A Burmese Perspective: Different Thinking and Philosophy

By Kanbawza Win | November 22, 2010

Following the euphoria of Daw, Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, she make it vividly clear that she wanted to listen to the people first before embarking on new activities and wanted to form a strong “people's network,” the basic philosophy of democracy, which are all categorically opposite to the Junta’s theory that “the people should listen to the Tatmadaw as it is their father and mother”. Of course, Than Shwe is an absolute monarch of the army, who had unwittingly driven the country to deplorable wretched balkanizing status within the two decades of his harsh and tyrannical rule and stills bent on clinging to power under a different guise.

Even his predecessor Ne Win, with his Burmese Way to Socialism responsible of making Burma, from the rice bowl to the rice hole of Asia, dragging the country to the Least Developed Status, has some sort of patriotism, when he sorrowfully discovered that his BSPP is not working well and willingly step down, but not Than Shwe, for this wicked, and crafty general does not have a pale of patriotism and is out and out for power. So when Daw Suu declared that for the sake of the country and people she wants to talk face to face with Than Shwe, the entire people of Burma and the international intelligentsia are very worried.

As a fervent believer of national reconciliation and peaceful collaboration, she has reiterated her call for dialogue to settle things across the table with the sole aim of settling things amicably instead of arrest, threats, torture, killing and imprisonment. But the Generals who does not harbour an ounce of love for the country simply does not care, for dialogue culture is entirely absent in their curriculum. They have been taught to shoot first before they talk somewhat similar to the early American pioneers “A good Red Indian is a dead Indian”. They are not only anathema to dialogue and discussion but also could not comprehend the value of it. What more prove is wanted, when all these two decades they have never embarked on serious dialogue except some photo display for PR purpose. These thugs sincerely believe that all democrats must be crushed and that their way is the only way. They abhor national reconciliation because it means sharing power and construe themselves as the monarch of all they survey and there’s none to dispute.  

The basic thinking and philosophy of Daw Suu and the Junta are categorically on opposite ends. The cruel Generals loves their nefarious dictatorship and are determined to cling on to power at any cost and any slightest hint that the military is losing control then she will find herself back to her house arrest and isolation. They were forced to release her because any rationale to hold her has exhausted. It seems that the Generals are just waiting for her to make some tactical error to crack down on her again. One should remember that many a democracy leaders around the world had disappeared sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively, and even though Daw Suu is considered. too important to be killed, up to this day nobody can guarantee that she will be not as three attempts has been made on her life (The first incident occurred in April 1989 when she toured Irrawaddy Division when an army captain was about to shoot her as she passed through an army blockade in Danubyu Township. The second incident occurred in November 1996 when her motorcade was attacked by a group of thugs with sticks and bricks on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road in Rangoon. The third incident occurred on May 30, 2003, when her motorcade was attacked by a large mob systemically organized by the junta and its civilian wing, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), which has now been transformed into a political party that won the election unfairly with widespread vote rigging). Even now, unconfirmed reports through our indigenous means indicated that General Than Shwe, seeing the mass people that supported her had ready given a green light to finish her off with some pretext before she turned the table on what he has done.

One of the indications is that ever though Suu Kyi's release was given considerable attention in the international and exiled media and on the websites of private journals in Rangoon, the state-run media has been almost completely silent. Private journals in Rangoon have complained that some reports about Daw Suu for their print editions have already been banned by the regime's draconian censorship board, resulting in delays in publication. This clearly indicates of how much the General abhor her.

Another pointer is that her repeated remark, “I don't want to see the military falling. I want to see the military rising to dignified heights of professionalism and true patriotism,” a wish  widely believe by the majority of the military personnel send cold shivers through the spines of senior Generals as they sense that many a Young Turks may imitate the one and only patriotic Muslim soldier Ohn Kyaw Myint to save the country.  Even now several hundred disgruntled soldiers from battalions in Rangoon and Pegu divisions, along with their families went to see the release of Daw Suu with the hopes that the lady might be the solution to their woes.

Her release, even though is well timed to cover up the fraudulent elections and a carefully plan strategy designed to release the Western sanctions, realizing that her freedom had been a key demand of Western nations critical of their abysmal human rights record and is eager to burnish its international image, is very pivotal as it re-energize and reorganize this opposition and if she can seal the common bond between the ethnics and the pro democracy movement, that will be the end of the Junta. The crafty and cunning Generals see the writings on the wall.

