All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Burmese)

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 9:

Those who have the kindness of benefit for others

For the sake of living beings, do not relax their powers.

Though these holy beings bear a heavy burden,

They never put it down and dwell in discouragement.

*the Great Chariot Sutra*

Burma is known as a golden land made of several ranges (or ‘Yoma’ in Burmese) where thousands of tribal memories, wisdoms, religions, cultures and beauties of plants and animals dwell. The rivers, all of them are indeed important to the people and other existences, snake through these beautiful mountainous regions and flow from the north to the south where Indian Ocean is. The peoples, Burma has 103 ethnics, all of them used to be really generous and all they knew was to give.

Since the modern day’s dictators have systematically destroyed, now the golden land is famous for its narcotic trades, refugees, migrant workers and various atrocities and sufferings.

One day, we’ll be free again and the land will be again famous for its beauty.

The Junta’s Toughening Stance Needs A Right Response

Min Khin Kyaw

The Election Counterfeit

The 18 month sentence can be understood as the junta has started its plan to put aside the oppositions from the 2010 election. They seem determined to go the next year election all by themselves as they don’t release any political prisoners; they will make the election to happen as they keep everyone under complete control as it was during the so-called referendum for national constitution. Then the international communities have to prepare ahead
how to congratulate a new government of Burma right at the UN’s headquarter.

When John Yettaw requested to stay a few days with the reason he couldn’t swim immediately back across Inya Lake, she chose to let him stay as an unusual guest.

Well, if you were in her shoes, what would you do as a good citizen of the world and the leader of majority Burmese people? What should you offer to a stranger if not the friendship of great people? Would you ever let him down selfishly as the sign of fear and defeat and let the world be informed by the junta how you had been heartless and misrepresenting? On the other hand, would you cooperate with the junta who have kept you under house arrest for years? And they have no right to hold the political positions either? Should you ever let anybody, even a thief, be arrested by the illegal authority who are known to be absolutely brutal in the jails? Actually they are brutal even during the world watching at them without a blink.

Would you say you’ll do that? Or would you say, ‘No! I won’t!’?

They have never ever had any mandate to be any type of authority. As everyone knows the bunch of thuggish generals have been trying to legalize their political status. Likewise, they could never legalize her detention. So I don’t believe any country would agree this 18 month detention is legal finally.

Whatever your answer is, she was tried with the jury who were controlled both remotely and closely. The evidence is the last verdict was sent from the junta itself that was clearly the decision that overwrote the decision of the jury. We all know whatever the verdict might be, it had to come from the junta. But what would the jury decide if they were not instructed?
What did they find her guilty with within the existing law? Is anything clear?

The scenario is obvious that it was a made-up process to keep her under arrest again. What a brilliant plot that everyone could predict the outcome although insisted them to change their mind; even the UN’s Ban did it on behalf of us. Then you can predict further that she won’t be freed after all – not even after the next 18 months. Then it won’t be so cool to request the junta to release all the other 2000 political prisoners and jailed humanitarian workers. But we have to do everything anyway.

Now a question has emerged: who can enter the election for a fair contest?

Until I read about her news of being kept for another 18 months, I preferred all the political parties enter the election that she’d be advising and campaigning on behalf of opposition groups. Democratically we have the right to believe we can win if there is a fair go. It’s true that the people will vote for her again just as much as they gave their trust to her 21 years ago.

Now it’s clear to me that neither free campaigns nor a fair contest is going to happen. Because of that condition, any parties that try to contest in the election within the rules of the junta will lose. Even winning a seat can be very doubtful.

Is there any expectable goodness for us? Will the parties who entered the election be allowed to critic the government? I don’t think so. They will be arrested immediately if they dare to open their mouths. But by winning a few seats, what can they do? The true representatives of the people will have to suffer the way the 90 election winners suffered.

