Chin national reconciliation

Chin National Reconciliation


Hre Mang
September 2004
Brief Note: Political Review

The recent political development within the Chin exile groups has been positive and progressive, although the level of growth may be slower then some have expected. Just like any other society around the world, the Chin society has been undergoing painful political processes under the pressure of the Burma military regime as well as within its own political realm of the attempt to overthrow the dictatorship. Moreover, its struggle for societal transformation from traditional social order to a new form of semi-modern social civic political system also delayed by the oppressive rule of the Burmese regime and due to unpleasant socio economic situation. Among the social political actors, it seems, democratic values and principles begin to play role in underlining the principles of political associations and in inter-ethnic human relation, significantly portrayed by the recent formation of the PAC, which was formed and announced during the last Chin Consensus Building, organized by CNF in April 2004. That gives a positive signal to prevent the future potential societal conflicts as the result of the past painful incidents. In addition, there is much more to recommend to faster the move and prevent any potential reoccurrence of negative political setback and grievances.

Inside Burma, the people have no freedom to associate and collectively act to advance the social political as well as economic development, while the exiles in outside Burma have much more chances and opportunities to do so. In my last article, “How to Motivate Chin People” I recommended social mobilization as the best option and essential means to have impact for the social healing and national integration. Among the exile groups, the social movement has been significant with a great chance of further development. The social organizations, such as the Zomi Inkuan, The Chin Communities, the Falam Union, the Chin Youth Organization, the Zomi Student Group, and Christian Churches, to name a few, are important societal elements to increase social capital and in forming collective norms and forms. For example, the Chin Community of USA (Of the Halkha speaking groups) has conducted “Lai Seminar” every year in the United States to celebrate and promote God’s blessing as a group of people who share human heritages. Likewise, the Chin Community of the Falam speaking group has been celebrating the Chin New Year Festival ever year in the United States during the time of the American people’s Thanksgiving that used to take place in the month of November. Likewise, the local based social organizations around the world wherever Chins are present do the same or similar festivities and social events, whether it is a social or religious one that equally raises essential social capitals. The Zomi Inkuan, I belief, also has potential to raise enough social capital to promote more social events and activities. Not only social issues, but also these social organizations can contribute invaluable social political capital toward national political and social development and national integration. For example, the Zomi Inkuan did a very good job during the time of the conflict between CNF and the Tidim area local citizens. The Zomi Inkuan warned the CNF leaders not to kill any innocent citizen, at the same time prevented some of the young Zomis not to take counter-revolution against the CNF, which would eventually result a similar kind of Kuki-Paite inter ethnic war or the Kuki-Naga war, otherwise. Unlike the humble request of the 15 ex-CNF members (Of Falam young men) to CNF to release Fung Than Hlir, a theological student, who was recruited by force and for whom the both parents were crying, the CNF seemed paying a better and serious attention to ZOmi Inkuan. In many more ways, these social organizations can also intervene and contribute constructive means to the whole national cause. So that, if these social capitals that have been raised through the social mobilization and organizations are effectively and skillfully converted to national political capital, this will enhance the national integration, solidarity and the cohesiveness of our society as history demanded. The internal segmentation of the social units based on our ethnic setting is by no means to misunderstood as a sign of disunity or otherwise. There are houses that are built with big stones, at the same time there are houses that are built with little stones.

There are few negative aspects of this social mobilization that are consequently destructive for national integration, although their existence and acts themselves are productive. Historically and ethnically, the Chin society bears past social evils and grievances that hinder the collective movement and national integration as one people. It’s sad to learn that even some or more of our contemporary generation are still influenced by such past painful memories. Sometimes, the past social grievances or advantages conveniently place some younger generation within a smaller social units that are not supportive to the whole Chin national cause. This is true not only in social phenomenon but also in religious community. The social and religious organizations are fragmented into multiple, not because of theoretical differences but because of the past and personal preferences based personal ties and links. When these groups are motivated to deviate from the main stream national cause of the time, they become obstacles if not destructive. For example, there are some social organizations that are formed based on locality among dearest and nearest. And when a person is affiliated to any particular social organization or group, as the traditional social hierarchical social orders till play very impotent role, the level of submission is so fixed that hinders him or her to think independently. Therefore, it is important that the social actors are always aware of their leadership role, not to motivate people with a closed ended goal, but to direct their members’ social attention to the national cause what the history deadly demands at this moment.

