Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 16 Scenes
MoeMaKa, October 17, 2023
Persevering Through Prolonged Conflict: The Ongoing Struggle for Survival
In today’s news, more than half of the daily reports are grim accounts of violence, including killings, arrests, torture, and the destruction of homes and property. Just a few months after the military coup on February 1, 2021, Myanmar’s youth and organizations opposed to the coup chose the path of armed resistance. Subsequently, battles, shootings, explosions in urban areas, territorial control efforts, intercepted attacks, and battles for capturing military bases have become regular occurrences over the past two years. Simultaneously, the military forces of the military dictators, known as the Military Council, are attempting to quell the armed opposition by burning villages, making arrests, engaging in unlawful killings, confiscating property, and imposing extended prison sentences on revolutionary dissidents. Even as they engage ethnic armed groups that are not actively fighting in peace talks and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), they vigorously launch offensives, including aerial bombardments and confrontations with the armed groups engaged in the conflict.
In response to the post-coup situation, newly formed entities such as the National Unity Government (NUG), People’s Defense Forces (PDF), and regional armed defense forces have embraced the path of armed resistance. With more than two years elapsed since their initiation, it is now imperative to review the past two years and reassess the military strategies and tactics being employed.
Rather than blaming the leaders who initially anticipated victory within six months or a year after taking up arms and mobilizing the public, it’s essential to acknowledge the changing dynamics. The political and military leaders now realize that the revolution may extend for two or three years. Therefore, they should inform local communities about how to adapt to these evolving conditions and guide them accordingly.
The Spring Revolution relies on the collective contributions of the public without substantial financial support from foreign governments. It is crucial for the public to continue working in their professions to the best of their abilities. While city residents contribute financially to the revolution, rural inhabitants provide food and financial resources according to their means. When local people are unable to perform their regular jobs effectively, their contribution to the revolution inevitably diminishes. It’s essential to remember that expatriate Myanmar communities working abroad contribute to the revolution, but the contributions of those living in the country are equally vital. It’s important to evaluate whether the public has been organized with the expectation of achieving a quick victory through armed resistance, while encouraging them to set aside their livelihoods, education, and economy. As the armed revolution has transitioned from a short-term struggle to a long-term one, the local community should be guided on how to survive under these conditions while still supporting the revolution.
For example, it’s crucial for local communities to be able to grow food in regions like Sagaing Division and the northern part of Magway Division, where armed conflicts are prevalent. These areas have higher population density compared to others and predominantly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Residents here cultivate crops like rice, sesame, beans, and onions. While there are some individuals who make a living through resource extraction, overproduction of resources can have detrimental effects on the environment and should be carefully controlled. Activities like gold mining and timber harvesting for profit can harm the region in the long run, so discouraging excessive resource exploitation in the pursuit of funding for the revolution is important.
Considering these aspects, it’s evident that a long-term approach to the revolution is necessary. This approach should consider people’s livelihoods, resource conservation, public education, and more. The methods that will support the armed movement and the military strategies and tactics of the armed groups need to be redefined in light of these reflections.