ISSN 2330-717X

Tatmadaw, Your New Daddy Is Not So Good – OpEd


 After more than three decades, to (1988 to 2020) Tatmadaw (Imperial Burmese army)hasfinally discovered that his step father Zhonghu 中国is not satisfied with his mother only, but raping his sisters and killing his brothers. Only last year, (Dec 19, 2019) the Myanmar military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, praised China as a “trusted friend forever,” echoing that the Tatmadaw will give its full support to develop strategic “Pauk Phaw relations” between the two countries.

Pauk Phaw” in Burmese means, brothers born out of the womb coined in the 1950s when the Chinese Communist troops help the Burmese army to drive out the Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang troops out of Sino Burma border, dubbed by the Tatmadaw claimed a successful Bayinaung military operation against the enemy. Incidentally, it was where I lost my bosom friend Noel Peters a fighter pilot of the Burma Air Force.  Last year when Tatmadaw raided the hideouts of the Paloung TNLA (Taang National Liberation Army) an ethnic freedom fighter group, it recovered Chinese made sophisticated anti-aircraft launchers. But the cat was let out of the bag only on 2nd July when General Min Aung Hlaing said to the Russian state-run TV channel Zvezda that China was supporting the non-Myanmar ethnic freedom fighters with arms and ammunition. 

It is lamentable to see such a scenario, when the founding fathers of the Union of Burma, after experiencing a destructive World War II on its soil, for no fault of its own, had unanimously decided to pursue an independent non align foreign policy because the country and the people of Burma cherished independence more than anything else, because it experienced a colonial legacy under the British for nearly a century. Being, one of the founders of Non align Movement, at the height of Cold War era, almost all the third world countries has to look to Burma for the correctness of the foreign policy in the UN, has now come to such a pitiable state of affairs, only because of the greed of Tatmadaw

If one recollect in 1954, Burma, China and India expounded the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence of mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; to abide by mutual non-aggression; non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; respect for mutual equality and to work for mutual benefit; and peaceful co-existence. But now it is evident that the Army’s step father has not respect their ancestor’s policy of this Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. The Tatmadaw has inherited an uncontrollable greed for power and wealth from General Ne Win dubbed as the founder of the Imperial Tatmadaw (whereas Aung San is the founder of the Union of Burma) in 1962 has taught them by its classic example of how to ruin the country. Even now after three decades of destabilizing the situation when the civilian counterpart endeavours to remedy the illegal 2008 Nargis Constitution, the sons of these serpentine broth of the Tatmadaw refuses to budge.

With the current situation in South and Southeast Asia, where the Dragon is showing its fangs in the Himalayas with India, smothering Hong Kong’s freedom and obstructing freedom of navigation by annexing the strings of islands in the South China sea, while looking askance to ASEAN and poising the whole world with COVID 19 by withholding the news of the spread of disease until, it’s too late indicates that it wants to prove that China is really Zhonghu 中国, centre of the world, at least economically with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) encompassing the whole world.

So now, it seems that the eldest son Tatmadaw realize that the Step Father is no good even though the biological father NLD knowing well the sexual appetite of his better half keep quiet as of yesterday Khin Mg Win, the deputy minister of electricity said that the country will agree to Myitzone Dam not only because she dare not contradict with the eldest but also knows the dictum of chairman Mao, that power comes out of the barrel of the gun, is order of the day. The entire people of Burma are galling to witness such a scene, obviously the Burmese Generals are quite contended to uphold the country’s title as the least developed status, for they can hold on to power, the latest Phar Kant jade mine landslide, where more than 200 workers, were killed nobody dared to say that it is owned by non-other than Than Shwe, the former dictator, now living peacefully in Naypyidaw.

According to the (CSED) Centre for Economic & Social Development and the Inter-national Growth Centre, jade mining generates $ 31 billion a year equivalent of 40% of its GDP. This is just a small portion of the Army’s ownership. Cardinal Bo said “never-ending tsunami of economic and environmental injustice against the poor and if the stakeholders do not respond with compassion and justice, this will not be the last time of this inhuman tragedy.” But the present and past Generals will not be moved. The Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China, published an article a few days after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party came to power saying that closer ties with the US at the expense of Chinese strategic interests would not serve Myanmar’s long-term interest. Everybody knows that China is part of the problem when it comes to demanding international accountability for human rights atrocities since they are committing their own against Uyghurs in Xinjiang and are happy to help with the Burmese Generals crimes. 

Before the marauding Tatmadaw gave up power in 2011 the Generals had become millionaires at the expense of local civilians especially that of the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities. This continues to cause problems as China tries to maintain many of these economic projects by making them part of the new CMEC (China-Myanmar Economic Corridor) agreement which the two countries signed in Sept 2018.

That agreement called for both countries to begin detailed negotiations on where a 1,700 kilometer long transportation corridor from southern China (Yunnan province) to central Burma (Mandalay) and then west to the coast at the Kyaukpyu (Special Economic Zone) will be built. The corridor would improve roads, railroads and build, as needed, pipelines and electrical transmission lines. This would be financed by China and built mainly by Chinese construction firms leaving the Burmese people out.

Obviously the Tatmadaw resisted and Chinese countered the Tatmadaw by arming the ethnic freedom fighters. Now it become a level playing field, before it was only the marauding Tatmadaw that got the monopoly of purchasing arms from countries like Russia, Israel, Singapore etc. while German and Czech companies got the contract of setting up arms industry on the West bank of the Irrawaddy.

Turning to the current international scene the two super powers of US and China are at loggerhead, if ever there is a show down between the Free World of US, EU, Australia and India versus the dictatorial countries of China, Russia and North Korea surely, Burma will become a battlefield like the World War II. It is high time for the Myanmar Tatmadaw shed its uncontrollable greed and implement the genuine federalism to build up a genuine national army instead of only the Myanmar (that is why it is called Myanmar Tatmadaw) where ethnic cleansing is their unwritten motto, and keep the Step Father out.. 

It is high time to reconsider the plight of the country’s independence instead of being obsessed in uncontrollable power and greed since 1962. Even, if they have not read the country’s history, of how the 1stBurmese kingdom was destroyed by the Chinese and how we can avenge this national shame only in 1765-79 when the Burmese army stop the Qing dynasty Chinese invaders known in Chinese as清緬戰爭the Sino Burmese war, at least they should recollect the 42 days-long Battle of Kunlong (from Nov.1971 to Jan 1972) with the Chinese backed Burma Communist Party to control the strategic bridge, where several sons of the soil made supreme sacrifices (at that time I was a junior staff officer at Construction Corporation sent to Kunlong to write about the bridge).

The tide turned only when the Burma Air Force was able to drop the air bust cannons. Maybe the current generals should ask their old counter parts and stay quite a distance from their big bully Step Father, and really work for the motherland by implementing the genuine federalism and giving up its crony capitalism. The barometer will be the coming 21st Century Union Peace Conference schedule for Aug 31st, which has been postpone four times only because of the stubbornness of the Myanmar Tatmadaw who abhor to quit  power and privileges.

Today every non Myanmar ethnic nationalities is forced to take up the gun against Myanmarnization of making one country (Myanmar), one race (Myanmar) and one religion (Buddhist) and now it is the duty of every ethnic nationality to vote for its own ethnic political party rather than the NLD or the Army back parties. All the people of Burma deserve peace and there can be no peace in as much there is no justice without truth.  The unwritten motto of the Myanmar Tatmadaw of “Lying the very concept of truth” adopted by the Myanmar should be abandoned once and for all for the sake of the Union and preserving our beloved country. 

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