D H
Mar 2 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

What is the legacy of the Saffron Revolution?

In Myanmar the Saffron Revolution mostly took part in the second half of 2007, initially caused by a national fuel price hike by the country’s military government. The massive protest movement of nonviolent resistance was led by activists, students, and monks, sometimes with marches led by thousands of the country’s Buddhist monks. Thousands were arrested according to the international press amidst a harsh military crackdown. Fourteen years later Myanmar is again in the grip of a military coup d’état and another protest movement of nonviolent resistance has arisen in opposition to the country’s military. What is the legacy of the Saffron Revolution? How does that change the context of the latest protest movement in Myanmar? Can looking back at Myanmar's last national protest movement help us understand the present one?
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2021 is sadly closer to the 8888 uprising
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An ultimate failure
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The continued advance toward democracy
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2021 is sadly closer to the 8888 uprising

With police opening fire on protests within the first month of the 2021 protests the casualties are already higher than the Saffron Revolution, this protest looks set to be similar to 8888 uprising with so many casualties in such a short space of time. The current protest movement is already seemingly closer to the 8888 uprising in both the context and level of violence, with the military's use of water canon and live ammunition making a much more aggressive repression, while the protesters are similarly specific in their goals. Unlike the Saffron Revolution the 8888 uprising was met with the military imposing firmer controls on the country, with the period ending in Myanmar's isolation and military rule. In 2021 even the anthem of the 8888 uprising has been revisited, with protestors adopting Kabar Ma Kyay Bu" (ကမ္ဘာမကျေဘူး) again as a protest song. In appearance, political environment, level of violence, and even soundtrack, the 2021 protests look a lot more similar to 1988.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7543347.stm theguardian.com/world/2007/sep/28/burma.uk web.archive.org/web/20090826114804/http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-10/2007-10-04-voa10.cfm youtube.com/watch?v=uyW32rkvPTA

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DH edited this paragraph
With police opening fire on protests within the first month of the 2021 protests the casualties are already higher than the Saffron Revolution, this protest looks set to be similar to 8888 uprising with so many casualties in such a short space of time. The current protest movement is already seemingly closer to the 8888 uprising in both the context and level of violence, with the military's use of water canon and live ammunition making a much more aggressive repression, while the protesters are similarly specific in their goals. Unlike the Saffron Revolution the 8888 uprising was met with the military imposing firmer controls on the country, with the period ending in Myanmar's isolation and military rule. In 2021 even the anthem of the 8888 uprising has been revisited, with protestors adopting Kabar Ma Kyay Bu" (ကမ္ဘာမကျေဘူး) again as a protest song. In appearance, political environment, level of violence, and even soundtrack, the 2021 protests look a lot more similar to 1988.

An ultimate failure

These current protests are a clear continuation of the Saffron Revolution, sharing similar causes, aims, and nonviolent tactics, but sadly the 2021 protests are so similar exactly because the Saffron Revolution was an ultimate failure. The Saffron Revolution was an uprising that was ultimately suppressed, with no real or meaningful reforms, the military retaining a large amount of power and ultimately took back all power in 2021. As a result demonstrations akin to the Saffron Revolution have restarted in 2021 as people continue to call for democracy, free elections, respect for human rights, release of political prisoners and the end to military involvement in the country’s politics. Something will have to change externally for this not to just be another failed push for democracy.

cnbc.com/2021/02/10/myanmar-coup-protests-differ-from-saffron-revolution-1988-uprising.html thecrimson.com/article/2007/12/2/the-failed-saffron-revolution-in-september

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The continued advance toward democracy

The 2021 protest movement in Myanmar is in much the same vein as the Saffron Revolution, a movement that was paused and now continues, marking a further progression toward a true civilian-led democracy. Just like 2007 the 2021 protests have again been caused by a return to military dictatorship, political repression and corruption, as well as various human rights violations and act of state terrorism in order to carry these repressions out. The Saffron Revolution's legacy is one of political reforms, helping to lead to the eventual release of pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, and the beginning of dialogues with her that led to the 2012 by-elections, resulting in the joint military-civilian government that ruled the country until the recent military coup. Looking back at the Saffron Revolution from 2021 it seems clear that the latest protest movement shares many commonalities with the 2007 demonstrations, growing participation of the country’s Buddhist monks, sadly similar acts of repression, violations of human rights, censorship, and an Internet black-out.

irrawaddy.com/from-the-archive/remembering-saffron-monks-military-men.html amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/02/myanmar-new-internet-blackout accessnow.org/update-internet-access-censorship-myanmar afr.com/world/asia/monks-lead-protests-against-myanmar-coup-20210208-p570nr thehindubusinessline.com/news/world/saffron-robed-monks-join-third-day-of-street-protests-against-myanmar-coup/article33779130.ece

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