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Online Commentary 

When the Civilized Meet the Uncivilized

Kanbawza Win

The EU, that had just renewed its sanctions and shunned the Burmese regime because of its gross records of human rights violations and vehement hatred for democracy, has announced it will hold ministerial talks with the Burmese regime at Kyoto. No one can expect any result from their encounter as their brain wave length are not the same? But it is a historic first ever meeting since the Junta came to power killing thousands of people and can be construed as the proper way of civilized international community responding to an uncivilized Burmese regime even though it will be very hard, if not impossible for the uncivilized Burmese Generals to understand the norms of the well mellowed civilized European Union representing some 25 countries. 

Civilized in the sense that if two persons or groups did not see eye to eye they sit down, negotiate (sometimes banging the table or shouting at each other or calling names) and parted their own ways but did not come to shooting or arresting each other (not to mentioned torturing) as in Burma. Then after discussion, each goes on its own way and does not persecute the other because he dares to disagree with his idea. Even if one committed a crime he is given a fair trail with the right to choose its own lawyers and even if in custody are allowed to see its kit and kin. However this kind of civilized norms is non- existence in a place called Burma (the Generals love to be called by their chauvinist name as Myanmar) the classic example is the arrest of Khun Htun Oo of how he was denied all the civilized norms of the homo sapiens, not to mention the fate of U Tin Oo and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. 

The people of Burma by nature are very polite and courteous and would never call a person by name but by a prefix as Uncle, (Oo) or Aunt (Daw) and so on. However the Junta and its advocates being rude or rather uncivilized would call it by name e.g. Aung San instead of Bogyoke Aung San and Suu Kyi instead of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. During half a century of military rule in Burma the erosion of moral capital is so enormous that it has spread even to the Diaspora community indicating the Burma is going backwards in its civilization. 

In the civilized society even the most powerful person was not above the law e.g. President Nixon was given a fair and open trial in his impeachment. However, in uncivilized Burma as of today is that everybody welcomes the Prime Minister with pomp and ceremony and tomorrow he was carted to jail and tortured including all his near and dear ones. Is this a civilized norm? Will the remaining Generals have enough guts to have a fair and an open trial on Khin Nyunt? No they are afraid that Khin Nyunt will reveal all the bribes, kickbacks and the atrocities committed by the other Generals? The uncivilized people are unable to face the facts in other words they are very much afraid of the truth. 

If there was an incident like Depayin, as claimed by the regime instigated by the people themselves then why was that up to this day there was not an independent enquiry commission? We don't mean that it must be an international enquiry commission (like the rapes of Shan Ethnic Women where the Burmese army is sore afraid lest their atrocities became public) but an enquiry commission with the Burmese people, for the Burmese by the Burmese even if it is under the heels of the military boots. Is it because of Khin Nyunt? The Military Intelligence knew in advance that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all her associates including U Tin OO were order to be killed by non other than Than Shwe himself and Khin Nyunt sent his men to rescue the lady thus thwarting the butchery or in other words Than Shwe's plan. Why was this story not revealed? In a country where problems are solved by arms and might depicting the law of jungles can we called it civilized? 

Now, the uncivilized Burmese team whose motto is lying the very concept of truth, will be meeting a civilized EU group who want to find out nothing but the truth, what will be the outcome? It is already made known that EU has decided to give more than Euro 35 million ($45 million) for Burma humanitarian aid but who can say that how many of them will fall into the hands of the corrupt Generals when it has a track record of siphoning off the humanitarian aid. The attitude that "I am the only pebble on the beach" is still very prominent in the heads of the Burmese Generals. They want to be the monarch of all they survey. 

How many times has the EU send its Troika Missions and what are the results today? In January 2001, the EU high delegation led by non other than by its prominent Swedish Foreign Ministry Asia Pacific Director went to Rangoon. The following year in March, another mission was followed by its rotating chairman the Spanish Foreign Ministry Asie et Pacifque Director. Six months later another similar trip was promptly follow up by Danish Foreign Ministry's Asia Director but so far nothing substantial has come out of these EU missions. A hypothesis can be drawn that sending professional men to Burma will not bear fruit because it is too uncivilized and Burma is bereft of professional men especially in the field of international relations. Hence EU will be meeting the Generals themselves at the ministerial level. 

The civilized Europeans can differentiate between the government and people of Burma. Humanitarian Aid is for the latter but the bankrupt regime is looking with hungry eyes hoping to slice off apiece as big as possible. They could scarcely comprehend the word "humanitarian" as they themselves are the ones causing humanitarian disasters. All they want is how to exploit them. In their hearts of hearts they know that once the NGOs really started working for the welfare of the people of the country then the whole country will come to witness the regime's idea, ineffectiveness and will reveal them as parasites with the power eluding from the Generals.. This is the crux of the Burmese Generals' idea. The attitude is that they are unwilling and unable to anything beneficial for the country and people and will not let other people do it either.. If this kind of thinking is not an uncivilized thinking then what kind of people are uncivilized? 

The law of the jungles prevails where the strong and the mighty prey on the small and the weak, a classic example is how the regime treated its adversaries be it an ethnic or a democracy movement. The end justify the means is their whole philosophy. In the jungles the strongest become prominent e.g. a lion become king. This was reflected in Burma when the Generals take out the photo of its national leader, the architect of modern Burma, Bogyoke Aung San and replaced it with a picture of a mythical lion. So what do you expect more when the civilized meet the uncivilized? But if the civilized EU would be only giving a slight slap on the wrist, which have been the case so far, the uncivilized Burmese will get away easily again and perhaps even regain some legitimate ground, intentionally or unintentionally, denied to it by the international community. However if EU manages to persuade the Junta to let the NGOs do the job then it will go into the Guinness Record Books as the eight wonders of the world. 


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


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