by Jahari Henry, Staff Writer
The following story was written by a student on the staff of The Jaguar Times as part of Hilliard Bradley High School’s Journalism Production course.
While we enjoy a government of, by, and for the people here in the United States of America, our democratic government is the exception and not the rule around the world. This has never been more apparent than in the country of Myanmar. Located in Southeast Asia the country borders Bangladesh, China, India, Loas, and Thailand. Throughout its history (Myanmar formerly known as Burma) has experienced colonial occupation from the British, military occupation from the Japanese, and Military Dictatorship from 1962-2011. In 2011 the military government was dissolved and partial control and democracy were granted to the people of Myanmar. In 2015 the country had its first legitimate elections in years with the pro democracy party National League for Democracy taking power. In 2020 the country would have its second legitimate elections when the people of Myanmar reelected the NLD this time to a larger margin than before. For the first time in years things seemed to be looking upwards for the political stability of Myanmar. However, like all things in 2020 it would quickly turn sour.
What went down
On February 1st 2021 a military coup d’etat (which is defined as a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government) was launched by the loser of the Myanmar national elections, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. This was done under the questionable pretenses that the 2020 election was invalid because of “voting irregularities.” The military then swiftly declared a year long state of emergency all but ensuring power until 2022. The military then detained democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her NLD party in Myanmar’s parliament and has said they will be redoing the elections near the end of 2021. This despite the fact that the majority of Myanmar’s citizens have accepted the results and moved on with their lives.
Reception and Reaction
The seemingly unlawful and unjustifiable coup has prompted a VERY strong backlash from within Myanmar and from the international community alike. Within Myanmar thousands of students and pro-democracy activists took to the streets to protest against the military government. Currently as of the writing of this story 1700 protesters have been arrested and detained and more than 50 unarmed peaceful protesters have been killed by the military. Despite the military’s violence the people of Myanmar continue to push for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the return of civilian control. On the international stage many countries either expressed concern over the coup or flat out condemned it. These countries include Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Singapore as countries that were “deeply concerned.” Countries that condemned the actions include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain. Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. President Biden in response to the coup in Myanmar announced a series of sanctions against the perpetrators of the coup. He also announced a freeze of 1 billion dollars worth of US assets in Myanmar.
The Future for Myanmar
Where Myanmar goes from this point is unclear to most people inside and outside of the county . As of the writing of this story the military interim government is still in power and protest are still raging throughout the streets. It is possible that with enough protesting within the country and international pressure, the military will step down and return civilian control. However, that remains to be seen and until then trouble and turmoil will rage within Myanmar.