Analysis & Comment

Your Wednesday Briefing

Myanmar’s unrepentant, brutal military.

By Natasha Frost

Good morning.

We’re covering a history of military cruelty in Myanmar, Canada’s isolated nursing home residents and a response from Buckingham Palace.

Myanmar military’s long legacy of atrocities

Since a coup last month, the Tatmadaw, as the military in Myanmar is known, is now fully back in charge, and its brutal practices are being watched with horror by the rest of the world. It recently turned its guns on the masses in response to a nationwide civil disobedience movement.

It is the latest in the Tatmadaw’s long legacy of atrocities since it first came to power in a 1962 coup. Over the past few years, the Tatmadaw has waged war against ethnic rebel armies in three states — Rakhine, Shan and Kachin — and displaced 700,000 Rohingya Muslims. Survivors and witnesses described a brutal campaign, including killings, systematic rapes and abuse. The soldiers often used men and boys as human shields.

In October, Sayedul Amin, a 28-year-old Rohingya man, was fishing when he and others were rounded up by soldiers. “We were ordered to walk in front of the soldiers,” he said. “It seems that they wanted us to shield them if anyone attacked.” He was hit by two bullets.

Quotable: “This is an army with a heart of darkness,” said David Scott Mathieson, an independent analyst. “This is an unrepentant institution.”

‘They aren’t living. They are existing’

Though most Canadian nursing home residents have been vaccinated, restrictions still in place have left many people sequestered, mostly in their rooms. Some residents have compared their lives to those of prisoners and caged animals, leading them to ask: What, exactly, am I being kept alive for?

“You always hear people say, ‘Oh, they lived a long life,’” said the daughter of one resident. “Right now, they aren’t living. They are existing.”

The extended periods in isolation come at a steep cost. A large survey of nursing home residents and their families found that a majority reported a marked decline in cognitive function and emotional well-being, and almost half reported that their physical functioning had worsened.

Quote: “I have so many things I want to do; I can’t do them,” said Devora Greenspon, 88. “I may never get to do them. I may die before the pandemic is over.”

Source: Read Full Article