MUHAMMED (PBUH) THE LAST PROPHET

MUHAMMED (PBUH) THE LAST PROPHET

MUHAMMED THE LAST PROPHET “__Part 1

 

 

MUHAMMED THE LAST PROPHET “__Part 2

 

MUHAMMED THE LAST PROPHET “__Part 3

 

MUHAMMED THE LAST PROPHET “__Part 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request to the YB Home Minister to help us from becoming undocumented illegal foreigners

Request to the YB Home Minister to help us from becoming undocumented illegal foreigners

 

YB Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar

Malaysian Home Minister

Putra Jaya

Re: Request to the YB Home Minister to help us from becoming undocumented illegal foreigners.

Dear YB Datuk Seri,

MyPR, was only introduced in June 2006 but government announced, ordering us to change our ICs to My Card in 2005. I took one day leave in 2005 and went to NRD or National Registration Department. We were told that because of the large numbers of citizens changing to My Card, they had suspended the service for PR holders.

In 2006 because of new announcement to change to MyPR, I took another day leave and went there. I had read NRD’s web site, newspaper announcements by NRD, complaint letters in Malaysiakini about unfair rule for PR holders need to show/endorsement at Putra Jaya, Deputy Home Minister’s reply explaining that this condition was meant for Indonesian PR holders only and never meant for other citizens with Malaysia PR. But NRD insists to proceed only if we have a valid passport.

So I went to NRD again, taking another day’s leave, in 2007. They impose new red tapes or new rules again, asking to make photocopies of all the documents our selves. They never announce or told us earlier to bring the photocopies and when I asked my friends who had done MyPR cards, non of them need to submit photocopies but NRD had done by themselves.

Today, many months after completing the requirements, I went to NRD and to my horror, our MyPR Cards are not ready yet.

Although the Malaysian National Registration Department got the best delivery award amongst all the Government Agencies, we found out a lot of delaying tactics and ever increasing RED TAPE RULES for us in this department. Clearly NRD has the most inefficient delivery system for us but curiously chosen and rewarded as the best for the present administration. For us they take few years just to issue or to change our ICs. May be deliberate delaying tactics for us only because I had read in the Newspapers that they just take one hour to replace an IC, My Card during election times.
 
What should we do if NRD could not issue the new MyPR in time and if our old PR card automatically became invalid as identity cards? Please don’t make us to become the undocumented or illegal foreigners in Malaysia.
 
We hereby humbly request to the YB Home Minister to help us from becoming undocumented illegal foreigners.
 
Thanking You
Yours Humbly
 
Dr. Zafar Shah
 

 

The Dawn of the Revolution in Burma

The Breach of Social Contract that Leads to

The Dawn of the Revolution in Burma

 SAN OO AUNG  in BURMA DIGEST

In the book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes, wrote in 1642 about a minimalist state which was strangely similar to the present day Myanmar and SPDC Junta. Let’s compare that Leviathan State with the Myanmar under successive Military Dictators.

1.                   The threatened citizens:

  • With the civil war with the Ethnic Minorities leading to possible disintegration of the country.
  • Or with the foreign invaders leading to re-colonization.
  • Disappearance of Bama Race and Buddhist Religion. 

Burma (Myanmar) really has the most numbers of the armed rebels for about half a century.

So the Myanmar Military’s claim was even believed and echoed by some prominent ASEAN leaders.

But almost all of those Ethnic Minority rebels supported NLD leader Daw Aung San Su Kyi and are ready to stop the rebellion and give up the aim of separation from the Union if there is a formation of real democratic, secular, federal Union.

2.                   Hobbes called for a state where effective political power was concentrated in a single authority, the State. And it was in the hands of a minority of rulers or a single monarch. Real effective political power was concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite only. In Burma the Military under General Ne Win, Saw Maung and Senior General Than Shwe control the power very firmly and it is according to Hobbes principle.

3.                   Hobbes’ constant fear of civil conflict was his highest justification for the creation of this small but immensely powerful state machinery or Authoritarian or Dictator System with total control of the daily lives of ordinary citizens. And the whole population is depoliticized.

In Burma, as long as a person stayed away from politics he could do whatever he likes, but he need to grease the palms of the relevant authorities in every step.  This is in accordance to Hobbes’ idea of allowing the public to stay as they like provided they did not meddle with the affairs of state. The State, on the other hand, would interfere as little as possible in the affairs of the masses provided they ‘behaved’ themselves or in Myanmar terms bribed enough to the authorities. But under the excuse of internal security, the Military of Burma dictates control and watches almost all the activities of its citizens.

4.                   The state that Hobbes envisioned had peace, public order, openness and stability. But actually the power was absolute, centralized and personalized. In Burma there is a “peace agreement” with armed rebels but not with the unarmed NLD. Neither openness nor transparency at all prevails in Burma/Myanmar. The condition is quite fragile in Myanmar. The power is absolute, centralised and Myanmar Military Generals are still in absolute control.

5.                   The hidden element of Hobbes’ theory of the centralized State was the culture of fear and terror that usually develop if his model actually exists. Yes, that fear is the most important factor in Myanmar now. We all need to overcome that fear.

6.                   Today we see the real replica in present-day Myanmar (Burma) as if Myanmar could be called a model Leviathan State of Myanmar. Today we have seen the emergence of a powerful State apparatus of the Military in Myanmar, and it practically dominates all sectors of public life.

7.                   Like the many other blatantly oppressive and dictatorial regimes (such as the Philippines under Marcos or Indonesia under Suharto), the fierce and cruel power of Military dominate Myanmar since 1962 up to the present time.

8.                   In Burma the relentless intimidation and use of unnecessary brutal military might, combined with frequently changing random arbitrary ad hoc laws effectively suppressed and tamed the socio-political atmosphere. Thus for much of the Myanmar population, hard life continues boringly in slow pace and under constant fear.

9.                   The Myanmar Military’s promotion of an “open-market economy” has never changed  Myanmar public which has been already ruined into to a corruption based black-market lifestyle and leading to extreme materialism.

10.               Political activism and any public debate on matters political, cultural and philosophical is practically suppressed. For years, the quality of intellectual life in the media, local universities and the public arena has been stifled thanks to the cumulative effect of laws and regulations which have effectively robbed the ordinary citizens of their rights of free speech, association and assembly.

11.               Set against this is a state of Myanmar Military apparatus which has grown increasingly powerful, centralized and personalized. A cult of leadership has been developed in the country, centred on the personality and personal tastes and preferences leading to one man- show of Sr. General Than Shwe.

12.               Hobbes ‘Leviathan country’- intimidates and compels citizens to give in and toe the line all the time. The Military in Myanmar has been able to act in a coercive and forceful manner.

13.               Hobbes predicted that there is a limit to how far the State can go in its exercise of power. Hobbes social contract which binds the citizens to their State was based on mutual respect for a common concern: namely, to protect the interests of all parties concerned.

14.               Hobbes predicted that the citizens would no longer respect and obey the State if the latter was no longer protecting their interests.

The social contract effectively comes to an end when the State exceeds its limits and begins

to abuse the rights of the citizens arbitrarily, such as in cases of blatant abuse of power.

15.               At this point, Hobbes argues that, the citizens are no longer beholden to the state and thus are free to rebel.

If we look at the present day Myanmar under the SPDC Junta, this ‘invisible’ limit has been reached, and indeed, breached by the SPDC Military rulers.

In Myanmar today the SPDC had clearly crossed the line of our limit with his brutal cruelties on all the Ethnic Minorities, minority religions and almost all the citizens.

So it is the dawn of a revolution where the dominance of the authoritarian Military rulers is being questioned for the first time, thanks to the NLD under Daw Aung San Su Kyi and all the opposition groups.

The end result of this process will take some time. But one thing is for sure: the climate of fear and obedience which was so crucial in maintaining the system of autocratic centralized rule is now slowly diminishing, and Burmese citizens are beginning to question the legitimacy of the Military that has ruled them for so long.

SAN OO AUNG  

 

Asian Values & Western Values

Asian Values & Western Values

 

As San Oo Aung in Burma Digest 

Most of the western countries had progressed from the struggles to just meet their biological needs of food, shelter and security to the social progress to meet their psychological needs of social values such as Human Rights and Individual Freedoms.

“ASIAN VALUES” apologists claim that certain values and liberties must be compromised for the sake of growth and progress so that most of the citizens are housed, clothed and fed. They claimed that social and political stability for the whole country is more important than individual Human Rights and liberties.

Even US and some developed countries are in reverse gear by saying that sacrifices in certain individual freedoms must be made for the safety of the country and to fight terrorism.

In Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asia countries, there are substantial economic and social progress and could move into the better intellectual, social values, individual values of freedom, justice and equality. These could be called the Universal Values but the Asia Governments just labelled and smoke-screened them as “Western Values” just to scared off their citizens’ desires to adopt them.

In the advanced countries, according to “Western Values”: the fight is no longer over who gets what economically and who dominates who culturally; but over the value systems for rights of the individual; beyond race and religion.

But when we look at the SPDC Junta, no doubt they are valueless according to “Western Values” or Universal Values. They even do not have “ASIAN VALUES” as they could not fulfil the biological needs of food, shelter and security for all the citizens of Myanmar.

Although they are Buddhists, they have NO BUDDHIST VALUE. They rob the country from the people and NLD. They are killing, jailing and torturing innocent people and committing rape etc. against the Buddha’s teaching.

Last of all, the SPDC Generals even do not have the MILITARY VALUE according to the International Standard or even the TATMADAW VALUE according to General Aung San’s standard.

As Senior General Than Shwe’s children are becoming second illegal wives and Daw Kyaing Kyaing’s marriage to Lu Min although both of them are legally still married to their spouses, SPDC Generals also could be labelled as people with no FAMILY VALUES.

The Alexandria The Great was retorted by the pirate that he had a small ship so was labelled a pirate, but as The Alexandria The Great got a fleet of ship and plunder the world and was called the King. During the ancient time those who killed the king became king. Now the world had changed and the whole world, from the Myanmar Citizens to all the governments up to UN knew that SPDC is the ILLEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT. So even if we gauge the SPDC Generals with the pirate’s and Pagan Dynasty rule, nowadays SPDC Government have no value and is an ILLEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT.

San Oo Aung

Displaced People’s Socio-Medical Sufferings

Displaced People’s Socio-Medical Sufferings

Dr. San Oo Aung in Burma Digest

Common medical problems in refugees

Apart from physical wounds or starvation, a large percentage of refugees develops symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. These long-term mental problems can severely impede the functionality of the person in everyday situations; it makes matters even worse for displaced persons who are confronted with a new environment and challenging situations.

Among other symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder involves anxiety, over-alertness, sleeplessness, chronic fatigue syndrome, motoric difficulties, failing short term memory, amnesia, nightmares and sleep-paralysis. Flashbacks are characteristic to the disorder: The patient experiences the traumatic event, or pieces of it, again and again. Depression is also characteristic for PTSD-patients and may also occur without accompanying PTSD.

PTSD was diagnosed in 34.1% of the Palestinian children, most of whom were refugees, males, and working. The participants were 1,000 children aged 12 to 16 years from governmental, private, and United Nations Relief Work Agency UNRWA schools in East Jerusalem and various governorates in the West Bank.

Another study showed that 28.3% of Bosnian refugee women had symptoms of PTSD three or four years after their arrival in Sweden. These women also had significantly higher risks of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress than Swedish-born women. For depression the odds ratio was 9.50 among Bosnian women.

A study by the Department of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine demonstrated that twenty percent of Sudanese refugee minors living in the United States had a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. They were also more likely to have worse scores on all the Child Health Questionnaire subscales.

