tirsdag 3. august 2021

Myanmar's descent into darkness

Six months after Myanmar’s military toppled the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, rejecting without proof her party’s landslide November 2020 re-election victory as fraudulent, the country of 54 million has slid back into the darkness that the 76-year-old leader’s fledgling, flawed democracy was trying to help it escape.

The State Administrative Council, the junta established by the Feb. 1 coup d’état leader Min Aung Hlaing, has been met with widespread public rejection and has responded with lethal military force to crush street protests, and mass arrests to quell walkouts by white collar professionals. More than 900 civilians have been killed and more than 5,400 are in detention.

Myanmar’s coup crippled an already outmatched government fight against the coronavirus, just as a vicious third wave of the pandemic hit a country racked with conflict, short of food, and scattered with hundreds of thousands of refugees.

With its neglect of COVID-19, its repression of the media, and its economic mismanagement, critics liken the State Administrative Council to the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the junta’s name from 1988 to 1997, a notoriously harsh period in the army’s fifty-year rule that ended in 2011, when the military went partially back to the barracks for a decade.