Nonviolence International is participating in a global effort providing training and educational materials in support of the Burmese struggle for democracy. Michael Beer, NVI's Director has recently provided training to Chin minorities in strategic nonviolent struggle. NVI has also helped facilitate the translation of many useful guides and materials on nonviolence. NVI Canada Board member, Yeshua Moser-Puouangsuwan recently 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 has also signed on to a letter in solidarity with trade unions in Burma.
All supporters of democracy are encourage to use nonviolent boycotts towards the Myanmar military. In the US, efforts to pass targeted sanction legislation can be encouraged. Recent defections by Myanmar diplomats in New York, London, Geneva, and Washington DC have lifted up hopes for the Burmese people. Please contact diplomats in your country and invite them to stand by the people of Myanmar.
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.
For 3 decades, 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.
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. Government doctors are going on strike. Myanmar citizens have been responding every night by engaging in a mass nonviolent tactic of caceleroza which involves the banging of pots and pans. 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.
Read: NVI Director Michael Beer quoted in this recent article in The Progressive.
Listen: "The Backlash Against the Military Coup from Brave Citizens in Myanmar"- Michael Beer featured on Background Briefing with Ian Masters
Nonviolence International invites everyone to take these important actions:
Here is a link to a letter we co-signed. It asks apparel brands sourcing from Myanmar to ensure protection of worker's rights
For more information, see also:
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. Currently re-engaging with Burmese activists and provided trainings this week to Burmese inside on nonviolent resistance.