COMING LETHAL FORTH POLITICAL TSUNAMI

  COMING LETHAL

FORTH POLITICAL TSUNAMI

Modified and edited the original comment written by AB Sulaiman and letter in Malaysiakini.

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that  AB Sulaiman and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens

There is popular tale of the frog that cuddles comfortably in a cauldron of water. The frog feels so comfortable that it has not detected that the water is warming up by a fire coming from under the cauldron. The rate of warming is slow, so the frog does not detect the rising temperature. Until it is too late when it realises the water temperature is too hot for its comfort and has to jump out in great shock.

The 8888 first political tsunami is somewhat like the rising temperature in the cauldron. The Myanmar Military Junta (read that was BSPP and supremo General Ne Win) mindset has been too comfortable riding the wave of military power, and for so very long, so much so that it has taken the population (especially the Bama segment) for granted, and does not detect the appearance of hate, disenchantment and detestation simmering and growing on the part of the population on the Tatmadaw until it is too late. Ne Win and successive cohort military anointed leaders were dethroned.

1990 second political tsunami was dedicated to overthrowing General Saw Maung, Supremo of SLORC. Daw Aun San Suu Kyi led opposition was voted in with a landslide 86% win. That was a greatest Political Tsunami in Burma.

And then latest, the third Safron Revolution was also another unexpected third political Tsunami for the Myanmar Tatmadaw leaders, this time SPDC Supremo Senior General Than Shwe had to bear the consequence.

The FORTH (In the Chinese Dialect, Catonese number four is called Sae. The other meaning of Sae is DIE.

(It is called Homophone = One of two or more words, such as night and knight, that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling.

Pun = A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words. )

So if the lethal FORTH TSUNAMI is allowed, it would wipe out the whole group of Myanmar Tatmadaw Military Generals.

And so now what do we have?

We have this momentous successive political tsunamis taking place.

What has hit?

The Military permanent dominance policy.

It is in actual fact more than just political, it is a psychological tsunami.

By definition the BSPP General Ne Win, SLORC General Saw Maung, and SPDC Supremo Senior General Than Shwe (in this context they are arguably synonymous to one another) mindsets have been going about controlling the reins of the country with the traditional mindsets of yesterday.

They rest on the ethnocentric platform of ‘Tatmadaw Thar Ah Mi_ Tatmadaw Thar Ah Pha‘ meaning that military is the true parents of the country (citizens). What kind of SHIT idea comming out from the sparrow bird’s brain?

With this they went way beyond reason to protect and propagate the sanctity of Tatmadaw, and similarly the elitism of the Tatmadaw culture, without paying too much respect to the views and sensitivities of the rest of the  civilians e.g. Bamas, Ethnic Minorities and Religious Minorities.

The military and ex-military, in the meantime, were treated like a father treating his favourite son, showering the child with a lot of goodies in the form of subsidies and a long list of affirmative action programmes. Their minds are carefully nurtured to be conservative and in conformity with the status quo. Mainly the child is nurtured and groomed to remain as a child, never allowed to grow into adulthood. The child is spoilt rotten.

All along and very much like the Burmese proverb “Chee Htae Mhar Pyaw thor Lauk”: meaning, The Maggot dropped into the pile of Shit or like a mouse falling into a sack of rice, the military leadership helped itself to the fats of the country involving obscene, ugly and astronomical amounts.

All along the non-Military or civilians were treated like enemies as witnessed by the nonchalant way the SPDC term all the oppositions as ‘enemies of the nation, to be eliminated’. More than that, it became very complacent, arrogant, immoral, irrational, and totally unprofessional with its Military leadership performance and accompanied by a deterioration of quality.

Lord Acton’s dictum that power corrupts with absolute power corrupting absolutely comes to the fore. The successive tsunamis then hits with a force far beyond even what the people had ever anticipated.

This psychological tsunami should be a wake up call to the complacent Tatmadaw mindset. Commentators and columnists have inundated the media, especially the Internet, suggesting ways and means on how this composite Permanent Military Dominence mindset can redeem itself.

I shall limit my contribution by saying that the Myanmar/Burma social, economic and political environments have changed since sixty years ago. The people are more educated, urbanised, and are enjoying a higher standard of living. They travel more often to more distant places. More importantly people read more and think more. They are more literate. They are more equipped and able to conceptualise about new ideas and new things around them. People are more matured, more ready to think of alternatives. They are not afraid of alternatives.

Coming back to the frog analogy, the Burmese people are ready to venture out from the Known to the Unknown. Put all these elements together and we have a population being more aware and more knowledgeable of things happening around them. We have a population with a declining group orientation, and taken over by a developed sense of the individual. They would require a leadership as aware and as knowledgeable as them.

The Myanmar Military Permanent Dominance policy holding incumbents SDPDC leaders should pay heed to this new breed of individual-orientated Myanmar/Burmese who have their own minds, and mainly have faith, trust, and confidence in their own judgments. Should the leaders not change as well so as to be at par with the people’s mindset, they will not be effective leaders.

In such an unfortunate mismatch situation, it is tantamount to an invitation for another more damaging LETHAL FORTH tsunami to come. Military dominence culture would surely be drowned by the sheer force of this tsunami.

 

Rangoon University Students Union

Rangoon University Students Union

RUSU

The political movement and the struggle for national liberation have a unique character in Burma as the students were always seen as the mobilizing force at the forefront of the struggle for freedom of Burma. The student movement is inseparable from the historic struggle for Burma’s independence from both colonial power and dictatorship.

Dr U Nyo had donated the Rangoon University Students Union building where students with the nationalistic spirit used to gather. Union building was finished before the start of 1931 summer holidays. Rangoon University and Yudathan College students gathered in that building for the first time and had a combined meeting. In that meeting they formed a protean committee for the drawing up of the constitution for the Students Union.

Ko Rashid led 9 member committee and that meeting decided_

  1. Students to vote and elect the committee members.
  2. To draw the University Students Union constitution.
  3. Discuss how to elect and choose the committee members.
  4. At that meeting temporary working committee was organized to supervise and hold an election for the Union Chairman and Committee Members.

Once the 1931-32 university semesters started, protean committee members had already finished the constitution.  The constitution, rules and regulations were also distributed to the Union members. Protean committee members called the union students a meeting at the upstairs hall in the union building and discussed about the election for the chairman post.

At that time, Ko Htun Sein had resigned from the Maths Department and was reading first year Law. Because of Ko Htun Sein’s outspokenness, courage, nationalistic spirit and great ambition, Thakhin Ba Sein wrote a proposal letter, nominating Ko Htun Sein for the Union Chairman post.  

