Since the country became independent, Burma has had military rule, a civil war, ineffective leaders, and extreme poverty. This happened in February 2021, when the military took over the Southeast Asian country.
People in Myanmar are now living in a new era of war. The military, called the Tatmadaw, has a hard time with ethnic armed groups and people who have formed their militias. Activists and former legislators set up a “shadow government” to fight against the military junta’s rule. There has been a bloody crackdown on opposition members and protesters by the military as a response to this. Violence will only get worse in the next few years, experts say. ISIS hasn’t made much progress in the country.
In addition, the coup has caused chaos in the economy, which has led to a slight drop in poverty over the last decade. In 2021, the GDP went down about 20%. People have been getting sick because of the epidemic, and the health care system has broken down. There are tens of thousands of people who have fled Myanmar or crossed the border because they are starving there. CFR’s Joshua Kurlantzick thinks Myanmar is now in trouble because of the military coup.
The United Nations, international governments, and human rights groups have all said they don’t like how the military has attacked the opposition and committed other crimes during the conflict. People were shot with live bullets at protests and in their homes right after the coup. The government was killing people who were both civilians and resistance fighters in late 2021. They were also destroying whole communities that were thought to be sympathetic to the opposition and killing both. In Thailand, a non-profit group called the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says that the military has killed at least 1,500 people over the last few years (Burma). There are more than 8,000 people who the junta has detained. They include journalists, doctors, and members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).
As early as 2022, fights between the military and the People’s Liberation Army were said to have taken place all over the country. There have been no fights in Myanmar’s townships since it became a free country, but now “we’re seeing fighting.” Ethnic minorities aren’t the only ones who have been targeted by violence in Myanmar. It’s also happening in major cities like Mandalay and Yangon, where there are a lot of ethnic groups. Thousands of people have fled to India and Thailand because of the violence.
Because the opposition has been able to keep the military from gaining a solid hold on the country, and the increasingly violent fight is on the way. People’s Defense Force might take control of as many as half of Myanmar’s townships by the middle of 2022, according to USIP’s Tower. The Tatmadaw has lost a lot of troops on the battlefield.
Ne Win kept working behind the scenes as another military junta took over. Even though he stepped down as party chairman after the 1988 crackdown, he was still a big part. It changed its name to the Union of Myanmar in 1989, and Rangoon was renamed Yangon. This was done by the new military rule, which took over from the Union of Burma. When the military built a city in the middle of Myanmar, it was named Nay Pyi Taw. In 2005, it became the new administrative capital of the country. It was said that the term “Burma” was outdated and biased against the Burman majority, so “Myanmar” was a better choice. The United States still refers to Myanmar as Burma, even though most other countries call the country that way as well, too.