WELCOME TO MY PAGE‎ > ‎Casiar ding‎ > ‎Chin People‎ > ‎

Chin Political Stalemate

Chin Practical Stalemate

Hre Mang, March 2002

Abstract: This article analyzes the current Chin political situation and gives warning for the uncertainty of the Chin people's political future, and suggests the possible way to bring all Chin together without dismantling the present political mechanisms for the building of the Chin national foundation.

Chin, with it's clean and pure ethnic blood, stands as one of the most unique people groups in Burma. However, due to lack of productive natural resources and economic development, and because of diversity and disunity, the political future of the Chin people is much more vulnerable than any other ethnic group in Burma. Though there have been a recent intellectual development among Chin people, a unified intellectual society has not been set up that would move the people toward a specific direction for the common national cause and survival. As a result, the intellectual pieces of the Chin people remain as individual, fragmented or unorganized means to mobilize the people. The Chin practical politics have been played with the traditional political culture and practices that not only unable to unite the people but also increases factionalism and fragmentation of the society, eventually weakens the overall political evolution. Therefore, it is time to establish a solid and weighty national foundation for unity, integrity and survival of the Chin people. It deserves the most serious and mature consideration of every prudent and honest man of every party, organization and of every type.

As the infrustrure of the Chin society has been destroyed during the four decade long military rule, Chin people's responsiveness and submissiveness to the society, sense of moral obligation to the community, zeal and hope for future prosperity, and confidence in the integrity of the society has been at the lowest state ever. The traditional attitude of the Chin people toward the leadership of the society is replaced by an antagonistic behavior toward government authority. The corruption and subtlety of the dictatorship, authoritarian administration infiltrated into the Chin society, which increases distrust among the people. The power centered and centralized political administration misled people's political behavior to imitate the authoritarian principles of human relations. Therefore, the idea of society among Chin people remains as a comunitarian without a unified ideological commitment. In such condition of political stalemate, without a solid and weighty national political foundation, the ability to get advantage from the central Burma politics by self-submission to the Burmanization and centralization becomes more important than submissive to the Chin national integrity.

The roughness and the unproductiveness of the Chinland's natural and geographical setting left Chin people as the most undeveloped state in Burma, as the main business is still the traditional agriculture. On the other hand, it also left Chin people without much mixed blood with other ethnic groups. Therefore, Chin people are ethnically and religiously the purest and cleanest among Burma ethnic groups. Nevertheless, one of the most important tenets of the society, a unified ideological commitment for national politics is lacking, which left the Chin society without guarantee for its future survival. Without its own product of unified ideological commitment, the Chin society cannot and will not be able to stand against the infiltration of the Burmanization, and divide and rule policy of the Burman authoritarian leaders.

So far, the Chin national unity movement politics has been very superficial. The incompatible social tenets among Chin people have not been broken or negotiated, in order to compile them for the establishment of the fundamental principal and intellectual foundation. The term "National Unity" is the lovely word for all politicians. In order to solve the fundamental factors that cause disunity and to search a way to solve our political stalemate, there has been no practical analysis of the causes and effects of factionalism and fragmentation in the society. Those beautiful words and terms have been played as an ideological trumpet for nationalist and democrat politicians without leaving their attachment to particular cause of the factionalism. For the sake of unity, the effects cannot be easily cured without knowing the causes, because there are some causes that cannot be eliminated, such as the problem of nomenclatures and linguistic barrier. Besides the people's political behaviors, the political settings of the Chin society are more complicated by their lack of unified identity, different languages (dialects), and their particularism. Though the concept of oneness in the ethnicity is vaguely displayed, the distance between one type and another creates always-significant relationship gap. For example, even for religious society, where no incompatible theological difference exists, Chin people can hardly stay together due to linguistic and behavioral differences. Where two or more Chin types live together within a close geographical location, such as in Tahan of Kalemyo, Rangoon of Burma, Aizawl of Mizoram, etc. there are always separate mosques for each respective type. However, the Zomi Baptish Convention (ZBC) administrative distribution is one good example, though. The most successful volunteer corporation for all Chin types is National Day celebration, which is an occasional function.

Likewise, among political parties, there has been no single national party that contains all Chin types, except during the time of one party system, the BSPP, which was involuntary participation. For example, during the last 1990 national election, the Burma military regime's political distraction game, there was Zomi National Congress, which was rigid among those who identify themselves as Zomi. Likewise, there was Chin National League for Democracy, which was also composed of those who identified themselves as Chin. Moreover, the Chin Student national democratic movements' party, Chin National Front was at first composed of almost all Chin types until 1992. However, the impact of the 1992 overthrow of the CNF leadership by Haka and some of Matu faction decreased chance to unite all Chins into one political unit. As time goes by every considered, thoughtful and prudent Chin will see how difficult is to cure the impact of the past mistakes. The recent exchanges of hatred between CNF and ZRA shows the future danger for the Chin people's political integrity. Regardless to whoever made mistakes or who was to be blamed, it was the real explosion out of type based political cracks within Chin society that has been existing since the time of tribal war.

