Updated: Feb 14
Written in the eyes of a genocide survivor from Myanmar
Message to the reader: A letter to the world, Myanmar has now gone dark. The military has shut off internet access in the country for most of the population. I haven’t been able to contact my family relatives back home. Many others have been separated from parents, siblings, uncles, and aunts. Although the military has disconnected our network, they will never separate the bond that we have built with each other. We will not be silenced, we will raise our voices against oppression and dictatorship. We will fight with our very lives for democracy.
Geographical Location: Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country located in southeast Asia in between Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, and Thailand. Myanmar has a population of about 54 million people, with the majority speaking Burmese. There are 7 states within Myanmar with the Capital being in Nay Pyi Taw. In 1948, the country gained independence from Britain.
Jan 01, 2020: As I sat at a busy cafe in Yangon (Biggest City), surrounded by the gleaming golden pagodas, I watched as countless people passed by each going about their day. I noticed that everyone I encountered greeted me with warm smiles. This hasn’t always been the case in the past. This was my first time returning to Myanmar since my family escaped the genocide in the early 2000s. Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country notorious for human rights violations, war, and genocide. It has been under military rule from 1962 until 2011, and they have regained power in 2021.
Nov 08, 2020: General elections were held in Myanmar where the National League for Democracy (NLD) won 83% of available seats in parliament. This was a victory for democracy in the country after a long struggle with its dictatorship rule. Aung San Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner, is the face of the NLD. The military is convinced that the elections were fraudulent and encouraged for the votes to be recounted. The election commission has stated that there was no evidence to support these claims.
Feb 01, 2020: President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, along with ministers, their deputies, and members of Parliament, were detained by the military. After seizing control, the military announced a year-long state of emergency. News of the coup made headlines around the world. During the coup, the military disrupted internet access, phone lines, and other forms of communications. The military declared that power has been handed over to commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing. This resulted in foreign countries calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other detainees as well as protests that can be seen around the world.
Change can come in a blink of an eye and at times when you least expect it. I never thought the people of my country would have to live in fear again. This is a major setback for many who have fought for democracy in Myanmar. I myself was born in Myanmar and to see such events is devastating. The power is in our hands to make the change we want to see. Another notable mention is about Htin Kyaw, a Burmese politician, writer, and scholar. He served as the 9th President of Myanmar from 30 March 2016 to 21 March 2018. He was the first elected president to hold the office with no ties to the military since the 1962 coup d'état. To my surprise, he is actually a Hult alumnus. By writing this article, I wanted the people to be heard and our community to be aware of what is happening around the world and address the issues that must be fixed to be the global citizens we all strive to be.