“Burma’s Sixty Years of Independence”
by admin — last modified 2008-01-08 04:46
“Sixty Years of Darkness” “Sixty Years of Fear and Terror” “Sixty Wasted Years”
I am a Shan, born and brought up in the Shan State. Having made a choice to live and become a citizen of my adopted country I have been asked by many how I feel about the situation in the Shan State and Burma. “Burma celebrates 60 years of Independence,” say the papers, but as a Shan I feel that there is nothing to either celebrate or cheer about; in fact I wished that Independence had never taken place. The people had a better life and prospect under the British. They were freer, also free from fear and hunger. I feel very sad for my country and generation after generation of people having to live under the evil military regimes.
By S. N. Oo
I have seen Shan State when it was peaceful and the country side green and beautiful. It was rich in natural resources but still underdeveloped but this did not affect the people’s sense of value because the majority were small traders or farmers and they were happy and contented with what they have; they were able to enjoy basic human rights. They were treated fairly and justly.
The Independence that many had hoped and looked forward to in 1948 has been destroyed by the two Burmese military regimes, the SLORC and the SPDC. The period under these two military regimes is one of the worst periods in the history of the Shan State. They forcibly took over power and misruled the country for fifty years, turning Burma into one of the poorest countries of the world in spite of its rich natural resources; and the people bound together in a state of fear and desperation.
The military generals venerated the state as the agent that would use supreme power and brutality to make society succumb to their demand. With an ideology of extreme Nationalism, multi-nationalism was unimaginable; in Myanmar there must only be one single nation, one language, one culture and one religion. They thought violence and iron fists were the only way to control and unite the diverse nationalities, and so continue to use them until today. The military set out to remove all other ethnic groups by whatever means proved most efficient. They rape women and young girls using rapes as an instrument of terror robbing the last vestiges of human dignity.
Violence and plunder are not only their way of exercising power, indoctrination and propaganda bound the members of the military together. They indoctrinate, bribe
and order military personals and soldiers and even criminals and unethical citizens to do their dirty jobs .Politics became the continuation of warfare, the loss of life is
so great because the generals order the soldiers, some of them no more than children to decide who could live and who should die.
Burma under the military regime from 1958 until today is a nation gripped with fear. The generals sought to overturn the meaning of human rights and sustain
brutalities of the civil population, forced labour, forced location, killing and mass murder, an enormous cost on the ethnic nationalities in particular. The ongoing misery
in conflict zones continues unabated. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. The huge amount of
deaths, continual fear, exhaustion, and back breaking forced labour and the break up of society and the death of loved ones will forever haunt the survivors with
desperation, the separation of parents and children caused anguish, as did seeing members, die in terrible circumstances and without being able to save or even
openly grieve their deaths. The numbers of the victims are debatable; the reality of the event is not. This is proved by the recent atrocities they committed
against the monks and students as shown by countless video cameras, and thus exhibiting to the world for the first time what they are really capable of and that much
worse crimes had been committed in the rural, hidden parts of the country.
Control of power for the top generals has become such an obsession that they have lost their conscience, code of conduct and religious values. They have made the
people and monks their enemies and these enemies are everywhere at home and abroad and a constant drive to search them out seem to give them a special buzz;
and the satisfaction to revel in the power they exert over their victims.
Than Shwe and his like minded generals should ask themselves that if citizens steal, rape, assault, torture, kill and murder, would they say it was a crime? I am sure
they would condemn such people and classify them as criminals. Yet they order their officers, soldiers and civilian supporters to do just that. They should abstain
from acting which they condemn in others. To be fair and just they should submit themselves to the law which they believe applies or should apply to all, as “Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you”. By not being critical of their own actions they have lost their self control, thereby losing their own respect and for others.
No human beings are perfect but all are blessed with a unique brain that can think and reason to determine what is good and what is bad. “Men’s
natures are alike; it is their habits that carry them far apart”. (Confucius)
The author is from the former illustrious State of Lawkzawk in the Federated Shan States, as today's Shan State of Burma was known until 1948. Opinions expressed here are those of the author – Editor
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