Over the last few decades, the government of
As of September 22, 2007 the Burmese monks, in an unprecedented move, denied spiritual service to all military personnel. Twenty thousand monks are leading the largest demonstrations in 20 years. Demonstrations have swelled to over 100,000 people over the past nine days. Protestors are calling for lower prices of basic commodities, improved health care and education, and better utility services.
But what has triggered the current protests, especially when the country has endured incredible oppression under the military junta’s rule for the last 40 years? In September, the government released a long awaited draft constitution that continues to ensure military control of the legislatures and ministries. The controlling military junta is regarded as one of the most “draconian regimes in the world” (Life Under
Various international agencies, including the Red Cross, have accused the military junta of violating international humanitarian laws. Within
In 2006, the International Labor Organization sought to bring charges of forced labor against
The government has poured money into developing the military and building a new capital, but it has done little to improve the country’s standard of living. Consequently, the economy of the
The economic crisis, which has been looming for years, intensified in 2006 when the military junta authorized increased salaries for all government workers. However, the government did not have the economic means with which to pay these salaries. The result has been a 30-60% increase in the prices of basic commodities.
When considering the economic and social climate, the current protests seem inevitable. The question is how to resolve the conflict.