Myanmar coup: Death knell for democracy? |

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nobel peace prize laureate aung san tsuchi is back under house arrest in myanmar facing trumped-up bills of illegally importing walkie-talkies the military demoted her and the country’s elected authority on monday declaring a nation of emergency for the next 12 months its brain claimed the army’s side was pressured by mass voter fraud in november’s elections which aung san tsuchi’s party won by a landslide she called for supporters to protest the intervention but is it too late our claim myanmar coup death knell for republic[ Music] welcome to to the point it’s a pleasure to introduce our guests yasmine lor works for the independent social science research institute giga and she says members of the international community has been living in denial for a long time the military has never certainly wanted to see real democratic change in myanmar and with us is felix hyduk from the berlin-based policy and discipline think tank swp his opinion the takeover has put an end to myanmar‘s illiberal and partly autocratic transition to democracy and it’s great to welcome my colleague suchi van bhumerzum from dw’s asia desk she believes the military seizure of ability could lead to deadly savagery the military will reinforce a culture of abuse and impunity threatening to end human rights and economic stability in myanmar so let me go straight away to yusuchi with that mention of deadly violence in your opening evidence so far the streets appear to be relatively calm so how would you assess the potential for bloodshed going forward the lane that i see it that the reason uh beings are not demonstrating just yet on taints is i think for the reason that they are very scared and they know that the military has had a very brutal history of murderou violence and the person or persons in the generation that examined the 1988 uprising and murderou crackdown on anti-government protesters and watched uh their family members slaughtered before their attentions they were this is a sort of deja vu for them and so this is just a reminder of what the military is capable of and that the reason they are not protesting yet i think they will find more creative lanes merely occasion will tell but for now most people the the number one concern i think when people woke up in myanmar on monday was uh the fear of their security of their loved ones and their personal safety can i go back out in the street as before as before because they know that in the time when the military governed it was a whole different life yes man you say the military never genuinely wanted democratic convert nevertheless it’s decided to tear down the democratic facade it had tolerated why now well i think a major reason are the november uh 2020 elections in which the nld was confirmed in power in a avalanche victory ld being chuchi’s party being on sunday’s party that had mostly left the the liberalization or opening process um and i think the military and its the party it backs the usdp had also overestimated their own showing in these elections even though that’s surprising because it was probably obvious that beings still uh overwhelmingly supported the nld so i think this um the nld being reconfirmed in power was a major reason because the military might have been afraid or was probably afraid that nld would now push further push further reforms perhaps by amending the constitution of 2008 which the military had drafted initially in order to preserve many of its subjects or by more insidious directions such as forming the government of the united states more civilian and like get it out of military control um so with this reconfirmation that the nld micro more powerful in in limiting the part of the military and uh felix let me get your take on the same point uh yasmine just mentioned the military had actually built see over particular provinces in fact behind that democratic facade that i mentioned countless political offices and 25 of parliamentary benches were reserved for army police why is that no longer enough for the military i think that’s not the spot here the point is that the military clearly for reasonableness unbeknownst to me felt the are of the view that these sovereignties were threatened um because of this triumph ballot victory in november 2020 and the horror this was i can only conjecture apparently on this but the suspicion seems to have been that also replaced and the nld would now make good on their predict on their election campaign promise to for charter convert for constitutional vary and also for the further demilitarization that’s that’s where i agree with jasmine further demilitarization of the administration of the civil service in the country and so on and so forth so here we see that some of those dictatorial rights that the military mostly safeguarded into the brand-new democratic era were actually in the view of the military threatened so the facade was cracking sochi the state of emergency is supposed to last a year followed by a free and fair election i’m quoting there that was the advertisement made by the military so what’s likely to happen during this 12 -month period and can we expect the army to keep its promise that whoever winnings the election following that will actually govern uh i think there are two different areas to the queen beings do say that the military in myanmar has had a do keep up to their word um that they do fulfill even though those words of predicts might be somewhat merciless they have fulfilled what they would do for example they have always maintained ballots the last elections were re-held after they predicted that nonetheless i also think that um[ Music] the military forces this coup on monday has also evidence just how irrational uh they are and what they um how little they are actually thinking of the well-being of the people of myanmar and i think everything on monday this very coup in itself just shows that the military is capable of very crazy action and that they cannot keep their promises and prioritize the people of myanmar let’s sound a few cases articulates from the people of myanmar she has urged her partisans to show their foe but so far the street ought to have somewhat placid nonetheless the feeling is tangible i feel the army assaulted the people when it staged this coup on the civilian authority i’m exceedingly disturbed i have been crying all day i’ve been crying all day he’s the bad guy how could he do something like this yes want the he in that last statement refers to the army’s commander-in-chief min when the national league for democracy the nld came into power in 2016 the general appeared in public with aung tsuchi he seemed satisfied to work with her so what converted for him personally some media are saying corruption may be partly at bet here is that right um well i think on this site we can really merely speculate because the military the military property squads for us is is mainly a black box uh for eyewitness i necessitate he has been the army chief of staff uh for a long time once um and he seemed for a while as you said to be comfortable with this power sharing sequence with the military harbouring