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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2132

Myanmarnization of Non-Myanmar is ad nauseam

By Kanbawza Win

The Burmese regime insistence on the use of word Myanmar over Burma in the English language reveals the highest stage of their ethnic cleansing policy implemented by the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy over the Non Myanmar, the ethnic nationalities, which constitutes more than half of the population of Burma when the modern Union of Burma was formed in 1947.

Referring the term ethnic minority to a population of nearly 30 million (more than that of Canada) of the major ethnic nationalities like Shan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon Rakhine, of the Non Myanmar group is ridiculous. A fait accompli accepted by the UN and the international community proving the theory that dictators can change the name of the country and its national flag according to their whims and fancies, without the consensus of the entire people of Burma. Hence, the simple hypothesis is- will there be a genuine peace in the Union of Burma when the country’s struggle is two sides of a coin, for genuine democracy and the other is the struggle of ethnic nationalities rights unceremoniously considered as a second citizen?

The ongoing conflict in Kachin State and last year’s deadly clashes in Arakan State have cast a harsh light on one of the greatest challenges facing Burma, as its moves towards reform. Burma needs not only democracy but also ethnic rights, as democracy and ethnic rights must go hand in hand as one cannot be achieved without the other.

The architect of modern Burma, Bogyoke Aung San, in several of his speeches had emphasized the merits of federalism for the country and yet he was assassinated by none other than a Myanmar, even before seeing the fruition of his labour and the contemporary history revealed that it was the leaders of the Myanmar groups that did not recognize the Union of Burma and started the armed insurrections viz. Thakhin Soe,(Red flag), Thakhin Than Htun (White flag) and Volunteer Organization (PVO) are all Myanmar, while the rest of the Non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities remain true to the Union of Burma.

Successful Implementation of “Divide and Rule” Policy

Myanmar leaders both civilians and generals had studied the Divide and Rule policy meticulously, during the British occupation which they applied successfully now. The successors of Aung San, puts in the Myanmarnization policy but the Karen which has tasted the tyranny and the atrocities of the Myanmar Tatmadaw, since BIA (Burma Independence Army) during the Second World War started to rebel and the Myanmar dominated government successfully used the Kachin and the Chin armies to defend the Union, while they built up the Myanmar Tatmadaw. This was the first fruition of the Divide and Rule Policy of Myanmar over Non Myanmar. At that time ethnic nationalities leaders were simpleton, and continue to belief in the Burmese administration hoping that federalism will be attain by peaceful means, since it is a democratic government and called the Taunggyi Federal Conference, in 1961, where all the leaders of the ethnic nationalities unanimously agreed to move the federal proposal in the parliament early next year. But the Myanmar government replied with the military coup in March 1962 and persecuted all the ethnic intellectuals killing many of the Shan leaders and since then the tyrannical Myanmar Tatmadaw (army) was in power up to this day.

The Myanmar Tatmadaw at once implemented its vigorous Myanmarnization policy so much so that today not a single ethnic nationality is left behind that had not rebelled against the central government. Successive military administrations under various pretexts continue to drag the country to the lowest ladder of the international community. The tyranny and the suppression was so much that even the Myanmar race itself could not bear it any longer and give birth to the pro democracy movement led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in 1988.

Cold chills runs through their spines of the Generals at the thought of the democratic forces joining hands with the ethnic nationalities as it will mean the end of their power and that they themselves will have to face a Nuremburg like trial. They also sense that time was not on their side. So they devise a ways and means to compromise with the democratic forces led Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as it consider to be the lesser of the two evils and the end result was the current day reforms led by former General Thein Sein, a dove from the army.

But the Generals were, and are very much anathema to federalism because the crux of federalism was sharing of power and they loath to do so. Moreover it will mark the end of their reign of terror on the ethnic nationalities of Non Myanmar area as they had just done in Myanmar dominated area. And so they began to concentrate on the Non Myanmar by systematically using this “Divide and Rule Policy” and techniques.

However, the Myanmar Tatmadaw is not only against democracy but also totally against the Union (Pyidoungsu) itself. Building the fourth Myanmar empire is their main goal and that is why they deliberately chose the three Burmese emperors (Anawrahta, Bayinnaung and Alaunpayawhose mammoth statues stands in Naypyidaw) often recalling the glorious imperial policy that had vanquished not only the current ethnic nationalities area but also parts of India, Thailand and Laos as their role model. They have their annual reminder on Resistance Day now renamed Army Day, the 27th March.

