Nations across the globe value their independence. They all have, at some point, made sacrifices, taken great risks, and struggled to attain or protect their independence through the collective will of their people.
Our forefathers swore to create a free and independent nation together, and they succeeded. But alas, the unity and solidarity that helped us achieve independence dissipated slowly when the time came for us to safeguard our new found freedom and build a truly independent nation.
Independence entails the right to live freely, right to work, resolving differences of opinions peacefully, and autonomy. People can choose to use peaceful or non-peaceful means to achieve independence. However, attempts to seize one’s rights by taking up arms destroy both the peace and the independence people have worked hard for.
After independence, Myanmar saw clashes spark into a large-scale civil war. The government’s authority shrank to Yangon and its vicinity, and the entire country was on the verge of dissolution. Eventually, peace was restored and the flames of civil war died down. But, the country was not wholly peaceful.
Armed conflicts do not benefit a country and its people in any way. Even in the modern world, there are countries that have attained independence but are on the brink of collapse due to internal armed conflicts. Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan have suffered continued assaults from the Taliban and ISIS militant groups, resulting in instability, threat to sovereignty, and heavy casualties. These countries have attained freedom, but they cannot stand as independent nations.
Compared to them, Myanmar is a much freer nation though it may yet have to work to ensure peace throughout the country. In terms of development, there is a sizeable gap between Myanmar and nations which have enjoyed unequivocal peace. Armed conflicts, whether on a large or a small scale, affect a nation’s development and are by no means beneficial. Therefore, we must work towards resolving issues politically at the negotiations table diplomatically.
There are also countries around the world that have achieved independence but exist in a state akin to lawlessness. They stand ready to spiral into anarchy and lose their independence at the slightest provocation. This being the case, it is imperative that all of us unite to safeguard the independence we have gained through blood, sweat and tears and find peaceful, diplomatic solutions to achieve our wishes and desires.