The true colours of the SPDC generals
After the coup of 1962 the military regime hid Burma, particularly the Shan State from the eyes and ears of the outside world to achieve what they wanted. Journalists and foreigners were forbidden to enter the Shan State.
By S. N. Oo
immobilising all Shan leaders they dismantled the administrative system and
started Burmanizing the population. To do this Shan Society and their culture
had to be weakened so they adopted the divide and rule method by creating enmity
between the Pa-O, Wa and other races and the Shans. The Shan State before the
military coup had been a cosmopolitan country and the many diverse nationalities
had lived peacefully together. The military government could not accept that the
population of Burma is multi-ethnic with multicultural and multi- religious
beliefs. Most of all they could not accept the concept that all the
nationalities of Burma should be equal and given the same opportunities. Because
of this inbuilt mentality they are prepared to commit heinous crimes against
humanity to achieve their goal.
Countless Burmese battalions and their families were relocated from Burma to every Shan town and village, and thus the military was in full control and the officers and soldiers did whatever they pleased. They destroyed everything that was “Shan”. The people were subjected to all kinds of human rights violations, including rape of young girls and women. Thousands villages were destroyed and villagers were relocated to places where the soldiers could keep watch. By doing this they could prevent citizens from becoming involved in politics; and could easily be used as unpaid labourers and porters. Thousands fled to Thailand or became internally displaced in their own country. The military took away their homes, livelihood, citizenship and everything they valued. Four generations of Shan population lived in fear and terror and such is their daily life until the present.
For most people including people in big cities and towns like Rangoon and Mandalay, Burma’s crisis surfaced only when there was a crackdown in 1988 when thousands of students were massacred by the junta, and the elections in 1990, when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD won the elections. But the previous period of 25 or more years of the Burmese military regimes in non-Burman areas is a hidden secret. The Shan State became an occupied country, the military dishonoured the Panglong Agreement and abrogated the 1948 legal Constitution. The resistance movements were labelled as insurgents, terrorists or drug dealers. The real reasons why the non-Burman ethnic groups resisted the regime were never revealed, while the junta spread falsified facts through propaganda and indoctrination.
The SPDC generals have now shown their true colours; they have demonstrated to Mr. Gambari and the world that their totalitarian and dictatorial policies are the only right policies for the peoples of Burma. They would not consider anybody elses view points but their own. They have rebuffed and insulted the representative of the United Nations.
The truth, of course cannot be forever hidden. Incidences are beginning to evolve one by one. In 2007 the dire political, economical and human rights situation brought about by the misrule of the dictatorial regime reached big towns and cities. This prompted the Buddhist monks and some civilians to act and they came out to demonstrate peacefully to let the generals know that the people are suffering and starving. Would they listen? No! Instead they used the usual brutal force, killed, injured and imprisoned many citizens and even monks. This has demonstrated to the world what the regime is really capable of.
Again during the recent United Nations representative Mr. Gambari’s visit, the spokesperson of the SPDC Kyaw San was very rude and disrespectful and dismissed the UN’s proposal, and sent a clear message that they, the junta did not appreciate international interferences in their affairs, and accused Mr. Gambari of being biased towards Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The United Nations is one of the most important institutions of the World, in which nearly all countries of the world including Burma are members. For representatives of a country to behave like the generals did is a disgrace.
Mr. Gambari, a representative of the United Nations, came with good intentions, to help promote a reconciliation process between the generals and the Opposition, through a tripartite dialogue. If they cannot be persuaded by the United Nations and the Buddhist monks, the two great institutions most respected by the peoples of Burma then there is no hope that they will ever listen to ordinary citizens. Under this regime there is no hope of freedom or democracy.
A government is supposed to look after the welfare of its citizens, and as a member of the United Nations responsible for seeing that each and every citizen enjoys freedom and basic human rights. But the Burmese military regime takes advantage of its position, and contradictorily to the United Nations Charters perpetrated all forms of human rights violations against the citizens.
Nearly all member states of the United Nations have been patient and given the regime many chances, and urged them to hold a tripartite talk to bring about reconciliation and democracy, but they remain unreasonable and continue to hold on to power, and now to hold a referendum for the sham Constitution. In order to get their votes they are already bribing and forcing the ordinary citizens to vote for them.
Yet, there are still some nation states who have not shown any concern about the extent of corruption and human rights violations going on in Burma and have given the excuse that they do not want to interfere in other countrys internal affairs. These countries are destroying their own credibility, and their reputation is at stake. The military generals have stated that their vision for Burma is parallel with the recent constitutional process of Thailand. The President of the Philippines Gloria Arroyo, is the only ASEAN leaders who is daring enough to give her wise opinion to the junta. Congratulations to her, and it seems it takes a woman to do so.
The United Nations have failed again and again; perhaps this is because the international governments have in the past believed that there must be some good in the generals that they could appeal to, and therefore gave them the benefit of the doubt.. The United Nations must not let the SPDC generals think that they have got away with their sham Constitution and the thousands of crimes they have committed against humanity because they and other rogue governments will take advantage and undermine the role of the United Nations. But instead of hoping that the regime will suddenly awake from a near 50 year slumber and embrace all that is "right" and "good", initiatives must be undertaken to address the ground reality. If the current approach is unsatisfactory, then change tactics (Thant Myint U, Grandson of U Thant, Secretary General in the sixties).
Having seen the attitude of the Burmese military junta towards Mr. Gambari, I hope all members of the United Nations who care for democracy, freedom and justice will give their full support to the Secretary General and bring the Burmese Military to account. This plea goes particularly to the governments of China, India and Russia. Unless members of the United Nations, especially those of the Security Council see eye to eye in the role and priority of the United Nations, then the United Nations as an Institution is at stake. If the United Nation collapses then democracy and civil liberties will also be at risk.
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