Without democratic characters, new political system of the junta cannot be democratic – even though it is called democratic by the junta. If the junta could set up the election all for itself, they will allow international observers – maybe even some international media like well-respected Aljazera which dumped them before; if not, they will restrict everything.

Therefore, we can expect that there will be no opposition as the shadow government. The new parliament will be set by all selected MPs who will have to dance according to the top generals. Well, the history will be repeated right on the Burma’s political stage. Who are going to applaud such a soap opera?

The scenario will be just what we’re seeing now: poverty and refugee crises; just pray that no natural disaster like the tsunami and Cyclone Nargis ever occur again! Well, we can keep calling the junta, just junta, even after 2010 election because they will be the same people doing the same things to the Burmese people.

Toward A Different Chapter

But two things might become different: one is how new selected military government will be accepted by the international community. The other is how fast the junta will be able to develop their ambitions. Seriously, these two will be related to each other.

As consequence, Burma won’t become prosperous as we all wish it to be. It will be the same as it is now. The junta will carry its agendas and policies - including its current defense policy. They will keep the entire economy of Burma under control only to for the benefits of the generals and the corrupts. Then its expenditure list won’t be different either – the majority of overall GDP will be spent for military power and nuclear development. Civil war will be kept ablaze as ever.

Due to the nuclear ambition of the junta, the UN shouldn’t be too slow over the development in Burma. Gradually the generals will achieve their goal if the region allows them all two ingredients they need. One is stable income and another is time.

I think nuclear facility in Burma will mutually benefit both the junta and the North Korean regime. They also will share the technology with the countries who have been their trading or diplomatic partners.

But without the help of North Koreans, the junta will have to cease its plan or at least change the idea to develop the nuclear facilities.

If the region wants to handle Burma’s nuclear ambition, they have to control the North Koreans. I hope the South Koreans could do a better job – may be a diplomatic approach. They have the most duty to make the Korean Peninsula peaceful and conflict free.

Anyhow, the North Korean government has to stop spreading its technologies. It must seek income from clean businesses as a good nation of the world. And the North Korean leadership should consider favouring the sake of the two Korean peoples to be living in peace and freedom. It should avoid the military dictators of Burma and be more friendly toward the South Koreans. Actually, the prosperity of the North Koreans are not far – rather they’re surrounded by wealth; yet they have to take it justly. I believe North Korean people are as smart as their southern relatives. If they walk on the road that leads to prosperity, they will get prosperity one day. If they walk on the road that leads to peaceful Korea, they will make a peaceful nation for both north and south. I believe the two Koreans should reconcile but ruled autonomously with one principle as one people.

But do North Korean leaders consider themselves that they are as bad as the Burma’s generals?

Once the Burma’s dictators are avoided by the North Koreans, their nuclear dream will never come true.

If the international community sanctions Burma’s dictators with arm embargo, the region will become more stable. Instead of buying military equipments and building up the largest military in Southeast Asia, the money from trades will be spent on nation building and civil infrastructure – but no banks should accept the generals to open accounts with their own names for savings.

Enthusiastically, I prefer Burmese civil wars have to stop somehow. Once the country is free from civil war, the people would be able to live in more peaceful conditions. But they must be able to forget the past and restart new lives. All ethnic people must be able to live side by side with no fear of each others – including the Rohingyas.

If Burma cannot get true elections, her rulers must be deprived from military power. Arm embargo is the only solution left as hope. The regional countries must support this for the sake of Burma’s peoples. When they have made this happened, all other sanctions can be eased, except travel restriction and banking restrictions on the dictators and their family members. And gradually, all ethnic armed forces will be able to reenter into the general population. There must be amnesty for everybody and it must happen.

Now, as the result of the decision of the junta to keep our leader under house arrest another 18 months, we have become to need the international community more than ever for decisive move against the junta. We need a change from the world and we need a change within our country. But without the UN’s arm embargo, a change inside Burma cannot happen. The change in Burma is – the generals are deprived from military equipments and so that the entire Burma can adapt the new condition gradually for a better life.

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