The Generals knew that throughout, the modern history of Burma, the one rebellion that fights on ideology is the Burma Communist Party while all the rest are on ethnic lines for greater autonomy. But when it collapse in 1989 and splinter into various WA ethnic factions, the Myanmar Tatmadaw was quick to exploit and implemented cease fire with all the WA factions so that the WA may not join the other ethnic groups under NDF (National Democratic Front) which has already formed an embryo alliance with the pro democratic forces in the peripherals of Burma under the umbrella of Democratic Alliance of Burma. By this action they can successfully neutralise the strongest and a major ethnic force. The 2nd fruition of their divide and rule policy.

The ABSDF (All Burma Students Democratic Front), the pro democracy student army that cut through the ethnic lines has not yet disintegrated yet and have a potential to become a rallying point, as it was supported both inside and outside the country. The Myanmar Tatmadaw managed to get its 3rd fruition of divide and rule policy by successfully inking a ceasefire with the Kachin in 1994. It completely knockout DAB and the domino of ethnic alliances falls one after another. The Myanmar Tatmadaw then concentrates its fire power on the strongest of the ethnic forces the Karen and completely dismembers them. So the smaller allies of Chin, Mon, Karenni, Shan etc who all have no choice but to seek a compromise as the accompanying table shows:-

List of ceasefires



Effective date


Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army(MNDAA)

Special Region 1, Shan State

21 March 1989

Kokang-led, split from the Communist Party of Burma

United Wa State Army (UWSA)

Special Region 2, Shan State

9 May 1989

Also known as the Myanmar National Solidarity Party, split from the Communist Party of Burma

National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA)

Special Region 4, Shan State

30 June 1989

Shan State Army (SSA)

Special Region 3, Shan State

2 September 1989

New Democratic Army (Kachin) (NDA-K)

Special Region 1, NortheastKachin State

15 December 1989

Kachin Defence Army (KDA)

Special Region 5, Northern Shan State

13 January 1991

Former 4th Brigade of the Kachin Independence Organization

Pa-O National Organization (PNO)

Special Region 6, Southern Shan State

11 April 1991

Palaung State Liberation Army (PSLA)

Special Region 7, Northern Shan State

21 April 1991

Kayan National Guard (KNG)

Special Region 1, Kayah State

27 February 1992

Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)

Special Region 2, Kachin State

24 February 1994

Ceasefire broke down on 9 June 2011, when fighting resumed.[10]

Karenni State Nationalities Peoples' Liberation Front (KNPLF)

Special Region 2, Kayah (Karenni) State

9 May 1994

Kayan New Land Party (KNLP)

Special Region 3, Kayah (Karenni) State

26 July 1994

Shan State Nationalities Peoples' Liberation Organization (SSNPLO)

Southern Shan State

9 October 1994

New Mon State Party (NMSP)

Mon State

29 June 1995

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)

Karen State


Mongko Region Defence Army (MRDA)

Shan State


Split from Myanmar National Democracy Alliance Army

Shan State National Army (SSNA)

Shan State


Karenni National Defence Army (KNDA)

Karen State


Split from KNPP

Karen Peace Force (KPF)

Karen State


Former 16th Battalion of the Karen National Union

Communist Party of Burma (Arakan Province)(CPB)

Rakhine State


Mon Mergui Army (MMA)

Mon State


Split from New Mon State Party

KNU Special Region Group Toungoo (KNU)

Bago Division


Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP)

Kayah State


Ceasefire broke down within 3 months

Shan State Army – South (SSA-South)

Shan State


New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDAK)

Kachin State


Kayan National Liberation Army (KNLA)

Karen State


Former 7th Battalion of the Karen National Union

Democratic Karen Buddhist Amy (DKBA) 3rd Brigade

Karen State

3 November 2011[11]

Fighting resumed on 19 February 2012.[12]

Kaloh Htoo Baw armed group

Karen State

5 November 2011[13]

Former DKBA

Chin National Front
Karen National Union
Shan State Army-South


19 November 2011[14]

Informal ceasefire agreement.
Despite a ceasefire agreement in place, fighting is still occurring between the Tatmadaw and SSA-South rebel troops, as of March 2012.[15]

Chin National Front (CNF)

Chin State

8 January 2012[16]

Karen National Union (KNU)[17]

Karen State

7 February 2012[18]

Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS)

Shan State

17 January 2012[19]

Political arm of Shan State Army

Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP)

Shan State

28 January 2012[20]

Political arm of the Shan State Army

New Mon State Party (NMSP)

Mon State

31 January 2012[21]

Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP)

Kayah State

6 March 2012[22]

But the Myanmar divide and rule policy is not confine only between the ethnic races but also inside the ethnic community itself e.g. Karen, the Myanmar policy can be seen in DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army) and very lately could wean out the economically inclined group which eventually became leaders of KNU. In Karenni (Kayah) it was able to divide KNPP, KNLP, KNDA, KNLPF into several groups while in Arakan are also several groups and even the Rohingya it was able to splinter in three groups and so on. To be candid some of the groups are little better than dacoits. Of course not all these splits are because of the central government’s bidding as most of the bands do not have any visions but the central administration was able to fuel the divide.

