Tag Archives: Myanmar

Myanmar’s Spring Revolution: a history from below

Women factory workers took to the streets and catalysed a mass movement

By Ko Maung.  Published 12-15-2021 by openDemocracy

Protest in Myanmar against Military Coup Feb. 14,2021. Photo: MgHla (aka) Htin Linn Aye/Wilimedia Commons/CC

A year before the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar, striking workers from the Tai Yi shoe factory protested in front of their workplace to demand an increase in their daily wages. To raise their spirits, the workers sang the revolutionary anthem, ‘Thway Thitsar’.

In Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, the mass movement against the 2021 coup, ‘Thway Thitsar’ could be heard all over the country. “The present is critical, brothers and sisters. We must have solidarity.” A regular feature of workers’ protests, the anthem had now become part of the revolutionary movement. I say this not to highlight the song itself, but to call attention to the history of worker organising and struggle in Myanmar – a history that laid the groundwork for the Spring Revolution. Simply put, had workers not previously organised unions inside their factories, the protests that catalysed the Spring Revolution would not have happened. The February 6 protests ignited the anger of people across the country and led to nation-wide protests in the days that followed. Continue reading

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2021 Saw Record ‘Surge’ of 488 Journalists Detained Worldwide, Report Reveals

“The extremely high number of journalists in arbitrary detention is the work of three dictatorial regimes.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-16-2021 by Common Dreams

The president of IJAVN Pham Chi Dung (right), its vice president Nguyen Tuong Thuy (left), and its editor Le Huu Minh Tuan (center, back) are seen during their trial in Ho Chi Minh City’s people’s court in Vietnam. (Photo: Luat Khoa/RSF)

Reporters Without Borders announced Thursday that this year has featured a 20% surge in the number of journalists arbitrarily detained worldwide, documenting at least 488 cases, the highest figure since the global press freedom group began its annual roundup in 1995.

There are also at least 65 journalists being held hostage around the world, according to the group, also known by its French name, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). Continue reading

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Incarceration of Journalists Hits All-Time High Amid ‘Growing Intolerance of Independent Reporting’

“This is the sixth year in a row that CPJ has documented record numbers of journalists imprisoned around the world.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-9-2021 by Common Dreams

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an imprisoned journalist, a native of Philadelphia, and author of ten books penned in prison. He’s been in prison for 39 years. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

Nearly 300 journalists are currently languishing behind bars around the globe—an all-time high in recorded history—according to a new report published Thursday by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which described 2021 as “an especially bleak year for defenders of press freedom.”

The U.S.-based nonprofit’s annual prison census found that 293 reporters were incarcerated worldwide as of December 1, up from the previous record-high of 280 last year. Continue reading

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In First, US Labeled ‘Backsliding’ Democracy as Global Authoritarianism Grows

A new report calls the rejection of the 2020 election results by many in the Republican Party as an “historic turning point” for the United States.

By Julia Conley. Published 11-22-2021 by Common Dreams

The Capitol riot. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

For the first time in its four years of compiling annual data on the state of democracy around the world, an international think tank added the United States to its list of “backsliding” democracies in the report it released Monday, pointing to factors including politicians’ continued false claims that the 2020 presidential election results were illegitimate as one of the key elements weakening the country’s democratic system.

The Global State of Democracy report, released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), called former President Donald Trump’s public questioning of the election results in November 2020 “a historic turning point” both for U.S. democracy and the world, pointing to a knock-on effect in several countries. Continue reading

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Will Facebook respect international rights or the whims of angry rulers?

A muddle of decisions indicates that Facebook and its ‘Supreme Court’ are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights

By Linda Bonyo   Published 10-18-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Louis Jadwong/Twitter

Facebook’s ‘Trump ban’ received breathless coverage earlier this year, when the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) – the supposedly independent entity established by the tech giant to adjudicate its content decisions – ‘ruled’ that the former president’s ban from the social media site should be upheld.

Experts from WIRED’s Gilad Edelman to scholar Kate Klonick have used the Trump decision to argue that the FOB is working.

