Democracy in Myanmar HistoryMyanmar's history of democracy
Democracy's future in Myanmar
Myanmar (also known as Burma) had its first election in 25 years on 8 November 2015. Following five years of violent armed conflict, the opponents, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), won a landmark election win that most commentators said was free and relatively even.
Many in Myanmar and abroad hope after the election that the general will be able to give up his or her key leadership in Myanmar in a peaceful manner and allow the nation to make a historical democratic transformation. Myanmar's armed forces continue to exercise great powers, the NLD has no expertise in dealing with large and complicated bureaucratic bodies, there is still a high incidence of corrupt practices, and Myanmar's relations with China are tense.
NLD triumph is one of the most encouraging events in Myanmar's recent history, but there is still a long way to go before the country's policy futures are secured. This is the first election since 1990, when the election won an unprecedented win. At the time, the Burmese army just ignored the results and arrested NLD leader and activist.
Though in 2011 the army gave nominal control to a civil state, high ranking commanders occupied all important administrative posts. After almost three years in the ruling NLD will have to turn into a ruling political group. In the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Army ) this year, regimes civil servants and army commanders seem to have been underestimating the popularity of their political parties, the Union Solidarity and Development Partisans.
Nearly everyone outside the armed forces said Suu Kyi's NLD would be a great victory, but the USDP believed it had gained some support among the population after five years of liberalisation, both economically and politically.
Democracy processes: Perspective of Myanmar
" This was the words of a young Rohingya girl that the New York Times heard in mid-October when she told about the horrors she and her community had suffered through the hand of the Myanmar military. More than 650,000 Rohingya have escaped Myanmar since 25 August to escape the violent famines that have already caused the deaths of several hundred people.
Rohingya, a Moslem majority in predominantly Myanmar, has been persecuted for centuries for their religious beliefs and alleged "immigrant status". Every year Buddha members of their communities have violated them in wave after wave, often with the help of the policemen. Over half of the one million Rohingya living in Myanmar have been displaced and it is unlikely that any refugee will be returned to Myanmar unless the UN guarantees their security, despite discussions about returning them.
Burma was a lighthouse of hopefulness for democracy supporters in 2015 when it held its first free and free election without force; now, just two years later, it has become a tragic example of the failure of democracy. What has been the escalation of this escalating economic downturn and what does this dispute say about Myanmar and democracy as a whole?
In answering these issues, it is important to look back on Myanmar's history of forced oppression of minority communities and the advancement of the war. Much of the problem with Myanmar's minority communities is due to colonisation - among the UK people, minority groups, especially the Rohingya, were dealt with positively and with some degree of independence, while the vast majority of Burma's people were exposed to tougher politics and underemployment.
During World War II, a group from Burma under the leadership of General Aung San took the side of the Japanese, who pledged to take out the UK military and hand over the land to their people. The minority, Rohingya included, took the side of the Brits who saw them as emancipators of Burma's domination. Nearly immediately after Burma's declaration of its independence in 1948, racial groups took up the fight against the new regime in Burma.
With the mobilization of ethnical groups, the Burma Armed Forces began its decades-long struggle to end these uprisings and bring all outlying areas into the Burma outpost. With the overthrow of the civil rule in 1962 after a war putsch, this initiative came into full effect. It would last until 1988 and create many of the precedent for troubles in contemporary Myanmar.
With violent policies, the army regimes tried to curb the uprisings along the border, among them the seizure of lands, the massacre of civilised persons, the use of hard labour, the demolition of properties, acts of sex offence and indiscriminate imprisonment, many of which are now used against the Rohingya. This tactic became an integral part of the military's handling of insurrections and minority groups, along with the Burmese transformation effort, which concentrated on the annihilation of their peoples and their distinctive nationalities.
For example, these dismissal technologies are severe limitations in the construction of church buildings, the demolition of church and mosque buildings to construct buddhistic sanctuaries, and the encouragement of troops to wed minoritarian-wives. Threats were more likely to be posed to non-Buddhist groups, as the government drew some of its strength from religous authorities.
In 1988, a students' revolt and nationwide violence resulted in a new army regimes taking over, which pursued largely the same policy towards minority nationalities. Aung San Suu Kyi, sister of the heroes General Aung San, was the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the popular democracy and its nascent group.
Although heavily manipulated in favour of the army they created the conditions for the first free and equitable elections in Myanmar in 2015. While the new civil regime worked on mediating cease-fire with many of the militants ethnical groups, these militia were very distrustful of attempted arms reductions for the fear that the regime would not keep its promises and end the violence drive.
