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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 827

Burma marks 65th Anniversary Independence Day but Kachin-war keeps on

By - Zin Linn

January 4th is the 65th Anniversary of Burma’s Independence Day which marks the victory of the nation’s independence struggle. President of Burma (Myanmar) Thein Sein has delivered a message to the nation and its people on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary Independence Day.

President of Burma (Myanmar) Thein Sein on Friday clarified in his message that with sense of duty, every citizen should take part in nation building since it is essential for ensuring peace and stability.

Thein Sein confesses that the country has lagged far behind the neighboring countries in development because of the disunity between leaders and the people and prolonged civil war in the country after reinstating its independence.

In his message, he blames the British colonialists for exploiting natural resources in various ways. Besides, Thein Sein said, the colonialists systematically damaged religions, customs, literature and languages. He also accuses them of ruling the country by the policy of divide and rule. The education system planned to keep the country longer under the yoke of colonialism, he points out.

General Aung San together with educated nationalist youths fought back not only the colonialism but also Japanese fascists in the midst of the pro-independence obligation, according to his message. Consequently Tatmadaw (Army) joining hands with the people put a strong resistance to Japanese fascists and drove them out of the country, he explains through the message.

The message continues saying, regardless of hilly and plain regions, all national brethren took part in the fight for independence in order to have the benefit of the independence. The nation regained her independence on 4 January 1948 thanks to collaborative efforts of all national races and statesmen who made supreme sacrifice for their country. National brethren and our ancestors sacrificed their lives for the independence of country, he underlines in his message.

Afterward, Thein Sein says via the message that today’s national races and future generation have the duty to defend the country’s independence till posterity.

Additionally, he says in the message, the common desire of all Myanmar (Burmese) people is peace and stability, the rule of law and the development of the country. All citizens’ unity and law-abiding practices are of special importance not only for ensuring peace and stability and the rule of law but also for reaching eternal peace.

However, people may think his message as a rhetoric expression since it is far away from actual circumstances. President Thein Sein met national races affairs ministers from regions and states at the Presidential Palace in Nay-Pyi-Taw on September 7, 2012. Speaking on the occasion, President said that national races live in the country as blood brothers. Therefore, he said, they have the basic rights of citizens stated in the constitution.

In contrast, Thein Sein also confessed on the occasion that border regions still failed to sustain development on education, health, transportation, and the economy due to fragile stability and the problems with rule of law, he acknowledged. After 65 years of independence, there are no electricity supplies, clean water systems and modern hospitals in ethnic populace areas. But, privileged Capital Nay-Pyi-Taw which merely built in 2005 has been emerged as an extraordinary metropolitan in the middle of a jungle. So, people may not believe the term ‘blood brothers’ used by the President.

President’s message says: “Peace and stability and development of the country are interdependence. Only when the country sees peace and stability, can a modern, developed country be built. In that regard, each and every citizen needs to have their hands in nation-building endeavors for ensuring peace and stability with a sense of duty.”

On the other hand, Thein Sein emphasized that there has been progress in making peace with the ethnic armed-groups, with the exception of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). While the Thein Sein Government has publicly declared its reform plans including national reconciliation, it fails to control its armed forces in accordance with the peacemaking efforts. Right now, the Burma Army seems to be disobeying the peace plan made by head of its government. If it was a fabricated story, the people would blame the President as an anti-reformist. The consequences of the army’s opposing acts will push the country into another abysmal of devastation.

It is inexcusable because the government has used not only heavy artillery but also enforced gunship-helicopters and jet-fighters in this military operation against the ethnic Kachin rebels. The news about government airstrikes is hitting the headlines through the media. The United States and the United Nations are warning the Thein Sein government to stop its operation of air strikes against the Kachin rebels.

The escalation of military operation is menacing the country's reform process. The intensity of the airstrikes with the threat of a ground invasion of Kachin administrative capital Laiza further complicated relation between Burmese government and Kachin Independence Organization, Kachinland News said.

According to some analysts, the President’s reform procedure do not go with his inaugural address such as overlooking to restore law and order, neglecting people’s voices, limiting public protests by undemocratic regulations and so on.

However, the government should not deceive the blood brothers who hope for change. The ethnic armed groups do not trust the government’s peace calls so far. The fact is that while offering the peace bid, the government has been increasing its military deployment in the ethnic territories.

If government armed forces continue combating the ethnic rebels, it may cause damaging the president’s reform process. The President should not run the country by issuing rhetorical messages rather than commanding the armed forces to withdraw from the ethnic territories immediately.

President should keep in mind that military alone cannot change the impoverished country to become a democratic and developed society which will be in harmony with the International Community. And also, problems of a nation should be address by means of peaceful dialogue rather than by using military might. To build peace and stability of the country, the President should cultivate peaceful negotiation ways and means among the blood brothers in order to honor the 65th Anniversary of Burma’s Independence Day.

- Asian Tribune -

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