In early March the Myanmar junta revoked licenses allowing independent media. Since then, many journalists face persecution and economic challenges. More than 70 have been arrested and in recent weeks, dozens of arrest warrants have been issued.
In the past months, Young ethnic Bamar protestors have felt what it meant to be on the receiving end of the Tatmadaw’s cruelty. A remarkable shift has taken place in their attitudes towards other ethnicities in the country. Generation Z protestors are demanding a Federal system in which all the ethnicities are represented and change of the 2008 constitution.
There has been an outpouring of support and public apologies for not speaking out when the Rohingya were targeted. Three weeks into the coup the activist and Twitter user Aung Kyaw Paing tweeted: “Recent events has (sic) opened up my knowledge more than ever. I’m starting to understand the fact that my silence during that time made me complicit in the genocide of Rohingya. I understand it’s past due time but I’m truly sorry that I was silent at that time.”
“Since the coup, calls are growing for the international justice system to hold the Tatmadaw accountable for its current and past actions. “We were all brainwashed since we were very young,” Yin Yin said. “The military did countless dirty acts and cruel things in the past 70 years. The [non-Bamar] ethnic groups have fought and faced it, and now we are all facing it.”
The protests and disruption caused by the coup are starting to take a heavy toll on the people of Myanmar. On top of that come the hardships caused by COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of factory workers lost their jobs, their income and the ability to regularly feed their families. The UN World Food Program warned that hunger is spreading.
To know more about what’s happening in Myanmar, here’s an interesting and complete podcast by the journalist Oliver Slow for ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights’ podcast channel. The series ADVOCATE, discusses the most important human rights developments across Southeast Asia and focuses on Myanmar with Oliver, a journalist expert of the Region, former Chief-of-Staff in Frontier magazine, one of only two English language news weeklies in Myanmar. Listen to ‘Advocate by ASEAN‘ on Spotify:
Or one of these other sources:
The peaceful protests against the military coup on February 1st began in an optimistic, yet determined atmosphere. But the brutal reaction of the security forces sent the country into a spiral of violence directed at unarmed civilians. The people struggle to regain their democratic and human rights, and we wanted to give the public a chance to express support and donate. The Messages4Myanmar campaign lets the Myanmar people know they are not alone in their struggle.