A Year After the Failed Coup, the Myanmar People’s Opposition to Military Rule Remains Resolute

By The Irrawaddy 1 February 2022

One year after overthrowing Myanmar’s elected government, the military regime is in deep crisis, unable to consolidate power or contain an armed insurrection against its rule.

Day by day the junta, known as the State Administration Council, is losing what control it had. Myanmar is descending into civil war, with the self-appointed rebel leaders of the People’s Defense Forces waging guerrilla-style warfare throughout the country. Despite brutal crackdowns, protests continue in many places and the Myanmar people continue to defy the murderous regime in a variety of ways.

To counter the sustained resistance, the military continues to detain and torture citizens on a wide scale, while torching entire villages and conducting indiscriminate airstrikes. As a result, Myanmar can expect more instability and further devastating humanitarian consequences, including worsening refugee and displaced persons crises, as violence escalates across the country.

The economy is in freefall and public services have collapsed. Thousands of teachers, doctors and nurses have joined the Civil Disobedience Movement, refusing to work for the junta. Under the military, millions of people have lost their jobs and livelihoods as COVID and the coup have dealt a devastating double blow to the economy of Myanmar, already one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.

A lack of international action has only encouraged the regime leaders to continue to commit crimes against their own people, while the junta’s defenders and apologists have helped to dilute international condemnation. In the face of this, the Myanmar people have said enough is enough.

The Western democracies and the UN outsourced mediation of the crisis to regional bloc ASEAN, whose members hammered out a “five-point consensus” last April and appointed a special envoy, who was supposed to visit and talk with representatives of the opposing sides to broker a dialogue, but these efforts have gone nowhere. China, Myanmar’s giant neighbor with economic and geopolitical interests in the country, is seen by Myanmar’s people as sticking by the regime and untrustworthy. India has no leverage. Japan is seen as too soft on the brutal military regime and not a supporter of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar.

Having come to the conclusion that they are on their own, Myanmar’s people have taken their destiny into their own hands, not least by launching an armed resistance against the regime.

This is not just a pro-democracy movement: The people are determined that the era of recurring dictatorial regimes must end once and for all; they know that each day under a military junta is a day in hell.

The people have refused to allow themselves to once again become slaves of the military, and will never give up.

They know that time is on their side. They—not the illegitimate coup makers—are the true masters of the country. They know that while the military may be in power today, the day will come when the generals who illegally seized power will be gone. They know that tomorrow belongs to the people.

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