Everyone in Myanmar wants peace – and justice, freedom and security, and they have done so for many years. The military’s brutality is the opposite of peace, with war continuing to ravage the whole country. In response, the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) continues through non-violent protests to show their opposition to the military takeover, and, is an expression of peace. They are demonstrating in many ways, putting into practice the theme for this year’s International Day of Peace – “how we can make our world more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and healthier.”
Women are at the forefront of this Movement in Myanmar, and in Australia, WAM or Women Activists for Myanmar, are campaigning for the release of all political prisoners and human rights defenders in Myanmar. We commend the diverse women leaders in Myanmar currently engaging in critical national discourse, including on constitutional reform, to shape the future of Myanmar – an inclusive, federal democracy. But people in Myanmar are now living in fear as there is no security. To be able to truly feel safe, there has to be freedom associated with security, and without the two things together, there will not be a long and lasting peace.
The people of Myanmar are also practising peace at another level through their cooperation and support of each other with compassion in the midst of a global pandemic. Suffering has been so long and deep in Myanmar. It is time for change, and for the voice of the people of Myanmar to be heard, and for international action to support them. We also need to take care of ourselves at this time with compassion for ourselves so we can extend this to others.
May there be an end to the suffering in Myanmar. May all people in Myanmar and the diaspora know peace.