Cynical Junta Cannot Undermine People’s Revolution

July 21st, 2023  •  Author:   Progressive Voice  •  8 minute read
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“The revolution is not just about a power transfer, to change the country’s leadership, or to restore the 2020 general elections results. The revolution is not about the restoration of the 2008 Constitution. We want a new system and a new era.”

Dr. Tayzar San, a political activist

More than two years since the illegal coup attempt, the capacity of the Myanmar military junta is severely dwindling. The junta is desperate as it loses more and more ground day by day. This is, of course, due to the collective efforts and unrelenting resistance of people across the country to eradicate the decades-long military dictatorship once and for all, which is the root cause of the past and present crises of the country. With their generations-long experience, the people of Myanmar were not surprised that the junta started to use one of its last resorts in a desperate attempt to gain legitimacy that the Myanmar people have categorically rejected: State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been imprisoned as a political hostage by the junta since the illegal coup attempt. It is nothing new but a repeat of the same old playbook that successive Myanmar military dictators have used in their history. ASEAN and the international community must not be fooled by this trick or knowingly follow into the junta’s trap.

The news of the meeting between Thailand’s caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi first appeared in the dubious PanOrient News. PanOrient’s President, Khaldon Azhari, has a close relationship with the Myanmar military, as evident in his separate meetings with the junta and his positive remarks that were reported by the junta’s propaganda mouthpiece. While the alleged meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was later covered by several media outlets, the public is still in the dark about any concrete details of the meeting itself. It is impossible to authenticate the meeting as only the Thai Foreign Minister and the junta claim it, so the public has no way of verifying this directly from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Plus, this claim lacks public trust as the Thai Foreign Minister is clearly an ally of the military junta, as can be seen vividly from his and the junta’s claim that the meeting was “only private between the two.” In response, the General Strike Coordination Body (GSCB), which consists of over 40 strike committees spanning all states and territories across the country, stressed that “regardless of the veracity or accuracy of this news, we consider it to be an instance of political abuse perpetrated by the terrorist military group and its allies. It reflects their disdain for the people of Myanmar and the international community, including ASEAN.”

It is blatantly obvious that the military junta intentionally used the name of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi just two days ahead of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 11 – 12 July 2023. By cooperating with its closest ally from neighboring Thailand, an ASEAN Member State, the junta once again attempted to manipulate and divide ASEAN, further sabotaging the regional bloc’s efforts – albeit failing – to address the Myanmar crisis. This insincere attempt of the junta, to exploit ASEAN and the international community’s lack of understanding of people’s revolution or naive belief that Myanmar’s Spring Revolution solely hinges on State Counsellor, merely reveals its ignorance and scheming. The opposite is true. As per the General Strike Collaboration Committee (GSCC)’s announcement, “Spring Revolution is built on Principles, not a Person.” This astonishing people’s movement against the illegal military junta is not counting on any popular figurehead. The 2021 Spring Revolution was born out of the people, is driven by the people, and strives for the people – not by or for one single leader or figure.

This old tactic of the military junta to twist the public narrative on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also proves the continuing failure of its coup attempt. It merely speaks to the military’s desperation to gain legitimacy and recognition from ASEAN and the international community. ASEAN and the international community must also understand that the Myanmar military has never had the genuine will for a ‘peace dialogue’. Rather, it maliciously uses the term purely for political gain to hold onto power.

One single piece of evidence already confirms the above claim. While ASEAN’s Foreign Ministers were gathering for its 56th AMM on 11 July, the junta launched aerial attacks targeting an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp near Karenni State’s border with Thailand, leaving four displaced civilians injured, and a displaced man and a 10-year-old child dead. Schools and clinics were also destroyed. One day after, the terrorist military burned down 50 houses in Yinmabin Township, Sagaing Region. A 98-year-old woman was burned alive during this incident. These are just a few of the countless cases amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity under international human rights law and the Geneva Conventions, which are being committed by the military junta against the people of Myanmar on a daily basis.

The world must not fall into the military junta’s trap or, worse, take this as an excuse to normalize relationship with this illegal entity, risking complicity in the junta’s international crimes. ASEAN and the international community have yet to find a solution in accordance with the will of the people of Myanmar to address the escalating crisis caused by the junta. As Khin Ohmar, Founder and Chairperson of Progressive Voice, stated “Together with the UN Security Council, ASEAN must take a more assertive approach to cease the junta’s atrocity crimes, reject its claim to legitimacy, and reflect the people’s aspiration to topple military tyranny and establish a federal democratic Myanmar.” Only ASEAN’s formal engagements and meaningful and transparent consultation with key and legitimate stakeholders of Myanmar — including the National Unity Government, the National Unity Consultative Council, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations, and civil society — will be an ethical and pragmatic approach acceptable to the Myanmar people. ASEAN and the international community must remind themselves of the Myanmar people’s will and aspiration that, as Dr. Tayzar San, a political activist, said, “The revolution is not just about a power transfer, to change the country’s leadership, or to restore the 2020 general elections results. The revolution is not about the restoration of the 2008 Constitution. We want a new system and a new era.”


[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term ‘Myanmar’ in acknowledgement that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of ‘Myanmar’ rather than ‘Burma’ without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten. Thus, under certain circumstances, ‘Burma’ is used.

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Progressive Voice is a participatory, rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 transitioning to a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization called Progressive Voice. For further information, please see our press release “Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice.”