World News: Burma’s Struggle for Democracy

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While the entire planet is struggling in a frantic race to obtain life-saving vaccines as soon as possible, Burma is facing the military junta which seized power through a coup d'état fomented for several months.

The peaceful struggle of the Burmese people for the return of democracy invites us to question the confrontation of two cultures, Western and Asian, in the face of oppression and violence. Between the fight for democracy and the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, the Burmese people have chosen the first option.

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Pushing the head of state of this Southeast Asian nation of 53.7 million inhabitants, Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, the new masters of Burma intend to restore order and discipline in a country which, according to them, was lacking. The future will tell whether this coup, which is for the time being the most contested both within the country and internationally, will definitively materialize with the establishment of a military regime.

Force and Violence

But beyond the international reactions aroused by the event, it is above all the enthusiasm and fervor of the Burmese people that surprised and still surprises.

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By organizing peaceful civil resistance, where violence is banned for the credibility of the movement, the Burmese are teaching the whole world a lesson by demonstrating that force cannot meet force. Through the demonstrations organized in the streets of Rangoon, the economic capital of the country, and throughout the entire territory, the Burmese defend a democratic ideal in front of the junta is powerless because in the inability to rely on any form of violence.

Masks on the face to respect health instructions and prevent the spread of the virus, the Burmese, united and determined, are reinventing the principle of protest by opposing brutality to a pacifism that many countries have forgotten.

Convinced of the justice of their cause, the Burmese people, nourished by democratic principles to which they are viscerally attached, parade by knocking pans, thus espousing the popular mysticism which claims that beating the metal of these utensils alienates spirits.

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Some would smile at this practice, judging it childish and infantile and totally disconnected from what such a situation calls for.

Western and Rohingya Cultures

However, it highlights the entire peaceful Asian culture, that where wisdom and reflection prevail, in contrast to Western cultures that are quick to confront often brutal and a factor of inertia. If there is nothing to suggest that the tactics of the demonstrators will eventually lead to a return to democracy and the liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi, the fight led by the latter can only inspire a respect which exceeds that due to all.

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Peoples defending democracy and fundamental freedoms. In a nation that has long been martyred by dictatorship, recently in the spotlight due to the violence committed by the Burmese army against the Rohingya (see below) in the east of the country since 2016, the Burma seemed to evolve on a razor's edge.

Exposing its democracy to the nationalist and xenophobic actions of the army, indicted by nations by violating human rights regarding the Rohingya question, Burma has yielded to its old demons. Hoping that the pans continue to reason ...

The Rohingyas, A Stateless Group

The Rohingya or Rohingyas constitute a stateless Indo-Aryan ethnic group of language Indo European, mainly Muslim, but comprising a minority of Christians and Hindus. The Rohingya live mostly in northern Arakan State in western Burma.



Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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