Many more studies illustrate the problem. One meta-study was conducted by the psychiatry department of Oxford University at Warneford Hospital in the United Kingdom. 20 surveys were analyzed, providing results for 6,743 adult refugees from seven countries. In the larger studies, 9% were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and 5% with major depression, with evidence of much psychiatric comorbidity. Five surveys of 260 refugee children from three countries yielded a prevalence of 11% for post-traumatic stress disorder. According to this study, refugees resettled in Western countries could be about ten times more likely to have PTSD than age-matched general populations in those countries. Worldwide, tens of thousands of refugees and former refugees resettled in Western countries probably have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Social Difficulties for Refugees/Migrants

The first generation of migrants knows and accepts what they are. They know that they were just foreigners and are grateful to the host country and happy because they are accepted and allowed to settle in the new paradise. The hardships and numerous problems in their old places are still fresh in their memory and are sometimes refreshed by the nightmares as replays of the sufferings. They are willing to accept all the preconditions, restrictions, rules and regulations even if unfair or unfavourable to them just to be allowed to stay in the host country. They are glad to struggle and overcome all the hardships they encounter sometimes even with the ecstasy spirit. They have the fighting never surrendering spirit and almost always work hard for long hours. They do not mind even if they have to work with lower wages and without much dignity. Migrant workers are well known to face the ‘three D’ works i.e. Dangerous, Dirty and Difficult jobs.

The second generation of Migrants tries to, or even subconsciously, rejected the past. Could not accept the reality that their parents had migrated and imagine that they are totally same as the original citizens. The pressure to assimilate or merge with the mainstream society is very strong. Some of them may pretend as if pure blood local breeds. Social, cultural and religious conflicts emerge between the parents, old timers, who stick to their original values. Their spirit for hard work may not be comparable to their parents. They could not accept the unfair discriminations imposed by locals.

The third generation Migrants and onwards at last found out that although they tried very hard, it is very difficult to be accepted and treated as ‘pure locals’. Migrant and mixed blood image is very difficult to erase until and unless the migrant intermarries, converts to the host population’s religion and changes all the old culture, customs, habits, language and etc. The migrants have to discard all his identities to be accepted or assimilated into local circle. For example in Malaysia if the migrant “masuk Malay” that means convert to Islam or in Burma, Eurasians or Japan or Hindu or Chinese or Indian Muslim if convert into Buddhism are well assimilated and accepted. If the migrant’s religion is the same as the host, assimilation process is faster and easier. If not, there will always be a clear line of differentiation leading to discriminations and conflicts. According to the common sense, citizen laws, internationally recognised and accepted norms and THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, the migrants   rightfully but almost always claims that they should have all the equal rights and equal chances and opportunities as the citizens of the country.  

Some of them may try to cover up or even denies their roots as an easy way out.

Those descendants of Migrants, third generation and onwards will form a new tribe or a new Minority group among the citizens of the nation. This could not avoid, especially if their race and religions are different. Assimilation would never be complete in spite of trying to do so even if it comes from the both sides, Migrants and hosts. It is a major problem of ‘Identity Crisis’ for the later generations of descendants of Migrants. As they are already established citizens with a sufficiently long enough history, they rightfully regarded themselves as the citizens with equal rights in contrast to the recent Migrants, who were used to bear all the discriminations with their eyes closed. And they will not happily accept that all those hardships and discriminations are necessary essential sacrifices and is the price to pay for the Migration. For the successive generations, sacrifice is no more accepted but the ‘Equal Rights’ and ‘Human Rights’ became the main issue. This is true for some Minoritiess in Myanmar

Some of the Successful Migrants in the world’s history: _

  • Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State of USA.
  • Madeline Albright, Secretary of State of USA, originally from Czechoslovakia.
  • Alberto Fujimory, disgraced President of Peru.
  • Sonia Ghandi, the opposition Congress Party leader of India, originally from Italy.
  • Mother Teresa of India.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian Immigrant of USA.
  • Ex Ministers of Burma:U Razak, U Rashid and U Khin Maung Latt.
  • Zinedine Zidane, most famous French footballer, the son of Algerian Migrant.
  • Nurul Huda Abdullah, once a swimming darling of Malaysia was a migrant from Singapore
  • Wife of the Mr Narayana, President of the India, is also a Migrant from Burma.

 

Comments

DLaw said _

Dear Dr. San Oo Aung,
I just noticed your article and would like to commend you for raising the subject of PTSD.  How about writing about Narcissistic disorder and Antisocial disorder amongst the spdc generals?  Keep up the good work! And, by the way, do you know about any psychiatry or psychology articles on Burma refugees and IDPs.

Open letter to the European Commission, and European leaders

Dear Your Honours,

We all thank the EU for the strong stand against the Burmese Government. But recently, we are sad to see the signs of policy shift of EU against Burmese Junta and their ministers. We understand that all the politics are fluid and constantly changing; today’s enemy become friend tomorrow. And EU politics depend partly on economical prospects and profits for EU. We even understand that in order to force ASEAN to deny the Chairmanship of Burma, EU had seen to have given some promise to the ASEAN members to allow participation of Burmese ministers and high-ranking military officials in the various ASEM/ARF meetings to be held in Europe in 2006. ASEAN was very firm or stubborn and always declare that they would all boycott the ASEM/ARF meetings if their comrade Burmese Generals are denied participation.

Dear Sirs/Madams, if we really want to correct, recreate, or change the following persons:

  • our own naughty children
  • bad undisciplined  students
  • common criminals
  • ordinary citizens

The only one universally approved approach to get the successful result is the combination of punishment and reward system or Carrot and stick system. Even the investigators have to use the “good cops, bad cops� tactic.

Punishment may varies from, just a scolding, reprimand, giving warning to real different strategies and stages for the punishment of crimes or wrong.

If we look at the major religions, even GOD has used this method to mold mankind into submission into obedience to God’s Laws. Adherence to the covenant brings rewards while failure to follow the Word of God brings punishments. These themes are exemplified in Judaism, Christians, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism etc.

Sorry Sir/Madam, EU countries had tried to separate the churches from states. But all of the EU leaders have to admit that the various religions influence on the policies of the leaders around the world.

Crime and punishment for crime has been around since the beginning of time. Looking to the importance of this, one will find that over the ages there have been different strategies for the punishment of crimes. As civilization has become more sophisticated, so has the punishment, which has ranged from flagellation, to hanging, to crucifixion, to exile, to prison, to the sentence of death, as in capital punishment. Fear of punishment if commit the crime is enough deterrent to most of the people.

Rewards of fulfillments of wishes up to a reserved place in heaven, is not enough to reshape the mankind, even by GOD. We all are human beings only and we need some fear of punishment to avoid the wrong doing. In the world’s history no government is foolish enough to abolish all kind of punishment and use the various reward system to keep the LAW and ORDER of the country.

Although EU rules by Law, not like Burmese Generals, who rules the country with the Law coming out from the barrel of their guns! EU or any other governments could not do away with punishment system for their citizens. They could not dismantle judiciary system, police, and jails etc.

Now we consider the trap of awards that EU is considering to ASEAN and Burmese Generals. We believe that there is no effective reward system by EU and appraisal and incentive rewards are not based on real progress.  All of us must ensure that we are indeed rewarding behavior we want to reinforce, rather than blindly distributing rewards in a way that can be seen as rewarding underachievers or cheaters; ASEAN and Burmese Generals.

EU is trying to reward Burma and ASEAN for empty promises, foot-dragging for any meaningful changes to democracy and maneuvering tactics of the military regime. As the saying goes “Procrastination is the thief of time�. Burmese Generals are buying time with the white lies.

UN Secretary General’s special envoy Mr Razali Ismail was effectively fooled by the Burmese Generals. Now they are trying to fool ASEAN’s representative, Malaysian FM Syed Hamid Alba. His visit was forced to postpone because Burmese Generals do not want to meet him or even dare not show the sign of a start of a dialogue. We like to predict that he and ASEAN have to follow the path of The U.N. human rights envoy to Burma, Paulo Pinheiro and Mr Razali.

We strongly believe that once they could not use ASEAN, Burmese Generals would not think twice to dump the ASEAN. Not long ago they had threatened the ILO and its representative to pull out and to even beheaded the chief. Ne Win, father of the present Burmese Military Junta, had withdrawn the membership of the Non Allied Movement. If UN pushed too much they would even pull out from UN too without a second thought!

Dear Sir/Madam, now China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Thailand and ASEAN are strongly supporting the Burmese Generals. UN is effectively blocked by China and Russia. Now UN is just a little bit more honourable talk shop only. Burmese Generals knew that USA is bogged down by Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle East politics and could not take action on them.

So, if not for EU, who would tight the screw of these Burmese Generals and save us? Please don’t let them go, to your country, until and unless they release all the political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Su Kyi, start a meaningful dialogue and form a coalition government.

If ASEAN is very stubborn and proud, let all of them boycott the ASEM/ARF meetings but do not give visas to their comrade Burmese Generals. ASEAN is much weaker than EU, they need EU’s investment, technology and market.

If ASEAN prefer Burmese generals to EU, ignored them and let them elope and enjoy their honeymoon with the Burmese Generals. Once they get HIV only they would cry and come back to see Doctor EU. EU must insist ASEAN that they have to successfully accomplish the task of handling Burmese issue. Then only ASEAN and Burmese Generals should be rewarded even better.

EU USA and UN Secretary General should put pressure on China, India, Russia, Thailand and ASEAN to persuade Burmese Generals for a rapid change of the policy by implementing the necessary reforms and start steps to democratising.

Thanking Your Honours

Yours Humbly
San Oo Aung

Burma Digest

Internally Displaced Persons or IDPs

Internally Displaced Persons or IDPs

 As KO TIN NWE in Burma Digest

Also known as Internally displaced people.

“A refugee is a person, who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.  

We have to note that this definition fails to include the internally displaced persons. 

An internally displaced person (IDP) is someone who has been forced to leave their home for reasons such as natural or man-made disasters, including religious or political persecution or war, but has not crossed an international border.

The term is a subset of the more general displaced person. There is no legal definition of IDP, as there is for refugee, but the rule of thumb is that if the person in question would be eligible for refugee status if he or she crossed an international border then the IDP label is applicable.

IDPs are not technically refugees because they have not crossed an international border, but are sometimes casually referred to as refugees.

The United Nations via the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recently agreed on non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement based on the refugee instruments:

Which defines internally displaced persons as:

“Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.”

But strangely there is no dedicated UN agency to deal with IDPs as in most of the cases, the root causes of these problems are their own governments and almost all of the countries in the whole world are scared to open the flood gates or Pandora boxes as these may allow the “INTERFERENCE” of UN and “OTHER COUNTRIES” to “INTERFERE” in their “INTERNAL AFFAIRS” .

(I hope our readers are familiar with the use of inverted commas. The words between the inverted commas “— “ would really mean opposite to its original meaning.)

This has led the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to act as ad hoc lead on IDP matters. As a result, it has been criticized for treating IDPs as less important adjuncts to their core mission to assist refugees.

There are currently nearly 25 million IDPs worldwide, roughly twice the total number of refugees. Internally displaced persons do not have a specific international legal instrument that applies to them as do refugees, because any attempt by an outside body to tell a nation how it should treat its own citizens has been seen as a violation of the principle of national sovereignty and self-determination.

This principle has come under pressure in recent years by those who feel a moral imperative to stop gross abuse of citizens by their governments. Recent examples include use by the United States as a primary justification for military intervention during the Kosovo War and a secondary justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

IDPs by country

Afghanistan—167,000-200,000

Angola—40,000-340,000

Azerbaijan—578,545

Bosnia and Herzegovina—309,240

Burundi—170,000

Colombia—1,580,396 – 3,410,041

Côte d’Ivoire—500,000

Democratic Republic of the Congo—2,330,000

India—600,000+ due to Boxer Day Tsunami and 500,000 Kashmiri Hindus due to anti-India insurgency [1]

Indonesia—342,000-600,000

Iraq—1,000,000+

Myanmar (Burma)—526,000 +++++ (please see the box below.) For the whole country there may be about 5 million IDPs.

