In Burma, the army and the pandemic stronger than the ballot boxes

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The icon therefore fell in front of the guns. Nobel Peace Prize 1991, muse of democracy in Asia, symbol of unwavering resistance to oppression and once again victorious at the polls following the legislative elections of November 8 in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi n ‘ failed to impose its law on the leaders of the Tatmadaw, the all-powerful army founded in 1947 by his father, Aung San.

Read also the article related: The reasons for the divorce between the Burmese army and Aung San Suu Kyi

Arrested at dawn on Monday, powerless in the face of the generals united to regain all of power and economic levers, the one that the elected Burmese parliament was preparing to renew in her functions of “State Councilor” (de facto head of executive) once again finds herself alone with her people. More popular than ever, but faced with the failure of democratization attempted since 2015, in a country where the state has long been shaped by men in uniform, under the guise of safeguarding the nation and defending the “Burmese” against ethnic minorities.

Also read: Christine Schraner-Burgener: “Aung San Suu Kyi was in an impossible situation. Yet she was working for the democratization of the country ”

Democracy locked up due to pandemic

The fact that this spectacle of triumphant generals takes place in Naypyidaw – the Burmese capital emerging from the jungle and located far from Yangon where most of the Western ambassadors live – and the controversy over the compromises of Aung San Suu Kyi in the face of the tragedy the Rohingyas must not lead us to minimize the importance of this putsch. It is the democratic and peaceful aspiration of a whole people which, in a few hours, has just been put in jail. This while in neighboring Thailand, other generals, closely linked to their Burmese counterparts, dominate a government tied up by a tailor-made constitution. And that in Vietnam, the 13th Congress of the Communist Party ended yesterday with a firm speech, “à la Chinese”, with no room for any form of dissent, protest or freedom of the press.

Read our press review again: Aung San Suu Kyi falls back into the net of the Burmese army

The finding from the Union of Myanmar, the official name of Burma, is therefore more than bitter. It proves how, in this time of pandemic, the health lockdown and border closures adopted in Southeast Asia since the beginning of 2020 are beneficial to all those disturbed by the ballot box. No foreign journalists on site. A population dissuaded from demonstrating by fear of the virus and repression. Western democracies more spectator than ever. The message from Yangon, where the state of emergency was immediately extended for a year, concerns us all.