Hard stats on Myanmar’s revolutionary psyche – Asia Times

Hard stats on Myanmar's revolutionary psyche - Asia Times

What do Myanmar’s citizens actually think about the country’s future and the restrictive, ineffective military regime? There is an industry of hypothesis, fallacious logic and hyperbole that usually masquerades as information into the region’s political relationships. &nbsp,

A only- released report,” Citizens ‘ perceptions of recent political and military conflicts”, provides some many- needed rigor in measuring what Myanmar’s varied and embattled communities think of the crisis.

In the three years following the military coup in February 2021, the Blue Shirt Initiative has produced one of the most reliable common opinion polls. Although it may not offer any solutions, it is an intriguing collection of observations about a frailt world.

The experts surveyed 2, 892 individuals in a full of 233 townships, out of 330 country- large, between soon February to early March. The report has five main sections: “perceptions of democracy and democratic values, perception of the current conflicts, trust in institutions, perception of Operation 1027, ( and ) information source of political news”.

The study also includes gender and age failures, as well as physical differences between ethnic groups, which are primarily Bamar Buddhist, and Yangon, which at times suggests intriguing regional variations.

Due to the widespread issue, there is an asymmetrical spread of respondents, particularly in northern Shan state ( where the Operation 1027 unpleasant occurred in late October ), several pieces of Sagaing Region, most of Rakhine status and much of Karen position.

Although this certainly places limitations on the findings, it’s important to consider how some areas in Myanmar were able to participate, including the majority of Magwe, Mandalay, Yangon, the Irrawaddy Delta, and a large portion of Shan, Chin and Mon says.

Of those surveyed, 79 % claimed to be interested in elections, a rise from 2020 when elections ahead of that year’s votes suggested growing disillusionment about social issues. 86 % like Myanmar to be a complete democracy, a good obtaining, but tempered by very low anticipation the state will achieve that any time soon.

Where would you put our country in the next five years, in the opinion of almost half of the respondents? Similarly, lamentable was fairly lukewarm support for women’s participation in politics.

53 % of respondents think the country is “heading in the wrong direction”, with a still puzzling 8 % thinking it’s going in the “right direction”. Unsurprisingly, 39 % of respondents chose not to respond, which highlights the urgency of many of the survey’s issues and the understandable reluctance of many people in Myanmar to respond to such questions. The suggestion that fear is widespread is one of the survey’s most alarming features.

80 % said” (s ) tronger anti- coup and federal democracy movements” and” the role of the Ethnic Armed Organizations ( EAOs ) in the democracy movement are headed in the right direction”.

The recently passed military service law has shaken Myanmar society, with 73 % of respondents saying it will cause the conflicts to escalate. Since the law was passed in the first few days of February, active forced conscription measures have been implemented in 172 townships in Myanmar, according to a map produced by Data for Myanmar in late March.

Only 10 % of people believe the conflict will be over in the next six months or a year, according to forecasts on how long it will continue. It will continue for more than three years, according to 20 %. Nearly half of the respondents declined to respond. This suggests that there is more optimism than there is about the upcoming victory of resistance forces outside Myanmar. Some victory lap observers ought to carefully read this section.

The coup’s corrosive effect is described in the survey as a whole in Myanmar. Interpersonal trust has all but evaporated. According to 84 % of respondents, people “need to be cautious in dealing with people.” Although only a small percentage claimed to have no problem with people of different ethnies or religions living next door, which, if true, is progress, half the population did n’t want alcoholics or drug addicts as neighbors.

There is a marked decrease in” no answer” responses when addressing social issues, which are cited as “increase in commodity prices (83 % ), rise in crimes (79 % ), lack of job opportunities ( 76 % ), increased drug use and gambling ( 73 % ), and increase in corruption ( 73 % ).

In many Yangon neighborhoods, suspected drug users or petty criminals are escorted up and displayed on lamp posts with a warning sign around their necks to serve as an example. Although the armed conflict in the countryside may have had different effects on cities, the breakdown in law and order has become its own war zone because the military and police now act in public as bandits.

A decrease in income registered in the mid- high 80 % spectrum across geography, gender and age. Similar was loss of job, difficulty accessing education and, most alarmingly, deterioration of mental health, with 86 % in ethnic states and for women, and 84 % for people over 25.

Other sections highlight the very different social contexts in which people experience suffering. People in states, where there is frequently more armed conflict, responded positively with 53 %, which dropped to 35 % in regions and 30 % in Yangon, where there is little armed conflict ( there are no daily airstrikes in Yangon ). 37 % of people in states had lost their homes compared with 26 % in Yangon. However, there were a high 63 % loss of property rate in both the states and Yangon.

Conflict resolution initiatives are interesting because 56 % of respondents believe military methods will work better ( NA-‘no answer ‘ 28 % ), and 39 % ( NA-26 % ) believe negotiations between military and political leaders could work.

However, 37 % of people believe that international mediation to end the conflict could be successful. This includes the United Nations or the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN ). This is odd because, since the coup, there has n’t been much trust in either institution, and all international mediation efforts have failed to succeed.

The most fascinating section is” Trust in Institutions”, which compares 2020 survey results with early 2024. Although not a direct comparison, as the pre- election People’s Alliance for Credible Elections ( PACE ) survey asked slightly different questions, what has changed and has not suggests a dramatically affected society.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is the most trusted person/institute with 80 % ( NA- 14 % ). It is surprising in some ways that the post-coup resistance failed to produce a new generation of leaders, which may have outlived Suu Kyi and also demonstrates a strong affinity for her as a still-potent resistance image against military rule.

The People’s Defense Forces ( PDFs ) were next with 73 %. The often- reviled National Unity Government ( NUG) must be happy with a 65 % score and the ethnic armed organizations ( EAOs ) with 60 % improved on their 2020 ranking of 22 % confidence. Their resistance to a coup and Operation 1027’s success are likely to play a role in this.

Junta strongman, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, scored an unsurprising 72 % negative rating ( NA- 18 % ), with his State Administration Council ( SAC ) getting 63 % ( NA- 23 % ).

The 2020 survey found 33 % had no confidence in the military but 43 % did ( NA- 21 % ). Many people at the time were shocked by this, and it’s worth considering whether or not they were planning the coup because they believed they had possibly half the country to blame.

Yet in the 2024 survey, that support has evaporated, with 67 % registering no confidence, although with a stubborn 5 % having quite a lot or a great deal of confidence. ( 20 % declined to answer. )

The survey ends with inquiries about information sources. Facebook is still the dominant social network with around 40 %, but the Myanmar media is a little less reliable than international media.

Yet so much of the analysis on Myanmar relies on generally high-quality Myanmar media reports, which have been hacked by a large number of foreign conflict data organizations, especially those that publish publicly, or that have been looted and sold to businesses and embassy sales.

” Anecdata”, combining stories woven into analysis, also abounds, in international perceptions of Myanmar and in the absence of more open research in SAC- controlled areas.

The BSI survey highlights the fact that many of the country’s original and significant work is being produced by skilled individuals in a variety of ways, in addition to providing actual research from a trusted research collective.

They need even more international support to continue to reflect the complex reality of the nation as it enters yet another year of repression, uncertainty, and war.

As an independent analyst with a focus on humanitarian, human rights, and conflict in Myanmar, David Scott Mathieson works on humanitarian, human rights, and conflict issues.