Myanmar (Burma)

540,000

Oct. 2005

Thailand Burma Border Consortium

Estimate relates to the eastern border areas only and does not include significant numbers of IDPs in the rest of the country. For the whole country there may be about 5 million IDPs.

 

Russia—339,000

Sri Lanka—352,374

Turkey—350,000 – 1,000,000+

Sudan—6,000,000

Uganda—1,400,000

USA—±1,000,000 from Hurricane Katrina

In Myanmar, there are a lot of undocumented IDPs due to:

Directly because of civil war between SPDC Military and still active revel groups.

Actually there are more displaced persons because of SPDC’s Ethnic Cleansing in Ethnic Minority areas, Shan, Kayin, Arakan and etc.

Sometimes SPDC practised the “Three Cuts” operation. Cut the food supply chain, cut the communication chain and information chain. SPDC forced the villages from the black area to new places away from the rebels but as there are no proper infra structure like roads, water supply and most of the  areas are infertile, people used to run away but could not go back to their original villages.

Because of the many SPDC projects e.g. Gas Pipe line projects, new dams, factories, roads and some times because of the land is given to the foreign or local companies for various projects the villages and people of the towns are relocated forcefully and ultimately they are displaced.

KO TIN NWE

Let’s show our hatred to SPDC

Let’s show our hatred to SPDC

 As SHWE BA (BURMA DIGEST)

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

We all know that many of our opposition members are talking about civil disobedience and looking forward to see a miracle to happen on 666. Professor Dr. Salai Tun Than had bravely called the start of the battle. We have to support and help him.

The started revolution fire of Dr. Salai Tun Than must not die!

In civil disobedience, we need to choose methods to deliberately break some SPDC laws. Some of the easy less risky nonviolent actions we could choose are:

  1. Material defiance (This will be explained in detail in the later part of this article.)
  2. slow-downs
  3. deliberate inefficiencies
  4. non-cooperation of civil servants
  5. political non-cooperation
  6. assistance to persecuted people
  7. refusal of collaboration
  8. maintenance of autonomy of independent organizations and institutions
  9. go slows
  10. blockades
  11. Women and girls refuse to make friend with the SPDC soldiers and collaborators.

This is the time to show our hatred and disapproval to the illegal rulers of our country. Showing our hatred to SPDC and cohorts is another option for us in civil disobedience campaign. It is disgraceful to be associated with the SPDC government. Myanmar/Burma needs self consciences people that hate the cruel government. We all have an obligation to devote our life to fighting for justice, but we also have a responsibility not to give injustice our practical support by keeping quiet, remained submissive, obedient, loyal and subservient.

Philosopher-cum-thinker John Saul in his book, ‘The Unconscious Civilization’ wrote: “Conformism, loyalty and silence are so admired and rewarded.” Yes those keep quiet could be rewarded for their well behaviour or decorum. They could get some left-overs after the SPDC Cohorts’ big feast. Hatred in our heart and mind is not very effective although it is better than loving to cooperate as the collaborators hoping to get a chance to lick the left over bones!

Nowadays the popular saying is “To walk the talk” but I hereby wish to state that “We need to walk our THOUGHTS”. We are already talking about starting a civil disobedience. We should plan and consider various methods as a “diversity of tactics”. To be effective, tactics must be carefully chosen, taking into account SPDC and Burmese political and cultural circumstances, and we need to plan different tactical approaches as part of a larger plan or strategy to overthrown them.

Nonviolence civil disobedience is good during the colonial days but it tends to give very slow results or used to achieve political changes much later only. And we all know that Colonial Masters were gentlemen, respect the Human Rights and there was the Rule of Law then. SPDC thugs are inhumane, never respect Human Rights and they rule by the law of jungle. They even fail to observe the International Law of engagement, in the Ethnic Minority areas, which is the guiding principle of each and every war. For the SPDC, might is always right and power and law come out from the barrel of the gun only. Worse of all is even that the law of the jungle coming out of the SPDC guns are ever changing according to their whims and fancies.

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism. (Howard Thurman)

Some of our readers may think that as my name is Shwe Ba, I am advocating the violent methods of Shwe Ba movies as there were even a popular catch phrase for the old Shwe Ba’s films was ‘Shwe Ba ah they cha’ and ‘Shwe Ba_ah sa daw nar myi’ at first Shwe Ba had to suffer at first in the hands of villains but at last Shwe Ba always win. (My friend Bo Aung Din already explained about this in his Compassionate letters to Nan.)

Without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. (William Hazlitt)

Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. (H. Jackson Browne)

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. (Helen Keller)

With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity. (Keshavan Nair)

So I hereby wish to propose one method of civil disobedience to show our hatred to the SPDC and cohorts. This is defined as material defiance under nonviolence civil disobedience.

A. Target the following persons and properties:

1.       SPDC army vehicles.

2.       Police cars.

3.       Kyant Phut and SPDC Government affiliated organizations’ vehicles.

4.       SPDC propaganda sign boards around the country.

B. What to do? Try to vandalize or deface or spoil or ruin or damage or dent or scratch or disfigure or mutilate or graze or sabotage them by any of the following means.

1.       Throw dirty water or mud.

2.       Throw old engine oil.

3.       Throw animal blood.

4.       Throw eggs, better if rotten.

5.       Throw tomato, better if rotten.

6.       Not very nice to write but if dare to do, throw waste or organic waste or even shits packages or urine packages.

C. Those who are brave enough, target any SPDC soldier, police, Kyant Phut or their relatives and do the above acts.

You can do it in the markets, on the roads in the town or on the rural roads or while they are guarding at the gate posts.

There may be some revenge mass punishments on the people around that area but those sabotaging acts of hatred may start the circle of hatred.

Their ammunition and firing power is too big to fight one by one as noble Knights. At least they may know that we, most of the citizens hate them and are against them. No need to be ashamed. Anyone doing these is not cowards. We all would regard those acts as very brave acts against the very powerful enemy.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. (Anais Nin)

So we all citizens of Burma should not just quietly let the iron grip of SPDC squeeze and crush us. Let free the democracy to blossom with our safe civil disobedience struggle. Now SPDC is attacking relentlessly on NLD and Ethnic Minorities. “The best defence is attack”. That was a very popular saying in football. Our best defence for now is to attack back. These SPDC thugs are very brave to attack Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD because they are strictly adhering to their non-violence methods.

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. (Andre Gide)

Non-poisonous snakes are not even respected by the children. If we are weak, we are always exposed to the exploitations of the bullies and thuds. See what SPDC and Kyant Phuts are doing on NLD leaders including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We have to prepare and strengthen our-selves physically, intellectually, economically, socially, mentally, spiritually etc.

We must always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

If something went wrong and we failed – don’t blame others. Accept it gracefully.

There is a saying, “the success has a lot of fathers and the failure is an orphan.”

Almost all the people will deny their responsibility. We have to accept the failure with the open mind. No need to make a witch hunt or search for the scapegoat. After accepting the failure, we have to search for the real cause, without bias. What, where, when, why and how it fails.

Who is responsible is not important. Even if some-one accidentally or intentionally triggered our downfall or failure, it is very difficult to blame or change that person. Don’t be a paranoid.

It is our struggle. It is our interest to make sure that, that person could not damage our struggle, in any way. We have to make sure that, that won’t happen again. It is our responsibility to smooth out all because it is our own struggle for our success.

From all the failures and disasters, we must learn the lessons. These are blessings in disguise. Make those failures pillars for our success. Try! Try! Try! Again and again and again till we succeed. Never give up the hope. Thomas Edison had failed about five hundred thousand times before he successfully invented an electric bulb. Don’t stop trying. Think and analyze what went wrong. Correct it. Improve it. Prepare your-self. Try again.

Victory is for those dare to try again and again. Perseverance is the key-word for success.

Easy success is actually neither very sweet nor precious. Victory gained after a lot of struggles are really sweat and gratifying. Don’t forget that easy to get Iron and Copper are cheap.

Gold, Diamond and Ruby are precious because it is rare and difficult to get.

Actually power comes from within. If we all have confidence, self respect, and if strongly believe that we are not a simple weak person, but we are brave willing to work hard and ready to sacrifice, one day will surely progress, there is definitely a very bright future of crowning with the success. Inner spiritual strength is more important and always guides the outer physical power. Even if we are weak physically, inner spiritual and mental strength and power will guide, train and convert it to become powerful. 

The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. (Charles DuBois)

We must take some risk to get to our destination of Democratic Secular Federal Union of Burma.Even if you think my plan is some form of violence and could not accept, just read this great Philosopher’s thoughts:

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.” (George Bernard Shaw)

 SHWE BA

Comments

Rahmat said _

Well done respected Mr.Shwe Ba You have discovered the first step toward victory, in other word you have solve the half of the problem and the other half would be the effective action .

As a Burmese intellectual you have perform your obligation very well . I hope all Burmese Intellectuals united, irrespective of their race and cast to bring justice, peace, stability and prosperity to the people of Burma .

Hopless future for the Refugees

No light at the End of the Tunnel for Most of the Refugees

 AS SHWE BA (BURMA DIGEST)

20th June is World Refugee Day and many people around the world are celebrating the International Refugee Day in recognition of the millions of refugees around the world displaced internally or across the border, by conflict, persecution and other forms of violence. But we could not even see a very dim light indicating that there is some hope to end the dark cold endless underground tunnel. After 9-11, French migrant youths’ urban revolt, some migrants’ September bombing of London, some Middle East migrants’ riots at Australia beach, the involvement of some Burmese Rohingya’s participating in the bombing in Bangladesh and the world wide protest of Prophet’s caricature in Denmark started by some migrants, there are a lot of repercussions on the refugees.

According to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees:

 “A refugee is a person, who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.  

We have to note that this definition even fails to include the internally displaced persons. 

And it is very difficult to clearly differentiate the real refugees from the so-called economic migrants.  With the present chaotic situation in Burma because of the widespread atrocities by the despotic, tyrannical and oppressive SPDC Junta, we really could not or need to clearly differentiate them. There is a very thin and faint line between these two categories. We should consider and see this from a holistic viewpoint, not only in Burma but also in other countries where similar widespread socio-economic problems originated in political conditions which are difficult to resolve.  

In other words a refugee is a person seeking asylum in a foreign country in order to escape persecution or are seeking to escape generalized violence back home.

Those who seek refugee status are known as asylum seekers. Some countries around the world are humanely accepting some refugees by offering political asylum based upon political and religious grounds.

Under the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, a signatory nation must grant asylum to refugees and cannot forcibly return refugees to their nations of origin. However, many nations routinely ignore this treaty.

UNHCR or The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is protecting the rights and wellbeing of refugees and today there are more than 15 million refugees around the world.

Out of 192 countries around the world about 17 countries only regularly accept quota refugees from places such as refugee camps. These generous and so to speak, humaine countries are:

Australia, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. But sadly none of Burma’s immediate neighbours are parties to this Convention, nor have they ever officially recognized the refugees.  

Refugees are a subgroup of the broader category of displaced persons only.To solve the refugee problem, and illegal or undocumented labour problems around the world, UNHCR, UN and Host Governments should look at this problem from an out-of-the-box, unorthodox angle.

We must accept that many of the legal migrant workers and legal professionals are also indirectly forced to migrate because of the unfavourable conditions back home. So if we include their statistics they could be added up as hidden or unseen refugees in the documented refugees in addition to many more undocumented refugees around the world.

But most of the refugees are perceived with ill-regard in most of the countries around the world and denied their fundamental rights to shelter, healthcare and education, as a result of their indefinite status.