Election Committee announced the election date and fixed to be held only in the next month. No one was nominated to compete with Ko Htun Sein for many days. University authority (Professor) ? D J Slorce’s crony students nominated Ko Ein, a Burmese Chinese, later became Galone U Saw’s minister (U Saw was the person who assassinated General Aung San)  to compete with Ko Htun Sein.

Therefore that election became the first in the history of the Student’s Union to be contested for the Chairman post. The University Students’ Union was ready in the University compound and became the centre of Nationalist movement of students. (That building was dynamited by General Ne Win)

Ko Htun Sein and Ko Ein’s supporters campaign very hard for them. Ko Ein’s supporters campaigned extreme methods such as mixing politics with religion. Just because Ko Htun Sein was a Muslim, they used religion to rundown Ko Htun Sein.

Even those disliked Ko Ein and defended Ko Htun Sein could not stand the attacks using religion and at last had to change camps to support Ko Ein.

During the election the religious extremists voted for Ko Ein. Crony students of the university authorities also voted for Ko Ein.

The election was quite active. The votes were counted thoroughly and finished at 11 PM.

Then the Election Committee Chairman Ko Kyaw Khin announced_

“Dear University Union Students, when the Election Committee members counted the votes, there is tie of votes. As the two candidates got the equal number of votes, the Election Committee members now have the duty or burden to   choose or elect the Chairman post. According to the Union’s Constitution, if the tally of vote is a tie, the Chairman of the Election Committee is allowed to vote to decide the outcome. If there is any protest or complaint of unfairness during the voting process, we could hold a new pooling to vote again. As the Chairman, I do not wish to decide in haste.  I wish to discuss seriously and thoroughly with all the Election Committee Members. I am telling this to make this election process fair and square.

Allow me to defer from making the decision tonight and kindly let me to give decision by casting my vote tomorrow morning at 8-00 A.M.” Once announce that decision only, Union members went back. 

References:

  1. Dr. Myint Swe’s article, “Rangoon University Students Union first Chairman Ko Htun Sein.”
  2. Pathi Ko Ko Lay, “History of Myanmar Muslims.”
  3. Smart Time Journal, volume (1) serial (5), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Pyit Taing Htaung/Tumbling Kelly and Yoke Thae Puppets

Pyit Taing Htaung Burmese opposition

Yoke Thae Puppets SPDC’s ‘civilian’ government

The Burmese traditional toy, Pyit Taing Htaung, which means “that which always rights itself when thrown down.” It is called Tumbling Kelly or billycan.

In Burma, a person who rises up again and again in the face of all vicissitudes of life is likened to a “pyit-taing-htaung.” 

This is the traditional toy of Myanmar and a-tumbling-kelly-2.jpgis made of papier-mâché, but colourful and attractive. Theses toys are usually sold on the stairways of the Pagodas all over Myanmar. They differ in size, style, idea, meaning and color giving each of them a unique definition and expression. Although these toys are no longer played by the urban children, they are still kept as souvenirs at home. But for the rural children, those lovely toys are something more than they can imagine.

It is usually colored red and with a white smiling face. But sometimes, it comes in golden color too.

Puppets (or) Marionettes
The puppets (or) marionettes of princes, princesses, clowns, orge, and horses are most common.

puppets.jpg

  • SPDC could throw Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLDs and Min Ko Naing led 88 Student leaders anywhere into the jail or put under the house arrest, they would never surrender.
  • SPDC wanted the monks, NLD, 88 leaders, SNLD and Ethnic Minorities and to be their puppets rubber stamping their Convention.
  • But they refused to be pulled up like the Puppets.
  • Of course the strings are pulled by SPDC Generals.

We hate to see the mixing up of Pyit Taing Htaung’s strings.  

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire VII

Detention of Ethnic Shan and other opposition Leaders

Read detail in Irrawaddy, “Detained Ethnic Leaders Denied Outside Medical Aid” By Shah Paung on January 8, 2008

Detained ethnic Shan leaders are being denied medical treatment from outside for serious health problems, according to the Shan National League for Democracy.

9883-khun-htun-oo.gif

SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo

SNLD spokesman Sai Lek told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that prison authorities had rejected or ignored requests by the families of SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo and SNLD member Sai Hla Aung for medical attention from outside.

Hkun Htun Oo suffers from_

  1. prostate problems,
  2. diabetes,
  3. heart disease
  4. and high blood pressure.

Sai Hla Aung has_

  1. a hyperthyroid condition,
  2. diabetes
  3. and heart disease.

They were arrested in February 2005, together with_

  1. SNLD General-Secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin,
  2. Shan State Peace Council President Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten
  3. and Shan politician Shwe Ohn, who was later released.

They were arrested days before a resumed session of the National Convention opposed by Shan leaders.

  • Hkun Htun Oo was sentenced to 92 years imprisonment and is detained in Putao prison, Kachin State.
  • Sai Nyunt Lwin received a 75 year sentence and is in Kalay prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sao Hso Ten was sentenced to a total of 106 years imprisonment and is in Hkamti prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sai Hla Aung received a sentence of 75 years and is in Kyauk Pyu prison, Arakan State.
  • Meanwhile, arrests of National League for Democracy members continue. NLD spokesman Nyan Win said five members of the NLD youth wing had been arrested between Burma Independence Day on January 4 and January 6. No reason has yet been given for the arrests.
  • According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), based in neighboring Thailand, there are more than 1,400 political prisoners in Burma.

SPDC Junta and Myanmar Tatmadaw failed to understand that patriotism is not the sole property of the Myanmar Tatmadaw and its Generals alone.

Each and every citizen_

  • regardless of his race,
  • religion,
  • social status
  • or political alignment,

has the right and is duty-bound to show his sense of patriotism to the country he loves in his own way.

Tatmadaw failed to acknowledge that the opposition parties like NLD, SNLD etc are equally patriotic, if not more so than SPDC leaders.

Many opposition leaders, to name a few_

  1. U Gambari lead real Buddhist monks,
  2. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD leaders like U Tin Oo,
  3. U Hkun Htun Oo led SNLD Shan leaders,
  4. Min Ko Naing lead 88 Student leaders, like Ko Ko Gyi etc,
  5. Burmese Muslims such as, Daw Win Mya Mya (NLD Mandalay, Panthay) and Ko Mya Aye (88 Student leader)

Are unlike those in the SPDC and Tatmadaw,

  • have given up much of their comforts in life,
  • endured so much pain and humiliation
  • and even have been detained
  • and tortured
  • under the illegal, undemocratic, unjust, draconian laws of the SPDC.

SPDC Junta should answer my question even if their brain is slightly larger than a bird’s brain.

If sacrificing the major part of one’s life for the nation is not patriotism, what is it then?

It is extremely distressing that the ruling Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw want to cling onto power instead of being an instrument for the peace, progress, prosperity, unity of Myanmar and power house to start an inertia of change to democracy.

