Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Comments on the new regime in Myanmar

I recently came across Rimond Htoo's piece - Ceasefires won't bring piece. He is absolutely right for a befitting title to his piece. I am also in agreement that "Since Burma is a multi-ethnic country, mere democracy won’t do. Burma needs a system that guarantees the rights and self-determination of every ethnic group." I shall extend this definition to include every minority group - religious and otherwise, which includes the Rohingyas of Arakan.

As I mentioned in some of my earlier articles, Burma or today's Myanmar has been a hopeless case of lies and deception leading to frustration on the part of minorities since its founding after the British colonial masters had left. Promises made by those in power never translated into tangible gains on the ground that could gravitate people towards a federal formula for unity shunning disunity and racism that had always defined race relations inside Burma. So, Rimond Htoo's piece may be what is in store for the Karen and various other minorities, and that would be a sad one - going back to the unfortunate days of death and diaspora.

I hope that such fears are untrue and that the new rulers in Myanmar are different than their predecessors. And that they have learned and become wiser and better. The ball is obviously in their court. If they want to retrace their path to the olden days of oppression and persecution of minorities like the Karen and Rohingya (and others) by kicking the ball into their own goal post, it would be utterly stupid, esp. with so much of support that they enjoy and the goodwill others now have about their new regime. It would be their loss, and no one else's. Under the current wave of new hope and aspirations, the only thing the regime can do is to carry the ball forward and make a winning team by playing together as equals with the same goal or objective. Just as in soccer or with any other game, an winning formula requires building a winning team, and that process starts with dialogue, open negotiations that show what is at stake and how unity of purpose and action can be a winning formula for all. It is surely not dictated by barrel of a gun, and no bullies either.

Again, my hope is that the new regime is different for better. It is neither SPDC nor SLORC, and as such trouble days are over for Burma, and a new dawn offers newer hopes. And thus, the ceasefires made on the ground with Karen and others are meant to be stepping stones before a serious dialogue with various nationalities, ethnicities, races, religions, etc. take place on a common formula of unity in diversity towards a federal government where no single group dominates the government. Ethnic tensions need to be eased so that trust is built within and between all races and minority groups.

On a personal level, I am willing to give the new regime some time to prove its worthiness before we dump it as the same old, rotten, dirty regime, if it proves hypocritical and acts contrary to its promises made. Whatever it is worth, my opinions on Burma's latest development can be read in the New Age. Here is a link: http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/editorial/47088.html

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