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Burma's exiled ethnic nationalities seminar held in North America

Burmese Generals Mindset Vs. International Response

Kanbawza Win

"Lying the very concept of Truth" seems to be the mindset of the current Burmese generals ruling the country with an iron hand. The Burmese Junta in their lust for power never seems to give up. Having defied the international community all these years and abducted an entire country, the Generals have come up with a new excuse to perpetuate the status quo. They are now talking of resuming the talks to draft the country’s new constitution on October 10 amid growing international pressure on the regime for democratic reforms.

But the people of Burma including the Generals know fully well that it is not a new constitution that country, ardently, urgently and desperately needs. What the country needs is real and genuine political change and freedom for its people to determine their own destiny and choose their own leaders by consensus and not by the point of the gun.

Besides, given the Junta’s previous attempts at stage-managing ‘democracy’ — if it can be labeled as — there should be no doubt in any one’s mind that the Generals are far from serious in returning power to the people. From the international perspective they are just a bunch of power maniacs clinging to each other knowing their fate once they fell out.

Looking back at the history of the Burmese army as according to their interpretations they have a taste of power in the hey days of BIA (Burma Independence Army) during the second World War where they discovers that power also comes out of the barrel of the gun. But the beloved leader Bogyoke Aung San who set them an example that the people's decision is supreme especially in the setting of the Union (Pyidaungsu), did not live long. The preceding civilian administration was not strong enough and this gives the pretext for the army to take over power in 1962. Since then the army has been controlling the power from behind under different guise. But in their hearts of hearts they knew that without the consent and participation of the people, they could not linger on long. Hence in 70s they draw up the Socialist Constitutions under the guise of the Socialist Democracy, which crashed in 1988 (both the Burmese Socialist Programme Party and the 1974 Socialist Constitution) . The third military coup came christening themselves as State Law and Restoration Council (SLORC) killing some 20,000 people in six major cities of Burma and the name was pungent that it change its name to the current SPDC.

The regime first convened a ‘national convention’ in 1993 to silence critics at home and abroad for refusing to hand power to the one and only Burmese Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy after its landslide victory in 1990 general election. Although the NLD took part in the convention despite its reservations, it walked out after realizing it was a military-manipulate d affair all the way. There was another disastrous attempt to resurrect the Convention and the so-called roadmap for democracy in 2004, again another failure.

And now they come up with a white lie to find political legitimacy in the face of growing international criticism. The Junta clearly wants to forget the architect of Modern Burma Bogyoke Aung San and her daughter Daw Aung San Suu Kyi — who remains a prisoner in her home for over a decade and her NLD by propping up its own pliable puppets. However the civilized world and the international community called the Junta a bluff. For far too long, the international community has neglected the people of Burma . Now the international community was about to wield the big stick by putting Burma at the UN Security Council but pitiably she was caught up in a new Cold War tactics because the dictatorial veto wielding countries simply did not want to see the demise of another authoritarian regime.

The Junta at once seized its chance of lying again and at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Finland its Foreign Minister Nyan Win said that it is ready to cooperate with the United Nations, provided Under Secretary General, Ibrahim Gambari visit Burma again but did not give any clarity on what capacity Burma is prepared to cooperate. The Junta knows very well that the treatment render to his first visit does not go along with the diplomatic book and nothing will move until and unless it changes.

Even when the world stood up for the people of Burma, the support has rarely gone beyond ineffective rhetoric and this give the wrong message to the Burmese Generals continues to hold the people of Burma, under their thumb and crushed the country under its military boots. In fact the four decades speaks volumes about the clout of the international community and this can be remedied if the world pressure the UNSC. Hence every person who cherished democracy and human rights should lend support and make its government known to pressure China and Russia to put Burma case in the Security Council and stop the suffering of the 50 million plus people of Burma .

Many people have their own varying interpretations and conclusions on this Burmese crisis. Though not mentioned specifically, the recent mass exodus of the Karen people could also be a catalyst that the silent ethnic cleansing has been going on for decades. This is also a test on the stand of the Council Members, of whether Burma could be on the Council's formal agenda evolving chapter VI or VII of the UN Charter. But, given the sturdy and resolute stance of China and Russia this is still a hard nut to crack even if Japan switch sides from the cruel Junta to the suffering people of Burma ? In a fortnight we will know that the two permanent powers will continue to be adamant or simply abstain from any Security Council voting.

If Burma is a non-international threat and a lone individual country, why is Bosnia , Kosovo and Lebanon came up to the UNSC? The UNSC alone has the power to act on the threat to a population of a nation and if exporting of narcotic drugs, transmitting of AIDS/ HIV, human trafficking and a potential to acquire nuclear arms is not in the category of international threat, then what is it?

The Burmese problem was also discussed by thirty nine participants including the five security members ( China , UK , France , Japan , Greece ) at the recent ASEM meeting in Helsinki but there was no consensus. Earlier at a Joint Communiqué between Burma and the ASEAN countries at the 39th AMM ( Kuala Lumpur , July 2006), the Junta has promised to engage constructively with ASEAN, the UN, and the international community, yet nothing has materialized. The so called for the early lifting of restrictions placed on political parties, the early release of those placed under detention, and for effective dialogue between all parties concerned of the Hanoi meeting (ASEM 5 Summit 2004) was not being honored. How many times will the international community let Junta lie to them even it has set the record of lying all the people all the time?

American ruling circles seems to believe that they are bringing freedom and democracy, as even Laura Bush of the White House raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Burma , to gain support for an American-sponsored Security Council resolution. But lamentably its representative seems to be cynical about the effectiveness of the UN and seem to be just demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the UN knowing full well that he will never secure Chinese and Russian support? But the entire people of Burma are counting on the UN to save them from these evil clutches. If the US, as the only superpower of the world is loath to admit that Burma as a lost cause and outside her sphere of influence and is just a welcome distraction from their much more serious problems in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea Lebanon and elsewhere let it be. We will rely on truth, justice and the Omnipotent while we continue to fight alone for democracy, human rights, self-determination and make it a better place to reside in the own hood and corner of the world where we cherished to reside.

Clear Water, Florida

(The views expressed here are solely the opinion of the author. Kao-Wao Editor)


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