JURIST EXCLUSIVE – The latest report from one of our law student correspondents in Myanmar, originally filed in audio Tuesday morning, offering her perspective on Monday’s huge general strike in the country and explaining her goals as a law student supporting a return to democracy. The transcript has been slightly edited for continuity and clarity.
I think on the whole the general strike in the whole country was a successful one, and the world noted that the millions of people in Myanmar want democracy and they do not accept the military junta. However our goal is not just that. The military junta must stand down. Easily, definitely. But we need more than that. The military junta have been interfering with the legislature and the parliament under the 2008 constitution and they made the 2008 constitution to maintain their authority and their power. Therefore our ultimate goal this time is not just to destroy the military junta – we must abolish the 2008 constitution and get true democracy and they must release our leader…
The next important thing is [for us to] have a federal union. As you know, we have 135 ethnic groups [in Myanmar]. We have many traditions and cultures and ethnic groups. We want to be a federal union for our brothers and sisters all around Myanmar…
That’s why we are fighting for democracy – to abolish the 2008 constitution so that the military junta will not take power over the country again and to become a federal union…
Recently we have been hearing that in ASEAN [the Association of South East Asian Nations] Indonesia has been pushing the ASEAN countries to accept that the military will hold [new] elections. We clearly don’t want to hold an election again. We have already voted what we believe and there is no reason to hold an election again. This is why our ultimate goal is to abolish the 2008 constitution and stand down the military junta….
You guys might have been surprised when you heard actually that the people here in our country Myanmar want the American army to fight the military, the Myanmar army. They really hate the soldiers and the police. Maybe in other countries police protect the citizens but in our country police and soldiers kill the citizens. They work for the military junta, only for the military junta and not for the country.
That’s why also, as a law student, if we have true democracy and have a federal union and abolish the 2008 constitution, my main goal is to reform the army (Myanmar Tatmadaw) and the police. I know that’s a really difficult one but I really want to repair their mindset and their attitude. It’s really sad to see – when I saw their photos, they are eating the food left over by the protesters on the street. I’m so sad seeing them like this, although we are not on their side…. They are only obeying the orders of their superiors. It’s really sad – they’ve been brainwashed for their whole lives really until now. I know a military is essential for a country [and] that’s why after abolishing the 2008 constitution and truly getting back democracy I want to reform the whole system of Myanmar Tatmadaw and their attitude and mindset and all these things.
Full unedited audio from our correspondent is here:
She added this later, referring to the meeting of EU foreign ministers Monday which agreed to impose sanctions on the Myanmar military junta:
The EU meeting [Monday] was great support for us. I understand that they need to go step by step to take actions, however, most of the citizens [of Myanmar] are willing to take serious actions seriously. They don’t know whether it is UN Human Rights Council meeting or EU meeting. The only thing they want is taking action seriously against the military junta as soon as possible. Some people are saying they would be satisfied if there were war in the country – everything is fine as long as the military junta stand down.