Published: May 3, 2021 By

On February 24th, CAS partnered with Aruna Global South to co-host the panel discussion “The Political Crisis in Myanmar: Nuanced Perspectives on the Nation’s Past, Present, and Future.” The panel featured four emerging scholars with with indigenous and heritage ties to Myanmar: Than Toe Aung (MA student, Central European University), Ashley Aye Aye Dun (PhD student, Brown University), Jangai Jap (PhD student, George Washington University), and Htet Thiha Zaw (PhD student, University of Michigan). The panel was organized by CU Boulder PhD student Chu May Pang, and co-moderated with CAS Director Tim Oakes.

Coming just weeks after the February 1st coup in which Myanmar’s military overthrew Myanmar’s democratically elected government led by State Councilor Aung San Su Kyi, panelists discussed the various underlying factors driving the conflict, the situation on the ground in Myanmar’s cities, towns, and countryside, and the implications for Myanmar’s international relations as well as Southeast Asia’s security and democracy prospects more broadly. While comparisons with previous military takeovers in Myanmar were drawn, as well as earlier cases of popular resistance to the military, panelists stressed how the current crisis is different in several ways. One of these is the way social media and digital connectivity has now saturated Myanmar society. Another is the fact that democratic institutions have become more established. These have contributed to a level of resistance to the coup that was perhaps unanticipated by the military.

The panel featured a lively and lengthy Q&A session, with many audience members asking about the role of the United States in the crisis. While some of this discussed focused on the ways US intervention would be problematic, it also allowed panelists to offer concrete advice on how people can support democratic resistance in Myanmar. Some of those resources are included below:

Mutual Aid Myanmar (US):

Next GEN Myanmar (Australia): Instagram @nextgenmyanmar (including a linktree with more information on international and local organizations that accept donations.)

I Support Myanmar (Int'l):

People can also follow the podcast page chutoetoe on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates on the situation in Myanmar.