The future of Myanmar depends on the momentum of its people and the international community, which can exert pressure on the military for a dialogue with the NLD party to share power. The people who are on the streets to get the generals off their backs deserve the world’s full support.
The hate crimes against Asian Americans skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. More than 3,000 hate-related incidents were reported during the pandemic. The report also contains numerous first-person accounts of verbal aggression, spitting, and other forms of assault against Asian Americans between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021.
In January, Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old from Thailand, went out for his usual morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco. Suddenly, a man attacked him by slamming into him for no apparent reason. The elderly man died of a brain hemorrhage two days later in the hospital.
“I was in line at the pharmacy when a woman approached me and sprayed Lysol all over me. She was yelling out, “You’re the infection. Go home. We don’t want you here.” I was in shock and cried and left the building. No one came to my help.” I was never even diagnosed with COVID-19. This is the first-hand account shared by an Asian American woman in Marietta, Ga.
Like many Asians, I am concerned and shocked reading about these terrible incidents of anti-Asian attacks. Many of my Asian friends and relatives are studying and working in America. The recent surge in anti-Asian attacks is upsetting.
The rhetoric spurred by former President Donald Trump referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus” and the “Kung flu” and all that kind of stuff fueled the beginning of the attack against Asians. Since Covid-19 was first reported in China, many people have an unfavorable view of China. According to the survey done by the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of Americans and 81 percent of Australians have negative views of China.
The population of Asian-American surged by 72 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. The Census Bureau also calculated that by 2044, the white population of America may no longer represent a majority of the country. Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to accept the fact that America is made up of people of several backgrounds.
As the population of Asian-Americans is surging, the hate incidents against them and criticism are also rising. As per the report, hate crimes against Anti- Asian increased by 150% last year in major U.S. cities, and the violence has continued into this year also. A study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that hate crimes targeting Asians rose by 150 percent.
The Western countries can reconcile action and rhetoric to avoid pushback from the military and make the situation more precarious. Today’s protesters shouldn’t feel the disappointment felt by Rohingya in 2017. The western powers responded the genocidal campaign of the military against the Rohingya didn’t prevent the atrocity.
The United Nations human rights council statement called for a release of Suu Kyi and other detainees and a halt to violence against protestors. This won’t be enough. The western powers should impose sanctions that target the coup leaders and insulate the people of Myanmar.
U.S President Joe Biden took action against Myanmar’s generals including freezing access to US-based assets as he urged the military to relinquish power. It also slapped trade sanctions against the military regime after dozens of people were killed in the deadliest violence.
The sanctions imposed by the U.S and those being prepared by the European Union have drawn attention. The influence of the US is less than last time, it imposed economic sanctions in the 1990s.
Now, China which failed to condemn the coup plays a vital role. The relation between China and Myanmar was getting better under the NLD’s rule. There is a widespread belief in Myanmar that China is supporting Myanmar’s military and as this was growing anti-Chinese sentiments in Myanmar, Chinese officials had to break their silence to deny the rumor.
It seems that China is taking its step slowly. But the western powers and the ASEAN must persuade China to impose necessary sanctions on Myanmar before it is too late. The countries like Russia, Japan, Bangladesh, India, and Singapore that have important ties with Myanmar must be brought on the board. A broader level of internationally enforced sanctions targeting the coup leaders can bring some form of stability to the country.
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