Silent Strike: A Quiet Display of Power From Myanmar’s People
By Naing Khit 10 December 2021
There is no person or thing with the power to silence an entire nation—or so we thought. In fact, in a true display of the power of the people, the citizens of Myanmar have shown they have this ability.
Today, Dec. 10, 2021, the whole country, from big cities like Yangon and Mandalay to small towns and villages in remote areas, was transformed into a “ghost” nation from the early morning hours.
Usually, Friday is one of the busiest days of the week for public offices, companies and banks.
But today was no ordinary Friday. Myanmar and its population of 55 million people went into a kind of political “hibernation” under their own roofs for almost the whole day. And their decision to do so was indeed political, because their sole objective was to demonstrate their rejection of military rule.
It has been truly amazing to witness the unity and strength shown by the Myanmar people in fighting against the military dictatorship in the face of the inhumane crackdowns imposed by coup maker Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s forces over the past 10 months.
Since the Feb. 1 coup, the people have demonstrated courage and creativity in countless acts of resistance against this ruthless regime. They have utilized the power of silence, the power of noise (by banging on pots and pans), the power of street protests, the power of mass movements, the power of civil disobedience and the power of guerilla warfare. Prior to these, they had already demonstrated the power of the vote a few months before the coup, when they had their last chance to cast ballots, in the general election of November 2020.
Their only motive in exercising these powers is to reject military rule and end the military’s role in politics, which took root over the past five decades. They will continue to do so as long as the military exerts its illegitimate grip on power in defiance of the people’s will.
All of the above-mentioned methods of resistance have been used by people from all walks of life and all generations.
But the ruling generals have their own, very different powers: the power to steal people’s votes, the power to kill innocent citizens, the power to ram army trucks into peaceful protesters, the power to arrest people arbitrarily, the power that comes from lying, the power of the shameless, the power to turn a blind eye to all truths, the power of cunning, the power to defy the people’s will and, in essence, the power of evil.
As military chief and coup leader, Min Aung Hlaing bears ultimate responsibility for all of these dark powers and all the cruelties they have wrought. He is the epitome of evil in its many forms; it is manifested in his regime, wherever his forces exercise their power in ruling the country.
But the power conveyed in today’s “silent strike” must have sent a chill through Min Aung Hlaing and his generals, for all their ruthlessness.
This is an all-out battle between the power of the people and the power of evil. In other words, between right and wrong.
We’ll see which power is greater in the end.
Naing Khit is a commentator on political affairs.
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