Not only the different Races and religions have become the cause of disunity, hate, violence and turmoil but the Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw show the world that they are even willing to assault, arrest, torture and kill their own monks to stop the momentum of people’s peaceful struggle to initiate the changes to democracy.

So what’s left now to think about the safety or guarantee of other minority races and religious groups’ fate, life and property ?

We all now witnessed that Myanmar Tatmadaw is even willing to sacrifice and annihilate any one or any obstacle on their way to the road to their permanent dominance of Myanmar. 

But the whole world looks quite cool, slow and looks like willing to patiently waiting forever for the SPDC promised, “Rice presenting on the moon-plate”

SPDC Generals should stop playing the politics of fear and intimidation on the unarmed Myanmar civilians. They should not politicise or use the national security as an excuse because it would be the most unpatriotic act, amounting to treachery.

We have journeyed together, sharing a common brotherhood for 60 years and we have attained wisdom and maturity to effect change that would create an environment where all of the Burmese/Myanmar citizens can have our voices heard, rights respected and continue to live together without fear or suspicion of each other.

We should not allow selfish Military Generals to sow the seeds of disunity, suspicion, hate and jealousy that will only be detrimental to us in this multi-racial and multi-religious nation of Burma/Myanmar.

As Barrack Obama, the US presidential candidate, said after his first defeat in the primaries:

‘Change is hard. Change is always met by resistance from the status quo. The real gamble is to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result’.

We cannot and should not expect a better outcome from the same old Tatmadaw system over and over again. They will try to keep all the issues and dialogue in the back burner.

In order to create a just government for all of the Burmese/ Myanmars, we must strive to effect a change.

We have no much time to wait for the evolution, until or unless, UN and Mr Gambari could forced the snail paced present (almost effectively stalled) dialogue on the rocket louncher to install on to the fast track.

To bring about that change may not be that easy, it may be a monumental task, but there must be a beginning for all good things to happen.

Why shouldn’t it be now?

Is the saying, “Time and Tide wait for no man” irrelevant to the inhumane, noncivilized uniformed Tatnadaw?

Why did UN and the whole world allow the Junta to procrastinate when all of us already know that what the SPDC want was TIME only.

SPDC stupidly thought that time could heal the bleeding hearts of the people seeing their beloved revered monks beaten, arrested and killed.

It is now in our hands to make that change.

Do we have the will and courage to do so?

Except for the USA and EU leaders,

  • are ASEAN leaders,
  • OIC leaders,
  • Common Wealth leaders,
  • Non Allied movement leaders
  • and UN member countries’ leaders

all became cowards? Eunuchs with any B–ls? Greedy Crooks?

Or are they all willing to close their eyes, as the Burmese saying, “Myauk Thar_ Sar Chin Yin_Myaul Myet Nher_Ma Kyi Ne’.” meaning. “if you want to eat the flesh of the monkey, avoid looking at the face of the monkey.”

So carry on world leaders, just close your eyes to avoid seeing us beatened, tortured, arrested and killed by the Than Shwe Junta.

Please continue to enjoy the following article I republished from Irrawaddy.

Pro-Democracy Political Prisoners in Poor Health Condition
By Shah Paung
January 16, 2008

At least four detained political prisoners in Burmese prisons are in poor health and need medical attention, according to their family members.

The four political prisoners are Hla Myo Naung and Kyaw Soe of the 88 Generation Students group, who are both in Insein Prison in Rangoon; Win Maw, a pro-democracy activist, also in Insein Prison; and Myint Oo, a committee member of the Magwe Division of the National League for Democracy, who is in Mandalay Prison.

Hla Myo Naung has eye problems and is nearly blind in both eyes, according to a family member. He has had eye problems since October 2007, and was arrested while he was enroute to a Rangoon clinic to have an operation on the left side of one eye.

After he was arrested, authorities performed an operation on one of his eyes, but it was not successful and an eye nerve was damaged.

Family members of both Win Maw and Kyaw Soe said they received medical treatment in prison after they were tortured by the authorities in an interrogation center.

However, Win Maw has now contracted pneumonia. Kyaw Soe suffers from fainting spells. Both men were victims of water torture, according to sources.

A family member of Win Maw said they have not been allowed to visit him for nearly three weeks.

Myint Oo, who also suffers from pneumonia, began receiving medical treatment in a Mandalay prison hospital three days ago, according to family members.

Tate Naing, the secretary of the exiled-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said that since August 2007, the military government has arrested more than 7,000 people, including pro-democracy activists.  Prisoners are not allowed to receive outside medical treatment.

88 Generation Students leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi also have health problems, say their family members. They were arrested by authorities in August 2007.

According to the AAPP, there are more than 1,850 political prisoners in Burmese prisons.

 

Burma’s Saffron Revolution leader, Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira

Burma‘s Saffron Revolution leader

Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot)

U Gambira

Dr San Oo Aung 

gb-super.png

Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira,  is a prominent Buddhist clergy, who took a leading role in the August and September peoples’ protest in Burma.

In August 2007, SPDC announces the sudden increase in fuel prices. That cause a devastating effect of Burmese people as especially the food and basic necessities prices increased along with the massive inflation but there was no increase in consumer earning power not only for the poor but even for the average ordinary citizens.

Mass peaceful protests nationwide started on 21 September 2007. At first it was led by Buddhist monks. U Gambira, 27 year old monk was the leader organizing, instigating and leading all the monks. Only after a few days only ordinary people dare to support and took part and went down into the streets, protesting against the government, calling for a reduction in commodity prices, release of political prisoners and national reconciliation.

Beginning on 21 September 2007, the numbers of demonstrators increased considerably, with estimated numbers ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. Demonstrations on this scale have not been seen since the nationwide protests in 1988, which were violently suppressed by the authorities with the killing of approximately 3,000 peaceful demonstrators.  

Bae Thu Thay Thay_ Nga Tae Mar_Pyee Yaw.

That is sheer selfishness, self-interest, self-centeredness or egocentricity. We could call in a modern term, MYOB meaning “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS” or to ‘take care of our own self first’ policy. This has been the priority culture that practices by almost all of us, nowadays. Yes this provides a great advantage to the ruling Myanmar Military government when things related to Myanmar’s affairs.

This MYOB have deeply imbedded in our thinking process daily and putting chills of fear up into our spines coupled with the prospects of rewards if we just keep quiet or nod our heads or could reap the best rewards if we could support, praise and also greased the palms of various level of military authorities.

The monks of Burma are not prepared to kill for anything or anyone nor even a tinniest of a creature. But U Gambira had managed to successfully lead them to come out on to the roads ready to sacrifice for the benefit of their people. The simple gesture of the unarmed praying monks taking to the streets and standing their ground before the bayonets and tanks of the military junta sends out a clear message to the SPDC regime that while they have the guns and tanks it is the monks and the people who now command the moral high ground.

