The Burmese military coup of February 1 brutally interrupted the process of democratization. The lady’s party, Aung San Suu Kyi, had just triumphed in the elections last November, with more than 80% of the vote. An electoral setback for the military! Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hundreds of people were arrested. The demonstrators demand their release. We hear in the parades: “Give us back our elected government”, “respect our vote”. Prayer chains are organized. This is what Fondacio members do on site.
On the eastern border of India and Bangladesh, Myanmar, also called Burma, has 54 million inhabitants and more than 130 ethnic groups. The dominant ethnic majority (65% of the population) is Burmese Buddhist. Respect for and consideration of ethnic minorities are essential for the political stability of the country. This is why, and not without difficulties and clashes, the democratization process must improve the situation of ethnic minorities in order to eradicate the violence and poverty which affect these discriminated populations.
The country, close to dynamic markets (India, China and ASEAN), with abundant and still under-exploited natural resources, is experiencing economic development – around 6% GDP growth between 2016 and 2019. Establishing democracy and the rule of law on a lasting basis are important issues for a fair redistribution of wealth. These, growing, attract the greed of the most powerful who want to profit from it for themselves and by force.
Gen Z shows determination in protest against military coup
An asset of the country is its relatively young population (27.6% are under 14 years old). The 17-30 year olds present themselves as Generation Z. Too young to have known previous military regimes and bloody repressions, they are not afraid to gather in their tens of thousands to defy the ban on demonstrations, inspiration from recent protest movements in other countries. This generation Z is determined because in today’s struggle, its future is at stake. These young people have courage: they say that if necessary, they would be ready to die for it. The fear is there: we remember the “charges” of young students against grapeshot, during the demonstrations of 1988 which left 3,000 dead.
There are still other ways to fight. As in the Buddhist tradition, the population works to chase away evil spirits and demons, by banging on saucepans and anything that can make noise, at 8 am every evening. Against arms, a peaceful, spiritual and psychological struggle is underway. To be in communion with generation Z, the young people of Fondacio propose to put a candle on the corner of the windows at 8:30 a.m.; in the face of darkness, the fight of this generation Z is that of Light.