The sincerity of Daw Suu can be seen not only for national reconciliation but also in nation building, the union of Burma when she said A second Panglong Conference addressing the concerns of the 21st century is needed for national reconciliation.” She has done her home work well on the country’s contemporary history and knew that this is the crux of the Burmese problem for she realised that because the elected civilian government cannot resolve the ethnic problems in 1962 it paves the way for the Burmese army to take over, if not, there will be no such thing as the struggle of democracy. The charismatic leader remains a political figurehead in Burmese politics—most of the ethnic leaders agreed that, like her father, she is the only one who can reconcile Burma’s deep political and ethnic divisions. On the very first day of her release all the evidence points out that she is very relevant in Burmese politics. Surely ethnic armed groups or otherwise including democratic groups will be watching how she reacts to the conflict in ethnic regions and anticipating her important role in the national reconciliation process. Whereas the General Than Shwe wants to set up the fourth Burmese kingdom with nuclear arms and its Myanmarnization policy treating the ethnic nationalities as second class citizen if not subdued colonial people. The proof it was its vigorous ethnic cleansing policy all these years.

Daw Suu stance of nonviolent revolution would consist of a radical change for a better world through a peaceful manner is a far cry from the Junta's vision of building “a modern developed nation” under the leadership of the military in politics. "If we want to get what we want, we have to do it in the right way; otherwise we will not achieve our goal however noble or correct it may be," she cautioned. She has become an international symbol of democratic reform, willing to negotiate, even with the Junta and the Thugs while the Burmese Generals could never comprehend such thinking.

Daw Suu is ready to facilitate “systematic” reports on any topic base on laws, justice and the truth, which again clash with the Junta’s theory of “lying the very concept of truth.” Everybody has known that the Junta embarked on a sham and fraudulent elections to create a façade of democratization. Hence it was by design and pre meditated that they would not allow neutral and outside observers especially the international community to monitor the elections or otherwise the cat would be led out of the bag. Now a huge international joke is when the election commission threatened to take harsh legal penalties for those filing complaints about the election results deemed fraudulent and that individuals can be jailed for three years and fined up to £200. The world laugh hilariously but the people of Burma has to be contend in laughing in their sleeves.

Decades-long nightmare of military rule that has made what was once one of Southeast Asia’s most prosperous countries, now the poorest and most repressed, rest on her courage and moral clarity. Now there is some light for democracy and secure future and quite singularly represents a people desperately yearning to be free and hence she automatically became the biggest threat to the Generals continued rules.

One could vividly construe the Generals about their fear of losing power that drives them to oppress their own people and stand in the way of their nation’s potential. It was fear of losing power that drove a terrified junta to ruthlessly deny the people the democratic mandate they had entrusted to the NLD in 1990. It is the same fear that made the generals brutally crush the Buddhist monks and increased repression. It was also the fear of losing power that compels them to stop the international aid for the cyclones victims. So how can one negotiate with these unreasonable and paranoid Generals? As Daw Suu said “the economy is devastated, ethnic tensions are increasing, many political prisoners and too many refugees leaving the country, and even people who believed in this election, but they lost in the end.” Daw Suu and the current NLD team must be very wise to be able to see from the Generals’ perspective.

One should also recollect that Than Shwe rank as the third cruellest and repressive ruler of the world. Kim Jong Il, is the most ruthless in the late 1990 when the wife of one of Kim Jong Il’s bodyguards complained about the Dear Leader’s womanizing, she was brought out before the guests and then Kim Jong Il allowed the bodyguard the opportunity to execute his own wife — and he did so. Omar al-Bashir, Sudan. Bashir launched the genocide in Darfur as well as mass killings in other parts of Sudan and initiate children to kill their parents. If compared to these two, Than Shwe ranked only third measured by his brutal repression of the ethnic nationalities, ordering the army to shoot into the crowds and later the mass killings of the Buddhist monks and blocked foreign assistance to the cyclone victims.

All in all, instead of concentrating on dialogue, the entire leadership should concentrate on more monolithic approach and capacity building of their young followers while many old comrades who are not relevant or are unable to cope with the changing times should be gracefully retired. Since it is impossible to negotiate with the Burmese Hitler we should rather emphasize on our allies.

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