By Kanbawza Win
Thehall mark of the Myanmar Tatmadaw (armed forces) on embarking the ethnic cleansing policy has been rooted in the Myanmar philosophy of “The policy of a great nation” where one race could completely wiped out the other and in its place a new race appeared either by killing the other ethnic and by intermarrying the latter.
No doubt this policy of a great nation was the carbon copy from the Anglo-Americans, where history has it that when William the Conquerer of Normandy of France (1066-1087) conquered the Saxons of England, they not only killed the men but married their women and become a strong nation, England, in as much as the European Caucasians killed the aborigines (Red Indians) married their women and become a great nation of America and Canada.
So also now the Myanmar are doing the same to the other non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities of Shan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon and Arakanese (Rakhine) including several smaller ethnics and tribes and what more prove is wanted, when every non Myanmar ethnic race have no choice but is being forced to rebel against the marauding Tatmadaw. The atrocities of the Myanmar Tatmadaw implementing on the Rohingya is the carbon copy of what the Myanmar king Bodawpaya (1782-1819) has done to the Arakanese as one can enquire in any old Arakanese records or read the Arakanese history.
No doubt, the Union of Burma was founded by consensus in 1947, in a small Shan village of Panglong (Myanmar endeavour to replace with the Burmese word of Pinlon) next to Loilem in Southern Shan States. Even in that historical agreement, the Arakanese and the Mon representatives were not invited, being treated as a conquered race, which is a small part of the Mahar Myanmar race.
History has proven that the Myanmar ultra-nationalists including Ne Win made short work of its founder Aung San followed by a reign of terror, from 1962 up to this day. First they targeted the Karen, then the Mon and the Karenni (Kaya) followed by the Shan, the Kachin and lastly the Chin who were mercenaries and now back to the Arakanese. What more the Myanmar Tatmadaw is against the very grain of Democracy and the Union Spirit. That is why it is obstructing every chance it has with the ethnic freedom fighters.
By these actions, the Tatmadaw has reinforced the hegemonic claim that the Myanmar have ruled the country continuously apart from the colonial period, and imagine themselves to be a historically cohesive nation, whose organizational integration with the ethnic nationalities on the peripheries only needs to be completed either democratically or by force. This is the main rai·son d’ê·tre for the difficulties encountering the 21st Century Panglong Conference, now underway.
The ABC of ethnic Cleansing
The Myanmar administration stimulates slyly to achieve their objectives of having a monolithic country of one race (Burman) one religion (Buddhist) one language (Myanmar) by indirectly encouraging the extremist Buddhist groups led by Ma Ba Tha, as authenticated proof can be seen in the mammoth statues of the warrior kings at Naypyidaw, and compelling the armed forces to adhere to the 3As method i.e. Annihilation of the ethnic leaders, Absorption of the ethnic nationalities into the mainstream Myanmar and Assimilation of the weaker ethnic cultures. To implement this policy they use the 3Bs methods of Bribing the ethnic leaders (like the Mu Tu Say Po gang in Karen) Bullying those whose resistance is weak (like the Southern Shan) and Bombing (of the Kachin and Arakanese armies).
The Tatmadaw has made a carbon copy of Paul Joseph Goebbels’ principle that “when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it” changed all the ethnic names including the country’s original name from the Union of Burma into Myanmar, proving to the world that dictators can change the name of the country without the consensus of the people, and what more compelling is it can forced the international communities to accept it, while dragging the country to the bottom rung of the world community, and today the repercussions are still felt such as “Amending the very concept of truth,” as all their actions indicates.
What more proof is wanted when all these 70 plus, years these Myanmar generals cannot move beyond their traditional modus operandi of 3Cs i.e. Command, Control and Contain, and are unable to solve the country’s chronic problems of achieving a lasting peace. Perhaps they are aiming to enter a century of civil war in the World Guinness Book of Records
The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Case was soon followed on the ethnic cleansing of the Arakanese proves that Niccolò Machiavelli theory of “the end justified the means” was true as the following illustrations indicates of how the Union of Burma was changed to one major race of Myanmar
The 1st flag of the Union of Burma, the big star represent Burma and the 5 small stars were five ethnic states, (1948) under the terms of 1947 Burma Independence act of Britain
The paddy stalk represent peasants, the pinion, the workers.14 stars represents 7 ethnics and 7 administrative divisions in 1974, following a 1962 military coup.
The current flag, no symbol of Union only one star; for Myanmar. All the of ethnic nationalities are being forced to become Myanmar in 1989 under the current Nargis Constitution
In March, this year the civilian government attempted to reform the illegal 2008 Nargis constitution which is a key pledge of its 2015 campaign. One of its main proposed amendments would have lowered that bar to two-thirds of legislators, removing what is essentially the Tatmadaw’s veto power over changes to the constitution without knowing that the crafty Tatmadaw has worked to strengthen its reputation and ultimate hold on power among the electorate.
The tricky Tatmadaw has increasingly used spurious pretexts—from defamation to blasphemy to crack down on individuals who criticize them, and now, COVID-19 had given the generals additional pretext for silencing critics, particularly that the Tatmadaw would be able to grant itself even greater powers. All indications points that the Myanmar Tatmadaw whose unwritten motto is “Lying the very concept of Truth,” is determine to carry on the civil war and this time concentrates on the Arakanese which according to the Myanmar saying is worse than the viper. Hence, the big question will the civilized international community especially the West will let this ethnic cleansing of Myanmar over the non-Myanmar carry on without any immunity, now that Burma is squarely in the pockets of China?
Intent on dividing the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities the Burmese government has urged armed ethnic opposition groups to accept cease fires, allowing them not to interfere with the trafficking of heroin and amphetamines in exchange for ceasefire agreements however, the Tatmadaw still rejects decentralization and power- sharing and the emergence of a culture of tolerance, lasting peace will continue to elude Burma.
These cease-fire incentives are just a bid to draw the border regions closer into the orbit of the government and Tatmadaw. The investment projects and cease-fire negotiations are also viewed locally as an effort by the current administration to appease China, christened by the people as Tatmadaw’s Step Father. Obviously, Beijing has ample of economic interests in resources along the border, including minerals and timber, and is busily making Burma a key cog in its regional Belt and Road Initiative. Xi Jinping had visited the country to finalize dozens of new investment deals worth billions of dollars, mainly for infrastructure projects connected to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Lamentably, we discovered that even Daw Suu herself have not study well the history of Karenni state, that it was an independent state since the days of Burmese kings and the British administration, so last year, protests broke out in Karenni State against the government’s decision to build a statue of Aung San who happens to be Suu Kyi’s father, an action not so augers with the Union but a Mahar Bamar Spirit.
Hence, the ethnic nationalities grievances toward the Myanmar-dominated government is not so conducive to the Union Spirit and she seems to forget in one of her “Letters from Burma” (Japan’s Mainichi newspaper Feb. 3, 1997), “Our ethnic nationalists still harbor a deep feeling of mistrust of the majority Burmese, a mistrust natural to those who have not been accorded justice and fair play. In trying to build up a strong union, our greatest challenge will be to win the confidence of those who have only known repression and discrimination.” So far what has she done to close the gap or just doing the opposite in lieu with the Tatmadaw?
Now with Covid 19 pandemic and the demonstrations in the world, it seems that the Burmese problem will be shoved aside by the international community and the people of Burma especially non Myanmar ethnic nationalities will continue to suffer silently.