DECORAH, IA - Four Luther College students who call Myanmar home are hosting a virtual panel discussion on Wednesday to share their fears about the current situation in their home country, and their hopes for peace and democracy.
The country has a long history of turmoil and military rule. From 1962 until 2011, successive military regimes ruled the country with an iron first, asserting their power through fear and brutality. In 2011, a new government pushed for civilian rule.
At the beginning of the month, a military junta overturned the results of a democratic election, crying election fraud, and took power.
Curfews are in place and citizens are prohibited from gathering in groups, marching, or making political speeches. After living most of their lives under political turbulence, Myanmar's young people are pushing for peaceful and just rule.
Luther College senior Thawdar Zin tells KIMT he hopes the presentation will help the community see Myanmar as more than a country of political turmoil, and as a country of resilient people. "I dont want my country to fall back into those dark times again and this is a chance to fight against the dictatorship and we can win if there's big support. We are fighting dictatorships all over the world," he says.
The military coup has been blacking out the internet and stopping flights. This makes it more challenging for Myanmar's citizens to speak out, and more difficult for the four Luther students to reach their families.
"I'm very hopeful because a lot of people are informed, but at the same time I'm very worried because if the military started opening fire, there's no way for the public to defend," explains Zin.
Click here to view the event page for the panel discussion.