Myanmar slides deeper into turmoil as the military ignores the call for a peaceful settlement of the internal crisis. As sparks began to fly between the civilians protesting peacefully and the armed military forces, escalating violence signals that the country is drifting into a state of civil war.
Detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National Democratic League (NLD), Myanmar's military seized power on February 1. Mass protests followed this coup against democracy. Hundreds of people died as the military took a hard line to suppress the voices of the common people.
Now, the military is in full charge of the government and has declared a year-long state of emergency following the general election in which Suu Kyi's NLD party won by a landslide. The armed forces took power claiming widespread fraud.
Suu Kyi has been held at an unknown location since the coup. She is facing various charges, including violating the country's official secrets act, possessing illegal walkie-talkies and publishing information that may "cause fear or alarm". NLD MPs who managed to escape arrest formed a new group in hiding. Their leader has urged protesters to defend themselves against the crackdown.
Anti-Chinese sentiment has spread amongst the people as Beijing shows little if no importance to the plight of democracy. Chinese assets in the country are at risk. This might put the Chinese government to act in a manner to halt the rapid deterioration of the internal situation inside the country.
Burning down the factories owned by Chinese investors show the resentment and anger of the people against the government in Beijing. Anger comes from another reason that China has always sided with the military. It is not at all surprising that Beijing has taken a stance in support of an anti-democratic government run by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar's military ).
Morning shows the day. It can be said with some degree of optimism that whatever happens in the region the country will evolve out of the crisis into a modern democratic and economically vibrant nation. People of Myanmar demonstrated over the past two months of intense agitation that the rights of the people cannot be ignored or denied by the government.
Seeds of democracy had been planted and the future of the country preordained by unseen forces. Aung San Suu Kyi, the icon of democracy, nurtured the ideals and values of democratic freedom over the past decade that has brought about the social and political transformation seen today.
Although Suu Kyi's international reputation has suffered greatly as a result of Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya minority, she is very popular in her country.
In a decade the transformation impacted the individuals adding to their sense of dignity the value of freedom and democratic rights. People walked out of their houses to gather with their neighbours in the communities, villages and towns to protest peacefully against the denial of their democratic aspirations and rightful demands.
Over the past decade, the new Generation-Z had grown up knowing their rights recognised to some extent by the civilian administration run by Aung San Suu Kyi. No way is this generation willing to barter away the freedom and dignity gained during their lifetime. Fear of the past and horrors of living under a repressive military regime probably haunts everyone who has experienced it that they are far more inclined to resist a repeat of the past.
Armed ethnic groups that have been fighting the Military over the past 60 years are now united with the people demanding equal rights. It is significant in the sense that the reconciliation between the central government and the ethnic groups had been an impossible and intractable issue for the nation.
Since the differences have been fused by the latest events in the country, it is no longer seen as a divisive factor in domestic politics. The issue on hand is the discord between the people of the Union of Myanmar standing up against the ruthless regime controlled by the Military.
It is too early to predict the future but the signs are ominous and point towards a long period of struggle for the people of Myanmar. According to media reports, the death toll in Myanmar edges up to 550. The online crackdown is also tightened. Moreover, the Myanmar military may extend emergency rule by up to two years.
Early warning signals indicate a rapid escalation of violence perpetrated by the military and the situation on the ground seemingly represents a revolution against military rule.
The writer is an international expert with specialisation in Southern Asia and International Human Rights and alumni of Dhaka University Department of International Relations