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Burma's exiled ethnic nationalities seminar held in North America

Is it the Beginning of the End?

Kanbawza Win

 

In a country ruled by the unscrupulous and uncivilized Generals it is rather hard to predict or speculate the affairs of Burma because simple logic is missing. Rangoon residents are still afraid that more violence may follow after the three explosions killing a dozen people and wounding nearly 200 (the regime's figures are not reliable as it always turn the facts and figures to suit its needs). However, it is a fact that the systematic bombing in the heart of Rangoon, at public places was unprecedented and no dissident groups, be they ethnic or pro-democracy groups of the peripherals could ever implement it. As usual, the regime blames it on these dissident groups just to discredit them but will not utter a word to which they suspect less the cat will be out of the bag.

 

However, the world is not fooled by the regime not only because of its standard policy of lying the concept of truth but also the attacks were contrary to the nature used by the resistance and dissident groups, who barely manage to survive in the border areas. Besides the bombing is too professional using sophisticated and automatic devices with remote controls. It must be from the ranks and file of the military themselves that monopolize these weapons and who knows the nook and corner of Rangoon. The apparent sophistication of the bombs imply a high level of expertise and a more plausible suspicion involves factions sympathetic to Khin Nyunt Up to this day no one has claimed responsibility and neither the Burmese intelligence could pin point nor even paint a clear picture of the motive of the bombings and became so desperate that Police chief Brig-Gen Khin Yee has to solicit the help of Min Ko Naing and eight former student leaders. The new intelligence chief also could not predict further violence thus gripping fear among the people of Burma who have started avoiding public places.

 

But this clearly pointed the picture that there was in intense power struggle among the top brass and it has come out in the open even though they tried their level best to appear that the army has the monolithic unity and that the survival of the regime is at stake. Previously all the guns were pointed to the pro democracy movement and the ethnic resistance but now it seems that at least some of the guns are pointed at the heads of the Generals.

 

Skeptics often pointed out that the regime would not fall any time until and unless there is a split among them. So the big question is will this episodes pointed that way? The arrest of its Prime Minister Khin Nyunt and its Military Intelligence wing has revealed that something is very rotten in the regime itself. But the most troubling question being asked is, are there any one in the peripheral or even in the NLD to exploit this situation and turn it to our advantage. Daw Suu and U Tin Oo safely under lock and key with the old medico leaders at its helm of NLD are unlikely to do anything substantial. No doubt, they are carefully watched and will be carted off to jail even at the slightest commotion. Besides the split story inside the NLD about the disciplinary measures taking on some of their grass root level active members dishearten many of them. 

 

So the question turned on the peripherals groups. But as usual their activities are often bombastic rhetoric and issuing a number of declarations and then came to a full stop. In times like these, the central committee that will direct both the democracy and the ethnic groups is very crucial to take advantage and exploit the situation. Since 1988 the democracy groups and the ethnics have fought shoulder to shoulder in defending what little territory they could marshalled but lamentably have never reach a consensus point where they could lay down the principles of democracy, human rights and federalism. Nay, even among the pro democracy groups there were competition and outshining each other and often than not washing dirty linen in the public. Even in the ethnic groups there are rivalry and competing e.g. the declaration of independence by the elder brother Sao Hser (Tiger) is partly due to his jealously of his younger brothers Chao Tzang and Harn Yawnhwe. This does not include one ethnic group competing with each other.

 

It is rather lamentable to witness that the peripheral groups are hopelessly divided among themselves, not to mention the Diaspora where the pro democracy groups rarely contact their ethnic brethren and vice versa. The people tend to forget that the world will judge us not by our rhetoric but by our actions and as long as the status quo remains, the goal of a Democratic Federal Union of Burma will be hollow, distant dream and nobody will lift us a finger to help us in this epic struggle. On the other hand it seems to send a crude message that we will rather let the tyrannical Junta stay as it is, rather than uniting among ourselves and formed the central committee to really give a push.

 

We don't expect, as what in Burmese say "Ya Khu A Pin Sait Ya Khu A Thee Sar" meaning you just sow and expected to bear fruits since the country has been dysfunctional for half a century. But it is already one and a half decades that we have a government in exile suppose to articulate policies, interacts with governments and the UN. An exile parliament relating with international political movements, an expatriate national council suppose to coordinate and reflect diverse political views. EN groups (representing both the ceasefire and non-ceasefire groups) to propagate the ethnic perspectives, and a plethora of news agencies and free press to convey messages to the international community. A multitude of independent civil societies couple with a huge network of support groups, NGOs working with illegal immigrants, an active union movement well integrated with ILO, expatriates professionals, intellectuals and so on. Name anything and you will find it there and yet we are still far away from the central committee. However, the most important aspect i.e. The Will is missing. If there is a will there is a way.

 

Now let us go back to Rangoon. Can this blast be the work of the Junta itself, timed exactly as Foreign Minister Nyan Win was talking to his European counterpart in Kyoto, just to find the pretext or rather a way out as an excuse that Rangoon has no security due to the presence of terrorist groups and is therefore unable to hold the ASEAN and finally the ASEM meeting in 2006. Hence all these unavoidable circumstances have forced the Junta to give up its chairmanship. If this is the hypothesis it will be a boon to ASEAN. But the Junta will suffer in the eyes of its big neighbours as even now it is warning their citizens to avoid Burma. It is not a sound hypothesis.

 

But the most probable speculation is that it can be the work of Al Quada operatives in Rangoon. To understand this, when Khin Nyunt was supreme, one has to recollect that the Burmese Military Intelligence had clandestinely given sanctuary to Al Quada. The Burmese regime hates the Nga Pwa Gyi (US) so much that it will join any one who is against the US, as according to the saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Some of this news leaked out and was picked up by the Western media and if one recollect the Junta heap the blame it on the Shan accusing them that it has connection with Al Quada and I can clearly remember when the Shan spokesman U Aung Mhat (at that time was not Nang Khae Sen) categorically denied it over the BBC. Now, witnessing the fates of Taliban and Saddam Hussein and Burma becoming prominent in the US bull eye, the Junta may take precautionary measures and forced Al Quida to leave Burma giving a lame excuse that Khin Nyunt is no longer in power. The very fact that the Junta was forewarned about a fortnight ahead before the explosion that unless the prisoners of conscience were released there would be bomb explosion, indicates that this is a very sophisticated work carried out superbly and Al Quada seems to be the most plausible alternative that is capable of implementing it.

 

The Burmese Generals even though they behave in an uncivilized manner are no fools and knows what is going on in Washington. They have become paranoid of the American stand and the proof of it can be seen in shifting their War Office or rather the Ministry of Defence to Pyinmana, in Central Burma where it is much easier to defend in case of an airborne and sea borne attack on Rangoon. If that is the case they are quite positive that the whole populace will join the American but the Burmese army will fight tooth and nail and have started the Kamikaze (Japanese suicide bombers of the 2nd World War) type training to their child soldiers.

 

Whatever the hypothesis, it seems that the crack has already appeared in the Junta itself and had hit the Achilles' heel that clearly indicates that if we nudge it more widely will be the end of half a century of military rule. Are we in a position to do that? We just hope and pray that the UB and EN groups will thrash it out, leave their natty gritty things in the cold storage and form a united front to carry on the noble struggle. We only wish that people whom both the ethnics and pro democracy groups trust will take up the helm of the leadership and marshalled all the available resources and give a final blow to the Burmese men in uniform and inaugurate a new Federal Union of Burma.

 

Chiangmai

 

The views express here are solely the opinion of the author. (Kaowao's Editor)


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