Although I was quite young, I still remember the images of the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in the about fifty years ago in Saigon, now renamed Ho Chin Minh city. The monks were protesting against the corrupt Vietnamese regime of that time. 

Later only I learnt that The South Vietnamese government troops had opened fire to disperse students and monks, who were banned from carrying Buddhist flags on Wesak Day. The Buddhist leadership quickly organized a protest that led to several monks burning themselves to death. 

I felt the déjà vu feeling when I saw the Burmese monks’ protests.

History always repeats itself but sometimes strangely in reverse condition. That South Vietnamese government was supported by USA and against the communists. Now the SPDC is the illegitimate children of communist/socialist General Ne Win and supported by communist China again. (China is becoming a Nga Pwa Gyi in both situations.) That Vietnamese government who shot monks was eventually toppled. We hope the same happens in Myanmar soon.  

Myanmar Tatmadaw should realize that it has lost all the remaining credibility, even if they have a few, not only in the eyes of its own people but more crucially for the world as well.

And by taking the stand that they have and keeping to it, Sayadaw U Gambira and our revered monks have shown the world that religion can also be a living dynamic force in the politics and is not a pariah faith to be locked in the sacred precinct of temples, churches, pagodas and churches. The only important fact is that the religion must be used with care and not to divide the people, races and religious followers but for the benefit of the country and humanity.

In Buddhism, Sanghas or Monks are revered in the same rank as Lord Buddha and Dharma, teachings or rules and regulations or Laws of Buddhism taught by Buddha. In Burmese, “Pha Yar_Ta Yar_Sangha” are held in the highest regard amongst the Burmese Buddhists. No one dare to insult Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, except SPDC and its thugs.

After Gautama Buddha’s Parinirvana, Sanghas maintain and preserve the teachings of the Buddha, as the guardians of Buddhism. All the Buddhists in Burma regarded Sanghas as the sons of Buddha who carry on the torch of enlightenment and march forward, continue to propagate and disseminate the Buddha’s teachings.

The protest began on Aug 19 after the government raised fuel prices. Initially, the protest involved only civilians but the impact changed dramatically when the monks took to the streets. 

Sept 26 was a sad day for Burma, when the Myanmar Tatmadaw opened fire on unarmed civilian protestors and Buddhist monks. Soldiers and police fired tear gas, clubbed protesters and arrested hundreds of monks in an attempt to quash the uprising.

ugb-2.jpg

Hundreds of deaths were reported, but the SPDC tried its best to cover-up and destroy the evidences. They did not hesitate to use force even against those unarmed Buddhist monks peacefully charting prayers. Even the very old and young monks were kicked and beaten by the ruthless soldiers and shoved them onto trucks.

Doors of their monasteries were broken; things were ransacked and taken away. Few thousands of monks were arrested. There are reports creeping out across the iron sieve reporting that many of them have been tortured and killed or died because of the wounds inflicted during the arrest and torture. Some monks go into hiding, some flee abroad, some are dead, but the fate of many more remains unknown.

Buddhist monks are greatly revered for their exceptionally humble, harmless and peaceful way of life. If the military rulers can act so ruthlessly against such defenseless spiritually inclined monks, it is frightening to imagine what more they are capable of doing to others less spiritual.Now the junta is openly hunting for four monks who it says are the ringleaders of the biggest uprising against the government in 20 years.

ugb-3.jpg

“Many monks are still hiding, at the homes of people, or on the top floors of apartment buildings,” one escaped monk, who gave his name as Vida, told reporters in northern Thailand. “It is dangerous for anyone who goes out. We are worried about our friends, especially those who have been arrested or have disappeared.”

”We saw that the military is very brutal, and we think a lot of people must have been tortured or killed. We plead with the international community to support us in any way you can.”

U Gambira, the leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, managed to speak by phone from an undisclosed location in Myanmar to a public meeting at the Asia Society in New York.

He told of daily arrests at monasteries. He told that there were many soldiers surrounding the Buddhist monasteries and also in the streets. 

Have our hopes and prayers for the rapid democratic change in Burma is totally crushed to a hopeless situation?

Have the pro-democracy protesters been defeated totally and there is no more hope left for all of us?

When a government resorts to bullets and clubs to suppress peaceful demonstrators, you know they have lost all moral authority and it is just a matter of time before the regime is dumped into the ash heap of history.

Anil Netto

The Burmese people have taken all that batons, bullets, cruelty and hard labour can give. But it is the Burmese junta that has lost all moral credibility – a long time ago. And thus, it is just a matter of time before these ruthless generals are unceremoniously booted out – with or without Asean’s help.

You see, it is no longer a worldly struggle but also a spiritual battle. That explains why the monks have been at the forefront of the struggle, the same way that priests and nuns led the People Power revolution in the Philippines that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In the evening of 25 September 2007, the authorities began a crackdown on the protesters, introducing a 60-day 9pm-5am curfew and issuing public warnings of legal action against protesters.  Arrests of reportedly at least 700 people have followed in the former capital Yangon, the second-biggest city, Mandalay, and elsewhere.  Among those arrested in Yangon were monks, members of parliament from the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), other NLD members and other public figures.  

Websites and internets blogs carrying information and photographs of the demonstrations were blocked; internet lines were cut. Telephone lines and mobile phone signals to prominent activists and dissidents were also cut.  

ugb.jpg

U Gambira, as a leader of the All-Burma Monks’ Alliance had spearheaded the nationwide protests. He became a fugitive following the deadly Sept. 26-27 crackdown on protesters nationwide.

SPDC had arrested the family members of U Gambira, and shamelessly declared that they will not release them until U Gambira has been detained.  At first, U Gambira could successfully avoid the government authorities but had to giveup to safe his family as SPDC had cowardly arrested his family as a ransom.

  1. Ko Aung Kyaw Kyaw, the younger brother of U Gambira and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division, was arrested in Rangoon.
  2. Another brother, Ko Win Zaw, a HIV/AIDS patient, was also arrested in their hometown of Pauk.
  3.  U Gambira’s mother and sister were also arrested by the township police in Meikhtila in Mandalay division. 
  4. U Min Lwin, his father and another sister had to be on the run.   The military intelligence officer who arrested U Gambira’s family members shamelessly told them they would not be released until U Gambira is detained.

Like other detained political dissidents they were at very high risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The following is a statement recorded by RFA:

“My situation is not good. I have slept without shelter for two nights. I am not very well now. My security is pretty bad,” he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.

“Now these fellows are trying to butcher me. Now if you are done talking, as soon as you hang up, I have to move somewhere…”

“The important thing for overseas Sanghas [monks] is to carry out the Burmese cause continuously, with unity. At the moment, as you know, we cannot do anything inside Burma. We have been assaulted very badly. A few got away, a few left. I am still trying to get away but I haven’t succeeded.”

