WITNESS TO MYANMAR'S UNFINISHED DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
As the current political crisis unfolds in Myanmar there is an acute need for reliable, accurate and trustworthy news, timely analysis and context, and an insight into what lies ahead. My blog as a veteran journalist covering Asian affairs, who has followed Myanmar’s development for more than forty years and has witnessed all the key moments during that time, I am uniquely positioned to do exactly that: reporting and explaining the unfolding events as well providing a rich understanding of their importance, significance and relevance – often including an exceptionally revealing back story, going beyond the headlines.
Myanmar is back in the news with a bang after the recent military coup put an abrupt end to the country’s tentative transition to democracy. In fact, the battle to determine the country’s future is reaching a climax rather than conclusion, with competing visions for the future at the center of this collision: between the genuine democracy demanded by the civil disobedience movement and ‘guided democracy’ that the army insists is essential for the country’s stability and security. This road to democracy started with the mass pro-democracy demonstrations back in1988 and ended in 2021 for the time being when the army once again seized power in a military coup. At all these critical stages along the Myanmar’s journey towards democracy, I have been reporting and analyzing events, while offering informed insights.
Now the stage is set for continued confrontation between the civil disobedience campaign that spontaneously sprang up to defend the country’s democratic gains represents and the army’s vision: it’s a new dimension in the country’s struggle
for democracy. While the coup and its draconian crackdown seems to have halted the peoples’ democratic aspirations, it’s only another juncture in the country’s long unfinished democratic revolution.
As a veteran journalist, I have intimately followed the events during the last four decades, since first reporting the momentous moments of 1988, charting the country’s path to free and fair elections, and closely examining the military’s priorities and motivations, to this coup. While it may seem to be a set-back, the army does not understand that Myanmar has changed significantly in the last 30 years and the military will find it hard to maintain an iron grip on the country as they did previously, although they are making a concerted effort to roll back the advances, especially achieved over the last ten years.
The A-factor is the country’s youth – or Generation Z – who are at the forefront of this new uprising. And although facing troops, tanks and tear gas, using rubber bullets and live ammunition to quell and disperse them, the protestors remain undaunted. Using new generational tactics, the protestors are armed with weapons that will help defeat the military in the long run. With mobile phones, the internet and social media the civil disobedience movement has a voice that’s being heard across the world in their campaign to restore democracy.
So, for anyone who wants to keep up with developments in Myanmar -- and South East Asia generally -- discover the underlying causes and trends and understand what’s happening: this is an indispensable port of call. It is a timely edition to your crucial daily briefing on Myanmar and the region. It offers truly unique and informative news and analysis from the region.