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Opinion |  Support the resistance in Myanmar

What the generals may not have anticipated was the fury of the people and the fearlessness of a new generation of protesters inspired by the civil disobedience movements in Hong Kong and Thailand. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets or quit their jobs in the days following the coup. Young demonstrators imbued the resistance with an almost carnival atmosphere, including projecting defiant images of a dove of peace, the three-fingered salute from “The Hunger Games” and the smiling face of the buildings on the sides of the buildings. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. General Min Aung Hlaing’s face, by contrast, has been regularly degraded on posters and online. A hacked state news media website began broadcasting the message: “We want democracy! Reject the military coup! Justice for Myanmar! “

There is of course a dark side to this story. No similar mass demonstration has been organized against the brutal harassment by the Rohingya minority army, forcing many people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, or against the exclusion of many ethnic minorities from participation in the general elections. The international moral reputation of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, once a democracy and human rights hero, was severely tarnished when she failed to publicly protect Rohingya Muslims and defended their treatment by the military before the International Court of Justice. She has also been criticized for her intolerance of criticism and for blocking the rise of a new generation of leaders.

But this month’s military coup also showed how tenuous Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s authority was under a powerful military caste who, as has now been made clear, was never ready to go. really share the power. What she might have done had she wielded independent power cannot be known, but Myanmar’s chances of shaping a fair coexistence of its many minorities must be much stronger under a democratic and fully civilian government than under a military junta. illegitimate. Regardless of her compromised reputation in the world, for many Burmese, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of the founding father of modern Myanmar, remains the face of opposition to the dictatorship of generals.

Washington’s response has been refreshingly quick and severe in condemning the coup, compared to the pampering of strongmen and disinterest in human rights under the Trump administration. President Biden’s team has announced that it is imposing sanctions on the generals, preventing them from accessing $ 1 billion in funds held by their government in America. As might be expected, China and Russia have already made it clear that they will block any attempt at action through the United Nations Security Council.

What is happening in Myanmar is not about a single woman, nor even the myriad of complex issues facing the country. This is an election that was stolen by men wearing embroidered epaulettes with a history of treating the country as a personal stronghold. The Burmese, by the millions, have courageously demonstrated that they do not want to be ruled by a corrupt, arbitrary, abusive and incompetent army. In this they deserve the full support of the world.

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