Vote with the Feet

By Kanbawza Win | August 15, 2010 | Sunday

Finally, the Burmese Junta has announced that there will be a fake election on Nov. 7th. Short of the numerically attractive 10th of the 10th 2010, 7th was chosen for its numerological significance given that the 7 + 11= 18 divisible by 9 is an auspicious number in local numerology, so much so that former dictator Ne Win decommissioned bank notes not divisible by 9. But 7th also bring back the memory of 7-7-62 better known as the 7th July incident when the former dictator brutally crushed the first student uprising of the Rangoon University. It is still to be seen whether the Junta will ever honour its own election results, for if the another party other than its own party win the election, as in 1990 it may still refused to hand over the power. It seems that by refusing to allow the international observers, the Junta tends to repeat its own trick.

The New Constitution reserves 25% of the new parliament for the military i.e. 110 out of the 440 seats is the upper house (equivalent to the English House of Commons or US House of Representatives) while 56 out of 224 (equivalent to the House of Lords or US Senate) while several of the parties registered for the polls are also viewed as proxies of the military. 75% vote is required to make any constitutional change. The election laws ruled out the activists and members of religious orders from taking part while allowing the Depayin criminals to take part and set up the handpicked election commission. The people of Burma and the international community including the UN and the US interpret this election as transition instrument from a military government to a military-controlled civilian government where Than Shwe secures a political transition that keeps his old age free from prosecution and disgrace.

If we look back at contemporary history we may discover that very few Germans were Nazis 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care and some construe that the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before they knew it, they had lost control, and the end of the world had come. So also in Burma the majority of the people have to struggle so much to make both ends meet that they have little or no thought for politics and is being forced to go along with the election. However, the people will soon discover that before they know that their world will come to an end if they don’t act now.

An apt example currently is the wars waged by the Islamist fanatics. Islam is a religion of peace and the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. But it has become irrelevant because fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history; it is the fanatics who wage every one of the 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter non Muslims or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed, extraneous and do nothing.

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become the enemy of the world, if they don't speak up, because one day they find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. As a Burmese nationalist I like to ask this simple question. Is it possible that the people of Burma in that category will yield to the military fanatics? They will soon have to answer this question on Nov. 7th 2010.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across Southeast Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. What about the Khmer Rouge that killed more than 4 million of its own people. And who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'? Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, Malaysians, Indonesians, Pilipino, Sri Lankaians and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt but the majority of the people miss the most basic and uncomplicated points to make itself known.

If the people of Burma are cowed now then it is not only this generation but generations to come will have to suffer under the tyrannical boots of the military. The people of Burma will be construed as fit only to be ruled by dictators as even now the first dictator Ne Win has gone and Than Shwe is about to leave and is preparing to install another dictator in his place as the phony elections indicates. Shall we allow this to happen?

The people of Burma will have to take this golden chance to show their disapproval of the mockery of democracy as it comes only once in a life time. There are several ways to demonstrate their disapproval. If one is brave enough of not going to the pooling booths as NLD will do, it is fine. But if one is forced to go, then, instead of putting the ballot paper in the ballot box, one can destroy it by various means. Furthermore, one can on a pretext travel away from the pooling booths and so on.

It is a foregone conclusion that without the people’s participation the election cannot goes on, the Burmese army knows that and remember that the Junta and its cronies craves legitimacy and now it is the best time to deny it. Our dear leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD have shown the way. In the first election of 1990 Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was still in custody but her soft voice ringing in the ears of the people was heeded resulting in a landslide majority. The Burmese military could not bear this and hence the fake and dubious elections now. This time Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has come out with a clarion call not to vote and every patriotic people of Burma whether Myanmar or ethnic nationalities (non Myanmar) should refrain from voting.

It was Bogyoke Aung San and the ethnic nationalities leaders that founded the Union of Burma way back in 1947 in a small Shan village of Panglong that the modern nation building was started and now the noble Nobel laureate the worthy daughter of the illustrious father is calling not to vote and every patriotic Burmese should heed this call. It is the epoch making in modern history of Burma and is very crucial for the coming generations which are not even born yet and the people of Burma could not afford to fail. The people of Burma must have the courage enough to resist the unfair and cruel dictators by not voting. If they fail they are committing a crime not only for this human life but also for the next existence and can land in hell. Just by heeding to the soft and assuring advice of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and refraining from voting they will gain merit not only for them but also for the entire generations to come and save them from hell.

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