This article was submitted by a United States citizen who now resides in Myanmar and has witnessed the atrocities by the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw). Due to safety concerns, he asked to keep his identity anonymous.
WHY SHOULD AMERICA CARE ABOUT MYANMAR?
As I write this at least 550 people (as of April 3, 2021) have been murdered in Myanmar as a result of excessive force by the Myanmar Military (Tatmadaw). As I write this, another 50 people have been reported killed today. Tatmadaw has not only targeted men, but women and children -victims as young as 5 and 7 years of age, killed. Myanmar is not in the middle of a war; it is ground zero for one of the most inhumane campaigns of military force conducted against unarmed civilians in recent years. The people of Myanmar have no arms, no weapons – they are not soldiers. They are asking simply for the fundamental right to choose.
As I write this, America stays silent. The US media continues to focus on partisan politics, racial wars that do not exist, and even more appalling the Royal family scandals – not giving any justifiable airtime to these atrocities over the past month.
To my liberal friends, I ask you this – where is the outcry for justice that you made the world hear just a year ago over one death? Do the lives of children being brutally murdered amount to anything? Where is your outrage against Russia when they supported Tatmadaw on Myanmar Armed Forces Day- the same day when their forces killed 114 unarmed civilians? Where is your outrage? Where has your voice gone? It has become apparent that all lives really do not matter to you.
To my conservative friends – you proudly pound your chest of the exceptionalism of American democracy – where is your support of a country that wishes for nothing more than to be a democracy as exceptional as America? Where is your same outrage over China? The same China that you blame for so many of your problems – when they supported and celebrated with the same military on a day, they murdered 114 unarmed civilians? Why is that same anger and fury not directed towards China now for supporting this evil in Myanmar? How can you be silent and still be the greatest country on earth?
WHERE IS AMERICA?
I know where you are – you are fighting among each over wars that do not exist, problems that only affect your privilege while the rest of the world bleeds. You choose to take out your frustrations on each other over a virus that was not even started in your country or an election that happened over 4 years ago. You come up with reasons in your head to feel that you are the ones that are victims of the privileged. Yet, you ignore the hard truth that every American is born into privilege compared to the reality much of the world lives in. Your fellow American is not your enemy – your enemy is beyond your shores and their influence spreads the sort of evil that is happening in Myanmar across the world.
America is not perfect. America’s democracy is far from perfect, but even with all its missteps it still serves as a beacon of hope for the people of Myanmar in this darkness. Help them.
THE PEOPLE OF MYANMAR
Why have I stayed? Not for money – there always more money in other places and certainly plenty of easier ways to make even more money in safer places.
There were over a thousand Americans in the country on February 1st when the coup happened. Less than 50 are left. Some stayed because they felt ashamed to leave – many stayed and even spoke up because it was the right thing to do. All, like the people of Myanmar, have now seen men die. Women die, children die. It is time for the rest of America back home to speak up for the people of Myanmar with them.
There is not a 1% in Myanmar – there is a .001% of wealthy while the rest have been oppressed with poverty for decades.Yet, their fight still is not about money or being victims of the privileged, it is about setting their country free. This has not happened much in history of the world, maybe not even since America’s independence in 1775. Where an alliance of students and workers, boys and girls, farmers and engineers, women, and men; sought their freedom from an aristocracy, because make no mistake – that is exactly what Tatmadaw is, an aristocracy.
This fight is about setting people free. Myanmar should be a free land, not divided by lines of ethnic armed groups and military rule, but free for all the people born here – from Yangon to the Indian Ocean. No person should have to be born here without a voice. They simply want a country that judge’s people by their own merit, not by who their father was.
It is this same fight that America is fighting –the fight for the idea that WE ALL HAVE EQUAL VALUE.
It is time for Americans to realize their duty to the world and speak up for the people of Myanmar, because in the end – we are fighting for each other.