There is a different issue to keep in mind, while analyzing the real political chaos that there is a big different political necessity between the revolution period and formal local politics. Without a unified and solid foundation, the former can never meet its theoretical and practical requirements to have success, while the later, at least some extent, will success regardless of the diversity of the society. In a formal local or domestic politics, multiple parties, motivated by multiple ideas and missions, will compete each other in the national election and whoever wins will run the government for the welfare of the people and maintain law and order in the society. It is a zero sum game. Moreover, regardless to ethnic diversity there is much easier way of cooperation technically. For the sake of administrative distribution, in every political party, each respective type and local region will have their own representatives and their own model of mobilization without necessary compromise with the central political and social norms. In such away, the political influence and mobilization will flow much easier for the whole political system. Because, every local region and clan/type have their own formal or informal leaders to whom they traditionally feel obligation of self-submission and obedient within their respective societal context that makes the administrative distribution easier.

On the other hand, during the revolution period, without a clear vision, ideological conviction, and without a unified political commitment, it is impossible to mobilize the people to achieve our common daydream. There have been parallel ideologies among Chin people, nationalism and democracy. Theoretically, they seem supporting each other, but in practical they are not. The so-called Burma democratic movement has seriously wounded our national movement, though there are some advantages from it. Because, the recent democratic movement is based on more power centered with party spirit, which, as power always divide people, divides Chin people. However, the national alert stimulated by the recent democratic movement can not be ignored.

Turning to the administrative distribution within revolution movement, we should not compromise it with the local and domestic political administrative system that usually base on a competitive democratic political functional machenism, which I already mentioned above. We cannot play a zero-sum-game during a revolution period, instead a win-win situation must be created. If two parties compete each other to take advantage from the current Chin national political opportunity, it will increase hatred and indecency. Bringing all Chin people under one political party or organization may not be possible at this time, as we have experienced in the past, such as the broke up of CNF, the failure of CNC movement, etc. Therefore, an alternative or artificial architecture is needed to design any possible way to bring the common political and national force toward one political direction and to avoid any collision between one party and another, and between one ideological trend and another, during or after the current revolution movement. For the sake of our common national political tranquility, every political, national party and organization should/need to accept their incapacity and limit to lead the whole Chin people for our common national cause and be willing to discuss and search for the common ground. Without which any achievement in Burma domestic or international level is profitable only to the people who are attached to the respective party or organization and consequently it threatens our national politics. On the other hand, any political or national party or organization that relaxes from its quest for political development and national tranquility always has negative effect upon our national political evolution. As a result, our national political opportunity is vulnerable of the exploitation of any political opportunist group or party.

Currently, none of our major political parties CNLD, ZNC, CNF or any other party or organization is capable to bring all Chin together under one political unit. The Chin Forum movement is one example of the common movement. However, unless it deals with the ongoing political issues, or unless it extends its membership and participation, it will remain as a political tool of some those who pretended to be the Chin political elites without much positive result for the current political solution. On the other hand, without focus on the ongoing political issues, the Chin Forum can be a political tool of some those who wanted to obviate the formation of national political foundation, and to distract some from active political involvement in the ongoing polity. Due to the natural and ethnical diverse settings of the Chin society, the equal or considerable political participation is essential for an effective unity movement. Because, based on the real experiences, no party or organization led by one type or sub-type will be ever able to organize and lead the whole Chin society for a move toward a clear political direction. For example, even if the ZNC tries, in the near future, it will not be able to lead the whole Chin society for its political and national mission during this revolution period because of its geographical and ethnical limitation. The problem with nomenclature and the ethnical particularity will always hinder some who identified themselves as Chins from joining the party. Likewise, CNF, and CNLD are no different. Due to nationalism, particularism and clan based political movement, the challenge faced by NLD within Chin society will be much tougher in the future. Without concern for the building of national political foundation, any enjoyment in the Burma domestic level revolution movement such as a membership in DAB, NDF, NCUB, etc. and in international level such as a membership in UNPO, speaking in a conference of any NGO or IGO will simply increase the political illusions of those who do enjoy them

In such multiplicity and diversity of our political stalemate, for every honest and prudent man, it is time to look forward what could be done for building a national foundation. So far the current movement will lead no further than the present national political stalemate. There is a fear of tribal war and counter-revolution among Chin people as the result of hardships, killings and undue taxes suffered by the people. Unless we all come together to seek and contribute our fragmented pieces of ideas and means for the building of our national foundation, we will see, in a near future, even what we do not expect to see with our own eyes. Therefore, the only possible way, at this time, is to create a national platform where all political parties, organizations, and prominent leaders join together for the search of solution for the current political stalemate and for the formation of a solid and weighty national foundation. Let every group has zeal and rights to organize themselves and participate in the progress of building our national foundation. This is a historical challenge to every man and woman of Chin/Zomi, etc. and let all prudent and honest man and woman consider what is just and necessary, setting aside any aggressive political behavior and contribute some for the sake of our future generation.