Have the sufferings of the public passed beyond the worst?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 10 Scenes

MoeMaKa, May 11, 2024

Have the sufferings of the public passed beyond the worst?

Since the military coup on February 1, 2021, drastic changes have occurred in Myanmar’s politics, military, economy, education, and health sectors. Following the coup, protests and civil disobedience movements involving civil servants, armed personnel, and the general public emerged across urban and rural areas. The crackdown on these demonstrations by security forces lasted for about 2-3 months. Subsequently, armed resistance movements gained momentum, with young and middle-aged individuals joining armed groups for military training and weapon acquisition. By September 2021, the National Unity Government (NUG) initiated an armed revolution across the country.

This marked the beginning of a civil war in Myanmar. The initial makeshift weapons used by the armed resistance gradually evolved into more sophisticated arms, including automatic rifles and rocket launchers. Ethnic armed groups, previously underestimated by the military, have significantly strengthened, focusing on equipping and replenishing arms. Local People’s Defense Forces (LPDFs) have emerged nationwide, conducting successful ambushes and significantly weakening the military council’s forces.

However, the civilian population has suffered immensely. The military council’s indiscriminate violence, accusing civilians of supporting the resistance, has led to widespread torture, killings, and displacement. Residents of Karenni, Sagaing, and upper Magway Divisions frequently flee their homes to escape military raids, leading to a constant state of insecurity and displacement. Some have been unable to return to their homes for months or years.

In many areas, civilians are caught between the military and resistance forces, with little recourse for justice when their family members are killed. This lawlessness extends to the loss of professional jobs and reliance on donations in refugee camps. The blockade of roads by armed groups has further isolated communities, making it difficult to receive aid.

Healthcare and education have also been severely impacted. Hospitals lack staff and resources, relying instead on mobile clinics operated by armed groups or volunteers. Many schools remain closed due to the conflict, depriving thousands of students of education. High school and university students have either joined armed groups or become migrant workers.

The ongoing conflict poses severe risks to civilians’ lives, careers, education, and health. The end of this conflict remains uncertain, as does the success of the revolution. Achieving these hopes and overcoming the dire conditions requires common agreement and cooperation among anti-military forces. However, the varying interests and goals of different armed groups suggest that the struggle to overthrow the dictatorship will be prolonged, continuing the public’s suffering.

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