Student-Faculty Panel Presentation Raises Awareness about Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar

On April 15, the International Center hosted a panel presentation in cooperation with the Burmese Student Association (BurSA). The presentation, titled “What’s Happening in Myanmar,” included a historical overview of Burmese politics by Dr. Maggie Bodemer of the History Department, as well as six Burmese students who shared their own experiences of the recent coup and ongoing Civil Disobedience Movement in the country. A student panelist and the treasurer of BurSA reflected afterwards on the importance of raising awareness as the crisis continues: “Each passing day, families are still losing their loved ones. It has been almost three months since the military took over and the death toll continues to rise each day. The lack of coverage on news channels here does not mean that the situation is resolved and over.”

The event, held over Zoom, was open only to Cal Poly students, staff, and faculty members out of security concerns for the student panelists. Students in Myanmar shared photos and information about the Civil Disobedience Movement protests as well as the violent tactics employed by the Burmese military. Those students currently in the U.S. shared the difficulty of being cut off from communicating with friends and family back home. A student shared that “daily internet cutoffs and suspension of mobile data usage are still ongoing to suppress the circulation of information, making it difficult to get news in or out.”

Panelists also shared ways for others to get involved, including writing to elected officials and donating to the Civil Disobedience Movement, and encouraged attendees to engage with BurSA on their Instagram page (@cpslobursa) to find more information. Speaking after the event, The BurSA Treasurer shared that the club was happy with the high turnout and interest of the attendees and stressed the need to continue sharing information about the crisis.

“The main thing I hope the attendees took away from the panel is the severity of the situation. I feel like western news coverage doesn’t cover the gravity of the situation with the continuous killings and detainment of innocent civilians. And I feel like it’s easy to brush off stories you see on social media. So, I really hope by sharing our stories at the panel, people realize how serious the situation really is.”