The Long Wait For Democracy: The Story Of Myanmar

India got independence in 1947 and Myanmar got it in 1948. One goes through the roaring winds of a democratic process, which has seen every situation in an infant democratic static. Whereas the other one got trapped in a direct or indirect rule of military rule for over half a century. The recent coup in Myanmar shows the same.

The 8888 uprisings in 1988 and the Saffron revolution in 2007 never saw a constructive approach for a fully democratic nation. But definitely showcased the Burmese people’s aspiration for a liberal democratic nation, which they looked to its western neighbors. Whereas the regime got inspired by its eastern counterparts. China, Laos, and Thailand have one thing in common. All of them are unitary governments with a shadow of Marxist-Leninist ideology or a military dictatorship

Coup in Myanmar - the liberal wing
Protest in Myanmar in Support of Aung San Suu Kyi – The Guardian

The Coup Culture In South East Asia

Thailand has a ‘coup culture. The country has seen at least 15 successful and unsuccessful coups in its history. Laos is most likely one of the only countries that endorse communism openly. We don’t need to explain how China is handling democracy. Hence, wherever Marxist ideas take a driver’s seat, democracy and freewill get vanished.

Myanmar after a great deal of struggle got an agreement to settle down for a free and fair election. When Ne Win was appointed Chief of Staff in 1949, he was given total control of the Army, which he went onto restructure along Socialist lines. And this was going to come back to haunt Burma’s democratic politics in 1962. Burma is renamed Myanmar in 1989, while its capital Rangoon is renamed Yangon. Aung San Suu Kyi – daughter of Aung San (a leader of AFPFL who was assassinated by political opponents soon after Burma’s liberation) – is put under house arrest in a bid to thwart political organizations.

Coup in myanmar - Dictatorship in south east asia
Coup in Myanmar – FT

Short Period Of Democracy

The first democratic election in 20 years to form a government is held in 2010. Where the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) wins the majority and former General Thein Sein assumes power, although the Opposition groups alleged election fraud. Suu Kyi got elected as the State councilor (Prime Minister) in 2015. The elections in 2020 provided a much higher vote share for the incumbent government. But the military refused to abide by the results. At last, the coup emerges, their one and only weapon to suppress the election mandate. Following Min Aung Hlaing becomes Chairman of the State Administration Council of Myanmar, which makes him the de-facto leader of the country.

Hence a country once under socialism and communist ideology are vulnerable to dictatorship and misrule. The examples are scattered around the world. The solution in front of the Burmese people is to fight and international support for them is necessary for their like never before.

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