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Burma's exiled ethnic nationalities seminar held in North America

Unity in Diversity

(By Siri Mon Chan)

It is very encouraging to see the Mon National Council (MNC)ís prompt response to the NMSPís decision to send an observation team to the forthcoming SPDCís so-called National Convention. It is encouraging, in a sense,  that all of our Mon, regardless of where we are, what political ideology we embrace, and  what civil societies  we are representing,   we all are concerned about our Mon national issues. Our concerns and our awareness in our national issues are fundamental to our active participations in Mon national affairs and thereby to our national liberation. As such, it is very heartening to see the MNC concerns and point of views with regard to the sending of the NMSPís observation team to observe the so-called National Convention. I strongly believe that the only intention of the MNC is for the benefit of our overall Mon people.

Yes, it is needless to argue that the SPDCís so-called National Convention cannot claim to be a  legitimate one without the participations of all parties concerned in the process of national reconciliation whether it be the NLD, UNLD and all ethnic nationalities representatives. As a result, we all are pleased to see the NMSP to boycott this so-called National Convention and not to send any delegations at all whether it is to observe or to fully participate in the convention. That is indeed what we all want it to be happened.

However, on the other hand we should also try to understand the NMSP current positions. We all know that the NMSP is the only ceasefire group that openly criticizes the process of national conventions and, from time to time, come to direct conflicts with the SPDC in the national convention. Other ceasefire groups such as the KIO, even though they are stronger than the NMSP in terms of armed resistance power, dared not come to direct conflicts with the SPDC. More importantly, the NMSP is also the only ceasefire group that   boycotted the National convention indirectly by not sending a full delegation to the national convention and instead just sent a team of observer. It tremendously impacted on the image and legality of the SPDCís convention and, as a result the SPDC has since been intensified its pressure on the NMSP. But the NMSP firmly stand on its political belief and withstand those pressures up to this very moment. Amidst these constant pressures, the NMSP still stands on its political point of view and again decides not to send a full delegation in this national convention.

These facts vividly indicate that the NMSP is not neglecting its national and political objectives.  Depend upon the political climate and a strategic interest, the NMSP is doing whatever it can. But it is human nature that not everyone is satisfied with everything. Nonetheless, we should distinguish between what we want, what we should and what we can in line with relevant situations. I believe that the NMSP is taking into account all what it want, what it should and  what it can based on the current political climate  and  subsequently making this sort of decision. The NMSP also seeks   and value all our Mon peopleís view in this regard. The NMSP is fully aware that there are differing views about the attending of the convention.  Our Mon people are deeply divided by this issue. We all are aware that even the NMSP itself has to face with the attend/ not to attend issue among the NMSP members and its central committee members. So even though we, for a variety of reasons, cannot agree with the NMSPís decision, we should at least try to understand why and how it has to make such a decision. Otherwise, it can jeopardize the image of our national unity among other ethnic nationalities and among other nations in the world. It does not necessarily mean that we have to have a consensus agreement all the time and have to have a common voice. It is indeed unachievable. We all, from time to time, have differing views. But for the sake of social cohesion and national unity for the overall benefit of our Mon, we should try to respect other people or other groupís point of view while we still can firmly stand on our point of view and belief. More importantly, we should attempt by all mean to build our unity by and from broadly diverse views in order to achieve our ultimate goal of national liberation.

(The views expressed here are solely the opinion of the author.  The author holds Bachelor degrees in Politics, Economics and Master degree in Administration. The author is currently doing Graduate Studies in Defence and Strategy;  the International and Development Economics  at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia)


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