So we could categorise the dispersed people as follows: _

      1.      Professional and investor migration

      2.      Documented labour migration

      3.      Refugees and asylum seekers

      4.      Undocumented or illegal immigrants

      5.      Various economic migrants 

      Usually asylum seekers are put into refugee camps that are managed by host governments and UNHCR. After a long wait for the interviews and some investigations, the refugees are issued with Refugee certificates. Then UNHCR authorities search for the third countries in which to send and settle the refugees.  These countries are only willing to accept a limit ed number of refugees.  Sometimes UNHCR request the host country to convert them into a legal work force. Sometimes UNHCR tried to repatriate or re-settle refugees back in to their country of origin, after prolonged negotiations or after the conflict has been controlled.  UNHCR used to continuously support and monitor their conditions there for a limited time span. These measures help part of the problems but are very slow and time-consuming, which result in  frustration and anger from the refugees as well as from the host countries. 

        We should not forget that the Palestinians are still in the UNHCR camps after 50 long years and although UNHCR had to spend a lot of money, the condition of the refugees in those camps is deplorable.  Burmese refugee camps near the Thai-Burma and Bangladesh-Burma borders are in worse conditions and refugees are not happy with their status. 

        Host countries are reluctant to allow the UNHCR protected persons to stay and work freely in their countries before resettlement in a third country. They fear that those UNHCR card-holders would permanently stay in their countries. And their shot sighted jealous citizens, especially the Labour Unions, are against allowing the illegals or refugees to work in their countries.  They would not be able to compete with the refugees who are willing to do 3D jobs with low salaries. 

     There are about one million refugees, asylum seekers and illegal workers in

      Burma’s neighbouring countries and elsewhere: _

  1. In Malaysia, 20,000 Rohingyas, 15,000 Chins, 10,000 Burmese Muslims and more than 70,000

  2. Burmese (all races and Religious groups of Myanmar including overstayers) illegal immigrants.

  3. In Thailand, 400,000 Shans, Mons, and Karens

  4. In Bangladesh, 120,000 – 220,000 Rohingyas and other races

  5. In India, 50,000 Chins and other races

There are a lot of illegal immigrants from Burma around the world, e.g. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, USA, Australia, Europe and also in the abovementioned neighbours. 

Generally most of the host governments do not seem very eager to settle the refugee problems so that they could continue putting pressure on the origin or source country.  Arabs seem to keep the Palestinians as refugees to put pressure on Israel and to leverage world opinion.  

Ethnic and religious links seem to play little or no part in the negotiations when considering the re-settlement of Burmese refugees.   Refugees like the Burma’s Shans in Thailand (who are known as Thai Yai, meaning Big T hai) are likewise cold-shouldered by the hosts.  Thais do not wish to keep their ethnically similar Buddhist brothers, Shans, Mons and Karens. (There are Buddhist and Christian Karens.)  Some historians have commented that Thais seem to have a hidden agenda in keeping their cousins, some of whom are rebels, as a buffer against their strong Burmese enemy.  This has been going on for few centuries. 

Chins in India are related to the Mizorams and Rohingyas (who are closely related to Chittagonians) in Bangladesh, and Burmese Muslims in Malaysia also are facing the same problems with their ethnic and religious “brothers”. 

UNHCR has to take time for the interviews and to undertake investigations to certify that the person is a real refugee or a person of concern.  It is not easy to differentiate the real refugees from economic migrants.  As almost the whole population of Burma is suffering under the cruel, autocratic Junta, we hope it is not necessary to differentiate between these two categories because the line between them is very thin.  If we do away with this differentiation, the resettlement process will be faster.  We all know that it would open the floodgates and tremendously increase the exodus of the people from Burma.  I will give my views and answer later in this proposal. 

UNHCR has to search for a third party/country which is willing to accept asylum seekers as full-fledged refugees with all the rights including their welfare and citizenship etc. 

Host countries are not happy if UNHCR just issues a lot of certificates but fail to follow up with quick repatriation of all the refugees to a third country.  They are worried that those UNHCR recognized refugees would stay on indefinitely in their country and they would ultimately have to accept their offspring and descendents as their citizens.  Before that, there may also be a lot of social, political, economic problems arising from the refugees.  To highlight a few: competing in the labour market with locals, intermarriage with locals, burden on locals’ health, housing, and infrastructure, and some increase in criminal activities. 

Refugees are not happy with the almost endless delays for each and every step of the above process.  They are angry and frustrated with the constant “harassments” of raids, detention, deportation and terrible conditions in the various detention centres.  Not only are the living conditions bad, there is no proper planning for language and vocational training there.  There is not much hope for their children’s future education and development.  

Refugees accepting re-settlement in third countries have limited fund allocations and face an almost strict quota of accepted persons. In democracies, host countries have to consider the sensitivities of their voters. 

We all know that the above facts prove that we have to change the present status quo.  Then we have to think about ways to improve the socio-economic changes in Burma/Myanmar or consider a “Regime Change”.  This is also not practical and an almost impossible task in the near future.  We would like to explain this in the following section.

All the countries around the world must accept that it is almost impossible to improve Burma/Myanmar’s present POLITICAL SITUATION in a near future until and unless UNSG give a binding order to SPDC to release ALL THE POLITICAL PRISONERS including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and to supervise and coordinate for the immediate tripartite negotiations with NLD and Ethnic Minorities to handover the administrative power in a shot limited time span. It must be followed by the authority to intervene by the UN lead international forces if not complied in a stipulated time. If UNSG is tough and show that it is willing to wage a war for a “REGIME CHANGE” in Burma/Myanmar. 

Japan, China, India, Pakistan and ASEAN countries, especially Thailand are not only on the Junta’s side but are also protecting them from the West’s economic sanctions and political attacks. The Burmese people’s popular uprising on 8th. August 1988, famously dubbed the 8888 movement, and subsequent election victory of NLD also could not do more than dent the international image of the Junta. ASEAN’s constructive engagement, USA and EU led economic sanctions. SPDC had successfully fooled the UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Mr Razali Ismail, Human Right’s Representative Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and Malaysian Foreign Minister cum ASEAN Representative Mr Syed Hamid Alba and UN Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari.

Even if NLD got the chance to form a government and democracy prevails, the Ethnic Minority and minority Religions would continue to suffer the discriminations of their Big Brother, the Burman Buddhists. Even if all transferring of power could be smooth and rapid, it would take at least a generation to change the habits and mindsets of the government and private sector employees, and to rebuild the economic infrastructure to be on par with that of the developing neighbours’.

Myanmar’s crippling economy and stifled demands for political and economic reforms will fuel more racial violence in the near future.  The Military government may incite racial and religious hatred in order to take advantage and profit from the riots.  Both sides will promote this with their own agendas.  The Government will try to divert the attention of the people’s hatred and anger directed to them.  They need a scapegoat for their economic and political failures.  It will succeed as this divide-and-rule policy is a well-tested and effective policy. In addition, it will also show all the minorities that the government is their protector.  At the same time, the government can prove that they were needed to unite the country and for the maintenance of internal peace.  The bogeyman is needed to drum up support for them and all the people are coerced to unite behind the Military leaders. The anti-migrant policy, anti-foreigner policy, foreign threats, Communists and western countries’ imperialist plots, and danger of racial and religious riots, are used effectively and successfully by numerous dictators all over the world. 

Most of the governments around the world never try to understand the very reasons many Burmese Citizens of all races and religions wish to leave their country in the first instance.        Racial and religious discriminatory policies have sucked the life out of minority ethnic and religious groups, sometimes amounting to ethnic cleansings. Cruel and lawless SPDC Military dictator used changing unjust oppressive laws according to their whims and fancies. The lopsided military appointed eunuch judiciary is always loyal and obedient to the Military rulers. There are widespread corruption, abuse of power and absence of accountability at each and every level of the government machinery. The police also ignore the rule of law but rule by the law as ordered by their army masters. Dozens of local armed militia groups signed peace treaty with the army, and the still active Ethnic Minority rebels at the Burma borders are also crushing the innocent people from other side.

There may be not a very obvious civil war but there are a lot of internal conflicts or rebellions as well as a lot of internally displaced persons in Burma. Numerous restrictions on the people’s daily life, travel, investments, trade, monetary policy, transport of goods, import/export, religion, education, etc. are pushing the people to their limits. 

As long as there is no respect for the RIGHTS OF ETHNIC MINORITIES AND DISCRIMINATIONS against the minority religions, there is no hope of stopping people leaving Myanmar or Burma.  Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002) wrote: “… today’s human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow’s conflicts.”

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

On the 50th Anniversary of this Declaration, UN Security General Kofi Annan said: “Human Rights are foreign to no culture and native to all Nations.  It is a mirror that at once flatters us and shames us, that bears witness to a record of progress for parts of humanity while revealing a history and reality of horrors for others.” 

“It was never the people who complained of the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition.  It was often their leaders who did so.”           

After looking at the above quotations, real conditions in Burma/Myanmar and the people’s plight, we do not need to give any further evidence to convince the reader that there are a lot of problems going on in Burma/Myanmar that are almost impossible to solve or change, and no one can prevent the people’s flight out of the country.

UNHCR and UN should talk to the countries that are pushing for free trade agreements through WTO, negotiating individually or in groups for various forms of mutual treaties of Free Trade Area (FTA) just to get permission to increase the free flow of their goods and products w ith GLOBLISATION. Why should there be a desire to keep out the people, professionals, skilled and unskilled labour?  UNHCR and UN should initiate, persuade, negotiate, and press for free manpower mobilization to balance the socio-economic imbalances around the world.

 In reality, USA and EU countries do not have bad records in allowing the import of manpower import in different forms.  However, some countries such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan dominate the export market around the world, but fail to accept the manpower import satisfactorily.  Although there are a lot of illegals and unrecognised refugees working in their countries, they fail to legalise nor allow adequate numbers of them to work legally in their countries.  There is a definite imbalance of flow between free movement of goods and manpower.

 UNHCR should form a manpower training, management and Supply Company.  UNHCR has to negotiate with the multinational companies and countries around the world to which to eventually export the trained manpower.  The fear of the migrants pulling down the salary scale reducing the bargaining power of the trade unions is unfounded.  It is unavoidable since with globalisation, outsourcing and shifting of factories to countries offering cheap labour is a trend nowadays.  In addition, there is a trend of regional countries’ groupings slowly following the EU policy of freer manpower mobility.

UNHCR has to open vocational training and language training centres according to the demand for manpower, or order, make commitments or contract with countries all over the world.  They should include a briefing on the host countries’ customs, culture, laws, rules and regulations.  Do and don’ts are just as important to be learnt.  A briefing on the host country’s geography, climate and history may also help to prepare the refugees to face their future in their new country.

To fund this project, UNHCR could start with its budget but could re quest funds from the donor countries which are used to accepting refugees and spending on the support of refugees.  UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, EU, ASEAN countries and host countries could also chip in.

UNHCR could arrange with some international insurance companies for the refugees’ social security, future health and financial needs, and the education needs of their children.  They should be made to pay a portion of their monthly salary as instalments via a monthly deduction from their salary.  Their employers and the government should make some arrangement for rebates, contributions or income tax exemptions.

UNHCR could arrange for or coordinate with some multinational companies and some host countries or neighbours of Burma/Myanmar to form joint venture industrial towns.  The local government’s investment would be land and some infrastructure necessities, UNHCR could manage the manpower, and multinational companies could provide the financing and technology.  

UNHCR could use this manpower pool for the UN’s various development projects around the world and for its HQ.  UNHCR could even use some suitable persons as security personnel in UN related offices and projects worldwide, and as reinforcement units to help the UN peace keepers around the world.

UNHCR could guarantee that: _

Those UNHCR recognized refugee workers would be working only on normal contract basis. And that in the event of any problems arising during or after the contract agreement, UNHCR would re-accept the workers and return them, under strict conditions, to the UNCHR controlled camps near the Burmese border; and that there are no obligations on the host countries to accept these workers permanently as citizens, we hope many countries would be willing to contact UNHCR for manpower supply. If a refugee finished his contract with an unblemished record, UNHCR could search for a job for him in other countries or temporarily repatriate him to the UNHCR camps at the border. If a refugee is associated with any criminal activities, he should be blacklisted and permanently sent back to the UNHCR camps at the Burmese border.  If UNHCR could guarantee that kind of taking back or repatriation, there would be many countries which would dare to issue work visas to the refugees.  Most of the countries fear that the refugees or migrant workers would be stuck in their country and that country would become permanently responsible for them, and that would form a really very big burden for them.  If there is no guarantee of repatriation, even if the authorities are sympathetic and wish to grant Work Permits or Employment Passes, workers’ unions or organizations and ordinary people would oppose their governments’ actions. To repatriate the sailors, there are fixed airfares from anywhere to t he country of origin.  UNHCR could negotiate that kind of repatriation fares.    

Actually many countries need various foreign workers, professionals, skilled, semiskilled and ordinary workers.  UNHCR should negotiate to fulfil the demand from its pool of manpower.  Even host countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and developed countries like USA, EU, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and many other countries, are short of manpower to fill different positions.  

UNHCR must check the backgrounds of criminal elements only and verify their certificates.  UNHCR has to work with the host country’s police.  The police and security agencies of the country are engaged with Interpol to weed out criminal elements and the terrorism threat.

UNHCR approved workers should not be allowed to use the accepted countries as platforms to attack the country of origin and should abide by the laws of their new countries. Even if the new country’s laws are liberal and allow political movements, should not be allowed to start the armed struggle or any form of military aggression.

Even before repatriation to the third country, host countries could easily persuade UNHCR to employ PP holders on a short term or temporary basis. Monitoring the criminal elements found among the former illegal migrants would be an easier task for the security and law and order authorities in the host countries. The host countries could charge levies and income taxes.

Even the burden on the countries’ health and educational system would be reduced the host countries could negotiate with the UNHCR and other related agencies and multinational companies or employers to chip in or take care of all the needs of those refugees. There may even be increased demands for of UNHCR C of I holders as they may wish to work in more developed countries where they could earn more. 

UNHCR should seriously consider this idea or proposal, brainstorm on it, modify, fine-tune and use it to promote and create a better, peaceful and prosperous world.

The greatest fear of host countries and UNHCR would be more people coming out of Burma/Myanmar. However, if we read and consider the following facts, our proposal is at least worth some consideration: If the project is a failure, we all could stop this pilot project at any time. If successful, this may be the best help the world could offer to all the Burmese/Myanmar citizens. Let the Junta rot inside the country alone.  The people would gain knowledge, skill, experience and wealth.  Once there are changes, most of them will go back to their hometown and contribute to the rapid   development of our country. It is clear that we cannot successfully do anything for the regime change in Burma/Myanmar now. The present system being practised by UNHCR’s refugee system is almost a failure especially because of its slow pace. This proposal, if implemented, would be the best gift to all the people of Burma/Myanmar. ·It is also obvious that if successful, this arrangement could be extended to benefit the millions of refugees all over the world. 

No one can deny that to ALL parties could benefit from our above proposal. It is obvious and self-explanatory that all of the refugees and illegal immigrants will benefit from this project. Legal migrants such as professionals, semi-skilled labourers, skilled and unskilled labourers would get similar benefits. Host countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India, could reap the fruits of this project instead of having to feed and tolerate the problem of the refugees. Third party or recipient countries could also benefit from this. There would be fewer burdens on UNHCR and parent United Nations.  It will correct the imbalance or lopsided wealth in the world.  Globalisation, WTO and FTA encourage trade, and this project would reciprocally encourage and facilitate Manpower Mobilization and distribution of wealth.

We should seriously consider this idea or proposal, brainstorm on it, modify, fine-tune and use it to promote and create a better, peaceful and prosperous world.  If UNHCR could arrange the work permits for all the refugees, it should start the pilot project with Burmese refugees and Burmese illegal immigrants without much differentiation because it could be a very good test pilot project.

The fear that host countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India and others, have of these unwanted people, asylum seeker refugees and undocumented workers being present in their country on a permanent basis, could be reduced.  Actually if they could travel and search for work in other parts of the world, these people would prefer to go out and work rather than to stay back in the present host countries.  Because the salary scales of these host countries are so low, the professionals here are being paid the same salaries as the unskilled workers in developed countries.  If our proposal is put into practice, the situation would be reversed and the host countries would have to find ways to attract these formerly unwanted people.  Employers could save the time and money to import labour.  Instead of the usual practice of just accepting the foreign workers supplied by the agents, they could interview in advance.  There would be no need to pay the middleman.  Most of the displaced persons are already in the country, can communicate in the language, and already know the culture of the host country.  In addition, some of them are already in possession of the necessary work-experience.

Third countries are also less burdened with having to accept these UNHCR C of I (Passport) holders as the countries no longer need to offer asylum on a permanent basis to the displaced persons, initially giving them support as refugees and later having to accept them as citizens.  These third countries are released from that permanent burden, by stopping the issuance of work visas for the displaced persons and by arranging with UNCHR to relocate them to other countries.  With the same limited budget for refugees now, third countries could take on more manpower, even on a temporary basis.

UNHCR recognized workers could be accepted on contract basis according to the needs of the countries and their demand for labour.  If they commit any crime, or if their job performance is unsatisfactory, or if they breach the work contract, they could be sacked.   Unlike the refugees whom the countries had already committed to permanently accept, the third countries could request UNHCR to relocate these unwanted persons and foreigners to other countries.  Now the conditions would be more flexible.

Should the third countries be satisfied with the job performance, skills, and character of those UNHCR document holders the countries could offer Permanent Residency Status (e.g. Green Card in US) to them, and even later offer them citizenship according to the individual country’s rules and regulations.  It would be an option, not an obligation like the present system.  Host and third countries would be free to decide on their own rules and regulations.

 There is also lack of national or regional mechanisms directly addressing the complex needs of refugees not only in this region around Burma/Myanmar but in the whole world. The necessity for adequate protection for refugees is a pressing issue. Very little attention has been paid to their plight in every where around the world.
The whole world, Governments and all the people need to understand that refugees exist and live amongst all of us. It is a stark contradiction when we speak and commend ourselves of being a progressive, tolerant, polite, culturally advanced and accepting society when xenophobic attitudes towards the large refugee population still exist around the world.
We all need to accept that we must extend our virtues of tolerance and acceptance towards all the refugees. On this International Refugee Day, there is a stronger urgency to commit ourselves in making refugees’ voices heard and cared for. We wish to request the UN, UNHCR, Governments around the world and all the HUMANS to acknowledge these refugee communities, facilitate their integration into their respective countries and affirm their basic human rights.

SHWE BA (BURMA DIGEST)

Dilemmas of Revolutionaries

Dilemmas of Revolutionaries 

 As SHWE BA in Burma Digest

Revolution! 

What is revolution? What is the aim and objective? What are the Tactics and Strategies for revolution?

Violence or nonviolence? What is the goal? What is the plan for the final push, knock-out strike or lethal last assault to grasp power? What is the plan to control the country after the revolution? What type of government and system? What could we, citizens expect? What are the plans after revolution? What do you promise for each and every actor/participant/citizen after the revolution? What are the rewards for us? How and who and how long would you rule the country after revolution? How are the statuses of each and every citizen?

Yes, we must convince ALL the people and the rest of the world with our aim, objective, goal and the proper plan to rule the country. Rules and regulations must be clearly indicated, discussed, agreed in advance. Then only we could get the full support from all the sectors.

‘Nga Myin Ngar Saing – Sagaing yok yok, Nga Hlay Ngar htoe-Pago yawk yawk’ meaning if we would do something just for the sake of doing would not achieve any meaningful thing.

Bodawpaya (1791 to 1819) give a lot of favour to U Paw Oo and one of the ministers openly complaint to His Majesty about the unfair treatments. So Bodawpaya summoned that Minister and U Paw Oo and ordered to go to Sagaing Mayor’s house to look at the new born puppies (dogs) and to report back to him. He arranged the separate audience in the open court.

When the complainant minister came back, he was asked about the number of dogs, colour of different dogs, gender etc. That minister had to go back to Sagaing many times to get the correct answers. But U Paw Oo could amazingly answer all the questions without needing to go back to Sagaing. Then only, His Majesty Bodawpaya told that Minister in front of all the audiences that His Paw Oo was different from him so he had to give more favours. So I wish to request that our revolution leaders would kindly follow the wisdom of U Paw Oo, plan and execute their task properly and wisely not on ad hock basics. Since then the Burmese saying,’ sagaing khwe kyi khine tha lo’ meaning, ‘ordered to go and see the puppies at Sagaing’ became well known.

Just because Than Shwe moved his capital to Kyet Pyae we could not just claimed victory like U Paw Oo:” “Your Majesty, can’t you see how your barge has won a decisive victory, like a fighting cock preening his feathers while the poor loser of a little canoe runs away for her dear life in the vanguard.” U Paw Oo was knowingly trying to please the king to save face.

Just mentioning about boat race, we have to keep our General Aung San’s advice not to be overconfidence and raise our oar prematurely to celebrate a victory just because we are ahead of our competitors but still away from the finish-line or goal.

Please give us the definite target, aims and objects. Give us the definite map or road map. And you should also really give us the coordinates of the map. If not some of us may row to Sagaing and some would ride up the Pagu instead of our focus point Yangon or Pyinmana. Worse senerio may be some of us may row backwards, few trying to turn to left or right while the rest of us are rowing forwards.

And we need a definite plan to proceed with our attack once we are ashore. Our think-tanks should consider all the possible issues and how to handle or address all of them. We should not brush aside any issue as minor. We should focus on all the possible issues and go in-depth. We should pursue a definite plan to tackle all the possible issues to see the best possible results. All of us cannot get all we wish for or want but must be ready to sacrifice and compromise for our common cause or victory.

Please kindly allow me to ask what follows the revolution? If we start any revolution we want to know how would our leaders plan to execute the final touches, how to take over the powers of the country and run the country with what rules and regulations. What are our rights and rewards?

We do not want the indefinite vague answers like most of the leaders including our beloved Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, answered during and just after 8888. “We need to get democracy first, your request regarding the rights of ethnic minorities and minority religions would be considered later. Don’t worry; with the democracy there would not be any problem with the human rights issues, all will be OK.”. We could understand and accept those words at that time but now there is a lot of time and we wish to get a more mature and definite answer.

We should unanimously decide to choose our leader in advance, e.g. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as the future Prime Minister of the Interim Government or some one definitely now!. If not all the ‘leaders’ would wish and demand to become the head of the state like during the 8888 movement. There may appear some disgruntled inspiring leaders sabotaging our revolution, what we called in Burmese, ‘Min Thar gyi ma loke ya loe, pat ma gyi hto phauk’. U Nu announced himself to be the legal PM, U Aung Gyi also shifted position to support the Military but at last that leadership division was seen as a weakness and that was fully and successfully exploited by the Myanmar Military leaders.

During the later part of the 8888 uprising, instead of calling check mate and winning the game with a final move many of our demonstrators busy themselves greedily taking the pawns from People’s stores and factories. Some of us waste the time or our turn to move by overenthusiastically killing the knights, by revenge killing of MI agents. Because of these at last we won the early battles but lost the war.

We need more sophisticated method of collecting all the evidences, photos, videos of the atrocities of the Myanmar SPDC troops on the demonstrating people. Once the uprising starts, we should buy (or request) the 24 hr spy satellite photos of the major Burmese cities. We should request in advance to the foreign embassies in Burma to help collect those audio-video evidences. We should stage our people at all the landing points of planes departed from Burma to talk and request to all the tourists, travelers and aircrew members for any evidences.

