Monday (March 29th): General Hlaing’s ‘Day of Shame’

Min Aung Hlaing

Name? Min Aung Hlaing

Westphalian identity? Burmese

Age? 64

Why is he in the news? Unfortunately, General Hlaing remains in the spotlight as his authoritarian junta government continues to terrorize the people of Myanmar in word and deed: Warning people not to protest or they could be shot in the back or head and even bombing border regions of the country. 

Why do we care? Two Mondays ago when we last wrote about General Hlaing and the worsening situation in Myanmar, roughly 100 people had been killed by the Tatmadaw. Just yesterday 90+ people were killed in potentially the bloodiest day yet of protests, bringing the total number of people killed by the military to over 400.

Why should you care? The situation in Myanmar could enforce a dangerous precedent: Westphalian states’ sovereignty as more important than human rights (particularly when those states are in China’s backyard…). Put simply, if all the international sphere can do to stop General Hlaing’s military government is invoke economic sanctions and send their thoughts and prayers, what will stop other generals from causing coups across the world? You should care 7/10 for this dilemma. 

Who else cares? Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand. Since the Tatmadaw began bombing the Karen state bordering Thailand, more than 3000 Burmese have fled into the neighbouring country. The situation in Myanmar is spilling over into his country through refugees and potentially armed groups such as the Karen National Union. Then again, PM Prayuth is also a military leader who came to power through a coup so maybe he’ll stay out of it… 

Any further comments? On the ‘Armed Forces Day,’ perhaps now referred to as the ‘day of shame,’ General Hlaing promised to pave the way for democracy, hold new elections and “to protect people from all danger…” Although the general gave no notion as to when elections would occur nor how the army might protect the people from itself…