He read the following message to_

  1. U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari,
  2. U.S. President George Bush,
  3. and to the world:

“Mr. (Ibrahim) Gambari… I wish to say,

  • please do something effective and practical for Burma.
  • Measures such as economic sanctions and arms embargo will take time (years) to achieve a political solution. What is most important is for today, for tomorrow.  
  • Please tell Mr. Gambari that I am very grateful for his active participation in Burmese affairs. I have a tremendous respect for him.
  • But please tell him to implement the most effective practical measures in Burma.
  • Please try.
  • Please send U.N. representatives to Burma to carry out various ways and means to get political results now. For today.”

To Buddhists all over the world and activists and supporters of Burmese movement_

  • please help to liberate the Burmese people from this disastrous and wicked system.
  • To the six billion people of the world, to those who are sympathetic to the suffering of the Burmese people, please help us to be free from this evil system.
  • Many people are being killed, imprisoned, tortured, and sent to forced labor camps.
  • I hereby sincerely ask theinternational community to do something to stop these atrocities.
  • My chances of survival are very slim now. But I have not given up, and I will try my best.”Killings, torture, labor camp

I would like to make an appeal to President Bush:

  • Please take pride as a President who has worked hard for Burma to achieve something before his term expires.”
  • “I might not have very long to live.
  • I, Gambira, speaking by phone with you right now, have a very slim chance of survival.
  • Please try your best to relieve our suffering.
  • It will be worse in future when they [the junta] have laid down their roadmap so they can remain in power forever—it will be a blueprint to oppress us systematically.
  • Once they establish their constitution, the Burmese people will suffer for generation after generation.”
  • Reports came out of the arrest of the U Gambira on 4 November. His brother Aung Kyaw Kyaw and father Min Lwin were also arrested in October. Their current whereabouts are not known.
  • U Gambira is believed to have been charged with treason for his role in leading the demonstrations, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
  • Other members of his family were arrested as “hostages” in an attempt to force him out of hiding.
  • U Gambira was arrested the same day his article appeared on the Washington Post on November 4, the source said.
  • The source, who talked to the clergy over telephone, said,
  • “He [U Gambira] responded saying that he had been arrested and is now under detention. Then, the line was disconnected.”
  • While how his arrest came about is difficult to confirm, some activists in exile believe it is related to his article, saying it might have given the junta clues to where he was hiding.
  • He was arrested on 4 November in Singaing.  U Gambira is 27 years old and is also a spokesperson for the People’s Movement Leader Committee.
  • U Gambira was arrested from a hiding place in Kyaukse, central Burma, in early November.

According to the news published on Dec 5, 2007 by DVB:

The father of U Gambira, U Min Lwin, who was detained along with his son a month ago, has now been released, according to a family member. Min Lwin and U Gambira were arrested by officers from the police information force and other government officials in Sintgaing Township, Mandalay division, together with a third man named Ko Mondine.

ugb-1.jpg

  • U Gambira, was held at Insein prison since his arrest, while his father was detained at New Mandalay prison.
  • After being held for one month, Min Lwin was released at around 11pm on 3 December. Ko Mondine and two other men from Mandalay division, Pyone Cho from Ma Hlaing Township, and Khin Maung Soe From Htone Bo Township, were released at the same time.  
  • Ko Mondine, Pyone Cho and Khin Maung Soe had been arrested for delivering money to U Gambira.
  • Min Lwin said he did not want to talk about his prison experiences in detail.
  • “I’m very happy that I can meet my family again,” he said.  He said that he would now seek justice for his sons U Gambira and Aung Kyaw Kyaw, who was arrested in Rangoon on 17 October. Both of them remained in detention.
  • Aung Kyaw Kyaw is the younger brother of U Gambira
  • and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division. According to the following reports in Irrawaddy,
  • His mother told The Irrawaddy that authorities told U Gambira’s family that he is charged with treason for his leading role in the September mass demonstrations.

U Gambira was born in the town of Pauk in central Burma. He has three brothers and one sister. 

ugb-2.jpg

“I am very worried,” said his mother.

  • “I am so sad for my son and my husband.
  • They might be tortured during interrogation.
  • But I am proud of him [U Gambira].
  • Since his childhood, my son has been active in helping other people.”
  • The monk’s father, Min Lwin, is believed to be in Burma’s infamous Insein Prison, said U Gambira’s mother.
  • U Gambira’s brother, Kyaw Kyaw, was also arrested in October as an exchange while the monk was in hiding.
  • But his brother has not been freed since the monk’s capture.
  • His mother and three other family members were also detained and interrogated before he was arrested.

Detaining of the fugitive political activists’ family members by the SPDC authorities calling for an exchange with the fugitive activist is regarded by the Human rights organizations as a form of criminal inhumane act of illegally “taking hostages”.

The Saffron revolution is not over yet.

  • The SPDC regime’s use of mass arrests, murder, torture and imprisonment
  • has failed to extinguish our desire for the freedom that was stolen from us so many years ago. We have taken their best punch.
  • As the famous saying, “Shwe Ba Ah Sa Nar Myee.” This is just a temporary set-back.
  • There is another Burmese saying_Htow Myi’ Sin_Nauk Ta Hlan_Sohe Thee.
  • The GOOD will always TRIUMPH over the EVIL.
  • Kindly allow me to repeat clearly and firmly again, “our uprising is not over yet!”
  • The SPDC military Junta may control the streets and monasteries,
  • but they will never be able to control the hearts and minds or determination of the Burmese people.

ugb-4.jpg 

Now it is the generals who must fear the consequences of their actions.

We adhere to nonviolence, but our spine is made of steel.

There is no turning back.

There is another Burmese saying, Ngoke Mi_Thae Taing. Tet Naing_Phar Yoke.

It matters little if my life or the lives of colleagues, comrades should be sacrificed on this journey as long as our beloved holy, revered monks are leading us.

After all, Sayardaw U Gambari had selflessly sacrificed for all of us.

Our comrade brothers, sisters, children will fill our sandals, and more will join and follow till the Saffron Revolution revolution succeed and dumped the Myanmar Tatmadaw to where they belong, barracks, as the servants and security guards of the Burmese People.

Ah Yae Daw Pone Aung Ya Myi.

Free Sayardaw U Gambari !

FREE DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI!

FREE BURMA!

ugb-6.jpg

Acknowledgement

Many data obtained from_

               

To win the Hearts and Minds of the people of Burma

To win the Hearts and Minds

of the people of Burma 

Surely there must be a_

 “How-to-Govern” manual somewhere that says:

Thou Shalt Not Martyr Thy Opponents

Unless Thou Really Is Not Interested in

Winning the Hearts and Minds of Thy People’.

Marina Mahathir

Actually I just want to write two shot commentaries after reading Burma Digest but I cannot finished in few words because they moved my heart so much.  Dr. Thuria Tayza’s presentation to Wilton Parl Conference, “We Also Want to Stand on Our Own Feet” and Jim Mcnalis’ ” Creating Heroes”. After reading the following two paragraphs of the above named authors, my eyes were filled with tears because their words went directly into my heart.

Dr. Thuria Tayza wrote,”But we also want to be able to stand on our own feet. We cannot go on indefinitely living our lives on charity from around the world. We do not want our people to become regarded by the world as begging people. We do not want our next generation to have to go on begging around the world for charity and donations. We want our sons and grand sons to be able to live in their home land as proud citizens who can stand on their own feet.”

Jim Mcnalis wrote in his, Creating Heroes, “What the regime fails to understand is that they have not created prisoners, they have created heroes.  Like Daw Suu Kyi, they are unable to break down their opposition.”

Actually most of our opposition and our enemy SPDC had unsuccessfully tried to influence the “brains of our Burmese Mass, population” by presenting facts, figures and statistics. We count the number of political prisoners, number of raped ethnic minorities, number of HIVpatients, inflation figures. We had tried to influence the brains of the Burmese People but we could not or failed to mobilize the whole population to rise up against the SPDC.

And SPDC also show off the infrastructures they had built such as; roads, bridged, dams e.t.c. to influence the people including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. But they even blamed Daw Suu that they allowed Daw Suu to tour the country to appreciate the above but, “she ignored the progress of the Nation building process of the Military.”

That shows that we all are ignorant in politics, if I have to borrow the words of the famous political Analyst, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, “People decide with their hearts but not with their brains.” If we could move the heart and minds of the people, we could mobilize the masses; detailed facts and figures are not that important actually.

No wonder, politicians and leaders frequently and successfully used the “Patriotism” to push for the mass mobilization even to start a war. When blinded with Patriotism, people are willing to kill or dared to be killed.

Love for the country, race and religion are successfully used by the leaders to mobilize the whole country. Even the dictators around the world tried to threaten their citizens with bogeymen: foreign super-powers, neo-colonization, re-colonization, communists, foreigners, possible loss of the country, race or religion e.t.c.

Actually SPDC had failed badly in this Psychological and Propaganda Warfare. As Jim Mcnalis wrote in his, Creating Heroes, “What the regime fails to understand is that they have not created prisoners, they have created heroes.” If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is free, she would not get the present support of the whole Burma and the people of the world. May be even difficult to get a Noble Prize. Even before getting the power, opposition leaders, U Nu and Aung Gyi chose to walk a different path.

If only SPDC had allowed NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to form a democratic government, the Political scenario today would be different. Please kindly allow me to use an analogy.

Parents had given their beloved daughter a piece of cake. The big brother was angry because he thought the parents had shown some favouritism. So he used his bigger strength and power to take away the cake from his helpless power sister. The parents and neighbours witnessed that and labeled the big brother as a big bully. All of them pity the poor young sister.

If only he is more diplomatic, asked nicely that he is hungry, parents could give him another piece of cake. Or his gentle kindhearted sister would definitely share her cake. After all he is the one who is brave, strong and protecting her from the bullies in school and neighbourhood.

If only the SPDC is more diplomatic, may be the corruptions and infightings amongst the opposition could definitely need for NLD and Daw Suu to even ask help from the Tatmadaw. After all, the military is needed in all the countries to fight off the enemies and to unify the country. They are at least trained, well organized and have the experience of running the country’s government machinery. Just see our neighbours, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. After bringing down the military dictators, people have to turn back to ask help from their military later.

So arresting of Daw Suu, Min Ko Naing and all the political prisoners made them hero and definitely the whole world and all the Burmese People see SPDC as mere thugs.

But we had badly failed to mobilize the opposition during the Depayin incident. I think that is our biggest weakness. God forbade, if they do any thing bad on our leaders or even if bad things accidentally happens, we must prepare to mobilize the whole population to over-throw this SPDC Government.

I hereby congratulate and wish to record the praises to the BBC. We all know and accept that BBC was the prime mover of the people’s power in 8888 movement. On the day of surfacing of the “Royal Wedding Video”, BBC World’s  the “Asia Today” successfully and effectively shown a section of the video-clip of the diamonds of that “Princess” followed by the scene of Myanmar’s poor people in the slum. The short clip showing the mother feeding her hungry daughter with rice only without any curry, followed by the following video pictures could influence the world’s opinion on SPDC. Because the mother was talking to the BBC camera, the child touched her mother to attract her attention, showed the gesture by pointing her mouth to feed her could move the audiences’ hearts. Some of my friends even cry with pity. Congratulations BBC. You have done a very good job for us.

BBC had successfully illustrated the Dr Tayza’s following words “In Burma people are poor not because there’s no money in Burma. There is money in Burma. Burmese generals are making billions of dollars every year from gas, oil, forestry and mining in Burma. But the problem is they are using that money to buy huge diamonds for very grand and very glamorous and very glittering weddings for their daughters. So you know what is the root cause of long term problems in Burma.”

Bo Aung Din

The Power of Arts Moves

The Hearts and Minds of the People

The greatest power of art is its power to shake us into revelation and rip us from our default mode of seeing. After an encounter with that force, we don’t look at a face, a colour, a sky, a body, in quite the same way again. We get fitted with new sight: in-sight. Visions of beauty or a rush of intense pleasure are part of that process, but so too may be shock, pain, desire, pity, even revulsion. That kind of art seems to have rewired our senses. We apprehend the world differently. (BBC’s Simon Schama)

The Arts have an incredible potential to heal the individual, and to heal communities at times of need and turmoil. But, perhaps even more important, the arts can empower us to become agents ourselves towards the healing and empowerment of others.  “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”- (Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, 1952)

Writing, Poetry and The Spoken Word can empower individuals and communities. Words can unite, uplift, teach, build communities, inspire, and heal. Even stone, clay canvas or a blank paper came to life with the magic touch of artists.

The whole nation or even the whole world could be motivated by the power of art. There are some words that moved our hearts so much.  

Our beloved national hero Bogyoke Aung San’s speeches had moved the whole Burma to fight for the Independence. ‘I Have A Dream’ speech given by Martin Luther King from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the August 1963 had electrified America.

No wonder, politicians and leaders frequently and successfully used the “Patriotism” to push for the mass mobilization even to start a war. When blinded with Patriotism, people are willing to kill or dare to be killed.

Former UN Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail recalls his meetings with Burma’s most famous prisoner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.in his, One Wisma Putra.. His art of portraying Daw Suu choked my heart, and I could not even talk for a while and unable to hold my tears.

“After a period of waiting she emerged, cool and composed, in a traditional blue blouse and sarong, with bunga melor (jasmine flower) in her hair. Call it a grand entrance, if you like. She was polite and dignified, placing me on her right as she sat with me on a semicircular settee, her back ramrod straight. It was one of those settees without backs, the kind that tends to make one slouch if one is not careful, and it made me painfully aware of my own posture, sitting beside her with her back straight as a dancer. Subconsciously, I felt obliged to match her posture, losing the battle, however, and slouching as the discussion went on. There was no question about it —she looked very attractive, what with the scent of the melor in the air at close quarters. At an early part of my conversation with her, I said, “You are not only courageous but also attractive.” (I was forewarned that she was glacial). By the end of a two-hour chat, during which time she did not bend at all (perhaps symbolic of her uprightness in terms of her principles), a basis for an ongoing relationship had already developed.

She believed wholeheartedly in the rule of law and hoped that the UN would equally commit to that in helping Myanmar. Our discussions covered, obviously, issues of reconciliation, the rights of various ethnic parties, the future role of the military, etc. But the times with her were very rich. Conversation meandered to other subjects like life, culture, humanity, law and rights. The Lady (Suu Kyi is affectionately referred to thus across the country) really can talk. She impressed me, surprised me, that despite her years of detention she had managed to keep track of virtually everything, including UN developments and those in the world. She even told me that she had been re-examining the Myanmar constitution in readiness for the difficult negotiations ahead toward national reconciliation and democracy.

Marching songs and bands are used by the armies to psyche their soldiers and the public. All the people are elated, ecstatic, euphoric and excited under the charm of the marching songs. Nationalistic spirits rose to the heaven. Love of the country filled our heart. Even hearing our National Anthem abroad, especially played after winning any game or sports at the prize giving ceremony would give a goose skin to all of us. Not only at the national level but our school song, party song or company songs could unite us and give us power and love to the respective organizations.

The other powerful art forms such as movies, plays, stage performances etc also need the background music. Even before the real scene of fight, love, sadness, scary events appear, background music could psyche the audiences in the required moods. And, nowadays because of the advances in Information Communication Technology, Internet is rapidly establishing itself as the most powerful weapon of the powerless poor ordinary citizens.

So, to mobilize the people, we need to know that the people tend to decide with their hearts but not with their brains. If we can move the heart and minds of the people, we may be able to mobilize the masses for our ultimate people power movement to topple military rule in Burma..

Dr San Oo Aung

To rebuild our beloved Burma on Moral High Grounds

To rebuild our beloved Burma

on Moral High Grounds

 

Lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,

Whereto the climber upward turns his face;

But when he once attains the up most round,

He then unto the ladder turns his back,

Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees

By which he did ascend.

Shakespeare’s – Julius Caesar II.i.22.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Success put us in the higher position. Once at the top_ in Burmese ‘Auk che loot thee’_ we forgot our origin and became very proud and arrogant.

‘Pwint Kaung’ Fish paste and Fish Sauce factory was nationalized. After many years General Ne Win wanted to give back the deteriorating factory to the owner and called the owner, U Pwint Kaung three times. But U Pwint Kaung refused to go back and accept his old factory. When General Ne Win rang up and asked, he replied, “Bogyoke, I could repair the ruined machines but could not changed back the ruined workers”.

General Htun Kyi was removed from the post of the Minister of Trade for corruption but was never tried in open court or punished because of fear of exposing the involvement of the colleagues in the cabinet. He was famously or rather notoriously quoted while still as a Minister:

 “Money can buy any thing you want. If you offer the US ten Dollar note, a hand will come out even from the graveyard to accept it. US hundred Dollar note may attract the whole body to come out to reach it.” When he was removed from office and investigated by the Military Intelligence he shouted at them to go and look at Daw Kyaing Kyaing’s Kyat 200 million worth of diamond earrings which he had given as bribes. So no one dare to continue with the investigations.

Daw Kyaing Kyaing is famous or notorious for her extreme greediness in bribe-taking. Once General Maung Aye was traveling in a helicopter and saw a very long convoy of teak timber lorries. He was angry and ordered his subordinates to take action on those illegal loggers as they were responsible for the deforestation of the hills and making them look like bald-heads. He fell silent when replied that those are Daw Kyaing Kyaing’s peoples and properties.

If we use the concept or philosophy of General Htun Kyi as input into a barometer to gauge the level of corruption in Myanmar Military Rulers the result will be frightening. The corruption of Generals and Government servants spread up to abroad. Myanmar Embassies’ staffs up to the Ambassadors and their family members would go around the Burmese Business communities and use to demand buying for them the latest most expensive hand phones, laptop computers etc… Government Procedure Code 4 or in Burmese ‘Poke ma lay, meaning, Pay hma loke,” that is ‘start work (service) only when bribed’, is widely practiced in the whole Myanmar and had even spread to Myanmar Embassies abroad. It is widely believed that this corruption leads to the burning of the Myanmar Embassy in KL.

Unemployment, insufficient income or low earning power, inflation and scarcity of goods lead to: _

Mushrooming of black-marketers everywhere including smuggling across all the borders and transport to the whole country.

Sprouting of new business of selling and buying of rations, permits and goods obtained by these rights. Even the Military authorities up to the Generals and Cabinet Ministers are practicing this. The army drivers sell their petrol, and wives of ministers use to sell sugars, condensed milk tins, soaps, cosmetics, electrical, building materials like cement and zinc coated corrugated iron sheets etc.

Military authorities and their cronies get nationalized apartments and sold off later. Some of them acquired the government land or the land government had acquired by various methods from the ordinary people. They acquired the building materials, sold part of it which can not only cover the cost of building material but the labour expenses also. Later the finished buildings were sold off with exuberant prices. This circle goes on and including the various levels of Military authorities. They built buildings in every town they were posted and also in their home town with the excuse of settling later after retirement.

Corruption became rampant. All three generations of Military governments’ machinery is plagued with corruption.

There appears a special class of “Sitt, Taung Sar” a homophone in Myanmar. Sounds like the Mayor or ruler of Sittang. But the real meaning Sitt is- inspection, investigation or audit. Taung means ask or demand for bribes. Sar is taking or accepting bribery. (But the corrupt authorities failed to realize that actually that Sit Taung Sar really rhymes with Tha Daung Saar or beggars. As all the people have to work or deal with black markets and smuggling bribery became ticket of survival. Because income is not enough the corruption became essential for many government servants and Military authorities.

Drug smugglers, prostitutes and gamblers are not accepted by the public in general but their easy money some times covered up for most of misdeeds until they are exposed.

Emigration permanently or temporarily also became new phenomena.

