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Mon 05 Apr 2004

The Union of Burma ever came to exist since 1948, according to the conditionalPanglong agreement of 1947. People groups, those who, politically, socially orculturally, had not interacted each other happened to join under one politicalidentity, called “the Union of Burma. The risk was high, the price has beenpaid later on for more than five decades and still there is unpaid balance topay. However, if the Burman leaders from both the military wings as well asfrom the dissidents are willing to accept the historical truth and preparethemselves for the implementation of democratic principles and return thepolitical determinant factors upon the wills of the people, there will be peaceand prosperity for all citizens. Otherwise, there will be another face ofthirst for peace, without trust between the Burman group and the non-Burmanethnics group, delaying the country's progress of civilization far behind itscontemporary societies around the world. Now is the second chance for allcitizens of Burma to rebuild trust and unity against destructive politicalevils that has caused enormous damages in the society, putting down the wholegeneration into dungeon as an evil sign for the world around. The first chanceof building the nation was misused by a few self-directed generals against thewill of the people, and now the Burman leaders have to choose Trust or faceThirst that will never quench and dictate the future history of the wholenation.There has been fatigue of 50 years civil war. Killings, rape, human rightsabuse, forced labor, forced relocation, etc. etc. have filled up the minds ofthe people with the portrayals of the generals. There seems nothing toconsolidate the devastating bad memories of the people, but the affirmativeaction from the Burman leaders will simply help the psychological healingprocess, reducing any potential repercussion. After long years of war, 16ethnic armed groups have signed cease-fire agreement with the regime, and eventhe strongest, the Karen National Union (KNU) has come to the negotiating tablefor search of peace. This is a good sign that the ethnic groups have still hopeagainst hope to have peace with the brutal regime. Anything is possible, ifboth parties are willing to commit and ready to follow their commitment. For aperson, without considerable compensation, to forgive a criminal who killed hisor her own offspring may be against human nature. For the sake of the futuregeneration and the people who are being trapped under the regime control, theethnics are, however, prepared to negotiate with once the impossible regime.There are three historical factors to consider: First, the ethnic armed groupsneed rest time; second, the ethnic groups need to change their long timestrategy; and third, the ethnic groups have given a second chance to the Burmanleaders to choose trust or thirst.As a result of the last five decades civil war, Burma, although rich in naturalresources, became one of the poorest countries around the world. Especiallywithin the ethnic communities, miserable live conditions are obvious evidenceof 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 wonwith armed confrontation only. Although it is politically correct to fightagainst the regime by any means, it is not a right time to use armed onlywithin the international political context, as every nation feels like we allhave come over the past 18 century revolution model. Moreover, the Burmesemilitary leaders' political behavior and intrinsic moral character haveapparently proved that they will always continue to defend their own interestto 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 regimeleaders, dismantling the social cultural heritages of the non-Burman ethnicgroups. On the other hand, due to the recent change of the regional politicalclimate, it is a right time to change the political strategy from armedconfrontation to the upgraded model revolution.Hence, it is time to test the water again for the second time, if the Burmanleaders really want and are able to have a peaceful union country where andwhen all citizens will enjoy nature's blessing upon the land for all citizensand their friends and visitors. And for the Burman leaders, they have to choosea peaceful co-existence with mutual respect for social cultural and humanvalues, 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 hasgained advantages for possessing unequal combatant resources. It will probablytake several years or more for the cease-fire groups to take their breaths andrecapitalize themselves to resurrect against the unjust act of the regime. Theregime may declare the uncertain victory at this time over the cease-firegroups and other oppositions. In contrary, if the regime doesn't act justly andother 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 withouttrust.Let today's thirst for peace be an opportunity to rebuild trust among allcitizens of Burma.(The views expressed here are solely the opinion of the author. Kao-Wao Editor)