Pwint Phyu Nandar – The Burmese People Deserve Better from Their Government

The government should treat the Burmese people as human beings with lives, and should not show favoritism to those who associate with them. An example of this occurred on March 12, 1988, when students and locals were having an argument. The argument had led to a student being stabbed by a local. The local was turned in, but was released the next day, just because one of the local’s father was part of the government, even though he had hurt someone. This is an example of injustice towards the Burmese people and favoritism towards those who are part of the government. This riot, although small, led to many democratic movements which soon build up to a major movement that happened on 8/8/88.

On the faithful day, university students led millions of people on peaceful marches in all of the major cities of Burma. There were peaceful demonstrations all through the day. When a military presence became visible and threatening, thousands of protesters knelt down in front of the soldiers and sang the national anthem. The government should have seen this as a symbol of peace, and compromised with the people as humanely as possible. But in response, the soldiers were given orders to fire, and so they did. Protesters claimed that around 10,000 people died, including children and monks.  Those who support the government had said the people who participated were being communists, even though the protesters were only defending their own rights and equality.

Another occasion that was similar to what happened on 8/8/88, occurred during September. The government had been responding to peaceful marches and demonstrations with violence, which they should not do. The crackdown of September actually started on September 5, when peaceful protests turned violent. Because of that, senior monks demanded an apology from the government by September 17. If an apology wasn’t in sight, there would be more protests. Since the government was not planning an apology, nearly 400 monks march through the streets of Rangoon, a major city in Burma, to protest against use of violence, but only to find themselves being arrested.

Newspaper controlled by the government had said that the military were only targeting so-called “bogus” monks that were staining the religion of Buddhism. However, it is considered disrespectful to arrest any monks. The military and government had been doing worse things than just arresting monks. They have locked and emptied the monasteries, after just two weeks of the crackdown. Witnesses have said that doors of monasteries were kicked opened and monks and nuns were taken away on a truck, at night. 513 monks, 1 novice, 167 men and 30 women were interrogated, but only what the government called innocent, were sent back.

Another disaster occurred during May 2nd, 2008, when Cyclone Nargis struck Burma. If the people of Burma had a responsible government, the government would probably take immediate action, and ask for help form neighboring countries. The Burmese government, however, did not take immediate action, or ask for help form neighboring countries, nor did they let out any information of what is happening in Burma. The Burmese government prevented aid from reaching survivors, and turn downed help form getting to those who needed help the most, while the international community pledged tens of millions of dollars in assistance for victims of the cyclone.

Some people, who sided with the government, said that the government could handle the aftermath on their own, and other countries don’t need to know, because they won’t really offer any help. Others, who did not side with the government, said that the government was supposedly afraid of the fact that they had done nothing to help the Burmese people, getting out to other countries. Many victims are in need of food, water, shelter, clothing, and medicine. The death toll was 41,000 to 600,000; there were 60,000 missing people; and 1.5 million people were left homeless.

No one wants an irresponsible government. But unfortunately, the Burmese people already have one. Their government has been treating the people of Burma unfairly for many years. The Burmese people really do deserve a better government.






Clements, Alan and Leslie Kean. Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit: The struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity. New York: Aperture Foundation, Inc, 1994. pgs. 36, 42.


Stewart, Whitney. Aung San Suu Kyi: Fearless voice of Burma. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1997. pgs. 69. 70-79.



Unknown Author. Disaster: six Days After Nargis, Burma’s Junta continues to Block International Aid. [Online] Available bpsai/articles_publications/publications/disaster_20080509, May 9, 2008


Unknown Author. Open Society Institute Denounces Burmese Junta’s Slow Response to Cyclone Nargis. [Online] Available initiatives/bpsai/news/Nargis_200080516 May 16, 1008


Unknown Author. Nargis Victims Continue to Suffer Under Burma’s Military Regime. [Online] Available news/nargis_20080529, May 29, 2008  




Beech, Hannah, “The Fighting Monks of Burma.” Time. Volume  170 No. 13, September 19, 2007

Doyle, Keven, “Where are Burma’s Monks?” Time. Volume 179 No. 16, October 12, 2007