When I was a member of CNF, I was told that “one people one party” as our hidden policy. That means the existence of any other revolutionary party or organization was strongly against by the CNF leadership that caused loss of lives and blood in the earlier years of the CNF. As the portrayal of our human instinct nature, the CNF experienced the unavoidable explosion of human ambitious emotional confrontation among the leaders which caused a group continued to takeover the party and the rest leaving with internal wounds and scars. The CNF leaders continued holding the same old rod until the Chin National Council (CNC) was formed in 1996 that the CNF leaders and supporters didn’t like the existence of any other political organization that has potential to take significant space within the same realm. That was one of the reasons the CNC was discontinued. As a result of such old fashion revolutionary ideas, there was conflict between the CNF and the ZRA that also caused killings and blame-game. Time past by and the reality became more obvious to the minds of the activists. The appearance of the ZRA, ZNC, CNLD devaluated the old idea of one people one political party among the Chin opposition campers. As the result of the recent political development, there is much less change for inter-ethnic conflict. The moment of emotional clash is past. The adversarial political attitude has changed to a dating moment, each acting like having enough confidence in securing their potential political territory and opportunity, and now the time comes when and where those leaders should focus on the national integration and strategic approach to meet the historical national demand of the time.

After securing the inner leadership circle with dearest and nearest, the CNF leadership has signaled its change in hidden policy, recognizing the existence of other political parties and organizations As Salai Za Ceu Lian mentioned in his article, the Chin Consensus Building was the first step in a right direction, to alter the rough inter-ethnic relationship among the Chin dissidents which I hope will continue functioning as the mother board for the whole Chin national politics. The outcome of the Chin Consensus Building, called PAC is composed of the Chin national figures in exiles, having certain level of influence within their own respective community. The integration of the PAC policy and programs is another challenge. If it fails, it would be just a political community which will eventually be exploited by some, on the other hand, if it success, it could pave the future common national path. In my opinion, if the PAC programs are integrated to the respective political set, it would enhance the cohesiveness of the Chin national political forces.

Not only for the political context of the pro-democratic movement, the PAC can also
be means to foresee the future potential political chaos and social disorder in the Chin society and implement policy to prevent it. For example, those political activists and voluntary revolutionaries, who have been paying the price for the political transition from dictatorship to democracy, will be one day honored in the public square with the expenses of the public treasury. Each one should be rewarded for whatever she or he has sacrificed for the cause the common good that one’s sacrifice should not be a threat to another’s interest and life. At the same time, the one who deserves flower should be rewarded flower, but not bullet. Moreover, the PAC is also expected to arrange and bridge wherever and whenever different parties and groups have contradicting interest and stances among the Chins. For example, the PAC would be the best political tool to assist in making collective decision whenever necessary. There was no available political tool to make a collective decision during the Aung San’ persuasive movement in 1946-7 to sign the Pang Long agreement. Should there be the tri-partite talk or similar transitional political arrangement, as demanded and expected by the opposition, the PAC would be the most suitable political tool to assist and integrate the interests of the stakeholders.

It is encouraging that some of the Chin leaders are becoming more popular among the non-Burma ethnic groups as well as among Burmese dissidents. The current secretary of the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) and of the National Democratic Front (NDF) are Chin nationals. Moreover, there are some more who have voice among the Burmese dissidents and who often speak at the UN forums. Assuming those leaders, who are stationed in Thailand, do not share room with one Burmese dissident who built 3 million baths worth building in Thailand or share a portion with a member (of NCUB?) who run away from Washington D.C. to Thailand with 1 million baths worth currency. Our Chin leaders will one day return home with integrity and achievement for our people. Everyone must be one day rewarded for whatever good he or she has done for our national cause. This shows one aspect of the good chance the Chins people have in the time of trouble under the military dictatorship, promising us that by accumulating social political capitals and power, and intellectual capacity, we all will one day see the daylight from the east. So then we all will one day able to say, “We say what we think, and we do what we say” in our own home land.