the security relevant ministries with uh dnld having other departments and the serves that relate to the strictly civilian provinces such as labor policy financial plan well we know that he and his family are also involved in a lot of businesses uh harboured monopolies over specific enterprises have interests there um but i i think the main which perhaps likewise associates a little to the question of whether the military is irrational i think what we really have to understand that this it’s it’s members of the military mindset you know it’s a military thinking it’s about having do can they still control the process in the way they require it and and this goes back to my own testimony i mean they never craved uh to have a liberal republic what they wanted to have was what they call train prospering republic so you know are they still in control of the whole uh process and is also the military as the core is it intact as the unit is functioning are the great interest not warned so i think this is this this is what they’re really at let me ask you felix um to give us a sense of whether you think that countless many beings in myanmar share the opinion of of those articulations that we heard in that report the fact is so far we’ve seen merely isolated objections in response to monday’s coup but would you expect uh more foe would you expect that to gain momentum i think the this these sentiments are widely shared that’s what i would assume at least uh given the the the data that’s available on this um and i think uh anger is attaching as well amongst the general population because of the little support the coup actually has and armed interventions into politics generally have very very little support in in myanmar because of myanmar‘s particular biography nonetheless the question seems to be then and what’s next will there be some will it gain impetu will it be one method or the other via chirp facebook is has been shut down effectively as of today via titter or other social media canals will there be some sort of organization of mass objections where people come out and force i think that’s what we need to to look out for would you say there’s anything behind the army’s claims that there were breaches during the election has there been any proof of that from independent sees no so most international observers have said that the election was largely fair and translucent and also there are commentators there are kind of comparing uh the military‘s reaction to um after how donald trump greeted after the election claiming it was rigged and it was a fraud and i think similarly the military is using this tactic to call to kind of stall time and uh to do to schedule their next move and but however most international observers am told that the it was over 75 to 80 percentage that they voted for aung suchi’s democratic party yes man international observers have also been observing uh with quite a bit of surprise about the charges against aung sang suchi as i mentioned she’s accused of having illegally imported 10 waukee talkies which seems laughable and just like a substantial basis for discrediting a nobel peace prize laura yet do these fees nonetheless have potentially serious consequences they do they plainly do i mean the law under which he was charged is really notorious it’s very weak and it was also used during armed settle to imprison dissidents uh that’s one thing um and actually i think the most important background is that once somebody is convicted of criminal charges he or she cannot run for office again and so i think this is the main strategy behind it that they want to keep her from operating for bureau next time when polls are held and um yeah you were also asking whether there will whether elections will be held in a year’s time or whenever i think uh they might actually hold elections but um they will before they will create an erratic playing field in part of this is to bar aung san tsuji from guiding so the elections in november as has been mentioned were in fact uh triumphed with a landslide by aung sang suchi’s national league for democracy despite some recent discolours on her honour the nobel peace prize lawyer who squander roughly 15 years under house arrest during her long resistance to armed ruler is hero-worship at home in myanmar aung san tsuchi is respected around the world she’s been the recipient of several status including the european parliament’s sakura prize and the nobel prize in 2010 her growing popularity combined with mounting international influence finally pressured myanmar‘s military junta to elevate her house arrest and grant democratic agrees 5 years later her nld defendant won an absolute majority of votes in the first free elections su chi became the country’s minister of foreign affairs and de facto head of government but the military led by army chief workers long retained its grasp on supremacy meaning that su chi remained a head of government at the mercy of the military as a result basic democratic freedoms like freedom of the press and protection for minorities remained elusive during her time in power is this the end of aung san tsuchi felix let me pass that last question right on to you is this the end of aung tsuchi the end of her ability to influence political developments in her country well i wouldn’t say so um i think that we must differentiate between the formal political process and there i agree with jasmine it very much looks like these trumped-up bills will quite possibly to be translated into her turn virtually becoming barred from moving for public role that includes actually the wider nld leader she won’t be the only one that’s what i expect that will be charged on some walkie-talkie or what are you incident infringing begrudge conventions there will be some fabrications in that tendency by the military government i’m moderately certain on that however outside of the formal political process process street politics um mobilization of the opposition parties and so on and so forth i don’t think she will disappear from the public mind anytime soon maybe that’s what members of the general are hoping for but i can’t see that happening because the the newer biography of of myanmar also with regards to her uh over a decade of house arrest shows that she was never genuinely apart in matters of of of wielding political influence nonetheless informal that was let me ask you a speedy follow-up question pertaining once again to your opening affirmation which referred to the illiberal and partly authoritarian transition to democracy did she actually achieve anything substantive for her country in terms of moving toward democracy or was she in the end virtually a marionette of the military forces no i wouldn’t say the letter is true i don’t think she was a marionette in any way of the military i think um at in certain aspects she’s actually she wasn’t anti-military she they were squabbles with the military leadership but for example if you look at the rohingya issue if you look at also the medication of other ethnic minorities you can see that she shared some of the affections shall we say that are prevalent in the military forces but also in the wider population on how to address ethnic