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Reply to Mrs Htein Linn

Need A Burmese Surgeon

Kanbawza Win

An excellent feature article, "The Burmese Patient" appeared in the Irrawaddy Vol. 14 No 8, although rather an old wine in a new bottle, seems to have a lot of cetena (love) and worth reflecting on it. With due respect to the British culture, may I addressed the authoress as Mrs Htein Linn, not because, I have taken a leaf out of the Junta's book, of addressing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as Mrs. Michael Aris but rather adhering to the British customs and traditions. If Burma, were still under the British Colonialist I would have address, as Her Excellency Vicky Bowman, Extra Ordinary Plenipotentiary, from the Court of St James, the honourable ambassador to Burma.

The conclusion which I agree fully with her is that every known remedy (including the appeasement policy at the Walton Park Conference which she helped to organize) has been applied and found wanting. Why? The diagnosis or rather "etiology" according to the pathology term, the patient must be operated and the cancer must be taken out before any remedy could be applied. Burma needs a surgeon and not a medical doctor. Only the surgeon's knife could either heal or kill the patient or otherwise, it will continue ailing.

The Union of Burma contracted this cancer half a century ago or to be exact on March 2nd, 1962, when under the pretext of saving the nation from falling into the deep abyss, the Burmese Military took over power killing Sao Myi Myi Thaike (brother of Eugene and Harn) son of Sao Shwe Thaike, the first president of the Union of Burma. Since then Burma , has gone downward spiral, as the Burmese army under different guise runs the country until it became the least developed nation and now is the top pungent pariah nation of the world.

The remedy applied to the ethnic problem was force by military means rather than sincerity and understanding even though love may be wanting. As of now, some from the international community including several foreign scholars tend to make a mistake by treating Burma as a monolithic whole. The Panglong Conference of 1947 clearly indicates that the modern Union of Burma was an amalgamation of different entity with a consensus and not to be dominated by a Myanmar tribe over the non- Myanmar. The ethnic aspirations of a genuine Federal Union will have to be met to a certain extend before the disease got worst. If the leaders of Burma or rather the Generals could see that writing on the walls, Burma would not have contracted that disease and will not become a patient. In this state of impasse only a surgeon's knife or rather a drastic action will take the cancer out of the womb and started the cure again.

At one time people construed that once, Ne Win died there would be compromises on all sides and that the Union of Burma would be on the long track again to take its rightful place in the family of civilized nations. But because of this cancer Ne Win produced another person like himself, if not worst under the name of Than Shwe and if Than Shwe passed away another worst person may come, who knows, because the psyche and rationale of the Burmese army, or rather the cancerous disease is that they are the only patriotic persons in Burma and that other people are parasites that does not harbor a pale of patriotism in their hearts. This cancerous idea must be taken out from its roots once and for all.

For the moment that Surgeon's knife is the swift UN Security Council action. If the world doesn't want to see another international crisis like the Arab (Hezbollah)-Israel War, the Iranian Nuclear ambition or the North Korea Nukes etc, it is far better to nib the problem in the bud.  Maybe a stitch in time saves nine. The "hush hush" nuclear ambition of the Burmese Generals, near Maymyo, propelled by North Korea and Russia and to a certain extent by Pakistan tends to get bigger posing a threat not only to Southeast Asia but also to the international community. This does not include the narco industry, human trafficking, export of AIDS/HIV, all of which are affecting the neighbouring countries let alone ethnic cleansing, genocide etc.

Even if by miracle any one, including Mrs. Htein Linn, have manage to find a good doctor, who give enough chemotherapy, will he be a hundred percent well again knowing full well that the cancer is still there? Or will he be some sort of Frankenstein cousin to Osma bin Laden, just like taking the country back to pre 1962 era. The fact that why did the military could implement a successful coup half a century ago is because the civilian government could not solve the ethnic grievances. Hence to solve the ethnic problem is the crux of the Burmese struggle and not democracy. Some of the Mahar Bama group thought it otherwise without taking the cancer out. Then the vicious cycle will start again. But once the cancer is out, then the cure will have to be started again with second Bogyoke Aung San, now in custody, the lone Burman whom the ethnic put in their trust. The cure must start with another genuine Panglong Conference.

Even though there are extremist on both sides of Burman and non Burman alike, the sensible and the majority wants to have some sort of a Federal agreement with enough autonomy within their boundaries. Then and only then, the Burmese Gordian Knot would be solved just like Alexander the Great solved it by cutting with his sword and not by patiently untying it. So also a surgeon knife must cut the wound and take out the pus and the cancerous elements. That is the UNSC.

I am quite positive that Mrs. Htein Linn, unlike her predecessor, ( now residing in Luxembourg), will not become the advocate of the Junta as she has thrown her lot with the struggling masses by marrying a persona non grata of the 8888 generation, a divorcee whose wife had forsaken him when Htein Linn was in jail for what he believes. I really admire her, when she demonstrates that "Love is a many splendor thing" even in the midst of Western phobic government.

To be candid I have invited her privately, to chitchat of whether the doctor or a surgeon can cure the Burmese patient as her approach to the problem is somewhat similar to the Mahar Bama style and would like to thrash it out silently with my ethno-democratic approach. Now, that her article has appeared, may I take the liberty to extend my humble invitation again, or come over as a visiting lecturer at the Chiang Mai University , AEIOU Programme? Our Programme, request every visiting dignitary to lecture us in English language but we will make and exception with you and you can lecture us in Burmese, since you are proficient in that language and wrote Burmese poems under the nom de plume of Khin Omar.

My approach to the Burmese problem is very vivid and clear. It is the continuing struggle between moderation and fanaticism, tolerance and bigotry, betwixt humanitarianism and barbarism, progress and reaction or rather between rationality and irrationality. The line between the two is sharp and clear cut, the forces of good is pitted against the forces of evil and the struggle of truth against lies. It won't be an easy matter when the Burmese regime is lying the very concept of truth.

Of course the forces of good will be neither easy nor smooth as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi often points out, the important thing is to keep on trying and follow the path of truth at least to the extent to rise above the individual limitations. We cannot equate the moral as what the ICG often does to us. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is right repute is bound by difficulties.

Burnaby BC 

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


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