This interview was conducted over email with Jack, a student at Duke University and a citizen of Myanmar, by Gargi Mahadeshwar, a second-year undergraduate student working for the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Please join us for The Myanmar Coup Faculty and Student Perspectives where Jack will be speaking about Myanmar on November 18 at 7:30.

Gargi Mahadeshwar (GM): Tell me a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Duke.

Jack (J): My name is Jack and a junior at Duke Kunshan/ Duke this year. I was admitted to Duke’s undergraduate degree program in China at Duke Kunshan University. I was attracted to the prospect of receiving a Duke education in China and ended up at DKU and hopefully at Duke for my semester abroad this spring.

GM: What are your thoughts on the UN’s response to the Myanmar coup (or lack thereof)?

J: Many in the country see the UN’s response to be very superficial and I share a somewhat similar sentiment. The people look to institutions like the UN to intervene in ways that will force the junta to relinquish power. However, we have seen for the past 10 months that this is not the case. Statement after statement, closed door meeting after another and still the situation in the country still has not improved. When the UN and the international community could not help, the people resorted to an armed revolution escalating things even more.

GM: As the coup continues, what do you hope to see in terms of international responses?

J: The international community can and is obliged to cut any sources of income for the junta, place an arms embargo and freeze all military official assets abroad. At the same time provide support for the National Unity Government and ramp up humanitarian aid to affected areas.

GM: How has the coup and activist responses changed your perspective on local and international activism?

J: I have always seen activism as an integral part of any society and the coup highlighted this importance even more. Having grown up under an oppressive regime for a fair share of my life, I see activism as a crucial factor to bring about change. This coup has shown that with more oppression comes even greater activism.

GM: What would you define as success for activists?

J: It is hard to answer this question because activists right now have a common goal and that is the removal of the military junta from power and bring it under civilian control. For some this would be a success but for many other activists, success goes beyond the ousting of the junta. Ethnic activists will see success when their states can enjoy more autonomy, others will see success in the return of power to Aung San Su Kyi.

GM: What do you hope people will take away from this event?

J: I just hope this event will bring more attention to the events unfolding in Myanmar.

GM: What can people do to help?

J: People can help by donating to the cause .The link is one of many that is raising funds for the Burmese revolution.