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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2037

International Community needs 2nd Thought for Burma

By Kanbawza Win

Half a Century and two decades (1947-2017), i.e. three generations of Burmese has suffered in the intense civil war with no end in sight.

The international community is quite bewildered in trying to comprehend the Burmese crisis in their endeavour to resolve them with little or no knowledge that their approach is entirely wrong. They construe the country as a monolithic whole since the dawn of its history as interpreted by the various Myanmar dominated administrations.

The modern Union of Burma was born only in 12th Feb. 1947, where the four separate independent nations, (Shan, Chin, Kachin, and Myanmar) all under the British empire joined together to form the Union of Burma on equal terms. The innovative leader was a young, sincere and dedicated Myanmar, Aung San and manage to secure the agreement that the new country would be on federal republic lines and if unsatisfactory can go its own separate ways.

This was known as the Panglong Conference (name after a little town in Southern Shan States) But the Mahar (chauvinist) Myanmar led by the armed forces killed Aung San, with a proxy (just like killing of an able Muslim lawyer Ko Ni now by the Tatmadaw because he worked against the fraudulent and manipulated 2008 Nargis Constitution and also gave a bright idea of Chancellor to Daw Suu) and exiled the widow with her little daughter under the pretext of ambassadorship.

Now, after almost two decades of bearing several persecutions, the daughter has returned and together with the Pyidaungsu (federal democratic) Myanmar, claimed back her rightful place (Nov.2016 elections). But these Mahar Myanmar spearheaded by the retired and serving Generals are blocking every ways and means to prevent the country from becoming a genuine federal or democratic republic and harbor their own ideas of reviving the 4th Burmese kingdom with Tatmadaw supremacy in perpetuity. They have a secret admiration of neighboring Thailand’s Chakri Dynasty which serves as a unifying factor and have sent former President Thein Sein to visit Ratanagiri (India) to the tomb of the last exiled Myanmar king Thibaw,( Dec,22nd 2012). Last month General Min Aung Hlaing was secretly sent again to meet the remaining relatives of the Myanmar royalty now all Indian citizens. Allied with the extremist Buddhist together with the old brass political party (USDP) with their undeclared motto of “One country (Myanmar), One Race (Myanmar), One Religion (Buddhist)” the Tatmadaw has been secretly embarking upon the ethnic cleansing under the sly slogan of four cuts policy (cutting off Income, Information, Contact with people and Food supply which they learned from the British who used it in the (“Malasian Emergency”) It was a scorched earth policy because the government was “systematically driving into destitution the civilian population supporting it. Forced relocations, forced labor and all forms of abuses against the civilian population. A systematic intimidation and repression of the civilian population until they no longer dare support the opposition, by making them so destitute that they are unable to provide any material support. In other words, undermine the opposition by directly attacking the civilians who support them, often referred to as ‘draining the ocean so the fish cannot swim’, as demonstrated very lately to the Rohingya in Arakan State of Western Burma.

The Mahar Myanmar view that the ethnic nationalities as inborn unchangeable, wild, heathen, uneducated but a necessary evil where he is destined to live forever, and has become his unbounded duty to lead them to civilization. He/she must be shown them the real civilization of the Myanmar people and finally lead them through to Buddhism on to Nirvana, because Myanmar have a pure supremacy just like the Caucasians of the West and lives a morally, neutral, normative and ideal life. On the other hand the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities sees the Myanmar led by the Tatmadaw as uncivilized as being proved by their actions of gross human rights violations all these 70 years but also in the killings of the revered Buddhist monks and that this ethnic Myanmar must be brought back to civilization and educated them to qualify for the entry to international civilization.

Hence throughout its existence as it has experienced a complex set of conflicts between the central government, controlled by the Mahar Myanmar ethnic, and the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalist groups seeking autonomy. While the world's attention for the past decade has focused on the struggle for national power between the military government and the pro democratic political opposition, these underlying conflicts represent a more fundamental and intractable obstacle to peace, development and democracy. The political conflict is not warring among the ethnic groups driven by secessionist impulses, as in former Yugoslavia, but against the ruling military that are exercising a monopolistic control of all the other ethnic nationalities. A vertical conflict between the state and various ethnically defined societies over how the state was to be constituted and how the relationship between the constituent components of society and the state were to be ordered. Categorically speaking, Burma is confronted with nothing less than a full-scale pathological process of internal colonization, this time by its own military, the Tatmadaw. Indeed Burma has evolved into a dual-colony in which the population of more than 50 million citizens is being herded into a political space via an Orwellian “disciplined democracy.”

As long as the ethnic nationalities grievances are not addressed, the conflicts in Burma will remain even if full democracy is restored. Autonomy is a political solution which can serve the interests of the erstwhile Frontier Areas. However, the Tatmadaw is too naive to comprehend that if genuine federalism has been met, there would be no insurrection save the communist and that the country would become a cohesive and vibrant society only when the rights of all ethnic nationalities, regardless of the size of population, are treated equally. The NLD knows it but it is too accommodating to the Tatmadaw which is a state within a state.

The root of the problem is that the Myanmar Generals happens to be a generation of power maniacs with a clear rout to get rich. Having tasted power since the Caretaker regime (1958) they could not let go for long and launched a coup d’état in 1962 and since then has been in power under different guise of administration up to this day. The world must understand that Tatmadaw first priority is to serve itself and not the country. The conflict is neither about the legacy of colonial rule nor secession rights, it is about the chauvinistic mindset and Myanmar superior ethno-centrism of the majority Myanmar group thinking they are superior to the rest. The tyranny of the majority Myanmar and their blatant refusal to accept the equal status of the rest of the ethnic nationalities as equal partners of the Union has dragged Burma into a conflict zone. The non-Myanmar leaders led by the Pyidaungsu Myanmar headed by NLD Daw Suu Kyi have collectively attempted to readdress the Constitutional crises based on the federal lines as envisioned in the Panglong Conference, but the Tatmadaw always torpedo it often with military offensive even though the cease fire was inked.

Studying meticulously one may discover that only one fifth of the Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) signed the National Ceasefire Accord. The “Divide and Rule” tactics with the bribes from the Western countries via Euro-Burma Office cannot go on from here. The only solution is to knock out the Tatmadaw, a stumbling block and this can be done only if the international community help the EAO as they have demonstrated in attacking the government held urban positions in the border areas last November. In fact Burma have a Federal Army (Pyidoungsu Tat) known as the Burma Rifles had existed during the British days that resolutely fought the Japanese when the Myanmar riff rafts known as the Burma Independence Army was still aligned with the Fascist Japanese.

The Pyidoungsu Myanmar led by NLD has make it known since its inception in 1988 that finding a peaceful solution to decades longs of civil war was its first priority. Hence the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities together with the Pyidoungsu Myanmar can easily defeat the Mahar Myanmar Tatmadaw, if the international community have second thought or the other choice will be another 30 years of civil war for Burma to be in the Guinness books of Records of 100 years of civil war only if the Trump administration follow the legacy of the previous administrations as the Arsenal of Democracy.

- Asian Tribune -

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