(MENAFN- Asia Times)
Today is February 1, 2023. The military takeover in Myanmar exactly two years ago was the start of the most oppressive administration in recent memory. The situation in Myanmar has deteriorated drastically ever since, and a civil war between the military and the pro-democracy front is still raging.
The years 2021 and 2022 were sad for the state of human rights as the military, often known as the Tatmadaw, used excessive violence to put an end to the call for democracy.
A resolution was vetoed in the UN Security Council because of Chinese and Russian support for the Tatmadaw, and therefore it might be said that the situation has reached this point as a result of the lackluster response and insufficient strict steps of the international community.
Unprecedented agony and hardship for the people of Myanmar resulted from the military's unrelenting violence and repression in 2022.
Will of the people silenced
Aung San Suu Kyi was one of the prominent leaders of the National League for Democracy who was detained by the Tatmadaw two years ago after the military made the absurd claim that elections of November 2020 had been rigged. Despite the fact that the NLD won the election with an overwhelming majority of seats and 83% of the vote overall, the Tatmadaw rejected the outcome out of concern for its continued control over Myanmar politics.
The general populace of Myanmar protested against the coup and denounced it. The demonstrations quickly evolved into the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), in which professionals from all fields refused to report to work and sought the return of democracy.
The Tatmadaw's choice to satiate its demand for power with bullets covered Myanmar's streets in blood. According to the Thailand-based human-rights organization assistance association for political prisoners , the Tatmadaw has killed roughly 1,500 people and detained up to 9,000 others in the past year.
Additionally, the Tatmadaw employed stringent monitoring techniques to stifle protestors' voices. Some 120 journalists have been detained under the recently implemented Section 505A, a harsh provision of the penal code, of whom 15 have been found guilty and 50 are still awaiting trial. Seven media outlets' licenses as well as those for satellite television have been revoked.
After the People's Defense Force (PDF) was established as the political branch of the National Unity Government (NUG) in the midst of the bloody crackdown, the CDM changed into an armed resistance group. The PDF and NUG gradually became the main political groups in Myanmar.
To combat the PDF, the Tatmadaw has increased its level of aggression, whereas PDF prefers guerrilla warfare. According to United Nations estimates, at least 406,000 people have been displaced because of the increasing civil war.
Myanmar's economy has also been destroyed by political unrest. Foreign companies' withdrawal and currency depreciation have stifled the nation's economic expansion.
Youth fight back
While previous military coups in Myanmar encountered little resistance and protest, this one resulted in a hitherto unheard-of movement against the dictatorship. The youth of the nation have demonstrated a strong belief in democracy and have remained in the forefront of the protest. Their political awareness is commendable, and they exhibit an unwavering spirit of resistance.
The Tatmadaw started to experience an image crisis after the youth rebellion was violently put down, and the military now worries about maintaining power in the face of unabated popular hatred.
Outside of Myanmar, the Tatmadaw has substantial backing from mighty nations like China and Russia. But the people of Myanmar rely on the international communit to change things and bring back democracy.
With the military's withdrawal from power, it is clear that the situation would change for the better, necessitating the major engagement of the international community. Unfortunately, there has been no progress toward resolving this political problem by the outside world.
The lives of Myanmar's residents and ethnic communities are wretched and perpetually unstable because of the lackluster responses of the international community, the geopolitical alignment of major countries, the lengthy history of military rule in the country, and the Tatmadaw's counterinsurgency operations. Torture, famine and displacement are the three main pillars of modern-day Myanmar society.
The Tatmadaw has not been significantly impacted by major corporations leaving the country in protest of violations of human rights, such as Chevron and Total. The causes of humanity, genocide, and ethnic cleansing are not what drive the outside world; rather, it is geopolitical interests.
Although many people believed the NUG would have international assistance to drive the Tatmadaw out, in reality, it has not succeeded in securing the backing of significant international players beyond mere lip service.
Situations ranging from the Rohingya catastrophe to conflicts in the Middle East have demonstrated how keenly global powers have focused on securing their own interests through strategic realignments and readjustments. Bangladesh is affected by the military takeover in Myanmar and the subsequent political developments in that country since the repatriation of 1.1 million Rohingya from Bangladesh has been put on hold.
The Tatmadaw's violence and repression and civil war in Myanmar have left people living in perpetual fear and uncertainty. The international community must restore democracy to Myanmar's youth and give displaced people like the Rohingya new hope.
Before it's too late, the international community must respond in a concerted and strict manner. The Tatmadaw would gain strength as a result of the great nations failing to act, prolonging the agony and vulnerability of the people of Myanmar in 2023 and beyond.