Capacity development, learning, change, poverty/power/progress
Today is the first time that I am in a situation where I can give the 3-finger salute that has become familiar in the pictures coming from Myanmar. Although it is online it feels like we are connected in solidarity with the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).
Two days after this online meeting, some words still keep ringing in my ears:
Reflecting on what we can continue to do and can support brings out the following from the Myanmar friends in this call:
In the middle of the call a colleague excuses herself: “sorry, I have to see what is happening in the street…” After a few looong minutes she types in the chat: “I’m back.” At that moment, sitting in France, I can feel the constant terror people in Myanmar are living with. “What’s happening?” someone asks in the chat. “The police were entering our street, but the people have chased them and blocked the road.” It’s not for the first time that the self-organising power of the people in Myanmar strikes me. (For instance this blog from 2012) In the same call, we hear about health workers who participate in the CDM. They are self-organizing health services to ensure that people with chronic conditions can get the check-ups they need.
How can we, the international community, support the people of Myanmar, this self-rganising movement with distributed leadership?
Our minds are racing a million miles per minute. The one thing that seems needed right now: keep collecting and sharing these stories, listen, make sense together, and (when asked) financially support each and every initiative that aims to keep the spirit of democracy alive, that keeps people safe, and that keeps humanitarian services accessible on the ground. We have to trust that the people of Myanmar and their (informal!) organisations know what to do. Their courage and actions demonstrate that they will do everything as peacefully and humanly possible to regain the fragile freedom they started to enjoy just a decade ago.
Finally, after the call closure, a few stay online and we just cry together, because it feels like starting from scratch and it’s all just too much to bear.
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