But buried amidst that coverage – and that surrounding Facebook’s botched handling of COVID disinformation – are a muddle of decisions indicating that Facebook and its Oversight Board are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights. In fact, they may be headed towards a showdown. Continue reading

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‘Critical First Step’ But ‘Long Overdue’: Biden Repeals Trump Sanctions on the ICC

“Trump’s sanctions set a dangerous precedent for attacks on victims, lawyers, human rights advocates, and courts.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2021

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda speaking at the Oslo Forum in 2014. Photo: Stine Merethe Eid/CC

Progressives in Congress and human rights organizations on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s repeal of sanctions on the International Criminal Court imposed under former President Donald Trump in a bid to pressure the Hague-based tribunal to not investigate alleged U.S. and Israeli crimes.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in a statement that President Joe Biden revoked Trump’s Executive Order 13928, “ending the threat and imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the court.” Continue reading

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‘Kill Me Instead’: Despite Nun’s Pleas, Military Junta Shoots Pro-Democracy Protesters in Myanmar

“We heard loud gunshots, and saw that a young kid’s head had exploded, and there was a river of blood on the street,” said Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng. “We need to value life. It made me feel so sad.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-9-2021

“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead,” Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng said of her attempt to dissuade police officers in Myitkyina, Myanmar from shooting people at a pro-democracy demonstration on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Twitter screengrab via Reuters)

Kneeling before a group of police officers in a northern Myanmar city on Monday, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng courageously begged the forces of the country’s new military junta to refrain from shooting pro-democracy activists—a plea that was ultimately ignored by the officers who went on to kill at least two people and injure several others as the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations against last month’s coup continues.

“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead,” Tawng told AFP on Tuesday after a video of the incident went viral. Continue reading

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UN Leaders Demand Myanmar Coup Regime ‘Stop the Repression’ as Military and Police Kill 18

“The international community must stand in solidarity with the protestors and all those seeking a return to democracy in Myanmar.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-1-2021

Rohingya youth marching in Yangon on February 28, 2021. Photo: Tun Khin/Twitter

United Nations leaders on Sunday condemned the Myanmar coup regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters—which killed at least 18 people—in cities across the Southeast Asian nation over the weekend as demonstrators defiantly took to the streets again on Monday to demand a return to civilian rule.

In a Sunday statement, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres, said the U.N. chief “strongly condemned” the regime’s repression and “is deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries.” Continue reading

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Facebook: Genocide is Cool but Don’t Threaten our Profits

“Facebook’s willingness to block credible news sources also stands in sharp distinction to the company’s poor track record in addressing the spread of hateful content and disinformation on the platform.” — Tim O’Connor, Amnesty International Australia

By Alan Macleod  Published 2-19-2021 by MintPress News

Photo: Anthony Quintano/flickr?CC

Australia’s 18 million Facebook users woke up yesterday to find that, without warning, local and global news sites were unavailable, meaning that they could not view or share news at all. Facebook users across the world were also unable to read or access any Australian news publications. The tech giant had taken the step of essentially shutting down its site and “unfriending” an entire nation in response to the government’s proposals to tax them.

Lawmakers in Canberra had drawn up plans to “level the playing field” between social media giants and the traditional press. In practice, this would mean Facebook and Google handing over a sizable chunk of their advertising profits to the government to subsidize struggling news outlets, on whom they depend for content. Continue reading

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Aung San Suu Kyi overlooked Myanmar’s deepest problems

Ambition drove the military’s coup. But long before that, the country’s deposed leader squandered many opportunities for real change

By Khin Zaw Win.  Published 2-12-2021 by openDemocracy

Aung San Suu Kyi ‘failed to pay attention’ to Myanmar’s ethnic groups. Photo: Comune Parma/CC

The Myanmar coup is a sad and onerous turn of events for a country with a long and unhappy experience of military rule. It is important to note that this is not an institutional crisis. What we are witnessing is a squabble among court factions for the throne.

In such power struggles, the wellbeing of the country and the people generally aren’t of concern. The military’s attitude in this regard is well known, but there would have been higher expectations of the country’s ousted party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Continue reading

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