Myanmar: What Now?

Mar 4, 2021 | Conflict, Myanmar, Ramos-Horta

Originally published in Wall Street International Magazine (link below)

On 3rd March 2021, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the message “everything will be okay”, 19 year old dancer Ma Kyal Sin participated in a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Mandalay. The teenager was shot dead by a military sniper.

She is the powerful symbol of the youth fighting and dying to restore democracy in Myanmar.

I call on Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg to rise up and mobilize the youth of the world for Ma Kyal Sin, for the people of Myanmar.

The Myanmar military believe they are the only guarantors of the country’s territorial integrity. In truth it is a vast, armed to the teeth conglomerate, notorious for pillaging, rape and massacres of civilians, a thuggish and incredibly incompetent military leadership too involved in openly illegal businesses to have time to actually develop a professional force of disciplined soldiers, let alone being capable of jumpstarting the economy and improving the lives of the impoverished people.

During the decades of military fake socialism, the military thugs managed to turn a once world’s biggest rice producer into Southeast Asia’s poorest country while Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Lao, Vietnam and the Philippines registered dramatic improvements.

Threats to Myanmar’s territorial integrity do not come from outside its border, even as its strategic location and vast resources are a magnet for regional powers. Apart from World War II, major wars involving Burmese forces and those of the Kingdom of Siam and China are centuries old now, dating back in the 1770s.

The only wars the Myanmar military have ever fought since independence from the British in 1948 were against their own people, including the numerous armed insurgents of the excluded nationalities. These, at one point numbering as many as 100,000, were never a unified group. Some sought political and economic devolution, while others were and are unscrupulously engaged in illicit money-making activities, also looting their own country. But they all have as common enemy, the military that has ruled them since independence, abysmally failing to unify the ethnic mosaic that is Myanmar.

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