Even Burmese people got united for democracy: Our slavish character is our undoing

24 February 2021
Even Burmese people got united for democracy: Our slavish character is our undoing

Editorial Desk:

Myanmar is volatile as people have launched a nationwide civil disobedience to resist the military's coup and force it to go back to the barrack. At least three people have so far been killed in live bullets fired against protesting civilians. The situation is taking a deadly turn as daily protest has spread all over Myanmar calling for the restoration of democracy.

The military has detained Ms Suu Kyi and her civilian president among other civilian leaders and put them on trial. Myanmar's military staged the coup on February 1 to block the convening of the new parliament elected in November last year in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory. But the military grabbed power blaming it was a tainted election.   

Myanmar lived under military rule for over the past 50 years to embark upon a limited democracy in 2011 when NLD won victory in the election under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi. The new government however had to agree with a power sharing deal with the military under a Constitution adopted by the outgoing military government. Myanmar has not seen democracy in the living memories of many. Yet, the nation came out to the streets unitedly in their fight for democracy.

After the recent election result was foiled to oust the quasi civilian government under leadership Suu Kyi another group of the army declared emergency for an army take over. Ms Suu Kyi along with the President and some others leaders in the previous army dominated government were arrested. Court cases have been initiated against Suu Kyi and some others.

What is most hopeful in the situation in Myanmar is that their popular uprising for democracy to topple the new military rule of the army chief general Min Aung Hlaing includes the professional educated ones. It is not just the general public who are in the street for the democratic movement but also many government servants and professional groups who openly took part in the movement without caring for their jobs.

The people of Myanmar should be helped for genuine democracy. Ms Suu Kyi is not the democratic face of human rights in Myanmar.

Though Suu Kyi is very popular but not for her success in establishing democracy. Her civilian government was less civilian and more military. Her defence for genocide of Rohingya Muslims contributed to her present popularity. She never supported the cause of human rights of the minority tribal peoples in her country. She has certainly shown brave determination to come to power. Democracy is not her real agenda.

We want to see in Myanmar the people's demand for democracy to succeed. A civilian rule under army dominance is not democracy. Democracy must include the democratic rights of the Rohingya to go back to their home country as citizens of Myanmar.

There should be international diplomacy at work not just to impose sanctions, but to ensure both the groups of the generals to be out of politics for building real democracy in Myanmar. Otherwise the conflict between the generals for power will continue with or without Ms Suu Kyi.

A strange trend has emerged in many third world countries for army and police to join politics to share power with a nominal civilian government denying the people of genuine free elections and stripping them of their democratic rights. The first the system does is to manipulate election to be meaningless.

In Bangladesh our people's extreme sacrifices for democracy since the creation of Pakistan failed to sustain itself for the slavish character of those sections of our educated people who remained loyal to serve happily all undemocratic governments as if they are not part of the people and the people did not matter. To them their jobs and a sense of being powerful were everything they cared for. Freedom of the people is not their concern.

Even our liberation war failed to change the weakness of character of these sections of educated people. For democracy to have a future the bureaucratic dominance of the government has to change.

The free world has condemned the takeover. Myanmar military leadership is facing sanctions from USA, European nations and others. Only China and Russia are the two big powers supporting the military take over for their undemocratic ideology. They need authoritarianism as the ally for the survival of their own systems. We are sure that they will have to change their way.

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