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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2857

7th July Mentality of Burma

By Kanbawza Win

July is an auspicious month in North America; On the 1st of July Canada, which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had just visited, celebrated its 150th anniversary, while in the USA the 4th of July is celebrated as American Independence Day since 1776.

But in Burma, July is the month of mourning; on 19thJuly 1947 Aung San, the architect and the founding father of the modern Union of Burma was cut down by the Mahar (chauvinist) Myanmar, compelling not only the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities but also the Communist Party to rebel.

Had he had been alive, there would be no insurrections because the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities would be content with the genuine federal administration, while Aung San who himself had been the first General Secretary of the Communist party of Burma would have had no problem in pacifying his old comrades. This Mahar Myanmar spirit which still dominates the Tatmadaw now a days, again reared its ugly head on 7th July 1962, with soldiers shooting at point blank range and killing more than 126 Rangoon University students, a figure never admitted by any Myanmar administration up to this date.

Since then the ever dominating Tatmadaw has adhered to its 7th July chauvinist attitude, passing its bad heritage on to the younger generations of soldiers. This toxic idea of “one country, one religion and one race” is not only diametrically opposite to democracy and federalism but could not comprehend that “Unity in Diversity is our Strength.” as Canada and other federal incorporated countries have been continuously implementing.

The 7th July Mahar Myanmar ideal being instilled in the Tatmadaw believes that the country is surrounded by enemies – real and imagined. These threats no longer take the form of territorial aggrandizement, but economic domination and the possibility of encouraging ethnic nationalities for separatism. This fear is based on a reality once extant, but now completely outmoded. These past instances of such foreign support are the American assistance to KMT forces in Burma in the early 50s, Pakistani-Bangladeshi support for Muslim insurgents now known as Rohingyas, the Thai’s tolerance to a variety of ethnic nationalities freedom fighters labelled as Burmese insurgent groups including the former U Nu’s compatriots and the All Burma Students Democratic Front.

There has also been Indian backing of anti-Junta groups, some British humanitarian support for the Karen, Chinese aid to the Burma Communist Party and a general perception that Burmese Christians have closer support and contact with foreigners than do the Myanmar Buddhists.

The 7th July mentality reinforced the hegemonic claim that the Myanmar have ruled the country continuously apart from the colonial period, and imagine themselves to be a historically cohesive nation, whose organizational integration with the ethnic nationalities on the peripheries only needs to be completed either democratically or by force. This is the main reason for the difficulties encountered at the 21st Century Panglong Conference now underway. It indirectly stimulates the objective to have the monolithic country by indirectly encouraging the extremist Buddhist groups led by the monk Ashin Wirathu (Bin Laden of Burma), acts such as erecting the mammoth statues of the warrior kings, and compelling the armed forces to adhere to the 3As i.e. annihilation of the ethnic leaders, absorption of the ethnic nationalities into the mainstream Myanmar and assimilation of the weaker ethnic cultures.

To implement this policy they use the 3Bs methods of Bribing the ethnic leaders (like the Karen) Bullying those whose resistance is weak (like the Southern Shan) and Bombing (of the Kachin and Arakanese armies). The 7th July mentality, taking a leaf out of Paul Joseph Goebbels of the Nazi principle that “when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it” changed all the ethnic names including the country’s original name from the Union of Burma into Myanmar, showing to the world that dictators can change the name of the country without the consensus of the people and compel the international communities to accept it.

Since then, this 7th July mentality has dragged the country to the bottom rung of the world community, until last year when the daughter of the founding father of the country took over. Even then the repercussions are still felt today such as “Amending the very concept of truth,” the unwritten motto of the Tatmadaw, now being applied in Arakan state by not letting in an International Commission of Enquiry to investigate reports of Atrocities in Myanmar. For all these 70 years plus the generals cannot move beyond their traditional modus operandi of 3 Cs i.e. Command, Control and Contain, and are unable to solve the country’s chronic problems achieving a lasting peace.

After more than half a century of Myanmar colonization over the non Myanmar ethnic nationalities via Tatmadaw rule, the country has been left in a state of abject poverty and division and in this situation one cannot comprehend why the UN Commission of Inquiry is concentrating only on the Rohingya crisis and not on the whole country. Simple Logic is missing here.

In fact, if the UN Commission for the whole country can unpack history, the truth can be known, as in South Africa and create a peaceful, prosperous state and society with respect for human rights and the rule of law. Why does the UN and the West believe the promises culled from Tatmadaw and racist Myanmar propaganda when everybody had witnessed that the Tatmadaw continues its strategy of Divide-and-Rule, committing widespread human rights violations in conflict zones. Why is the West, particularly the former colonial powers of the European Union still guided by the false belief that the Myanmar are an overwhelming majority and the seven non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities, are the minority? This has led indirectly to encourage impossible demands, creating a dead lock in the peace conference.

This is exactly the 7th July Mentality prevailing in Burma. Now that China is inching towards participating meaningfully in problem solving in Burma, it should be empowered by the US and Canada to make this approach more meaningful. International pressure should be able to empower the people and the opposition political parties to create a critical mass that can lead to a genuine Federal Democratic Burma so that in the near future, the Union of Federal Democratic Burma will be in a position to take its seat at the table of civilized communities of the world.

- Asian Tribune -

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