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How COVID-19 Has Suppressed Myanmar
Written by Ethan Lee | Published. 2021.12.17 13:41 | Count : 282

On February 1, 2021, a coup d'état took place in Myanmar as the military seized power from the Myanmar government. What arose was utter disaster: not only did the healthcare system collapse with cases of COVID-19 rising, but the people have been stripped of their human rights entirely, in more ways than one.

Currently, Myanmar is in complete despair. With each passing day, millions of people in Myanmar are suffering due to the combination of the pandemic and ongoing military conflicts. Following Myanmar’s coup d'état, the unsettling shift to a military dictatorship has led to substantial instability throughout the country, as evidenced by the collapse of the country’s healthcare system.

Consequently, COVID-19 and other health-related issues have since been exacerbated. However, what is even more concerning is that the Myanmar military, or junta, has weaponized COVID-19 to avert attention from its attacks on democracy and human rights. 

Aye Maya, a journalist whose name has been changed for safety reasons, described the ongoing situation in Myanmar as “like [choosing] the best way to die [between dying] of COVID or [dying] because of the impact of the political crisis.”

As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads throughout Myanmar, the coup has driven Myanmar into chaos, stripping citizens of even the right to live in safety: “Nearly 900 civilians have been killed as security forces crack down on dissent, while thousands more have been detained,” says Ishaan Tharoor, a columnist for The Washington Post. “[Many doctors and medical workers] now refuse to work at government hospitals or have been persecuted by the military authorities.”

 

An opinion from Miyanmar doctor, who prefers to remain anonymous, states that after several months of lock down, there is lesser infection cases now, but people are not used to wearing masks so they go out with no masks, so if the surge comes back, it will be huge wave again.

 

Regarding the medical industry, it is a long story, the doctor added, that Myanmar doctors are joining government service for three reasons mainly- first, is to go abroad after graduation or after master degrees or after experience; second, is to get promotions and see patients in private clinics and get rich and high rank in service; third, to go to remote area and work in government facility for half day, then do private clinic at home 24/7 and gain money. 

So when coup happens, many first group doctors were exhausted from previous government mismanagements  during pandemic period so they liked to quit and looked for any legitimate reason, they demonstrated and did not come back to hospitals, many tried to go abroad as much as they could.

The number two group doctors tried to stay but the social blaming comes from many social media. The first group and third group,  some of them disappeared from hospital, some came back when things were settled a bit.

The third group - they do not care, because they are not serving in hospitals even though they take salary from government, many of them tried to stay in their facility, but the NLD followers drove them out from hospitals because they forced them to do do Civil Disobedient Movement - so many health personnels just stayed at home, treating in their private clinic.

Some doctors who can not neglect patients are facing mass group of NLD people demonstrating to close down the hospitals - how absurd - so now they warn the doctors who forced others not to come to hospitals and try to encourage the responsible doctors to come back safely without social blaming for several months- that is the current situation.

Based on the abovementioned 2 interviews, with the suppression of natural rights, including freedom of expression, a country becomes a country governed by none. People become a mass of conformity, blindly following the government without voice, wounding their democracy until they bleed it lifeless.

Moving forward, it is crucial to understand and develop the idea that the speaker, not the government, determines the value of expression. This is an inherent right that should not be questioned; this is what defines humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethan Lee
Grade 11
Korean International School (KIS)
Pangyo

 

Ethan Lee  hsr@dherald.com

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