The Wailing of Myanmar

Ever since the military coup on February 2, Myanmar has been tossed into chaos and savagery. As civilians continue to protest on the streets, over 500 people, including children, have been killed in the violence so far by the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military. There are innumerable reports about barbarous killings and inhuman torture coming out of the country. The situation is devastating.

The military has turned the country into a war-zone. People who are holding peaceful processions are being confronted with live bullets and other lethal weapons, causing immeasurable damage to life and property. The military has been responsible for mass killings of protestors, and the number of deaths is rising with each passing day. A New York Times piece quoted an officer of the Tatmadaw, where he spoke of how many in the military “see protesters as criminals”.

The killings and the response of the military as a whole are becoming more brutal and ruthless as they fight for power. Undoubtedly, these are grave violations of human rights that call for the attention of the international community.

People walk on a street as barricades burn behind them during a protest against the military coup, in Mandalay, Myanmar. Photo: Reuters

It is impossible to imagine the agony and hopelessness that the people of Myanmar are going through. Their freedoms have been seized, homes taken away, and their families are being broken at the hands of the military. It is also clear that people are running out of options when it comes to military aggression.

As a result, as can be see on social media posts, some have reportedly started to build bunkers as a measure against air bombings, while others have taken to forests for safety. Moreover, hundreds of youth are also believed to be joining the Federal Army, an army of movements that stands united against the Myanmar military, with the hope of regaining their homes and freedom.

Images uploaded on Facebook show civilians digging bunkers and creating safe spaces.

At this point, many in Myanmar and around the world are looking at the leaders of the international community, particularly the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations, to act as a saviour. It is clear that the world should not look at such widespread human riots violation as an “internal issue” that can only be solved internally. The war that the military declared on the people is a war against humanity and must get a fitting response.

The people of Myanmar cannot be left to defend themselves alone.

Also read: On Bloodiest Day for Myanmar Civilians, India Attends Military Parade by Coup Leaders

The international community cannot look away, it must warn the Myanmar military against more alarming violations of human rights. The heinous deaths of so many men, women and children should not be wasted – and instead, must shape a better future for the people, their aspirations and their land.

The world must act fast and save Myanmar from its own guns and bullets. Let the world remind itself that human lives are more than economic prosperity, and the wicked hunger for power.

Let us be more humane, and stand for the rights of the people of Myanmar. Especially when it comes to neighbouring countries like us, let us not think twice about accepting them into our lands and honour their right to life.

We cannot send them back to die.

Janghaolun Haokip studies at Manipur Theological College, Kangpokpi.

Featured image: A man uses a slingshot during a protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, March 28, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Stringer