Burmese Students Denounce Thein Sein


The new Burmese regime led by President Thein Sein has tried its best to get international recognition, but All Burma Student’s League (ABSL) has termed the government at Nay Pyi Taw as bogus. The students’ organization alleges that the new government, formed after November 2010 election in Burma, has maintained its attack on pro-democratic and ethnic forces around the country.

In a series of resolutions adopted at the ABSL meeting on September 9-23, 2011 and sent to media recently, it points out that the ‘the military regime, holding the power firmly in its hand, has gradually been installing its political infrastructure. It also forcibly ratified the pro-military dictatorship constitution by annulling the 1990 elections’ result which is the political reward of Four-8s revolution’.

“International situations and domestic opposition have forced the military regime into carrying out such superficial reforms. The forced ratification of 2008 pro-military dictatorship proves the fact that the military regime resolves to continue holding power. The attitudes and actions of the military regime that wish to firmly hold power in its grip do not generate much of difficulties when communicating with neighboring countries. But they do pose obstacles in its relationship with western democracies. To solve this crisis, such superficial reforms are being introduced,” stated in a resolution.

It argues that the ‘military-turned-bogus civilian government led by Thein Sein in civilian dress has launched a series of political attacks on its dissidents in the international and domestic political arena’. “The regime also starts holding closed-door political meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi, the internationally-recognized democratic opposition leader, declaring fake general pardons and extending pretentious invitation to dissidents along the border and abroad to return home,” stated in the resolution adding, “We have full confidence in honesty and compassion of Suu Kyi for the people of Burma. She has led Burma’s pro-democracy movement over 20 years despite of various kinds of oppression. However, the regime’s past lies and current ploys make us difficult to believe in the ongoing meetings.”

The ABSL was formed by the students and youths who were once involved in the 88s Revolution. Majority of its members held a stance – We are Ba-Ka-Tha(ABFSU-All Burma Federation of Student Unions) inside andMa-Ka-Da-Ta(ABSDF-All Burma Students’ Democratic Front) outside – and a belief that there must be a single unified student body. It is their stance that the student body must be known as ABSDF abroad and ABFSU inside.

However, the ABSL emerged as a separate organization because of particular political reasons. Its members based in Thailand are ex-ABSDF members and student comrades of domestic student fronts and unions. On July 30, 1994, the ABSL officially came into existence with a democratic constitution with various political goals and policies. The ABSL is recognized by international youth and student bodies like International Union of Socialist Youth, International Union of Students and World Federation of Democratic Youth as a member organization.

Speaking to this writer, Kyaw Than, president of ABSL, argued that the real political power of Burma will always remain ‘in the hand of a few military dictators regardless of the existence of sham elections, puppet parliaments and bogus civilian governments’.

“We firmly believe that Burma’s political crisis cannot be solved – no matter how many agreements are made with whatever political party – as long as 2008 pro-military constitution remains intact. According to the pro-military dictatorship constitution, the military leaders are guaranteed with one-fourth of the total parliamentary seats, all important ministerial positions including national security and the power to legally stage serial coups d’état. Until now, all the ministries have been occupied by military officers and ex-military officers,” he added.

The ABSL admitted that the Burmese ‘forces based abroad and in border areas did not have an effective cooperation within the people’s movement for democracy and anti-military dictatorship’.

“This is a direct result of our common failure to build a complete unified front and establish a firm and decisive leadership. Even though this blame goes majorly to ourselves, the external interferences as one contributing reason to this weakness must also beincluded in this criticism. It is the result of over-dependency upon the donors due to the use of excuse for survival difficulties abroad. The main anti-military dictatorship movement has been backburnered by the peripheral issues such as campaigns and trainings for human rights and woman rights,” a resolution said.

The student’s organization also criticizes the United Nations (with the international community) as being losing ‘confidence in democratic forces’ adding that ‘only a genuine national conference, which is free, fair and fearless, is the key to rebuilding Burma that has been disintegrating for over forty years’.

The Burmese regime has recently released over 200 political prisoners and many other prisoners prior to Thein Sein’s visit to India. But the ABSL claimed that ‘over 2000 political prisoners are still being kept in jails. New arrests and tortures of political activists are still going on. The basic rights of the people are still disallowed. The censor board is still retained and freedom of press severely curtailed, it asserted.

Nava Thakuria

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (Assam, Northeast India) based journalist

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