Have you ever heard of the country Myanmar? It is located in the Western portion of mainland Southeast Asia bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and has a population of about 54 million, and yet we didn’t hear much news about the current war going on until the middle of March.
If you aren’t already aware of the situation, on February 1, 2021, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other senior figures from their National League for Democracy were detained in a military coup. At that time, the military junta declared a year-long state of emergency and stated that it was in response to alleged election fraud.
Think back to January 6, 2021, when the United States Congress was threatened by rioters persuaded by a certain orange man that if they didn’t fight like hell, then they were not going to have a country anymore. Now, comparing it to our own similar situation, imagine if the group of rioters had military authority, then, hypothetically speaking, at that point we would be in the same state as Myanmar is in today. While it’s true that realistically their situation has little to nothing to do with anyone outside of the continent of Asia, we can at least sympathize with what they are going through seeing as how we only had a glimpse of that type of future for us if things had stayed the same.
Since February 1, at least 423 people have been killed protesting the overthrow of the country’s elected government. Among the fatalities from just this past Saturday were six children between the ages of 10 and 16, a 40-year-old resident who was shot and burnt alive by military troops, and a 20-year-old nurse who was shot in the head by military troops as she attempted to tend to others already injured, and that's only skimming the surface.
If you feel motivated to act and support the Burmese people in their fight for democracy and freedom, here are some things that you can do:
Sign petitions to get the government and, most importantly, the UN to support the Burmese people in their time of crisis and take action against the military junta.
Donate to the Civil Disobedience Movement (Mutual Aid Myanmar) and Myanmar’s legitimate government, the “Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.”
Independently research on Myanmar and the history of why things have ensued the way they currently are.
Most importantly, spread awareness on social media. Post updates about the atrocities, tweet your local lawmakers demanding your government steps in to do something, and share links to the campaigns on this page so people know where they can go to fund the Myanmar organizations that need it right now.
Do not stay silent on an issue just because it isn’t yours. We all have the power to change, so use this moment to utilize yours. Because the plain and simple fact is that although we may not personally be affected by what is going on in Myanmar, it does not take away from the fact that we are both fighting similar fights, the fight against injustice. And just like the movement against racism, if you are neutral in situations of injustice then it is you that has chosen the side of the oppressor and wish to stay complicit in an unjust world.