elections that transferred the power to NLD, increasing its parliamentary majority and on the other hand, NLD’S party responded by urging people to protest against this act of military as it’s gonna hinder the long struggle for democracy and freedom.
Blockage of Social media
Following the coup, the military has now blocked all the social media platforms in the country including Facebook in an attempt to stop the possible incoming civil disobedience campaign in the country and announced this blockage till 7th Feb. The military justified this act by calling it an attempt to stop the misinformation and fake news that were causing panic among the people.
Charges on Aung San Suu Kyi, The Country’s last savior
The country’s most loved and popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi, after a two days detention, was charged on Wednesday with the possession of illegally imported communication devices that can lead to a 2-year imprisonment sentence
The reaction of the International Community
In response to this coup staged by the military, Myanmar is now facing a backlash from the international community and media. The newly elected President of America, Joe Biden has threatened the country to face sanctions in response to this act.
Why is the Myanmar military so much powerful?
After getting Independence from the British, Myanmar’s military was the only organized and strongest institution in the country lead by General Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Kyi. Military enjoyed unchecked freedom in the state due to strong public support. After a short-lived period of democracy, as a result of the successful military coup took over the country the country in 1962, banned all the opposition parties, and introduced the policy of Nationalism and the “Burmese way of socialism” that affected the country’s economy devastatingly and the country faced and isolation from the international community. In 1988 a group of students started a series of protests in favor of democratic and economic reforms which was handled in a very brutal way leading to 5000 civilians killed.
National League for Democracy:
The same year Aung San Suu Kyi founded the “ National League for democracy” and started pressurizing the Tatmadaw that took over the country by a successfully staged coup to held elections. Tatmadaw refused to pay any heed to this, they put Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for nearly 15 years.
After that in 2008, Tatmadaw the only ruling power of the country self-drafted the constitution and held a referendum without allowing any opposing parties to participate. This constitution preserved the 25% seat for the military in both Local Parliament through which they can control the country by staying behind the curtains.
Dependence upon China:
Under this constitution, NLD formed the government with a power shared between both government and military. She heavily relied on China for diplomatic support in the United Nations. and this increases doubts in the lines of Tatmadaw that why is China funding for investments for their country and they saw it as an attack on the sovereignty of the state. Just a few weeks before the coup, a meeting held between General Min Hlaing and the Chinese Foreign Minister that has led people to think about whether Beijing was given notice of the coup attempt or not. Now all the signs of coming democracy in the country have totally been lost and the people are looking for international help to take them out of this military rule.