Burma: No Will For Genuine Reforms Or National Reconciliation – OpEd
By Kanbawza Win
There is a Burmese saying, “A snake sees the legs of another snake.” meaning only the Burmese can see the craftiness and the cunningness of another Burmese, as they are the same birds of a feather, whereas a foreigner however expert he/she may be, have not gone through the experience of living in Burma and could not comprehend the pitfalls created by the Junta.
Probably encouraged, by the visit to Burma by US special representative Derek Mitchell, the Obama administration announced that Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell will be meeting with the visiting Burmese Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in New York, on the sidelines of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton complimented that the meeting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Junta President Thein Sein is a welcome development even though there is no fruition of any substance so far except some superficial gestures.
Ambassador Derek Mitchell said at the press conference in Rangoon that he was “encouraged by and pleased with the quality and openness of the exchanges with the interlocutors of the Junta’s side who repeatedly stated that this country had opened a new chapter to a civilian-led democratic governing structure and expressed that they were sincerely committed to reform in the interest of human rights, democracy, development and national reconciliation”. Lest he forget that these intercalates are all parrots, if not puppets, of Than Shwe and is forced to cite what the supremo has taught them, in order that the world may view through this prism. Ambassador Derek Mitchell is not Senator Jim Webb and could not play advocacy for the Junta and so Than Shwe refused to see him. The world knows that it was Than Shwe who is above his own constitution is the one that is really calling the shots in Burma.
Some of the international community and Burmese people have heightened hopes and expectations, now that the US special representative have visited Naypyidaw and some may fancies, real change, may be on the horizon, but many seasoned Burmese academics and the international community remain sceptical. Even, Ambassador Mitchell, as according to his press statement, sees the writings on the wall and have challenged whether the Thein Sein administration could prove the sceptics wrong, by implementing genuine reform and reconciliation? What more prove is wanted when the continued detention of more than 2,000 political prisoners, (in fact this was repeated by Ban Ki-Moon when he met Wanna Maung Lwin) the continuing hostilities in ethnic nationalities areas, and authenticated human rights violations, including rapes of women and using child soldiers so evident in the country. In the meantime the State Department releases that Burma is one of the eight nations that does not have religious freedom as minority religious adherents often fled the country and one has not to look far but only at the fate of Buddhist clergy in the country.
The establishment of a National Human Rights Commission is on paper only. How many Human Rights lessons have being set up in Burma? Better ask Australia as they help these Burmese officials, the art of human rights with training and workshops from 2001 to 2003. Breaking ranks with the International community the then Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer became the first Western official to visit Burma in decades and pumps in millions of dollars, for this training but the result is zero . Since then it is clear that despite calls from the international community, the Burmese Junta has no real commitment to improving human rights or bringing about real political change, it is just for propaganda purpose and instead it continue to increase its gross human rights. Meeting with Ambassador Mitchell the members of the Human Rights Commission simply said that they will have to report to Naypyidaw before they can implement anything. Every Burmese have great reservations about this National Human Rights Commission and is considered as a mere window dressing.
But the most prominent aspect of their treachery can be seen in the ceasefire proposals with the ethnic nationalities. The very fact that they repudiated the Panglong Concordat of 1947, that makes Modern Union of Burma, clearly reveals that the Generals at the head of the Myanmar ethnic group, want to Lord over the other ethnic nationalities in perpetuity and treat them as a colonial people which they inherited from the British colonialist, in other words the 4th Burmese empire. This is the crux of the Burmese problem. If there is genuine democracy and federalism as Bogyoke Aung San (the founding father of modern Burma and biological father of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) has lay down, and solved the country’s problem through dialogue and peaceful means, then they must respect the charter that makes modern Burma.
Now the Junta firmly believes that belief that the present day Burma developed in a linear fashion straight from the founding of the first Burmese kingdom in 1044 AD under king Anawrahta. Only the British colonization of the Myanmar Kingdom disrupted this historical development. They believe in the accounts of their mighty, expansionistic imperialist empires (one of the proof is the three mammoth statues in Naypyidaw) with subordinate alliances made up of multi-ethnic and multi-language communities, including the Shan, the Arakanese, the Mons, and so on, encompassing the present day Burma and its political boundaries and, at times, stretching into neighbouring India and Thailand, others are their subordinates and hence should not be treated as equal but above the ethnic nationalities. Besides the Myanmar construe that other ethnic nationalities are backward. Hence they repudiated the Panglong Conference of 1947, that modern Burma is a nation-state of diverse ethnic nations (ethnic nationalities), by pre-colonial independent ethnic nationalities such as the Chin, the Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon and Rakhine (Arakan), Myanmar and Shan based on the principle of equality, as it was founded by formerly independent peoples in 1947 through an agreement.
If this agreement has been honoured, there will be no a military coup at all in the first place and the Burmese people need not fight for democracy as what they are doing now, only if the Myanmar dominated government in 1962 is genuine and solve the ethnic legitimate grievances. The Military came into power because the civilian government could not solve the problem and even now it has no intention of solving this core problem. All these years (1948 to date) the Myanmar group led by the army has used the “Divide and Rule” policy over the Non Myanmar and now the ethnic nationalities have formed the United Federal Council (UNFC) and demanded to set up the real Genuine Union of Burma. This compels the military clique to seek alliance with the pro democracy movement led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and skilfully used the word National Reconciliation for their advantage. But Daw Suu is her father’s daughter and is determined to do the right thing and complete her father’s task and openly called for the Second Panglong Conference to thrash out the differences with the ethnic nationalities and all the stake holders. Ambassador Mitchell himself has admitted that that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains deeply important to the citizens of this country, Myanmar and ethnic nationalities alike, and that any credible reform effort must include her participation. It was also clear that she remains fully committed to the cause of peaceful change through dialogue.
The UN’s World Drug Report 2011 noted that opium production in Burma had increased 20 percent since 2009, because of a good harvest last year and President Obama had single out that three countries, Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela, “failed demonstrably” during the last 12 months to make sufficient or meaningful efforts to adhere to the obligations they have undertaken under international counter-narcotic agreements. The world has known that these Burmese generals had indirectly encourage the narco-barons to be the gentlemen of Burma and the existing Burmese billionaires are all narco related even though the well known Khun Hsa has died. Hence the conclusion can be drawn that as long as the Burmese Generals are in power narcotics will flow throughout the world. It must be stop as it source with the people’s participation and how can the people participate without the representative government?
This does not include of Burma aspiring to be a nuclear power like North Korea and its secret has been out by the patriots who know the danger of becoming an uncontrolled nuclear power. Taking all of these together it has been proved beyond doubt that the Burmese regime is trying their level best to manifest to the world at large that they are serious about that country becoming a democracy and hoodwink the international communities with the help of Nazi ancestors, some academics, NGOs and multilateral corporations bent on exploiting the country’s vast natural and human resources.
Ambassador Mitchell has made it clear that the American policy has not changed and that sanctions remain intact as announced yesterday even though the US remain open to assisting real democracy in Burma. The people of Burma and the international community need to see the concrete and genuine actions taken for real change and not superficial ones. It need sincere and genuine reforms to reach the goals that were outlined by the regime such as democracy, human rights, development, self determination and national reconciliation, then and only then Burma can be in the community of nations not to mention to be an ASEAN Chairperson. Bluffing will not work with the people of Burma or with the international community.
One thought on “Burma: No Will For Genuine Reforms Or National Reconciliation – OpEd”
Burma is following the Sri Lankan option!