Challenging the Military Dictatorship: Goals and Hurdles

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 30 
Published by MoeMaKa on October 1, 2023

Challenging the Military Dictatorship: Goals and Hurdles

Perusing the daily news, I often come across disheartening reports of civilians falling victim to artillery shelling, residents being apprehended and met with violence during military raids, skirmishes between the military council troops and armed resistance, the arrest, torture, and demise of people in urban areas at the hands of the military council, rampant house burnings in villages, and the horrifying instances of posthumous looting and property crimes.

These events transpire with dismaying frequency, rendering the loss of one or two lives as insufficient to command attention. Sadly, the loss of at least 4-5 civilians and the torching of numerous homes are now seen as somewhat out of the ordinary, while incidents where tens of lives are lost become newsworthy.

In Karen State, Karenni State, Northern Shan State, Chin State, Sagaing Region, Mandalay Region, Tanintharyi Region, Kachin State, and more, these grim tales of attacks, incendiarism, civilian casualties, assassinations, arrests, and loss of life have become part of daily life.

It can be argued that these tragedies are an inevitable outcome of armed revolution, as the stark reality dictates that victory often necessitates sacrifices.

The overarching objective of the spring revolution is widely perceived as uprooting the military dictatorship from its very core, thereby averting recurrent power grabs every decade or so. Numerous factions have united in their resolve to dismantle the coup-imposing military council, precipitating a surge in civil conflict over the past two years, as they transitioned to armed resistance. Presently, areas under military council control have been reduced to mere military installations, battalions, township offices, and urban regions. Proclamations of imminent victory by year-end or the following year have proliferated to motivate both the public and the armed forces. This sustained armed revolution spans over two years, depleting the military council’s administrative clout and gradually sapping its forces. Yet, in these regions, governance, education, healthcare, and livelihood restoration remain elusive for most. More often than not, education can only occur when circumstances allow, while healthcare services are rudimentary, staffed by available personnel in makeshift camps. People subsist by sharing resources and clinging to the hope of receiving aid from benevolent organizations.

One might argue that this situation is an inescapable byproduct of civil war, yet it bears mentioning that nearly 1.5 to 2 million people in Myanmar are internally displaced, constituting almost 5% of the country’s population.

While these sacrifices in the quest to unseat the military dictatorship are undeniable, it is essential to remember that victory does not necessarily accompany every sacrifice. Sacrifices may well be unintended consequences, and the path to success must be correctly charted. The presence of organization, shared consensus, and collaboration among anti-dictatorship factions is pivotal in determining the extent of progress towards victory.