Monday (March 1st): Myanmar fires shots and ambassador

Kyaw Moe Tun

Name? Kyaw Moe Tun

Westphalian identity? Burmese

Age? 50s

Why is he in the news? Until this morning Kyaw Moe Tun was Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations. He was fired after a speech to the UN General Assembly in which he urged the UN to use “any means necessary” to halt a military coup. Moreover, he told the UNGA he was speaking on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government… 

Why do we care? Kyaw Moe Tun’s speech came as a response to increased violence of the security apparatus in Myanmar towards pro democracy protests. Last week we spoke of the first (and hoped it would be the last) casualty during the protests but since then, at least 17 more people have died. 

Why should you care? In short, these deaths emphasize that the military government and security forces will continue to crush these protests as they have in the past, with any means necessary (sounds familiar? Yes, same reason from last monday). Because more people have died, this scores higher on our how much you should care scale than last week, 9/10.

Who else cares? The West. Western nations have been quick to condemn the coup, the oppression of protests and the deaths. However, the military regime has not responded to sanctions in the past and it does not seem like the West has much leverage here. 

Any further comments? A quick overview of what type of charges Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with this month so far: First, illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios. Second, violating a natural disaster law by staging a campaign rally during the Coronavirus pandemic. Third, under a section of the colonial-era penal code prohibiting the publication of information that may “cause fear or alarm”.. What an interesting case for Kyaw Moe Tun to lose his job over, or for Aung San Suu Kyi to be ousted from the government.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator