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Forgotten Wars: The Burmese Civil War

The people of Burma protesting in the street demanding that the military government to back down.

What were we doing in 2021? 2021 was a forgettable year because a lot of nothing happened, or that’s what we think. On May 5, 2021 Burma split into half causing a civil war. This civil war is unknown to many, so how did it all start?

This civil war technically started during 1949. Brookings explains “The fighting between the central government dominated by the Bamar majority and the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in seven ethnic states has never completely ceased since the country’s independence decades before the 2021 coup.” Burma is not a stranger to coups; they have been through many coup attempts in the past. This is different in 2021.

In the 2021 coup the people lost all their democratic rights. Again by the Brookings “Burmese politics after the 2021 coup has been entirely different. Before the coup, the Burmese people had tasted democracy and freedom and had been exposed to the outside world and the free flow of ideas, information, people, and economic opportunities under a democratic government.”

The people were angry, so they started attacking the government. According to the New York Times “At first, resistance consisted of mass demonstrations, work stoppages and a vast civil disobedience movement. Soldiers and the police began shooting protesters in the streets and jailing thousands of people, including opposition leaders and journalists.”

A soldier fighting against the military government controlled forces.

Instead of putting out the fire this caused it to be even bigger. Anger grew at the fact that the government shot many peaceful protesters. According to CNN “At least 138 people, including children, have been killed since the coup.” “more than 2,100 – including journalists, protesters, activists, government officials, trade unionists, writers, students and civilians – have been detained.”

Many people started to protest, and resistance groups formed. The military only responded in more brutal ways. This is not the problem for the Burmese citizens. According to the Council on foreign relationships “Discriminatory policies of Myanmar’s government since the late 1970s have compelled hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya to flee their homes in the predominantly Buddhist country.”

Now, the Rohingya face genocide by the Burmese government. According to United States Department of State “Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya. Since the Holocaust, the United States has concluded only seven other times that genocide was committed. This determination marks the eighth.”

This had caused so many people to leave Burma. Human Rights Watch says “Over 730,000 Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh in 2017 now live in sprawling, overcrowded camps under growing restrictions by the authorities and spiraling violence by armed groups. About 600,000 Rohingya remain in Myanmar, effectively detained by junta authorities under a system of apartheid.”

The Rohingya people protesting to stop the genocide committed by the government of Burma.

This is a huge problem because the only country that they have is Bangladesh. They are the closest Muslim country; however, Bangladesh is already overcrowded. Reuters said “ Bangladesh said on Wednesday it will not allow any more Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to enter the country because supporting the huge numbers already there threatens its own security.”

Unfortunately, the Rohingya have nowhere else they can go. Most will have to go back to their oppressive government that will kill them without any hesitation. United States Department of State have documented “Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya.”

With all of this is the war going to end? According to Vox “Despite China’s attempts to negotiate a regional ceasefire, Myanmar’s civil war won’t end soon.” When China is negotiating a ceasefire then you did something messed up. That is the problem. The Burmese government won’t accept the ceasefire because at the end of the day they need to control the entirety of Burma.

The Burmese government is ruled by tyrants. They will kill anyone who gets in the way of their plans.

Rohingya woman pleading for mercy.

Shiva Patel is 17 years old and he goes to Delhi Public School. He studies Asian politics because one day he wants to work in the government. An avid student of foreign policy, Patel says, “Burma is important to us and a huge weakness for China. If the US tries to stop the civil war and promote democracy there then we will have an ally against China.”

Burma is a roadblock between China and India. If Burma falls to China then it will be even more difficult to fight China in an East Asian conflict. We must help the people because the small things we do could have a big impact later on.

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About the Contributor
Karthik Ramadugu
Karthik Ramadugu, Staff Writer
Saikrishna Karthikeya Ramadugu is a sophomore. Karthik is on the speech and debate team and he likes to play funny map games. If you have a longer name than him, then good luck.

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    Ananth Teja MahankaliFeb 27, 2024 at 11:20 am

    Very well weitten