Myanmar Spring Chronicle – Burning of houses in Sagaing and Magway Divisions

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – July 30 Scenes

MoeMaKa,  July 31 2022

What will be needed to prevent the burning of houses in Sagaing and Magway Divisions?

The method of setting fire to houses is called the scorched-earth policy in the war. In wars between countries, such as World War II, the enemy destroys houses, commercial, and transportation infrastructures with the intention of making them unhabitable during retreat. If you look back at the history of the past, you will see that seizing the enemy’s territories, cities, taking valuable things and destroying the cities were done 3-4 centuries ago. When the Myanmar Kings took over Ayutthaya (Thai’s Capital), history shows that they destroyed the city by using a similar scorched-earth system.

In the war between tyranny and democracy, where modern human rights and humanism are valued and trying to replace feudalism, scorched-earth policy is now used widely by Myanmar Military. There are still some countries and regions in the world where feudal warlords are in power, but in the modern age of information technology, the brutality of the feudal era, suppression, killing and scorched-earth were left behind in the past. Whether the perpetrators themselves recorded the crime themseleves because they enjoyed it, or the victims recorded it as keeping proof, the acts of scorched-earth and severe human rights violations remain recorded for history. One day they all would be brought to justice.

It is true that it will be recorded in history at some point, but “How can we prevent what is happening now? How to avoid it?” are the most important questions at the present moment and something that needs to be done urgently.

In the past few days, shops and houses have been set on fire in Tinn Tain Yam Village, Ye Oo Township. In the days before that incident, houses were also burned down in Mee Maung Gone Village in Ye Oo Township, and an elderly woman died in the fire, according to news reports. Similarly, hand-dug oil wells in Myaing Township in Magway Division were also destroyed and burned recently. It is believed that these oil wells were burned because they were paying taxes to local resistance-defense groups.

In the upper Myanmar rural region, where there are few financial resources and people make a living on farming, they had to save for more than a decade to build an own house. So the loss of houses and utilities in a matter of hours has become a huge loss and grievous trauma in life.

It is necessary to urge in raised voice how to protect or defend these villages from being set on fire. It is right to blame the military for the coup, but how this can be protected from happening by our resistence sides is also an important question. If not, the name of the People’s “Defense” Force, abbreviated as PDF, might be considered questionable.

Did the military council burn down the village because of the fact that the defense forces were active in the area?  Or was Military burning down villages in retailation when their convoys were ambushed near them? It needed to be reviewed and it is necessary to reconsider or reevaluate  whether the attack tactics or strategy should be changed to avoid civilians causalities. If not, there is also a possibility that, 6 months or 1 year later, after losing villages, properties and food due to the destruction by the military council’s scotched-earth policy, the supplies that could support the defense forces of the village community would dry up.

There was gradual decrease in crop yield in Monywa and Shwe Bo Districts where rice, beans and other crops are widely cultivated. It was due to suspension in border trade for months to years after the Covid-19 outbreak and further decreases occurred in political instability due to the military coup that followed on top of the Covid-19 disaster. Now, there is more and more farmland that cannot be cultivated due to the situation in which residents have to flee for their lives when the villages in these regions are being burnt down. It is not easy for land owners to hire workers. Rises in fuel prices and fertilizers cause great damage to agriculture and the whole region may reach total failed state situation.

 There may be false statement that, if the military situation and also the economic situation becomes worsen, the possibility of the victory of the revolution becomes closer. But we should be aware that it would not be easy to help in politics and military if local people have no survival and livelihood to support or withstand the resistance. 

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