As I had written last week, the capital was moved, SPDC have to defend their new capital. If the people in Rangoon or Mandalay or other costal big town started an uprising and even if the uprising opposition could declare independence in one town for one day or an hour only, we could ask help from US and UN to send troops. (We should request this kind of things in advance to the US authorities.) Finished! We could declare amnesty for all the SPDC Generals and soldiers who wish to change side. No need to even fight like in Afghanistan or Iraq. US and UN need not fight for us, just defend us. Looks like childish plan but who knows it would not work.

And last of all but not the least, what are the rewards for each and every citizen? It must be not less than the international standard Citizen and Human Right promise. And I just wish to remind that in a family, if father ordered a special privilege for himself because he is a bread earner, mother wants more because she is working like a house keeper the whole day, eldest and youngest daughters asked for special favour, the only son in the family wish for special treatment and a handicapped child also needs special attention… and if the two adopted children have to satisfy with their left-over only it would not be fair. And what is there also for normal ordinary children?

And I am sure we are writing these plans to pool our resources, dialogue to plan for our country’s future. This is the right and bold initiation and decision taken by Burma Digest. We need a pool of intelligent, wise and clever professionals like Pho Yaza who could remember the King’s question one year later and could give the right answer immediately. The King had asked for the name of the best food a year ago and one year later suddenly asked an incomplete question, “Is that alone?” And Pho Yaza replied correctly to eat with a little bit of salt.

We should prepare, discuss all the answers, could not say that we would try to cross the bridge if we arrive. We don’t want that kind of answers and those are similar in our Burmese saying, ‘Mee sin kyi-Ka myi.’

And we are divided between those who strongly advocate the non violence methods only and those who, like Chairman Mao, believe that the forceful violent methods are the only means on the way to succeed in any revolutions. But I pragmatically believe that we need a multi pronged approach. We must use the universally accepted good cop bad cop strategy.

The only important thing is that we need to consider or brain storm all the tactics, strategies and most important of all is how to execute the final lethal strike to take control of the country’s power.

We must have a common goal, destination or type of government, constitution and basic laws decided in advance. We must consider how to persuade the 400,000 strong SPDC Myanmar Military, armed groups still struggling against the SPDC and those groups that signed the peace agreement with the present government. We should consider and decide in advance how to handle them. This is more complicated than transforming of BIA to BDA after our first Independence in 1948. Although we had our Government lead by General Aung San and U Nu even before our first Independence we had failed to maintain our success. I am worried about our country’s socio-political, security and economic conditions after our second Independence.

If we consider about the multi rebels just after independence, condition of Burma at that time was even worse than present Iraq. U Nu’s government was even rightly called Rangoon Government. Mandalay and upper Burma, Meikhtila with air force base were under the rebel’s control. Deputy Commander-in-chief of Burma Army was captured by the rebels. Even Rangoon’s suburban Insein was controlled by rebels. Even if we could take over the country with our future strong army with the help of US or UN we should plan in advance to avoid repeating the same mistakes after our first Independence or to avoid the chaos of the present Iraq.

We must brain storm in advance not only for the revolution but what to do after our success or to effectively steer or guide our country immediately and for the long term progress.

Revolutions are usually staged by a larger group and radically changes the political system. Lets consider the smaller and easier type of revolutions, that is coup d’état.

Let’s consider some scenario as practical case studies:

If some one offer to stage a coup d’état and tried to contact our opposition now, how will we respond? We all understood that a coup d’état is the sudden overthrow of a government through ‘unconstitutional means’ by a part of the government and just replaces the few top leaders. (In our case, present SPDC Junta is already unconstitutional.)

It is sometimes violent or sometimes not. Coup d’état is in French, meaning “a sudden blow or strike to a state” Coup = hit, and état = state.

A coup d’état usually involves control of some active portion of the military while neutralizing the remainder of a country’s armed services.

This active group usually uses the power of the existing government for its own takeover and tried to do the followings:

  1. captures leaders,
  2. seizes physical control of important government offices,
  3. control the means of main communication, and
  4. control the physical infrastructure e.g. streets, radio TV stations and power plants.

Mass street protests or popular uprisings like our 8888 movement should also be able to force the unpopular and corrupt leaders from office in a coup-like fashion e.g. General Ne Win’s BSPP Government and his successive puppet governments. This often results in a period of stability and calm, in which an unknown and uncontroversial vice president can rule the nation until new elections can be held. But Saw Maung and Than Shwe’s SLORC and SPDC continue to hang on the power in Burma.

If our opposition leaders could seized the power immediately after the 8888 uprising,  present condition would be different.

Have we planned to rapidly grasp and consolidate the power if there is any uprising now?

Breakthrough coups – In which a revolutionary army overthrows a traditional government and creates new bureaucratic elite. Breakthrough coups are generally led by non-commissioned officers (NCOs) or junior officers and only happen rarely in history. Because the coup is led by junior officers or enlisted men, it could be seen also as a mutiny.

So does any leader of opposition have any planned programme or appropriate response if some junior officers of Myanmar Military contact us?

This is not a hypothetical question. Our unsung hero Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint had once already offered his service to our NLD U Tin Oo. His reply was not an enthusiastic or encouragement or open support. He never refused nor report to higher authorities but just reminds them to be careful not to overdo their coup as it may lead to the bloody killings like in the Bangladesh coup!

So have we prepared the best answer if any one offers this kind of service to us? Have we prepared to effectively take over power to form a legitimate government? If just form a government only and if no future plans yet means we would definitely lead to the condition of present Iraq!

Veto coups – These coups occur when the army vetoes mass participation and social mobilization. In these cases the army must confront and suppress large-scale and broad-based opposition and as a result they tend to be repressive and bloody.

This was the second face of our 8888 revolution. We had just raised our hands and went back into our houses without much resistance naively hoping that Myanmar Military would keep their promise of withdrawing back into their barracks after election. I am sure we still don’t have a concrete plan to push further till we get the power in this kind of repeat situation.

Veto coups and guardian coups tend to be led by senior officers. There is also a category known as bloodless coups in which the mere threat of violence is enough to force the current government to step aside. Bloodless coups are so called because they involve no violence and thus no bloodshed. Ne Win’s ‘coup’ twice from U Nu was successful. First one was also could be called a coup as he had forced U Nu to turn over power. (U Nu’s ‘Tartay sanay thar’, Saturday born son, book in Burmese). And Ne win had staged the Veto coups after 8888 using his subordinates and stayed behind the scene as a puppet master. His main cable was General Khin Nyunt and his MIs. Bloodless coups he claimed are not true to be considered “bloodless”: as he had killed alot of people and leaders.

Let’s say Senior General Than Shwe got enlightenment and repent like his predecessors General Saw Maung and offers a guardian bloodless coups against the whole SPDC Generals, who wish to hold on the power as their legitimate inheritance rights. Do we have any plans?

Or if General Maung Aye and some few top SPDC Generals fed up with idiotic His Majesty suffering from senile dementia and Megalomania, and offer a guardian coups, do we have any plans?

What could we offer back to them? Or should we try to offer them with something which they could not resist and try persuading them to change sides?

Incentives like giving the Military rulers to act as Constitutional Monarchy or King of Burma to reign for five years each or post of five yearly Presidents should be considered. We could even consider to give the whole SPDC like the status of an upper house, selected mostly from Military as a Guardian of Burma for the long term stability but not to interfere in the daily running of the elected government. We still have no concrete plan to rule the country, even not a constitution and the condition is not yet favourable to discuss and agree to a new one. There isn’t any draft constitution as uniting power for all of us. No policy was heard from our various oppositions how we wanted to handle Burma after the fall of SPDC Junta. We Burmese people don’t have a leadership to guide us even though we had NLD and many opposition groups. Different groups demanding different conditions.

Or say, if USA or UN lead NATO or International troops decided to invade Burma and actively help us what will we do? How do we form the government? What are the plans to prevent our country’s political and security conditions deteriorating into the present state of affairs in Iraq?

So I hereby suggested restarting or rebooting our selves based on Panglon treaty and our First old constitution.

First govern the country with Interim Government. Within ten years we would draw a new constitution, and share power between all the opposition, all ethnic minority all races.

PM from NLD with all the full executive powers.

President, person proposed by Military. Veto power to control the integrity of the country.

DPM from Ethnic Minorities: Kachin, Shan, Kayin, Chin, Mon.

Each and every group leaders choose 3 persons from themselves to choose for the Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and Parliament Secretaries positions.

To appoint the DGs and MDs all according to meritocracy.

We have to plan in advance what to do if we get the power, to form a government. We need to discuss in advance with UN US EU NATO for help and support.

We should decide to offer amnesty to all the SPDC Generals and soldiers to change to our side.

If possible we should need to define the exact type of Secular Democratic Federal Union we want. Iraq could offer US with oil. Although US denied that they had helped because of oil, we could not get support because we are too proud and wish to be on our own at the end of their help.

Now Burma got oil and gas but not much to persuade the west with this alone. Promise of long term support in geopolitics. Burma is in a very important geo-political situation between China, India and ASEAN. Yes we could give long term commitment of political and all means of Military support to USA to be able to control the whole Indian Ocean, entrance of Malacca traits by offering 100 years’ usage of Co Co Inlands. I am not asking to sell our country or to become a puppet nation. But nothing is free man! There is no free lunch. There must be give and take. If we give peanuts we could get monkeys only. If we want our whole Burma back we have to sacrifice few small islands thousands of kilometers away from our mainland. And the much needed long term promise of loyal support of USA policies. SPDC could take advantage by accusing us as selling the country by just pointing our fingers. But that is their right for propaganda warfare; we need to do what is right for all of us. After all they had given Co Co Islands and some islands for the Chinese Navy.

And what for our each and every citizen? Not less than an internationally recognized citizen’s rights. If not Kalas, Tayokes and Rohingyas could just stay away from any active struggle as after all their conditions would be same. And they know that all the politicians are universally corrupt from SPDC to our future opposition leaders. They knew that they could grease any government officers of the day with their money. For them just forget the political struggle and concentrate on economic struggle only if we could not persuade them.

I wish to propose an idea for our friends at the other extreme of political divide. After reading the Thura Maung Ree, I understand our brothers’ strong feelings but even if we just give the FRC status which is equivalent to Permanent residency or Green Card status to those Rohingyas, we are postponing only one generation only for all of them to be given full citizenship. My dear brother is just buying time only. We understand their legitimate Xenophobia but look for our country’s future. Racial prejudice must be abolished. Dear brother, what do you want to comment about the popular Burmese saying,” If we see a snake and a Arakanese, we have to kill the Arakanese first”. Sorry brother. I do not condone this. I hate this saying. I am not bluffing, my best friend is an Arakan Buddhist. I still dream about my friend, we attend same school, same university and worked in Burma in the same place. I even still dream about him although I am away from him for many years. Not only two of us were friends but both families are also close because of our friendship. We need to stop racial profiling and Racial Prejudices. For the religion if we could separate the state from all religious affairs it would be best for all of us. We know, even those profess the separation of states from churches for hundred of years could not totally get rid of themselves from the shades of their worshipping places.

And for the right of separation of the states, Ethnic Minorities must sacrifice that and made an offer to SPDC and all that they want a Federation (we should decide now, not later) and must be transparent.

Right to keep own army. SPDC and general public could not accept this. We must learn the lesson from transformation of BIA to BDA. We could retain Ethnic Minority army units under the central command.

We should push forward and support the legal action initiated by Burma Digest and Shan leaders. And we have to rethink our strategy if some of us wish to struggle the violent means. Cutting the leaves or brunches is useless. We need to cut the trunk or de-root a tree to clear it off. Fighting at the border is useless even if you could kill few thousands of SPDC soldiers. Burmese Communist party and Wa alliance had done that. If possible attempt to eliminate the top SPDC Generals but I am not promoting or supporting this but just revealing the facts only. Just bombing the railways or the present bombings in Burma is useless. Target must be top leaders, their families and their close associates only. Even attacking the Embassies is almost useless and host countries’ governments would grip tightly on all of our citizens as revenge. Target their family members shopping or traveling or doing business abroad.

Civil disobedience is another option for us.

The active refusal to obey laws, demands and commands of SPDC and local authorities without resorting to physical violence. Civil disobedience has been used in nonviolent resistance movements in India in the fight against British colonialism.

Henry David Thoreau (18490 wrote the “Resistance to Civil Government”, it stated that people should not allow governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty both to avoid doing injustice directly and to avoid allowing their acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.

He wrote,” That government is best which governs least. The best government is that which governs least.”

He remarked, “Government, if we need it at all, is only justified if it is helpful — but governments are typically more harmful than helpful. Democracy is no cure for this, as majorities simply by virtue of being majorities do not also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice.

There is no reason to expect that the judgment of your own conscience is inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority.

Indeed, you serve your country poorly if you do so by suppressing your conscience in favor of the law — your country needs consciences more than it needs conscienceless robots.It is disgraceful to be associated with the SPDC government. I wouldn’t be making such a big deal about this if the government just happened to be a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work; but in fact, the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice.

Political philosophers have reminded that the revolution usually causes a lot of deaths and sufferings. But that cost vs. benefit calculation should not be done if the government is facilitating injustices:

We have an obligation to devote our life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.

 Refuse to pay full taxes or donations or bribes.

But if the law is itself clearly unjust break the law. Stop paying taxes, even if this means courting imprisonment. It is quite difficult for ordinary Burmese. But according to the author, “Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.… where the State places those who are not with her, but against her, —… Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up if a thousands of men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.”

It is risky to rebel in this way, as the government will retaliate. The more you have to lose, the harder it will be, which is another reason why I prefer living abroad.

At times I wonder whether it is as useless to rage against the stupidities and cruelties of SPDC government as it would be to shake my fist angrily at a tornado. “The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.… Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”

The driving idea behind the essay of Henry David Thoreau was that of self-reliance, and how one is in morally good standing as long as they “get off another man’s back”; so you don’t have to physically fight the government, but you must not support it or have it support you (if you are against it). This essay has had a wide influence on many later practitioners of civil disobedience. In the essay, Thoreau explained his reasons for having refused to pay taxes as an act of protest against slavery and against the Mexican-American War.

Use in Struggles against Colonialism and Occupation

Civil disobedience has served as a major tactic of nationalist movements in former colonies in Africa and Asia prior to their gaining independence. Most notably Mahatma Gandhi developed civil disobedience as an anti-colonialist tool. Gandhi said “Civil disobedience is the inherent right of a citizen to be civil, implies discipline, thought, care, and attention”. Civil disobedience was a tactic used by Polish opposition to the former communist government.

Civil Disobedience in the United States

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader of the US civil rights movement in the United States in the 1960s also adopted civil disobedience techniques, and antiwar activists both during and after the Vietnam War have done likewise.

Theories and Techniques of Civil Disobedience

In seeking an active form of civil disobedience, one may choose to deliberately break certain laws, such as by forming a peaceful blockade or occupying a facility illegally. Protesters practice this non-violent form of civil disorder with the expectation that they will be arrested, or even attacked or beaten by the authorities. Protesters often undergo training in advance on how to react to arrest or to attack, so that they will do so in a manner that quietly or limply resists without threatening the authorities.

For example, Mahatma Gandhi outlined the following rules:

  1. A civil resister (or satyagrahi) will harbour no anger.
  2. He will suffer the anger of the opponent.
  3. In so doing he will put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate; but he will not     submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger.
  4. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities.
  5. If a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though in defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, never retaliate.
  6. Retaliation includes swearing and cursing.
  7. Therefore a civil resister will never insult his opponent, and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are contrary to the spirit of ahimsa.
  8. A civil resister will not salute the National flag, nor will he insult it or officials.
  9. In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life.

Nonviolent resistance (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Nonviolent resistance (or nonviolent action) comprises the practice of applying power to achieve socio-political goals through symbolic protests, economic or political noncooperation, civil disobedience and other methods, without the use of violence. It has the guiding principle of nonviolence.

Like other strategies for social change, nonviolent action can appear in various forms and degrees. It may include, for example, such varied forms as information wars, protest art, lobbying, tax refusal, boycotts or sanctions, legal/diplomatic wrestling, material sabotage, underground railroads, principled refusal of awards/honours, picketing, vigiling, leafletting, and/or general strikes.

The “peaceful revolution” by organizing enough strikers to completely paralyze the state. With the state and corporate apparatus thus crippled, the workers would be able to re-organize society along radically different lines. This philosophy is favored by the legendary labor union

Some scholars of nonviolence, arguing that many movements have pragmatically adopted the methods of nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social or political goals, distinguish the methods of nonviolent action from the moral stance of nonviolence or non-harm towards others.

Types of nonviolent resistance

Gene Sharp has identified 198 methods of nonviolent action which practitioners may use to defend against invasions, undermine dictatorships, block coups d’état or challenge unjust social systems.

They include:

  1. symbolic protests
  2. tax resistance
  3. hunger strikes
  4. paralysis of transportation
  5. social boycotts
  6. specific and general strikes
  7. civil disobedience
  8. economic shutdowns
  9. political non-cooperation
  10. “disappearance” under false identity
  11. economic boycotts
  12. public demonstrations
  13. slow-downs
  14. publication of banned newspapers
  15. deliberate inefficiencies
  16. assistance to persecuted people
  17. broadcasts about resistance on radio and television
  18. judicial resistance
  19. defiance by the government (e.g. George Wallace‘s “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”)
  20. denial of legitimacy to usurpers
  21. non-cooperation of civil servants
  22. legislative delays
  23. declarations of defiance
  24. persistent continuation of old policies and laws
  25. student defiance
  26. children’s demonstrations
  27. individual and mass resignations
  28. refusal of collaboration
  29. maintenance of autonomy of independent organizations and institutions

Nonviolent resistance in colonial India

The story of nonviolent resistance in colonial India is synonymous with the story of the Non-Cooperation Movement and Mahatma Gandhi. Besides bringing about Independence, Gandhi’s nonviolence also helped to improve the status of Untouchables in Indian religion and society. In the conflicts that ensued from Independence and Partition, Gandhi is credited with keeping Calcutta and the whole eastern border of India peaceful.

Nonviolence (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Nonviolence (or non-violence) is a set of assumptions about morality conflict that leads its proponents to reject the use of violence in efforts to attain social or political goals. While often used as a synonym for pacifism, since the mid 20th century the term nonviolence has come to embody a diversity of techniques for waging social conflict without the use of violence, as well as the underlying political and philosophical rationale for the use of these techniques.

As a technique for social struggle, nonviolence is most often associated with the campaign for Indian independence led by Mahatma Gandhi, and the struggle to attain civil rights for African Americans, led by Martin Luther King. The former was deeply influenced by Leo Tolstoy’s Christian anarchism ideas of nonresistance based on the Sermon on the Mount.

On November 10th, 1998, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the first decade of the 21st century and the third millennium, the years 2001 to 2010, as the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

Why nonviolence?

Most advocates of nonviolence draw their preference for nonviolence either from religious or ethical beliefs, or from a pragmatic political analysis. The first justification for nonviolence is sometimes referred to as principled or ethical nonviolence, while the second is known as pragmatic or strategic. However, it is not uncommon to find both of these dimensions present within the thinking of particular movements or individuals.

In the west, nonviolence has been used extensively by the labour, peace, environment and women’s movements. Less well known is the role that nonviolence has played and continues to play in undermining the power of repressive political regimes in the developing world and the former eastern bloc:

In 1989, thirteen nations comprising 1,695,000,000 people experienced nonviolent revolutions that succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations … If we add all the countries touched by major nonviolent actions in our century (the Philippines, South Africa … the independence movement in India …) the figure reaches 3,337,400,000, a staggering 65% of humanity! All this in the teeth of the assertion, endlessly repeated that nonviolence doesn’t work in the ‘real’ world.

(Walter Wink, as quoted by Susan Ives in a 2001 talk)

How does nonviolence work?

The nonviolent approach to social struggle represents a radical departure from conventional thinking about conflict, and yet appeals to a number of common-sense notions.

Among these is the idea that the power of rulers depends on the consent of the populace. Without a bureaucracy, an army or a police force to carry out his or her wishes, the ruler is powerless. Power, nonviolence teaches us, depends on the co-operation of others. Nonviolence undermines the power of rulers through the deliberate withdrawal of this co-operation.

Also of primary significance is the notion that just means are the most likely to lead to just ends. When Gandhi said that, “the means may be likened to the seed, the end to a tree,” he expressed the philosophical kernel of what some refer to as pre-figurative politics. Proponents of nonviolence reason that the actions we take in the present inevitably re-shape the social order in like form. They would argue, for instance, that it is fundamentally irrational to use violence to achieve a peaceful society.

  1. Some proponents of nonviolence, advocate respect or love for opponents. It is this principle which is most closely associated with spiritual or religious justifications of nonviolence,
  2. as may be seen in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus urges his followers to “love thine enemy,” in the Taoist concept of wu-wei, or effortless action,
  3. in the philosophy of the martial art Aikido,
  4. in the Buddhist principle of metta, or loving-kindness towards all beings,
  5. and in the principle of ahimsa, or non-violence toward any being, shared by Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
  6. Respect or love for opponents also has a pragmatic justification, in that the technique of separating the deeds from the doers allows for the possibility of the doers changing their behaviour, and perhaps their beliefs.
  7. As Martin Luther King said, “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”
  8. The Christian focus on both non-violence and forgiveness of sin may have found their way into the story of Abel in the Qur’an. Liberal movements within Islam have consequently used this story to promote Islamic ideals of non-violence.
  9. Finally, the notion of Satya, or truth, is central to the Gandhian conception of nonviolence. Gandhi saw truth as something that is multifaceted and unable to be grasped in its entirety by any one individual. We all carry pieces of the truth, he believed, but we need the pieces of others’ truths in order to pursue the greater truth.

This led him to a belief in the inherent worth of dialogue with opponents, and a sincere wish to understand their drives and motivations. On a practical level, willingness to listen to another’s point of view is largely dependent on reciprocity. In order to be heard by one’s opponents, one must also be prepared to listen. (Note: SPDC Generals should read this.)

The methods of nonviolent action

  1. Hunger strikes,
  2. pickets,
  3. vigils,
  4. petitions,
  5. sit-ins,
  6. tax refusal,
  7. go slows,
  8. blockades,
  9. draft refusal and
  10. demonstrations are some of the specific techniques that have been deployed by nonviolent movements. Throughout history, these are among the nonviolent methods used by ordinary people to counter injustice or oppression or bring about progressive change.

To be effective, tactics must be carefully chosen, taking into account political and cultural circumstances, and form part of a larger plan or strategy.

Walter Wink points to Jesus Christ as an early nonviolence strategist. Many of his teachings on nonviolence are revealed to be quite sophisticated when the cultural circumstances are understood. For example, among the people he was speaking to; if by collecting debts a person drove someone indebted to him to be naked, great shame fell on the debt collector — not the naked man.

So Jesus’ suggestion – that if someone asks you for your coat you give him your clothes as well – was a way to bring shame upon the debt-collector and symbolically reverse the power relation.

This kind of creativity is typical of nonviolent movements. AristophanesLysistrata gives the fictional example of women withholding sexual favours from their husbands until war was abandoned. SPDC Generals and soldiers could help us with this tactic but I don’t think we could recruit them successfully.

A useful source of inspiration, for those seeking the best nonviolent tactics to deploy, is Gene Sharp’s list of 198 methods of nonviolent action, which includes symbolic, political, economic and physical actions.

Activist/researcher George Lakey says there are three applications of nonviolent action, for:

  1. social defense (as in protection of a neighborhood or country from outside invaders);
  2. social change (its most known form, for advocating either reform or revolutionary   changes); and
  3. third-party nonviolent intervention.

