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Decoding Democracy: UN Envoy visit to Burma, 2006

Decoding the Damoncy Code


More then half of the history, one said, is coded with secret codes to hide the truth or to make things appear which were never existed. It may be true not only to history but also to the current events that are happening everyday around the world that for lacking a skill to decode the event codes, one may falsely assume or believe onething that is none existence or not true. The Burma democratic drums, or the Damoncy Code have been sounding loud around the globe with signs and codes from different stakeholders, such as from the UN, the West, the EU, the ASIAN, the Indian, the Negote, the “8888” students, etc. Unless one decodes them correctly, there seems no way for one to see the real colors of the living and ongoing history.


  Once upon a time, the Penking Radio heavily aired against the same military government of Rangoon . At that time, many failed to decode the airing codes and falsely assumed that the BCP would overturn down the military regime. During the years from 1988 to 1990, many, if not all, Burmese citizens failed to decode the military regime’s codes, political strategy and unpredictability that lead many to jail and to exile. And now, after one and half a decade, many still wonder how to decode the signs and symbols of the time.


Decoding Annan’s disappointment:


The General Secretary on Tuesday expressed his disappointment with the regime government of Burma . One may think, how long and how many lives it takes to disappoint the General Secretary of the United Nations? Or is it the writer moderated the language and said “disappointed” instead of “angry”? The United  Nations have how many resolutions on Burma ? Did they mean anything to promote democracy in Burma ? How many UN envoys or reporters, or negotiators, or you name it, visited to Burma without tangible results? These answers should be checked first, before one tries to decode “Annan’s disappointment.”


“Annan’s disappointment” shows his position’s limitation of doing anything tangible more than just being “disappointed”. ( Disapointed means at its face value, "I am nothing, I can't do anything more). After seeing many thousands flee as refugees, many children and women run for their lives, many women have been raped, many have been killed, many have been jailed even the world’s noble laureate Daw Aung Suu Kyi,   if a man says, “I am disappointed,” that means what? That man has used his last bullet. Is there any further decoding needed? So, by decoding correctly the “disappointment” no one should be lulled by misinterpreting the sigss and symbols of the UN.


``We're going to work very hard,'' stated Annan after being disappointed by the regime’s action. So, decoding Annan’s “hard working” could mean something new, like building the UN team that would constantly work on Burma case or putting the Burma issue on the SC table immediately. If that is the correct decoding, then the UN has high potential to contribute something tangible toward promoting democracy in Burma that the UN should constantly work with other concerned stakeholders toward democratizing Burma, in stead of sending one delegate once in two or  three years.



Decoding Gambari’s smile:


Everyone has seen the U.N. Undersecretary-General Ibrahim Gambari’s beautiful and enthusiastic smile with the Burmese military leaders in picture. Was it a good smile or deadly smile? (There can be a smile, which some culture called "dogy smile" that means when two dogs are going to fight, they each show their teeths how sharp they are". Good for who and bad for who? When decoding smile- cultural thing, one has to understand the different cultural interpretation of smile in both Burma and Africa.  Gambari’s diplomatic smile means one thing to the regime, different thing to the Burmese people and different things to Gambari himself. Soldiers, in Burmese cultural, do not smile unless its in a peaceful season or for a peaceful signs. Therefore, it is for sure, the regime doesn’t see any threat from Gambari’s smile but being encouraged to work harder toward a “disciplined democracy”, while decoding it as a sign to escape from the SC push.  


On the other hand, Gamhari’s smile can be interpreted that the regime government of Burma is not a threat to himself (Gamhari) that the regime leaders are humans and can be dealt with like other social animals. For the ASIAN fellows, that may be the best way of decoding Gahari’s smile.


After all, decoding Gamhari’s smile with the regime leaders,  the history is not in favor of hardliners opposition. In other word, not in favor of total replacement of the regime government or handing over the central power to the 1990 MP-lects.   But for the ASEAN fellows, constructive engagers, it’s a positive signs of a new start after a long period of time. Overall, if “Annan’s disappointment” will really lead the UN to “hard working” to bring democracy in Burma, and if “Annan’s hard working” doesn’t mean sending delegate to Burma once in awhile, it could mean a new process of engaging with the regime to faster the political development in favor of democracy.


Hre Mang

May 2006.