Future Strategy

The Myanmar Tatmadaw will definitely continue to use the same strategy and once the cease-fire with the Kachin is reached it will turn its wrath on the strongest and the most formidable of the ethnic groups, the WA. This is a foregone conclusion and the Myanmar Tatmadaw willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of its child and young soldiers to achieve their utopia. The Kachin operations had caused the Burmese about 5,000 causalities but they do not care, they have half a million men and will not stop until and unless the fourth Burmese empire is established. No matter what the central government say or do, the Myanmar Tatmadaw is a state within a state and can decide and work independently without heeding the President. As far as democracy and foreign relations are concerned President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi can handle, and they do not need to worry. But the Myanmar Tatmadaw will continue to implement its version of disciplined democracy i.e.A Big Stick policy; let the world knows that Myanmar is a big brother, full of knowledge and wisdom watching over the little brothers of Shan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon and Rakhine and you little brothers should behave as the big brother says or otherwise will have to use the big stick just what he had done to the Kachin. Everybody must be in line is the message from the Myanmar Tatmadaw.

All the Western companies like the Chinese, Indian and ASEAN companies comes here to exploit the human and natural resources of the country, let them do it, what should they care as long as the Myanmar Tatmadawis intact it is all right. Only with this price they will achieved their Myanmarnization policy as their fore fathers have done during the periods of the three Burmese empires when the intellectuals of the Non Myanmar were killed en masse, the most prominent being of what King Alaungpaya (Aungzeya) had done to the Mon. See Mon cannot rise again up to this day and the majority of them are now struggling in Thailand was their reasoning. The BIA has often thrown grenades at the Churches when the Karen was worshipping during the Second World War and they will do the same to the Kachin and Chin Christians again, seems to be their message.

Even, during the first Burmese empire, king Kyanzittha have tried a peaceful coexistence as can be seen in the Myazeddi inscription which was written in four (Mon, Pali, Myanmar) but in the long run it didn’t work. Slowly the ethnic cleansing policy of the Myanmar worked and now major races like Pyu, Kanyan and Theare extinct. So also eventually the current ethnic nationalities of Shan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni (Kayah) Mon and Rakhine must cease to exist and all become Myanmar. Rohingyar cannot identify itself with Rakhine and so must be driven out as what they are doing now in piece meal fashion.

Their rationale is that they did not need to have a guilty conscience because that is what the Americans and the Canadians are doing to the natives the aborigines (Red Indians) and because of this action, theses North Americans have become great nations. Even look at the history of England, it was during the time of William the Conqueror from Normandy came over and ethnic cleanse the native Saxons by killing and intermarrying them and now they become Great Britain and once upon a time the sun never sets in the British empire, they reasoned. So, the strategy is clear and straight forward.

“Lying the very concept of truth” is not confined to Myanmar Tatmadaw only, they reason, every government lied so what? This is the work of the President “- Myanmar is willing to make "all necessary compromises" to broker peace with ethnic minority rebel groups, including amendments to the constitution on power and resource sharing, the government's top negotiator said at the United Nations. Aung Min, a minister in President Thein Sein's office, is pursuing complex political negotiations with at least 10 ethnic minority rebel groups with which the government has agreed ceasefires after decades of conflict under military rule.” is our propaganda and we expect the international community to believe it as only then it will be smooth for us to continue the Myanmarnization policy. If one does not believe please refer to their Orwellian Ministry of Truth.

But, the Generals who had tasted power for more than half a century would not easily let go its prize easily and had installed the fraudulent Nargis Constitution of 2008 followed by a rigged elections of 2010 to see that the democratic movement did not get the better of them. This is how it will go whether one likes it or not.

Foot Note:

1. Burma took a swipe at the United States for calling the country Burma, urging it to use its official title and avoid harming improving ties between the two former foes. Reuters 26-1-2013. Because of the ethnic cleansing policy, the ethnic nationalities, the Myanmar population superseded the Non Myanmar
2. Aung Kyaw; Htet Ethnic Harmony Needed for Burma’s Reforms to Succeed Irrawaddy 1-2-2013
3. The 3 cut policy of the government targeting the civilians of the ethnic nationalities
4. One can see their ceremony and listen to their speech annually on that day.
5. Currently there is Idle No More Movement in Canada
6. Myanmar says will make 'all necessary compromises' for peace Asia One News 22-9-2012
7. Wade; Francis, What now for Myanmar’s Ministry of Truth 6-1-2013

- Asian Tribune -

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