Concerned citizens across the world are aghast at the savage brutality with which the Myanmar junta has come down upon the people. Following yet another coup on February 1, the Tatmadaw or military had seized complete control, and arrested State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and many members of her National League of Democracy (NLD) party. The people of Myanmar had risen up as one in protest at the coup and suppression of civilian democratic rights, bravely coming out to the streets in thousands in defiance of warnings from the Generals. The latter has shown no compunction in letting loose their troops on the peaceful demonstrators; the disgusting bestiality, which even involved firing of live ammunition, has by now resulted in the shocking death of at least five dozen individuals and injury to hundreds. It had been a case of unarmed protesters being pitted against heavily-armed military troops and expectedly enough the people of Myanmar have emerged as losers in the patently unequal contest. Worse still, the arrests of activists in the darkness of night has meant that over a thousand people have disappeared, no doubt taken to army prisons for interrogation and torture. All the evils that had befallen Myanmar after the coup of 1962, when General Ne Win had overthrown the civilian government and installed an authoritarian regime, have returned with a vengeance in that unfortunate nation.
And, yet once more, the international community finds itself impotent to act against the barbarism displayed by the Tatmadaw! The UN has again revealed that it is a body without teeth, both China and Russia having vetoed resolutions condemning the Myanmar junta. Since the record of these two countries in dealing with internal dissent is atrocious, that they would support the junta was all too natural. Some countries have unilaterally taken punitive action; Australia has suspended trade with Myanmar while the US, Britain and Canada have imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar’s army chiefs, their family members and other top leaders of the junta. Sadly, economic considerations appear to outweigh humane considerations with Myanmar’s neighbours of the ASEAN who have been reluctant to resort to sanctions because of loss of lucrative exports to Myanmar. The inability of the rest of the world to take concerted action against the country is likely to embolden the military leaders further and the prospect of more deaths and misery seem to be in store for the Myanmar civil population. In the case of India, political considerations appear to be paramount, and though she expressed ‘deep concern’ over the developments, she has refrained from condemning the Myanmar Army, ostensibly because this might enhance Chinese influence. Myanmar is all set to become yet another illustration of the truism that self-interest guides the foreign policies of nations, which will entail continuation of savage brutality upon her people!