Funeral Held for Slain Myanmar Migrant Worker in Bangkok – Implications of Palestine-Israel Conflict on Myanmar

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 08

MoeMaKa, October 09, 2023

Funeral Held for Slain Myanmar Migrant Worker in Bangkok – Implications of Palestine-Israel Conflict on Myanmar

On the 3rd of this month, an unfortunate incident occurred when a 14-year-old youth indiscriminately opened fire on people inside the bustling Siam Paragon mall, located in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Tragically, this act resulted in the loss of two lives, one of whom was identified as Ma Moe Myint, a migrant worker hailing from Myanmar. The other victim was a Chinese tourist, while five additional individuals sustained injuries in this unexpected violence.

The incident quickly gained significant attention in Thai news media, given its gravity and public impact. Particularly noteworthy was the fact that one of the deceased was a Myanmar national. Consequently, the Myanmar news outlets have been diligently following up on the details of Ma Moe Myint’s story. Unfortunately, Ma Moe Myint’s mother, who requires regular hemodialysis due to her health condition, was unable to attend her daughter’s final journey, including the funeral, as was reported in the news. Nevertheless, with the assistance of relevant organizations from both Thailand and Myanmar, she was able to attend the funeral, which took place recently.

Both Thai and Myanmar media outlets also covered an unexpected development in the aftermath of this tragic event. It was reported that the father of the young assailant approached the grieving mother of Ma Moe Myint, who resides in Thaton, Mon State. In a heartfelt gesture, Ma Moe Myint’s mother accepted the apology and commented that the incident was an outcome of fate. This incident carries profound sadness and elicits sympathy, touching not only the victim’s family but also the broader community who came to know about it. The loss experienced by a mother who lost her daughter, a breadwinner who supported her family back in Myanmar while working in Thailand, is an irreplaceable tragedy.

Remarkably, despite the gravity of the situation, Ma Moe Myint’s mother refrained from placing blame on anyone and attributed the incident to fate. She responded with great magnanimity, expressing her sympathy for the father of the young gunman who extended an apology. This incident serves as a testament to the understanding and empathy shared between the people of Myanmar and Thailand when confronted with a heart-wrenching situation. With millions of Myanmar nationals working in Thailand, such unfortunate occurrences occasionally cross their paths. Nonetheless, this incident underscores the existence of a profound understanding between these communities.

The turmoil in Myanmar following the coup has led to political instability, reduced economic opportunities, and heightened insecurity. Consequently, an increasing number of young and middle-aged individuals have been seeking job opportunities and a place to live in Thailand. Regrettably, the collaboration between the governments of Myanmar and Thailand, aimed at facilitating the legal residence and employment of Myanmar workers as seen previously, has waned. The current government, under the military council, appears preoccupied with suppressing armed resistance rather than addressing labor-related issues.

To exacerbate matters, there have been reports of legislative efforts to impose income taxes on working individuals and to legally mandate the remittance of a portion of their wages to Myanmar. In contrast, during the tenure of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited Thailand and engaged in discussions regarding the enhancement of legal labor rights for migrant workers. However, in the aftermath of the military coup, the military council has predominantly encouraged migrant workers to send a portion of their earnings back to their families without addressing broader labor rights concerns.

Another topic for today is that yesterday, when the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched thousands of rockets at several cities in Israel, ground combat forces entered Israeli territory and initiated an attack. It marked the first war-like attack in decades, resulting in hundreds of casualties and thousands of injuries on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides in a single day. This incident goes beyond mere destabilization; it is considered a significant escalation of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

It can also be asserted that the Palestine-Israel war will garner international attention following the Ukraine-Russia war. The protests that emerged after the military coup in Myanmar, the armed resistance attacks, and international focus on Myanmar’s issues have seen a decline following the Ukraine conflict. Now, with the eruption of another conflict capable of drawing international attention, similar to the war in Ukraine, the struggle to overthrow the military dictatorship in Myanmar faces the challenge of decreased global attention.

The conflict between Palestine and Israel is a critical issue that could potentially impact the support of Middle East oil-producing countries and global energy production and prices. In the case of Myanmar, it is an ASEAN member country sharing borders with two powerful neighboring nations, China and India. As a result, direct intervention is unlikely, and the recent Palestine-Israel war is poised to capture the world’s attention.