Written by U Ne Oo on 1997-05-26
Few signs, such as recent SLORC arrasts of the opposition MPs that lead to an abrupt cancellation of Vietnamese PMs visits to Rangoon, indicate that the SLORC Administration is in a stage of panic that beginning to collapse. These developments comes as a consequence of the state of SLORC's political legitimacy being removed within the country (and abroad).
The meaning of 'legitimacy' for non-elected governments, such as SLORC, is principally that the citizens are obliged to effectively obey the rulings of that government. [ It must be noted that the term 'legitimacy' being used here is in descriptive sense, in the cases where a government's exercise of power is more of less generally accepted by the society.] The governments, on the otherhand, must have the justification for continuance of their rulings. SLORC, for example, had 'derived its legitimacy' or - in plain words - 'made an excuse to govern' after the election of May-1990 by various means: (1) using threat of disintegration of union or the threat of possible chaos and violence in the country (2) the necessity to write a constitution (3) the necessity to improve country's economic well-beings and, (4) finally, by claiming SLORC is the only entity that is capable of governing the country. The ethnic federal movement and peace initiatives by the international community are the principal actors in removing such legitimacy of SLORC.
The opposition's strategy of always opening door for reconciliation and its preparedness to accomodate SLORC (and military) in the new government does help in removing the SLORC's remaining credibility in the international circle. With such conciliatory stance by the NLD, even the SLORC's staunchest protectors, the ASEAN countries, can no longer defend SLORC continuation of arbitrary ruling of the country: ASEAN must now push SLORC towards a dialogue with the NLD.
The opposition's preparedness to work with SLORC is also consistent with the principle of nonviolence. Gandhi, for example, has pointed out that such 'forgiveness to the sinner' as an attribute of 'ahimsa'(nonviolence). At this juncture, we certainly are witnessing the strategy of peace and nonviolence as the most effective means to counter the reign of a military dictatorship - the SLORC.
WHAT CAN THE ARRESTS DO ?
It is to be noted that without the [internal] political legitimacy and [international] credibility, the SLORC becomes no more than an organized-bandits and hostage-takers. Furthermore, current arrests of elected MPs will not solve SLORC's problems. The arrests of these MPs, supposedly, are made in order to prevent the National League for Democracy from declaring an alternative government at the gathering scheduled on 27-28 May (Note that the NLD to declare a parallel government is the SLORC's own assNLD to declare a parallel government is the SLORC's own assumption, which may not necessarily true). It must be pointed out, however, that the National League for Democracy do not particularly need such a special gathering or a special date to declare an alternative government. The same logic is applied to the countries that might be prepared to recognize National League for Democracy: they can do these matters at anytime they choose.
DIPLOMATIC MUSCLES ARE NEEDED
As has been said previously, the SLORC cannot get any better arrangement than that were that were outlined in 29/4/97 Communication - the Generals probably realize this. Why then, one might ask, are these Generals not talking directly with NLD in spite of their apparent state of insecurity and anxiety ? This is because the Burmese Generals are not only 'arrogant' but also are quite 'shy' to take such an offer from the opposition and to make a compromise. This partly comes from the Burmese General's human-weakness of being unable to make compromise with a pure and simple mind; the inability tolity to accept the truth with an honest and straight-forward manner. We clearly need the diplomatic (plus military) muscles to pressure the Generals, for which the United Nations and, especially, the United States Government certainly must help. -- With Best Regards, U Ne Oo.
ASIA: BURMA DETAINS MORE THAN 250 SUU KYI SUPPORTERS
BURMA OPPOSITION (CARRIED EARLIER)
BANGKOK, May 25 AFP - Burma's ruling junta has detained at least 250 supporters of pro-democracy leader Aunleader Aung San Suu Kyi and is pushing ahead with its crackdown on her party, a senior party official said today.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) had documented names and details of 193 NLD supporters who had been detained, but reports filtering in from the provinces indicated more than 250 had been rounded up, he said.
"(Once the detentions have all been documented) I think it will come up to ... more than 250," the NLD official said by telephone from the Burma capital Rangoon.
"I think the detentionsdetentions are still going on. We are going to see this evening or tomorrow (Monday) whether they will make any sort of oppression on our Rangoon members," the NLD official, who declined to be identified, said.
Security forces were making frequent checks of household lists, looking for overnight guests who had not been reported to the authorities, especially at the houses of known party members, a Rangoon resident said.
Some 100 to 150 delegates to a party conference planned for May 27-28 managed to slip into the capi the capital from the provinces despite the efforts of the authorities, the party official said.
The NLD said the military government began last week to round up activists in a bid to head off the planned congress, scheduled to coincide with the seventh anniversary of elections won by the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) yesterday denied any arrests or persecution of NLD members, but it distinguishes between arrests and detentions.
AP> An official yesterday said local authorities simply asked NLD supporters "to refrain from taking actions designed to create chaos in the country".
A statement issued by the SLORC's embassy in Bangkok noted, however, that every government "sometimes detains individuals who threaten actions to create chaos and cause social disruption".
The NLD said most of the detentions were in Mandalay, Sagaing, Bago and Ayeyarwaddy divisions of the country, while no arrests had been reported in Rangoon.
It notified thtified the government authorities two days ago of its plans to hold a meeting to mark the seventh anniversary of the 1990 election.
Phones and electricity were cut most of the day in the neighbourhoods surrounding party officials' homes and NLD headquarters in Rangoon, making the immediate compilation of exact numbers of detentions impossible.
The NLD official said about 1,200 party members were invited to the congress, up to 200 of whom live in Rangoon.
More than 50 of the 193 confirmed detainees were voted ie voted in as MPs in the elections, he said.
The junta never recognised the result of the 1990 elections - which would have given the NLD more than 80 per cent of seats - and hung onto power after putting Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.
The upcoming congress would be the NLD's third since Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest in July 1995.
Prior to both of last year's party congresses, SLORC rounded up hundreds of NLD party activists and elected candidates.
Most were released within a few we a few weeks, but several were sentenced to long terms in the junta's notorious prisons.
A Burmese government official yesterday charged western governments were being led astray by misinformation from the NLD.
"Regretfully, the western countries have been sold a barrel of propaganda and are crafting a biased and a dangerous foreign policy upon it," he said.