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Trsut or Thirst

Trust or Thirst: Burma’s Future

Hre Mang April 2004.

The Unuion of Burma ever came to exist since 1948, according to the conditional Panglong agreement of 1947. People groups, those who, politically, socially or culturally, had not interacted each other happened to join under one political identity, called “the Union of Burma. The risk was high, the price has been paid later on for more than five decades and still there is unpaid balance to pay. However, if the Burman leaders from both the military wings as well as from the dissidents are willing to accept the historical truth and prepare themselves for the implementation of democratic principles and return the political determinant factors upon the wills of the people, there will be peace and prosperity for all citizens. Otherwise, there will be another face of thirst for peace, without trust between the Burman group and the non-Burman ethnics group, delaying the country’s progress of civilization far behind its contemporary societies around the world. Now is the second chance for all citizens of Burma to rebuild trust and unity against destructive political evils that has caused enormous damages in the society, putting down the whole generation into dungeon as an evil sign for the world around. The first chance of building the nation was misused by a few self-directed generals against the will of the people, and now the Burman leaders have to choose Trust or face Thirst that will never quench and dictate the future history of the whole nation.

There has been fatigue of 50 years civil war. Killings, rape, human rights abuse, forced labor, forced relocation, etc. etc. have filled up the minds of the people with the portrayals of the generals. There seems nothing to consolidate the devastating bad memories of the people, but the affirmative action from the Burman leaders will simply help the psychological healing process, reducing any potential repercussion. After long years of war, 16 ethnic armed groups have signed cease-fire agreement with the regime, and even the strongest, the Karen National Union (KNU) has come to the negotiating table for search of peace. This is a good sign that the ethnic groups have still hope against hope to have peace with the brutal regime. Anything is possible, if both parties are willing to commit and ready to follow their commitment. For a person, without considerable compensation, to forgive a criminal who killed his or her own offspring may be against human nature. For the sake of the future generation and the people who are being trapped under the regime control, the ethnics are, however, prepared to negotiate with once the impossible regime. There are three historical factors to consider: First, the ethnic armed groups need rest time; second, the ethnic groups need to change their long time strategy; and third, the ethnic groups have given a second chance to the Burman leaders to choose trust or thirst.

As a result of the last five decades civil war, Burma, although rich in natural resources, became one of the poorest countries around the world. Especially within the ethnic communities, miserable miserable live conditions are obvious evidence of the cruelty of the regime. After having spent enormous political capital, the ethnic groups now realized that the war against the regime couldn’t be won with armed confrontation only. Although it is politically correct to fight against the regime by any means, it is not a right time to use armed only within the international political context, as every nation feels like we all have come over the past 18 century revolution model. Moreover, the Burmese military leaders’ political behavior and intrinsic moral character have apparently proved that they will always continue to defend their own interest to hold power even if it costs the whole non-Burman ethnic groups’ extinction. That is also proved by the Burmanization policy being practiced by the regime leaders, dismantling the social cultural heritages of the non-Burman ethnic groups. On the other hand, due to the recent change of the regional political climate, it is a right time to change the political strategy from armed confrontation to the upgraded model revolution.

Hence, it is time to test the water again for the second time, if the Burman leaders really want and are able to have a peaceful union country where and when all citizens will enjoy nature’s blessing upon the land for all citizens and their friends and visitors. And for the Burman leaders, they have to choose a peaceful co-existence with mutual respect for social cultural and human values, if not there will be Thirst for peace with another round of bloodshed, although it will not be like the previous jungle warfare where the regime has gained advantages for possessing unequal combatant resources. It will probably take several years or more for the cease-fire groups to take their breaths and recapitalize themselves to resurrect against the unjust act of the regime. The regime may declare the uncertain victory at this time over the cease-fire groups and other oppositions. In contrary, if the regime doesn’t act justly and other Burman leaders as well, there will be another set of dramatic scene, unlike the previous jungle warfare. Then, some may want to name it “urban” or “semi-urban” warfare when and where people will thirst for peace without trust.

Let today’s thirst for peace be an opportunity to rebuild trust among all citizens of Burma.