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Are We One or Multiple

Are We One or Multiples?
(Just dicussion)
Recently, all of us have seen heavy exchanges of fire, which we can term as modern “online tribal warfare,” by checking the line up of those netters, in one side mostly from one tribal group, and on the other sides, the rest or some groups. In the past too, we have seen several times, when one tribal group lined up together against the other in this group. Tribal group doesn’t mean the whole members of the tribe but political or
social organization and party that has based on particular tribe(s). This, although not encouraging, is the reflection of part of the real world Chin tribal politics that consumes our time and social political capitals of our days. First, lets all assume these are necessity evils along our social political evolution, not all are bad but good if it is taken as trigger to help us learn the reality of us. On the other hand, if any group or some take this exchange of fire as attack to them and never try to learn the lessons from it, it would further
the ruin without any potential development from the status quo.

Many times, we see different point of view in describing ourselves, “WE” as one people and “WEs” as a combination of “multiple tribal groups.” The important thing in this kind of time, revolutionary and transformational period is everyone honest and sincere to express, accept their reality and take necessary action to eliminate those necessary evils stated above. Going back to history, “We” (of multiples) did not put ourselves together under one political roof but the foreigner did, putting us together under three different countries. (In this discussion, let’s talk about people of the east). So, politically, we have been put together as one people group, but could not change the demographic location of different tribes which remained until today, the further impossible things are social and psychological distance that still stays as big obstacles to crash the “WE” (of multiples) to enhance the “WE” ( of one people). We still confuse to address ourselves as one or
multiples. What we wall want appeared to be, obviously, the big “WE” (of one solid people).

Understanding the reality of tribal setting is important, first, to correctly and most effectively design the
social structure for political or national reason and, second, in matter of representation of public interest.

Before we go ahead, lets look at the reality of the existing social structure of our people inside and outside
Burma. First, in exile, wherever the Chins are exiled, if there are enough people from different tribal groups, they form their own tribal associations, religious and social organizations, even if not tribal political organizations. This is a proven fact about lack of social cohesiveness as one big “WE.” For example, in the US, there are more than thousand Chins (number?), and most of them are from northern Chins, and therefore formed social organizations, such as the Zomi Inkuan of Zomi tribal groups from Tidim and Tawnzang, the Chin Community of Laizo speaking groups, and the Chin Community of Hakha speaking groups, so on. Am I telling lie? No, come and see. Needless to say the religious organization, although the religious appeared to be of less effected by tribal division among Chins, there are multiple religious congregations based on tribes. It means,
there are multiples “we” that can stand against the interest of the big “WE’ (of one people-Chin) .

Social structure: If the grassroots
social forces is expected and needed to face the contemporary social political challenge, this matter must be addressed and based on the social settings of the tribes, social political alliance must be structured. We should encouraged that more people organized themselves whether within their own tribes or based on specific interest to promote and generate social capitals and those social capital would be backing up the whole Chin national cause. In building up national foundation to generate national (big “WE”) social political forces, all social segments should be addressed for mutual participation and collective movement. (This may sound like speaking against the nature real world politics). On the other hand, if any leader or group thinks that, the only essential social vehicle at this time is a kind of the alliance of tribal elites, then, it should be considered as okayed, as long as the active role players hang together to avoid
conflicts of interests and join hands only when such potential conflicts occurs. If the later is the case, and if the existence of such tribal political alliance is to serve as means of avoiding conflicts that rises out of
conflicts of interest while competing for opportunities and power, although its one step further from previous condition, only the big “WE” concept can be carried on, leaving the grassroots social segments unnoticed about the current national movement and notational political trend. And the big “WE” vehicle riders can keep riding a free train along the Burma and international political development and just watch the opportunity to catch the chance along the change.

