There is a seeming return to normalcy in Myanmar. Calm has returned to the streets and demonstrations are over. The junta has lifted its curfew and ended the ban on gatherings of more than five people. Once cordoned-off pagodas have reopened to the public. The military junta has appointed a commission to draft a new constitution.
There is another face to normalcy: fear. Soldiers no longer stand in rows, challenging protesters to defy them, but they continue to lurk and watch, ever on the lookout for signs of opposition. Ordinary citizens still struggle to make ends meet as prices rise and incomes remain stagnant. Now, however, they also know that the government is even prepared to strike against monks, a group hitherto thought immune from official violence in a predominately Buddhist society. The pursuit of monks into monasteries was the final proof of the military leaders’ willingness to cross every line to preserve their power.
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