Consequently, the cease-fires are still vulnerable, although the conflicts in many areas have diminished since the civil rule was elected. There has been hope from the absence of force in the changeover to civil rule and the government's early success, but the recent Rohingya discriminations have undermined the confidence of many viewers.
Rohingya are a Moslem majority living in West Burma, Rakhine state, Bangladesh, India and Thailand. The persecution was similar to that of most other Myanmar minorities, but typical with tougher handling and outcasts.
Most of their nationality laws were revoked in 1982, reflecting the Burmese people' s shared conviction that the Rohingya are newcomers from Bangladesh who do not have the same aspirations to the state. That means that many Rohingya, who in fact have lived in West Burma as long as any other group there, feel estranged and insulated in their congregations.
Insufficient documentary evidence means that it is hard for Rohingya to go from town to town and often to bribe a large number of people. Part of the reason why this is seen is that many Buddhists in Myanmar are afraid that the Muslim Rohingya are a breeding ground of Muslim terror and that the Rohingya's aim is to overpower Myanmar and make it an Muslim state.
That faith was fuelled by the emergence of buddhistic na-tionalism since the introduction of the new democracy. Myanmar's election in 2015 made the world happy, but if Myanmar is a democracy, why has the Rohingya continued to be violated? Though Myanmar now has a civil administration de facto headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, the army still has a centre of power for the administration and the people.
a fourth of the parliamentary seat is reserved for members of the armed forces, and the armed forces are totally independent of the state. Their own financial resources are under their own steam and their chains of command are separated from those of the civillords. That means Myanmar is a mixed democracy, with civil oversight but without some of the most important principles of a fully open democracy.
In the face of the civil government's failure to exercise scrutiny over the army, one might think that there should still be something the democracy leader can do to oppose the Rohingya prosecution. Yet the secrecy of the civil administration was one of the most striking elements of the crises that led the world to comprehend how such horror could be caused by democracy-wielding leadership (including a Nobel Peace Prize laureate).
Although there are certainly powerful reasons why Aung San Suu Kyi should be able to use her powers to defend the Rohingya, it is certainly rewarding to understand the complexity of the current one. There is a great hostility to the Rohingya among the general population - many believe that Buddhism is an integral part of Myanmar's citizens and believe in the sermon of nationist friars who say that Muslims are trying to take Myanmar and make it a breeding ground for terror.
Rohingya are such a small group that the attempt to protect them makes no real policy. A weakness in matters of "national security" would make a publicly backed army putsch more likely and lead to the loss of members of the governing party's current state, for which most of them have made huge offerings.
Not only is there no real concern to defend the Rohingya, but there is a justifiable concern that their help could jeopardise the whole of democracy's rule. To call democracy in Myanmar a disaster is not as true as to acknowledge that democracy has foundered in this crises.
And, given the history of the land and the present parallels and contradictions in the structure of powers, it seems clear why. Following the first free and free and equitable elections in Myanmar, the West was delighted with an illusory fairytale that ended decade-long with authority and warfare. However, in the two years since then, the regime has failed to deliver on its commitments in almost all areas, from the economy to health and literacy.
Despite a slight decline in border struggles, profound regional and regional divides have not yet been overcome, the recent violent events being an excellent example of the continuing tension. Aung San Suu Kyi, once the beloved of the world' s population, has been held responsible by many viewers for her failure to deliver a view of democracy.
In Myanmar democracy does not yet have a real opportunity and there is still hopes that one day it could be there. Fighting for democracy in Myanmar is not an individual case of democracy difficulties, nor is it just a survey of how democracy is failing. Instead, his experiences are an important educational instrument for those who are hoping to establish democracy in regions of the globe where there are long histories of military and authority, oppression of citizenship and apparently incompatible racial division.
Myanmar should be seen by the United States as an example of how democracy is not a cure-all for the most radical and historical sectra. Ignoring the secret service, the UN had for years been warning against retaliatory measures against the Rohingya and did not want to disrupt the process of partition.
In Myanmar, for example, the case of freedom of expression leads to an increase in hatred of Muslims, which is spreading in a viral way through the public-space. There are always weak democracies, especially when there are few political and institutional procedures, and the potential for breakdown is limited by societal unrest.
If transitional democratic parties are lacking not only the necessary policy structures, but also the necessary infrastructures and financial means to deliver efficient service delivery, they will find it even more challenging to make headway. It is not impossibile to instill democracy and respect for people' s dignity in places that have been atrocities and oppressed by the state, but sometimes other problems have to be tackled before democracy can be successful.