The conflict in Myanmar is the longest ongoing civil war in history,with the insurgencies beginning in 1948, when the country was still known as Burma. courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Myanmar eliminates uprising rebel groups

Myanmar takes advantage of the Russia/ Ukraine conflict to secure their dictatorship.

With Ukraine currently occupying international headlines and minds across the globe, the military junta in Myanmar has taken the opportunity to crack down on rebel groups opposing the cruel dictatorship.

Although the Russo-Ukrainian war deserves global attention, it is not the only major conflict burgeoning at this point in history. After overthrowing the democratically-elected government in Feb. 2021, the military party that has effectively occupied Myanmar has taken the opportunity to exterminate resistance groups opposed to the dictatorship. Situated east of India and southwest of China, the state formerly known as Burma has a long history of generals utilizing their positions to take advantage of a relatively unknown country. Five decades of dictatorship following the collapse of Western imperial practices left the state in a poor place between modernized and primarily agricultural. However, the late 2010s seemed to indicate an upward trend in their standard of living, with the first civilian-elected government seizing power from the military autocrats, but a coup d’etat shoved that progress back.

The current extermination campaign aims to eliminate any individuals suspected of having relations to a counter-junta group, with thousands of civilians fleeing bombardments against non-hostile targets. What complicates this situation is how Russia has continued to support the efforts of the Myanmar military. Reports indicate that high-ranking members of Myanmar’s ruling junta have extensive ties with Moscow, with some individuals visiting from time to time. Russia refused to place sanctions on Myanmar’s economy and was one of the few countries that advocated for the junta’s uprising at the onset of the coup..

The fact that this new wave of attacks coincided with the Russian invasion of Ukraine does raise eyebrows. While the connections to Russia are rather intriguing, considering the situation — the bombing of civilian centers and enlistment of military forces with the goal of removing dissident groups — focusing on the geopolitical ramifications of the continued brutality seems somehow apathetic.

Yes, Ukraine is important. Yes, we should look at each event with a critical eye in order to understand the potential outcomes. Yes, the connections between these autocratic oligarchies deserve attention, but so do the people.

Perhaps I’m simply reflecting on my own perception of these events, but there seems to be so much rationalization and conversion of events into clinical terms that it alienates natural human empathy.

However, there is another twist to this story: there are militia groups in Myanmar that have continued fighting against the military junta. There has been constant conflict between these rebel groups and the ruling government of Myanmar, and this new round of bombardments indicates an intensification, not a completely new development. They also rely on international support from ethnic groups across the globe, yet this new round of fighting has led to university students in Myanmar seeking out alternative schools in the western United States, especially California.

Maybe there’s another opportunity for TU to do something good in the world.

Post Author: Adam Walsh