The people of Burma/Myanmar have spent the last year resisting military rule. Thousands are imprisoned and thousands dead and wounded. Covid-19 has ravaged the country. The economic collapse has caused enormous suffering. Ethnic minorities have been targeted with intense violence and have fled their homes. The Burmese people have used massive nonviolent resistance in strikes, boycotts, protests, and have created a parallel government. There are also many young men who are using bombs and guns to pressure the military to surrender or encourage an internal military revolt. Whether nonviolent or armed, the resistance to the military regime is on a massive scale across ethnic groups around the country. Internationally, the governmental and civil society support of the people and the parallel government have been strong. Nonviolent boycotts have forced many companies to stop financing the regime including Harry Winston Jewelry, Chevron and Total. Unfortunately, the regime stays in power hanging by a thread, with support from China, Thailand, and Russia.
Update: Watch NVI’s Director Michael Beer in an interview with student activist Me Me Khant.
The two discuss ideas on nonviolence and nonviolent action as it relates to the current struggle in Myanmar/Burma.
Nonviolence International continues its 30-year history of helping nonviolent social change efforts in Myanmar/Burma. Michael Beer, Mubarak Awad and NVI staff have met people from all over Myanmar who have suffered unspeakable crimes of torture, imprisonment, rape, and displacement by the Burma/Myanmar military. Ethnic minorities such as the Rohingya, Karen, Kachin, Shan, and Chin have been particularly brutalized. Michael Beer has provided extensive coaching and support to nonviolent activists. NVI has also helped facilitate the translation of many useful guides and materials on nonviolence.
People around the world are sickened by the sexist coup d’etat. Despite having enormous power, they were not satisfied with sharing power with a woman, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose political party won 83% of the seats in November.
Understandably, the people of Myanmar are resisting the military coup d’etat on an enormous scale. Many governments, including Southeast Asian nations, are protesting. Ethnic minorities are united in opposition. World-wide, citizens are planning to re-launch global boycotts. This coup will not succeed if enough pressure can be brought upon the coup plotters. Join NVI in supporting the people in Burma to challenge patriarchal and military rule.
Nonviolent resistance brought about an end to absolute military rule in Myanmar in 2008. Much progress has been made in the last generation in terms of freedom of speech and assembly, free elections, a huge improvement in the rights of women, labor unions, some ethnic minorities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. This progress will not easily be reversed because the people of Myanmar will bravely defend these gains. Nonviolence International supports calls from Myanmar civil society in calling on all governments to impose targeted sanctions on the Myanmar military.
It is vital that governments and others cut the flow of weapons and money to the junta. Civil society and Burma’s NUG government continue calls for sanctions on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), which represents an enormous source of revenue for the junta, fueling its atrocity crimes. On 31 Jan, Canada, the US, and the UK added sanctions providing for the freezing of funds or economic resources belonging to the sanctions targets. In addition, the US sanctions bar Americans from doing business with the targets.
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Michael Beer, Director of Nonviolence International, trained hundreds of people and guerrillas from Myanmar in nonviolent action and strategy in the 1990's. Co-trainers at various times included Gene Sharp, Bob Helvey, Eric Garcetti, and George Lakey. He is the author of Violent and Nonviolent Struggle in Burma: Is a Unified Strategy Workable, in Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective, Edited by Stephen Zunes, Lester R. Kurtz and Sarah Beth Asher, Blackwell Publishing, 1999. He has trained people in many countries and is the founder of NVI's Tactics Database and (in partnership with Rutgers University) our NV Training Archives, and author of forthcoming book on Civil Resistance Tactics of the 21st Century.
Michael taught nonviolent resistance to Burmese beginning in 1990 with George Lakey and then with Col Bob Helvey and Gene Sharp in 1992. He helped train more than 1000 guerrillas and civilians in NV struggle over 10 years. He organized some of the first Burmese solidarity efforts in the US beginning in 1990.
Nonviolence International Archives
Read: NVI Director Michael Beer quoted in this article in The Progressive, 4 days after the coup, Feb 5, 2021
Listen: "The Backlash Against the Military Coup from Brave Citizens in Myanmar"- Michael Beer featured on Background Briefing with Ian Masters, February 2021
NVI Canada Board member, Yeshua Moser-Puouangsuwan released an article in which he investigated the origin and transfer of Italian shotgun shells to Myanmar that were used to attack an ambulance.
NVI supports solidarity efforts around the world. On Dec 6, 2021, Michael Beer raised awareness about Burma in an interview on KPFK in Los Angeles about the "conviction" of Aung San Suu Kye and two others for violating covid-19 regulations and other spurious charges. All supporters of democracy are encourage to use nonviolent boycotts towards the Myanmar military.