Armed forces overthrowing Myanmar government

Currently, the ASIAN club is doing its best to keep up with the crisis in Myanmar and find ways to educate others on what is happening in Asian countries. But with little control, “all we could do is just bring this into light,” stated Sanoria.


Photo illustration created by Maia AlBarrak

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country located in southeast Asia. Neighbors to India, Nepal, China, and Thailand. The southeast country successfully gained its independence from Britain in 1948. But was governed by military forces from 1962 to 2011, until a new government came into frame and began a civil rule once again, until Feb. 1, 2021.

Maia AlBarrak, Sports & Opinion Editor

Since Feb. 1, 2021, hundreds of Myanmar citizens have been killed due to a military coup, an unexpected act of violence, and an unlawful overthrow of the government, across the country of Myanmar. In 1948, Myanmar finally gained independence from Britain but as of now “the military is now back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency,” according to a BBC News article titled, “Myanmar coup: What is happening and why?” The military seized control over the South East Asian country, when politician Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a general election. The military did not accept this victory and demanded a recount of the votes claiming the win as fraud, but no evidence was found to hold up their claim. The military later overthrew the authority as a new body of government was ready to open.  

In response to the coup, a huge number of people from around Myanmar, also referred to as Burma, gathered to protect against the military takeover. This however did not go well for the protesters, as the peaceful protests were later turned violent when according to the BBC article “Myanmar: Why are people protesting?” “The military opened fire on the crowds in more than 40 locations across the country.” This left dozens either killed or injured and this number is only increasing. The article above also states that “more than 400 people have been killed by the military, for trying to protest against them.” 

Many news outlets have conducted interviews with many citizens and military powers from Myanmar. However, due to their anonymity, their credibility can not be distinguished. 

Social studies department chair and ASIAN club sponsor Jason Janczak explains, “There’s a lot of suppression, so the information we’re getting out of there isn’t necessarily the right information, or the best when it comes to information that hasn’t been heavily edited.”

To preserve military control, armed forces have cut off communication and entertainment sources by shutting down social networks and internet service. 

In a newspaper that primarily discusses news in Asian countries called Nikkei Asia, author Masayuki Yuda stated in the article titled, “Myanmar shuts down internet and data communications”, “The Ministry of Transport and Communications had already issued directives on Feb. 3 to mobile operators, international gateways and internet service providers to block social media platform Facebook.”

Even when given the opportunity to shed light on this issue, many had either stayed quiet or chosen to stay anonymous. Victims are struggling to break their silence in fear of military forces. Fear has been an advantage for armed forces as they used it to silence Myanmar citizens.

With fear controlling their every action and no support or a liable source of communication, military forces have taken advantage by “using fear to manipulate the people to control them,” stated founder and president of the ASIAN club Gion Malcolm Sanoria. 

While current victims of this crisis are forced to stay silent, many countries have not allowed this catastrophe to go unheard. 

The previous article, titled “Myanmar coup: What is happening and why?” listed the different countries and their response to this current situation. Stating, “Numerous countries have condemned the military takeover and subsequent crackdown. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused the security forces of a ‘reign of terror’.” Continuing to state, “The US, UK and European Union have all responded with sanctions on military officials. China blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the coup, but has backed calls for the release of Ms Suu Kyi and a return to democratic norms.”

While many countries have become aware of the current situation in Myanmar not enough is being done. With other matters arising every day, it is difficult to keep up with what is happening around us. Janczak explains, “We as a country aren’t paying a lot of attention to it because we don’t really know what goes on in that region of the world.” Change is destined to happen if more people become aware of what is happening in the world and what they can do to help.

Currently, the ASIAN club is doing its best to keep up with the crisis in Myanmar and find ways to educate others on what is happening in Asian countries. But with little control, “all we could do is just bring this into light,” stated Sanoria.

For change to happen, word must be spread on this affair, by talking within our community authorities will be able to see the impact and seriousness of this situation. Janczak explains, “I think just having the conversations and being aware that this is happening, is a huge step forward. And just raising awareness of what’s going on, and putting pressure on our elected officials to do something about it.”