How Hope Fled Myanmar


On February 1st 2021, Myanmar’s military seized control of the government, returning the nation to total military rule for the first time since 2011. The military has suppressed peaceful protests in support of democracy. They also cut off internet access and TV networks from other nations and silenced anyone trying to speak out.

Why the Coup?

In the November elections of 2020, the National League for Democracy won almost 80% of available seats in Parliament. Military leaders saw this as a threat to their power, so they started plotting to oust Aung San Suu Kyi. As president of the National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi had been the civilian leader of Myanmar since 2015.  

The military, not accepting the election results, threatened to act and surrounded Parliament with soldiers. Soldiers acting on behalf of the nation took leaders of the National League for Democracy, prominent civilian officials, writers, activists and anyone who was deemed a threat into their custody. A military TV network broadcasted the news, declared the elections a national emergency and claimed the coup would remain in place for one year (BBC NEWS).

Response to Military Action

After the military took the government, it quickly seized the opportunity to suppress the people in any form. Despite this, resistance is growing through protest, and guerilla forces are starting to assemble. 

Everyday people are fighting back against the oppressive military regime in any way possible. In the forests bordering Myanmar, civilians are being trained in basic warfare techniques to take back the government, the only way they see the brutality ending.

A woman from Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, said “I see the military as wild animals who can’t think and are brutal with their weapons.” She is now training in the forest through a week of bootcamp (The New York Times).

What Happens Next?

Myanmar’s future is uncertain. How the economy will hold, how citizens will be able to carry out daily routines and how the international community will react are all still in question. The people of Myanmar have already shown that they will not lie down and let this destruction of democracy happen.

There is still hope.

Slow progression and fast regression have plagued Myanmar’s history. This coup has eliminated many years of progress, but the fight is not over. Despite whatever may happen in the future, the people of Myanmar will get back on their feet and fight for a system that represents them all.