On the other hand, if the
Chin people are capable and serious about building the Chin national social political force to match the contemporary challenges, the existing grassroots social segments should be motivated and mobilized toward enhancing the collective end goal of all as one big “WE” of multiple “WEs”. In stead of trying to make up a dominant tribal group for the whole movement, mutual participation should be encouraged and doors must be opened. In stead of trying to hold all the existing social political opportunities within one tribal group’s leadership circle, if anyone does, equal distribution of opportunities and chances should be addressed. All segments of the society, such as intellectuals, business communities, social and religious organizations, all should be encouraged and given place and chance where and when they can utilize their social force toward promoting the collective end goal. (The Burmese military leaders say, “We don’t want the Chin (pouk)
to represent us in the international community.” So, we never have any Chin representing Burma in any international forum or country). Likewise, among Chins, working together and promoting mutual participation, due unequal level of commitment, capacity, and available able individuals, may be difficult and appeared to be, in some cases, hindrance, in stead of helpful,. However, if the long run national collective movement is foreseen and aimed, it should be encouraged at all cost.

So, then, the national social political trend should be enhanced as a collective movement, not as the movement of an interest group or particular tribal groups, and as national revolution and
reformation movement, not as the movement of power hungers or of the leftists or of the rightists. Needless to say, we, the Chin people, need not only democratic governance, but in many areas, we need changes thru social reformation to revitalize the nerve of our society. That is only possible with the collective movement and mutual participation of all segments of the society regardless of the nature of organizations and social alliances, reducing the competition among us and building the collective force to compete with the force that endangering our national cause.

Matter of representation of common interest: This matter appeared to be one of the most confusing issues to many.

Here is one illustrative story: There is a hunter in a village who says, “I am going to hunt down the tiger that killed many of your domicile animals, such as cows, buffalo, etc. without any cost to you.” And the people say, “Yes, please do so, and when you return we will celebrate it.” The nest day, a hunter goes to the public and say, “Hey! I have used all my money, so I need your help; please donate whatever you can, so that I can keep hunting for your interest.” And the villagers responded, “Yes, here is money, here is food, and here is clothes.” And the next time, the hunter says again, “I have used all of my money and your contribution, so now I need money from you, whether you agree or not, you owe me money for I am hunting the tiger on behalf of you all, and none of you are not supposed to hunt that tiger, that tiger is for me.” The villagers said to him, “NO, we have given you the support and contribution whatever we think we should. Now, the tiger still killing
our animals and you still ask money, will you try to survive on our contribution.” So, the next day, the hunter starts collecting money, saying, “Give me money or I will shoot you, for I am serving your interest.” So, all the villagers got angry and they killed him. They said, “You are not representing our interest, that is to kill the tiger and to protect our animals, but you are serving yourself by hunting the tiger” adding, in serving your interest, we are losing more than serving the interest of tiger.”

Like other societies around us, the Chin society is composed of several social segments and units. Socially, psychologically, demographically, and politically, the Chin society is fragmented into multiple “Wes.” (Again this may be irritating for some). There are political parties based on tribal groups, and social and religious organization are countless and most of them, if not all, can be categorized based on tribal groups. The existence and addressing such segments itself posts no threat to the chin people. Reviewing the social setting is crucial to check the technical as well as rational validity of the way the Chin actors try to represent the national cause. For example, the Mara People Party (MPP) is a party of the Mara tribe. No one can deny the legitimacy of its existence or its role in Chin politics. BUT, if the MPP say, “I am representing all Chins, so the Chin people owe me money and respect.” What do the Chin people say? Is it rationally and technically sound,
and most importantly, will it lead the whole Chin national cause to meet the interest of all? No one is lacking for that answer.

From the village hunter’s case, it would be rationally and technically sound, as long as the group doesn’t force others to serve their interest.

It’s just a mere discussion, not policy advice or criticism to the existing social structure. We, at least some extent, know ourselves social political behaviors that is currently writing our history. People say, knowledge contribute 20 percent of one’s decision making, but 80 by behavior in social decision making. And behavior cannot be changed immediately by simply reading a book and by getting advice, but it is socially, over time, constructed and built in on people’s internal pattern. It happens that we should agree with
Adam Smith’s theory of “self interest” that let all people, whether as individuals or as tribal group or as social alliances, work for their own self-interest and the combining of such self-interest directed movement is currently writing our history. However, there are certain things to be aware of to smoothly promote one’s own interest that that is not to force others to serve one’s own interest. Otherwise, some may end up like in the case of the
village hunter.

Are we Multiple or One?