quarrel on how to deal with quote-unquote illegal immigrants because this was the name or the or the the note used for the rohingya so there you can see i think some sort of coming together nonetheless basically since 2012 since 2012 we have this almost zero-sum logic con conflict between the nld and onson suchi on the other on the one paw and the military forces on the other over who basically flows the country so i don’t think she was a marionette at all they were really butting honchoes and over the last year this has really hardened and from what we know communication actually between the military leadership and the civilian leader led by angstroms that effectively had broken down for some time so tsuchi your opening account mentioned human rights but she in the end was no unsullied advocate of human rights as already mentioned she actually denied that ethnic brutality was being perpetrated by the military against rohingya muslim communities and she even traveled to the hague to defend her country against commissions of carnage was that her own do do you think or would she have been compelled to do so by the military so uh a lot of uh there’s a lot of opinion and different polemics around this topic but i think that aung suchi the murder uh behaves against the rohingya parties um were committed primarily by the at the leadership of the military and as we are talking about before the military actually maintains a lot more power they always have in myanmar and aung talk sushi some people have said she is kind of the pawn of the military to some extent and it’s always a question about accommodation how far is she willing to to what dimension can we fight for democracy at the mitts of bloodshed so she’s um uh she has uh denied uh holocaust against the rohingya people even though the united nations and the international criminal tribunal they have found substantial evidence of widespread violence and genocidal ordinances against the rohingya people however to the fullest extent that we know that aung suchi is personally responsible she is just the face of many people responsible for these acts of violence and um and this is i think the big debate also is where like to what are we willing to fight for democracy in what reputation because all these people rohingya parties in rakhine position thousands have been killed and yes i think aung sangsuchi she was trying to keep the military and her gathering and the struggle for democracy on the level um and people say that if she had spoken sooner against laura hinja then maybe the takeover would have happened sooner let me ask you yasmine uh about uh commander-in-chief min fang’s own suggest or own involvement in the violence “hes been” denounced internationally including by the united nations human rights council and sanctioned for his role in the violence wreaked against the rohingya so what would you say this coup which gives him more capability will means for muslim communities in myanmar well i think the situation uh will deteriorate what we have seen still further will degenerate um i convey already when the mass extermination against the rohingya was committed the civilian parts of the government did not have much button over what happened in rakhine state and sansoji is unquestionably to blame for not defending the rohingya for not coming out in defense of the rohingya for not defending human rights even though she was a human rights icon at the time but the mid the civilian parts of the government didn’t control the situation on the soil and it was the military who restrained the situation on the grind and it still does in rakhine district um and what what ad what’s lent on now is that we have even less transparency uh of what’s actually happening in these areas even less oversight even though there was no there has never been proper civilian oversight to speak of in the first place felix looking at the clock don’t have a lot of time left so i would like to talk about members of the international community and what it can and should do in response to the coup the united nations security council met but made no action not least of course because of russian and chinese influence the u.s state department and the german cooperation ministry are thinking about cutting off support would that make a difference should countries even wish to consider sanctions against the military regime or would that simply push myanmar into the arms of china well um for start sanctions once do exist because of the rohingya crisis and have and and coming from the eu coming from the us um so that’s already the occurrence i think it’s very likely that they will be extended and expanded in the wake of the military coup so for the sole reason that i think uh western governments won’t stand by in in the face of a military coup and and it are essentially propel sanctions in response will they make a difference that’s a different question there my answer would be most likely not at least not in the short or in midterm view why because of if we look at the myanmar‘s history and and specially the role of the military we see that has been for quite some time sort of immune to external pressures that includes sanctions members of the general has already been did fairly okay have actually done fairly okay even during the course of its heydays of myanmar basically being a pariah state internationally through their business dealings with china through moving money to singapore to hong kong residents and other regions so it actually feigns mischievously the general population extremely the poor people in the country but it’s not the title inclination i think to really threw a lot of push on the military forces itself such your statement mentioned financial fallout from the coup in fact myanmar‘s economy abounded as the generals were unwinding uh their grasp do you think that will change will this prevent foreign investment briefly if you are able to yes i think that now that myanmar is under coup for a year this will sternly at least impact the tourism industry uh myanmar has come to open its openings to numerous sightseers at one point myanmar had one of the highest percentage of newcoming tourists in the world and now that’s all shut down and tourists are probably they are too scared of the situation the security situation is not uh is not good for tourism at this time and a lot of beings rely on the informal economy in tourism to make ends meet yes let me very quickly come back to our name uh death knell for republic and ask whether you think whether you think the prospects for republic medium to long term are now dead um for republic yes i signify what i’m mostly expecting to see is a situation like under the feinstein government uh when the military loosened a little and opened up the country a bit between 2010 and 2011 but remained fully in charge too of the political manipulates of the country through its proxy gathering the usdp and i think we’re likely to see a similar scenario in the future after the military possess some anatomy of unfair elections thank you thank you to all of you for “ve been with” us thanks to you out there for carolling in see you soon you

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