Saturday, June 7, 2014

Is a Federal System necessary for Burma?

I just got a letter from a reader who wrote: "I have just checked your website and I wonder your proposal of a federal state within Burma. How can it be possible , is this federal system a solution to almost all the conflicting peoples in the world now?"

My reply follows:

Surely, not every state requires a federal state. But Burma does need it badly since it is a conglomerate state, artificially curved out by the British in 1948 that has hundreds of ethnicites and many religions. The population has very little in common - the very ingredients necessary for nation-building.
Without a federal structure I see little hope of survival of this country. The bullets are never a guarantee to hold a together an artificial state made of diverse and racist communities.
But the federal state formula alone will not cut it for Burma since it is also mired in obnoxious racism and bigotry against anyone who is not a Buddhist, esp. the Rohingya Muslims. So, its political leadership must learn the hard-earned lessons from other parts of the multi-religious societies of our world and amend its ways to make the state more inclusive and plural. Citizenship of the Rohingya people towards their genuine integration can be the starting formula in this long journey of nation-building.
But will the Buddhists leadership and its xenophobic, murderous cadre and monks understand this and implement changes necessary for Burma's survival?
 

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