Springtime of Nations: The Burmese Separatists

By Springtime of Nations

“Independence is not the kind of thing you can get by begging for it from other people. You should proclaim it yourselves. The Japanese refuse to give it? Very well then, tell them that you will cross over to someplace like Twante and proclaim it and set up your government. What’s the difficulty about that? If they start shooting, you shoot back.” – Colonel Suzuki to the future 1st prime minister of Burma Thakin Nu, 1942

If you follow world news at all, you’ll have been shocked by the mounting death toll in the Country formerly known as Burma in Southeast Asia, where hundreds of peaceful protesters have been gunned down in city streets by the army after a coup replaced the government a month earlier. What you might not know is that there have been thousands of ARMED protesters fighting the government of Burma (or as the military dictatorship insists on calling it, Myanmar) for over 70 years, wishing to split not once, not twice, but as far as I can tell at LEAST 9 ways.

This is Charlie Lee with Springtime of Nations, and we’re going to be taking a look at the biggest players in the Burmese Civil War, which is waged by armed national minorities against the Burmese state, which is dominated by the Bamar ethnic group who make up the majority of the country and reside in the populous south. In the mountains and jungles of Burma however, the paramilitaries of the Karen, the Shan, the Arakans and many others are able to hold off territory from the Myanmar armies. With murderous chaos reigning in Burma’s central cities, some of these ethnic conflicts which were under perilous ceasefires have resumed. Let’s dive into why these disparate groups have allied (and sometimes infought) against the Burmese state long before the scenes of horror in 2021.


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