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Necu holds webinar on political crisis in Myanmar

By EMN Updated: Apr 04, 2021 9:23 pm

Dimapur, April 4 (EMN): To create awareness on the current political turmoil in Myanmar, the North East Christian University (Necu) in Dimapur and Yanglushidi Sensaksem Sabang organised a special webinar session on “What is happening in Myanmar.”

An update from Necu School of International Relations, Dr. Salikyu, stated that speakers of the webinar were Salai Isaac Khen, former NLD minister of Development Affairs, Electricity, and Industries and currently at the Myanmar Institute of Theology; Dr. Layang Seng Ja, faculty at the Kachin Theology College and Seminary and member of civil disobedience movement (CMD); Dr. Nang Swan Piang, principal at the Tedim Christian College, Yangon; and Dr. Pau Lian Mang, professor at the Tedim Christian College, Yangon.

It stated that the webinar brought to light many of the decisive issues about the current coup and demonstrations in Myanmar.

Khen, who served as a minister from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, discussed the role of the military in Myanmar politics where about 25% of seats in parliament are reserved for the military junta, which also control key cabinet positions such as Defence, Home Affairs, and Border Affairs.

According to Dr. Piang, the military took over the civilian government on February 1 last adding more than 500 people have lost their lives in the ongoing demonstration against the military since then. He stated that the civilian government and the people are hoping for a peaceful resolution to the transitioning of power, but the military seemed to have dropped the idea of peaceful transition of power when it indiscriminately resorted to using rubber bullets and live ammunition against the protesters.

He added that there was a growing urge from the people in Myanmar as well as the members of the civilian government for an international intervention before the country descends into chaos and becomes a failed state. He went on to add that the people continue to bang their kitchen pans as a sign of protest every evening from 8 to 8:15 pm adding violence has not stopped brave men and women in Myanmar to show their resentment towards the brutal and underhanded approach of the military to take over the government.

Report also stated that amid such chaos and civil unrest against the military takeover, religious institutions are working hand-in-hand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar.

Dr. Piang asserted that the Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar), Myanmar Christian Convention, Methodist Convention in Myanmar, and the Association for Theological Education in Myanmar have all issued public statements condemning such rash acts by the military. He added that numerous churches and their members have taken part in street protests and also organised prayer meetings.

“To the people in Myanmar, this public demonstration has become a fight between justice and injustice, a fight between good and evil,” said Dr. Piang.

As the military crackdown continues, he stated that people, especially from the ethnic minorities such as the Chin, Kachin, Karen, Shan, and Mon are fleeing into neighbouring countries (India and Thailand).

He said people escaping Myanmar military prosecutions are fleeing into the North Eastern states of Mizoram and Manipur in India.

It mentioned that even though the government of India (GoI) has been reluctant to take in those refugees and internally displaced people, the state of Mizoram has taken a courageous step in urging the GoI to take in people escaping the fury of the Myanmar military prosecution whereas the state of Manipur has politely said “no” to take in people fleeing violence.

“This has also put to question the intention of India in terms of its relationship with the military junta in Myanmar and has blemished India’s stand in terms of its humanitarian consideration,” said Dr. Seng Ja.

Dr. Mang has urged the people of the North eastern states to continue lending help and open their doors for those who escape prosecution under the harsh military crackdown.

It stated that the intensifying military crackdown has now become a new normal, especially in those regions inhabited by ethnic minorities. For instance, Dr. Seng Ja mentioned how the military surrounded and investigated Kachin Theological College and Seminary on March 13 at 10:45 pm. It was later told that her name was on the wanted list because of her involvement in the civil disobedience movement against the military coup.

Dr. Seng Ja added that she was lucky to have escaped from the clutches of the military that night while many are not as lucky or fortunate as her. Since then the theological seminary has remain closed and the students are taking refuge in a safe place and also given basic military training in case a civil war breaks out between the military and the ethnic groups, she informed.

Report stated that the webinar reminded about the fragility and durability of democratic government under such political events. It also questioned “which is the best form of government,” “how best to organise a political community,” justice, power, legitimacy, authority, liberty etc., that has occupied the minds of some of the greatest thinkers in human history.

It added that such fragile political events also brought to awareness and realise how not to take for granted the enormous freedom, the liberties (in terms of speech, thought, press, communication, civil society organisations, etc.) guaranteed by the constitution of the country.

The webinar taught to be empathetic and share a sense of humanity by opening doors to those escaping brutal and intensifying military crackdowns in Myanmar, “because we never know when we may need and require such assistance ourselves,” the report added.

By EMN Updated: Apr 04, 2021 9:23:02 pm