Written by U Ne Oo on 1997-05-18
Timeless wisdom direct the political advocates to adhere to making rational analyses and professional judgements. This would be true especially for those who interested to promote peace and human rights in a non-rights in a non-partisan, impartial manner. In practice, however, one may find it impossible to keep the non-partisan standards when dealing with a stubborn element like SLORC.
Burma's current struggle for democracy is often cited as the struggle for "second independence". The two struggles, Burma's independence from Britain in 1940s and current movement for democracy, are similar in that they both seek totally new political order for the Burmese people. Like many other movements in history, these two struggles of Burma have sought toought to participate in global and regional politics so as to advance its own causes. There are also dis-similarities in these two struggles. The "second independence" is the cause of trying to liberate ourselves from our own countrymen: No matter how we all may disliked of SLORC, this always must comes to ones minds. The struggle clearly is to promote basic human rights for all people of Burma in the post-Cold War environment. In this context, we are correct in choosing the path of non-violence resistance to the military regime aregime and in seeking reconciliation. However, it becomes increasingly clear that the SLORC is in no position to enter dialogue with the opposition. We therefore are coming to a 'sticky point' of removing SLORC from power and promoting an alternative government.
SLORC'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS POLITICS
The SLORC attitude(and response) towards its political opponent may be traced back to the time of Japanese occupation of Burma in second world war. The response and treatment to its political opponent by the Burm the Burmese military are matched by the General Aung San's description of Japanese military behaviour. Aung San wrote about his encounter with a Japanese army officer as:
"During the trip we were escorted by one Major-General Isomura who was Deputy Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army in Burma. He made his presence felt all the time. It was as if we were all his children, and we were subjected to numerous petty restrictions on the way...."
On another incident, Auncident, Aung San went on to describe as:
"The Japanese were very suspicious of us from the very beginning....... At first the Japanese dissected our troops into several sections and groups without proper training and equipment and widely dispersed them over the country. I just looked on, for if I have my opinion (they asked us to give our opinion frankly which was their usual trick), they always did just the opposite of what I said, good or bad...."
OCKQUOTE> The SLORC's political practices are pretty much the same as of those army officers. To SLORC's [ways of thinkings], compromising with opponent and adopting other's views are the signs of weakness and therefore [believes that the negotiation] must at all cost be avoided. An opinion or a plan from opposite side must be rejected, no matter how wholesome and good may this plan be. In dealing with the opposition (and also of SLORC's subordinates), the SLORC would always do just the opposite to what others said in order to make the point of "Who is the boss ?". These are the underlying logic of SLORC in its conduct with the opposition. This stubbornness of SLORC is fanned by its mis-readings about the political issues and events.
Even the choice of word seems to be quite important for SLORC not to have compromised with the opposition. For example, SLORC used the word "reconciliation" with ethnic rebels prior to 1994 (We can check this on General Than Shwe's speechs and U Ohn Gyaws address at the UNGA.). Soon after the issue (and the word)ue (and the word) reconciliation was taken up by the oppositions, SLORC changed its phrase to "reconsolidation" with ethnic rebels.
In SLORC's perspective, doing politics means making a contest with its opponent. SLORC, for example, do not have a genuine desire to participate in ASEAN. However ASEAN membership for Burma is politicized (& it is for good reason too!) and the opposition is seen to have reservations about such membership, the SLORC become quite interested in joining ASEAN simply to prove that the opposition is ineffectualeffectual. It may seem that is a childish way of thinking in responding to an international event. But for SLORC it is of great importance to prove that the opposition is wrong.
Whenever there are concerns on the matters of national interest, such as peace, one must be able to raise above the narrow spirit of sectional and partisan interests. In professional politics, one also must takes into account of the views that are believed to be truly representative of the people. It is not very important who you are - a Congressman orssman or a Political streetfighter - so long as your views are believed to be representative of the situation, the view must be taken into account. To be able to "do politics", one must be very open minded about accepting other people's views. With SLORC, however, we obviously cannot rely on such fair-mindedness and of political compromise: we must resort to exerting substantive pressures.
SLORC'S INTERPRETATION OF MOVEMENTS
The SLORC's method of viewing of political movements and events also appears to be fundamentally at fault. SLORC do not necessarily view political events as of the causes and effects that are shaping up by political forces. SLORC tends to view the political events as of being held under a certain chain-of-command: a procedure much similar to the operation of an army (The USDA is formed and operated with the same rationale.). Such interpretation of political movements are often reflected in the SLORC reports on opposition activities. For Example, the distribution of anti- government leaflets in a streleaflets in a street of Rangoon, "TO SLORC'S WAYS OF THINKINGS", is linked to a Photocopy Shop, which financially supported 'possibly' by a foreign embassy; and is done under the instruction of 'exiled-absconder' ABSDF-TunAungGyaw Group, which is having the support of the 'expatriate' CRDB-TinMaungWin - who is now under the influence of that non-violent 'political-monster' Gene Sharp. Although such a simplistic way of interpreting the political events and movements may become quite hilarious for some, it is of no doubt that the SLORC believebelieved it. Such SLORC's way of interpreting political movements can be found, for example, in the book "THE CONSPIRACY OF TREASONOUS MINIONS WITHIN THE MYANMAR NAING-NGAN AND TRAITOROUS COHORTS ABROAD". Simply by looking at a flow-chart named "DIFFERENT STAGE OF ACTIVITIES...." in that book, one can understand the SLORC's desperation to interpret political movements in this way.
HAITIAN SOLUTION: THE ULTIMATE RESOLVE
From my point of view, the SLORC cannot get any better deal than that were outlined outlined in 29/4/97 Communication. Recent fresh attacks on Aung San Suu Kyi and also from other indicators, however, are suggesting that SLORC is not ready for a dialogue and therefore we must resort to alternative programmes. To all our friends, please continue to help us in urging in this regards to the international community and, especially, Government of the United States.
With best regards, U Ne Oo.