This latter has been used as a method of intervention across borders to deter attack and promote peaceful resolution of conflicts. This has met with several failures (at least on the level of deterring attack) such as the Human Shields in Iraq, but also many successes, such as the work of Project Accompaniment in Guatemala. Currently there are several non-governmental organizations working in this area, including, for example: Peace Brigades International, and the Nonviolent Peace force. The primary tactics that they employ are unarmed accompaniment and human rights observation/reporting.

Many leftist and socialist movements have hoped to mount a “peaceful revolution” by organizing enough strikers to completely paralyze it. With the state and corporate apparatus thus crippled, the workers would be able to re-organize society along radically different lines.

Living nonviolence

For many practitioners, practicing nonviolence goes deeper than withholding from violent behavior or words.

It means caring in one’s heart for everyone, even those one strongly disagrees with.

One implication of this is the necessity of caring for those who are not practicing nonviolence.

Criticism

Leon Trotsky, Frantz Fanon, Subhash Chandra Bose, Chairman Mao and Malcolm X were fervent critics of nonviolence, arguing variously that violence is a necessary accompaniment to revolutionary change, or that the right to self-defense is fundamental.

In the midst of violent repression of radical African Americans in the United States during the 1960s, Black Panther member George Jackson said of the nonviolent tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“The concept of nonviolence is a false ideal. It presupposes the existence of compassion and a sense of justice on the part of one’s adversary. When this adversary has everything to lose and nothing to gain by exercising justice and compassion, his reaction can only be negative.”

Malcolm X also clashed with civil rights leaders over the issue of nonviolence, arguing that violence should not be ruled out where no other option remained:

“Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”

The efficacy of nonviolence was also challenged by anti-capitalist protestors advocating a “diversity of tactics” during street demonstrations across Europe and the US following the anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, Washington in 1999.

American feminist writer D. A. Clarke, in her essay “A Woman With A Sword,” suggests that for nonviolence to be effective, it must be “practiced by those who could easily resort to force if they chose.” This argument reasons that nonviolent tactics will be of little or no use to groups that are traditionally considered incapable of violence, since nonviolence will be in keeping with people’s expectations for them and thus go unnoticed.

One of the possible reasons that such criticisms are leveled against nonviolence is that it tends to be a slow, gradual means of achieving political change, and thus the connection between action and effect is less apparent than for violence.

In addition, the most notable successes of nonviolent protests, such as the United States Civil Rights Movement, have been against comparatively liberal governments. Another possible reason is that there are many different nonviolent strategies, and selecting strategies which work in a particular situation can be difficult; hence nonviolence does not always succeed – even though the same is true for violent means of social change.

The specific criticism that nonviolence is a form of passivity can be countered by noting that successful nonviolent campaigns have often centred around actively depriving a ruling regime of financial income (as in Gandhi‘s breaking of the salt tax), or the cooperation necessary to run industrial infrastructure. In this context nonviolence can be viewed as a form of attack on the command structure of a government or regime, rather than upon its personnel.

A much-debated topic is the issue of violence against objects, as opposed to against people. Some consider that damage to property falls within the scope of nonviolent action, while others reject such actions.

Political revolutions are often characterized by violence, and vast changes in power structures that can often result in further, institutionalized, violence, as in the Russian and French revolutions (with the “Purges” and “the Terror”, respectively). A political revolution is the forcible replacement of one set of rulers with another (as happened in France and Russia), while a social revolution is the fundamental change in the social structure of a society, such as the Protestant Reformation or the Renaissance. However, blurring the line between these two categories, most political revolutions wish to carry out social revolutions, and they have basic philosophical or social underpinnings which drive them. The most common revolutions with such underpinnings in the modern world have been liberal revolutions and communist revolutions, with the occasional nationalist revolution. In contrast, a coup d’état often seeks to change nothing more than the current ruler.

Some political philosophers regard revolutions as the means of achieving their goals. Most anarchists advocate social revolution as the means of breaking down the structures of government and replacing them with non-hierarchal institutions.

Among Marxist communists, there is a split between those who supported the Soviet Union and other so-called ‘communist states‘ and those who were/are critical of those states (some even rejecting them as non-communist, see state capitalism), for example trotskyists.

Social and political revolutions are often “institutionalized” when the ideas, slogans, and personalities of the revolution continue to play a prominent role in a country’s political culture, long after the revolution’s end. As mentioned, communist nations regularly institutionalize their revolutions to legitimize the actions of their governments. Some non-communist nations, like the United States, France or Mexico also have institutionalized revolutions, and continue to celebrate the memory of their revolutionary past through holidays, artwork, songs, and other venues.

Nonviolent action can appear in various forms:

  1. It may include the information wars (like various opposition radio, TV and Internet sites),
  2. lobbying (like present successful lobbyings against TOTAL etc),
  3. boycotts or sanctions,
  4. legal/diplomatic wrestling (like Burma Digest and Shan leaders legal action at International Criminal Court), etc

So it is clear that we urgently need a think tank to brain storm to get answers for all the above questions and all other possible problems.

We could not wait or postpone or procrastinate till it is too late. There is a Burmese saying, ‘Sit Yoke hma_Hmya Chun. Moe loon hma htun cha’. We need a definite plan, road map and well defined goal before we start a revolution.

SHWE BA

 

Comments

M M L said _

A brief principle with some explanations in Myanmar should be issued. Then a forum should be posted just to see how people respond.

Torch the Beijing Olympics

Torch the Beijing Olympics

Extracts from Manjit Bhatia’s article in the Malaysiakini

MANJIT BHATIA, an academician and writer, is also research director of AsiaRisk, a political, economic and risk analysis consultancy in Australia. He specialises in international economics and politics, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific.

I just saw an advertisement for Visa on television featuring Jackie Chan.


Now that he’s been plugging the Beijing Olympics, starting in August, one wonders if Chan sanctions_

  • Beijing’s barbaric annexation and colonisation of Tibet,
  • including the brutality that Chinese security forces have been routinely meting out to pro-independence Tibetans.
  • Is Chan saying Chinese barbarism in Tibet is justified?
     
  • a loony form of Chinese patriotism,
  • one that exemplifies China’s loony provincialism mentality. 
The Hu regime, on April 18, instructed its official mouthpiece, Xinhua, to issue an edict. In its editorial, approved by the Communist Party’s politburo, Xinhua extolled the virtues of Chinese patriotism, suggesting that it should be “cherished hundred-fold” whilst harnessing “rationally” in the pursuit of “sound and fast development”.
 
This is Chinese hyperbole at its ridiculous sloganeering best. Beijing is nervous. It fears that the recent state-organised Chinese street protests against criticism by the West of the regime’s barbaric attacks on Tibetan human rights, could turn on the regime. After all, only small number of Chinese, including the political elite, controls the bulk of national wealth. If ordinary Chinese should turn against the regime’s economic and political excesses, bloody mayhem is not imponderable. Recall Tiananmen Square in June 1989, and its bloody crackdown.
 
To many Chinese, Tibetan lives are pointless and worthless, much in the way that the lives of guest workers in many countries are treated.

Nervous Beijing
 
Despite its growing global presence, China deliberately spawns_

Taking Tibet in the name of ‘recapturing’ an old Chinese sovereignty and settling it with Chinese citizens has parallels elsewhere. Beijing’s brutalising persecution and murder of Chinese Muslims and the Falun Gong (Buddhists) approximate Nazi Germany’s of the Jews. 
  
The organised protests in China are Beijing’s attempts to counter protests during the torch relay run in several countries. China is desperate to save face after it is latest Tibetan odyssey – or misadventure. 

Purists argue that sports must not become entangled with politics. That’s as dumb as saying that religion and politics are mutually exclusive. Or that Tibet is nobody’s business but China’s. It’s every country’s business the way one country brutalises a weaker one.

If China gets away with murder_

  • it’s because of the collective hypocrisy of the West and Asia.
  • All have pervasive economic interests in China. 
  • Add, too, Asia’s conspicuous silence.
  • Such gutlessness is stunning.
  • It’s staggering and disgusting the way the Asians have kow-towed to China. 
  • It says plenty about India’s spineless foreign policy vis-à-vis China.
  • Similar displays of hypocrisy were exhibited in Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.

 

 
It’s precisely because of such despicable and entrenched hypocrisy among nation-states, including the pusillanimous attitude of the International Olympic Committee –  
It’s precisely because of such despicable and entrenched hypocrisy among nation-states, including the pusillanimous attitude of the International Olympic Committee

 

  • all devoid of morality and sensibility –
  • that Beijing will host the Olympic Games. Clearly, it does not deserve the privilege.

    The Beijing Olympics should be torched.

But powerful and greedy global and Chinese commercial interests, including the Chinese regime, will lord over human decency.

 

 

 

DSAI’s older Hard Talk with Stephen Sackur

DSAI’s older Hard Talk with Stephen Sackur

Anwar Ibrahim

What will the future hold for Anwar Ibrahim’s political career?

 

In a HARDtalk interview on May 10th, Stephen Sackur talks to Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim.

 

For more than two decades Malaysian politics was dominated by one man – former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.

But he has been off centre stage for almost two years and now the country is grappling with demands for political reform and an end to corruption.

Stephen Sackur talks to Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister and the man once seen as Dr Mahathir’s successor who ended up a prisoner.

He asks him about his role in Malaysia’s future.

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 04:30 GMT,1130 GMT, 1530 GMT, 1930 GMT, 0030 GMT

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30

 

‘Free Tibet’ flags made in China

‘Free Tibet’ flags made in China

BBC News

The flag of the Tibet  government-in-exile

Known as the Snow Lion Flag
Introduced in 1912
Banned in mainland China

Protesters holding a flag of the Tibet Government in Exile

Police in southern China have discovered a factory manufacturing Free Tibet flags, media reports say.

The factory in Guangdong had been completing overseas orders for the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Workers said they thought they were just making colourful flags and did not realise their meaning.

But then some of them saw TV images of protesters holding the emblem and they alerted the authorities, according to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper.

Tibet independence

The factory owner reportedly told police the emblems had been ordered from outside China, and he did not know that they stood for an independent Tibet.

Workers who had grown suspicious checked the meaning of the flag by going online.

Thousands of flags had already been packed for shipping.

Police believe that some may already have been sent overseas, and could appear in Hong Kong during the Olympic torch relay there this week.

The authorities have now stepped up the inspection of cars heading to the Shenzen Special Economic Zone and onwards to Hong Kong.

The Olympic torch is due to tour Hong Kong on Friday. It will then travel to a series of cities in mainland China before reaching Beijing for the start of the Olympic Games in August.

Its progress around the world has been marked by pro-Tibet demonstrations in several cities – including Paris, London and San Francisco.

Rallies began in the main Tibetan city of Lhasa on 10 March, led by Buddhist monks.

Over the following week protests spread and became violent – particularly in Lhasa, where ethnic Chinese were targeted and shops were burnt down.

Beijing cracked down on the protesters with force, sending in hundreds of troops to regain control of the restive areas.

But it has since agreed to resume talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama.

BBC Hard Talk with Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar

BBC Hard Talk with Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar

BBC Hard Talk before becoming an Anti_Foreigner Minister

Dato Seri Syed Hamid AlbarIn a HardTalk programme first broadcast on Thursday 13 September 2007, Sarah Montague talks to Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

 

Malaysia has just marked fifty years of independence, and there’s much to celebrate.

Living standards have improved immeasurably over the past five decades, illiteracy has been virtually eradicated and the economy is doing well.

But do Indian and Chinese Malaysians have as much to celebrate as the Malay population?

Sarah Montague talks to Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar about whether the law giving preferential treatment to Malay and other indigenous groups is now outdated.

 

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 03:30h GMT (not Asia), 08:30h GMT, 14:30h GMT, 20:30h GMT, 23:30h GMT (not Asia)

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 0430 and 2330.