The people of Myanmar, comprised of not just Burmese Buddhists, but dozens of diverse ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, are fighting for and end to the military junta, against authoritarianism, for democracy, human rights, equal rights and empowerment for women, freedom from violence, progressive education, justice and political inclusion for ethnic minorities; in short they are fighting for a total social and political revolution. And they have done this almost entirely through non-violent protest, a nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement. I have never seen anything like this total resistance to authoritarianism and unflagging demand for the right to self-governance anywhere else.
The people of Myanmar are absolutely relentless in their passionate resistance to authoritarian rule and for democracy and human rights. They have demonstrated and marched every day and night against the Tatmadaw, the military regime that deposed and imprisoned members of the democratically elected National Unity Government, since the junta began its military rule on February 1, 2021. They have demonstrated and marched against the Tatmadaw in every city, every village and town, every single day since the military coup began.
The people of Myanmar have maintained a nationwide labor strike against the Tatmadaw in every sector of the economy: school strikes, student strikes, civil service strikes, engineering strikes; every kind of labor group has gone on strike, even to the point of enduring hunger and poverty, to continue their daily protests and stop the coup. And they are carrying out this revolution in the midst of the COVID pandemic, which is worsening in Myanmar by the day, while the junta arrest doctors, beat and kill health workers, take over hospitals, hoard oxygen tanks and medical supplies.
At the same time, the people of Myanmar have done their own reckoning with their history of ethnic and religious violence toward ethnic minorities, the disenfranchisement, forced displacement and genocide of the Rohingya, Karen and other ethnic groups. They have vowed to enact new forms of governance that include people of all ethnicities, languages and religions. They have demanded progressive education systems, to end “slave education” and teach critical thinking and self-determination. They have called for an end to the ban on interfaith marriages. They have centered women as leaders of this revolution and have advocated for LGBT rights.
They have endured the military’s use of rape, beating, shooting, abduction, imprisonment and torture to terrorize protesters and stop the revolt, but the people of Myanmar are relentless in their protest against the military regime. They will not stop, they will not give up, even when the rest of the world has done nothing to help but stand by and watch them die.
The people of Myanmar are calling on the UN and world governments to stop supplying the Tatmadaw with weapons sales, stop buying products from their military-owned factories, stop mining for oil, gas and other natural resources controlled by the military, and to send emergency aid to provide food, medical supplies and security for the people until the coup is defeated and the National Unity Government is restored.
The people of Myanmar are speaking a language of resistance and revolt against authoritarianism, in music, performance, art and social media campaigns. The Burmese Revolution is a total revolution: social, political and spiritual.