Working as sailors or legal and illegal migrant workers in foreign country is also one of the best solutions for the people and country. They bring back hard currency and essential as well as luxury goods.

It is also a blessing in disguise for all the Myanmar people. It forced and changed Burmese into a hard working people. People are working double jobs. In the evening and nights they are taking part time or second job in addition to their regular daytime jobs.

So it is up to the person’s character, moral values and upbringings, whether he is spoilt and degenerated or improved, polished and progressed in this trying hard time.

Corruption is a general concept describing any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system’s original purpose. 

Specific types of corruption include:

1.         Political corruption, corruption of a political system through bribery, intimidation, extortion, vote buying, destabilization, or influence peddling

2.         Police corruption

3.         Corporate crime

4.         People’s corruption

In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse of public (governmental) power for illegitimate, usually secret, private advantage.

All forms of government are susceptible to political corruption. Forms of corruption vary, but the most common are patronage, bribery, extortion, influence peddling, fraud, embezzlement, and nepotism. While corruption often facilitates criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and criminal prostitution, it is not restricted to these organized crime activities, and it does not always support or shield other crimes.

What constitutes illegal corruption differs depending on the country or jurisdiction. Certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some countries, police and prosecutors have broad discretion over who to arrest and charge, and the line between discretion and corruption can be difficult to draw, as in racial profiling. In countries with strong interest group politics, practices that could easily constitute corruption elsewhere are sometimes sanctified as official group preferences.

Alexander the Great was retorted by a pirate that because he had a small boat only that he was called a thief and pirate, but as Alexander had a navy so was called an emperor.

Yes! This is an unfair world at that time. He who kills an ordinary person is the murderer and must be punished. But he who killed a king become the ruler and ascends the throne.

There was a very popular joke in Burma (Myanmar). We all know that Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yu was General Ne Win’s best friend.

Mr Lee told Ne Win, “I would be able to turn Burma in to a ‘Singapore’ if you allow me to rule Burma just for only three years”.

Ne Win retorted immediately,” I also could turn Singapore in to ‘Burma’ just in only three months, if you give me a chance.”

That satire spread like a wild fire among all Burmese citizens without the help of any media.

Sure, Ne Win can! He and Myanmar Military Generals would be able to ruin and rob Singapore, till it bankrupt in a very short period.

He already had turned the once wealthy Burma into one of poorest country in the world. Actually Burma before Ne Win was the second most developed and wealthy country in Asia after Japan. Now she is among the least developed countries in the whole world.

If the country or a company or a person is bankrupt we could safe within five years but if the people of a country bankrupt morally, we could not safe and correct back in fifty years that is about one generation.

Successive Myanmar Military Governments not only robbed and ruin the country’s wealth physically but also corrupted and destroyed the peoples’ moral values in to a shambles, shabbiness and shame.

Myanmar Military Governments repeatedly brainwashed the people, by using all his government machinery and propaganda warfare techniques that he had to take over powers because of the historical needs, to save the country from the destructive hands of democracy leaders leading into division as multiple small states.

SLORC and SPDC Generals just echoed the same theme and claimed that they have no choice but to save the country from disintegration in the hand of evil forces. Namely the foreign agents, communists, Ethnic Minorities and rebels were named just to drum up the support making use of the patriotism and nationalistic spirits of the ordinary innocent naive people.

The worst of all, Ne Win planted the corrupted ideology or seed of the ‘Right to rule’ in the mind of the Burma Army. Successive Myanmar Military rulers not only believed and accepted it as a rule but made it in to a doctrine and determined to put it in their new constitution. They conveniently forgotten that the might is neither always right nor supreme but the knowledge or the brain rules the world.

They forgot that the military is the servant and is just like the security guard of the country and the people but not the masters, as they believed. People paid from their various taxes to the Army to protect them from the internal and external enemies, but never appointed the Army Generals to be their masters. The last free and fair General Election clearly proved this. The whole world knows this but the Myanmar Generals had given lame excuses just to hold on the power against the will of the people.

It is obvious that the security guards of a bank have no legal right at all to claim that the Directors and Managers of the bank are incompetent and they, the security guards, have the right to take over and run the bank to ‘save’ it. This is much more serious than criminal breach of trust and abuse of force. It is worse than a simple robbery but a great treachery. Myanmar Military Leaders are doing exactly like these security guards of the bank. The world’s largest and most powerful armies are kept under the control of the civilian Defense Ministers’ command. Even in the communist parties and in the various rebel groups around the world including those in Burma, the political faction keeps the right to command. The Military faction has to obey the orders.

Even in the domain of the wars and battles which is the main task and work for the armies, the Great Generals have no right at all to declare and start a war, or stop the war. Traditionally Political Leaders of the country have to decide these and the Generals have to obey the command, although they may be consulted for their advice and information.

General Ne Win took over the power in March of 1962. Military coups were quite popular in those days of early sixties in Asia, Africa and in Latin America. Now it is out of fashion and most of them reverted back to the civilian rule.

And the concept of Socialism and Communism was also very popular in those countries then because they had a bitter taste of colonialism and equate their western colonial masters with Capitalism and Democracy.

Nowadays only, most of the world realized the ugly side of Socialism and Communism especially because of their associated Authoritarian, Autocratic, Totalitarian and often Tyrant Governments. While the ordinary people have to sacrifice endlessly for the sake of the country, the leaders would enjoy not only all the best in the country but by even importing all the luxuries or went around for luxury tours to those ‘Imperialist, corrupted western Democracies’.

The most important thing is that they fail to deliver their promises of Paradise on Earth. Ordinary people become poorer and there is no sign of any improvement whatsoever after all their sacrifices for the country and party. The worse of all is the fact that those rulers amassed enormous amount of wealth and are enjoying their self-made ‘Paradise’ at the expense of the people. The mother of worse for the Burmese people is the fact that the Myanmar Military rulers have no shame at all but very corrupt and amass all the wealth of the country, not like other pure Socialist or Communist leaders. Country’s political systems were just vehicles or excuses used as a cover up operation or smoke-shield for the continued rule of the army only.

Political leaders and the governments are like the control center and the brain of the country. Military is like the limbs of the body. They have the muscular power, skeletal hard ware and some rudimentary reflexes. The limbs could not take over the place of the brain just because they have the power. They could not justify their act by claiming that they are supporting and defending brain and the whole body. There will be chaos. Myanmar Military is just doing this by giving the same lame excuses.

Like the limbs’ rudimentary reflexes, the Myanmar Military Generals also have a limited education. General Ne Win had not pass the Inter A. (GCE A) And General Saw Maung was rumored to have studied up to Primary School Education, i.e. fourth standard only.

According to the Myanmar Military ‘Socialists’, educated class or intellectuals are undecided, ignorant and corrupted class not to be trusted in their ‘Socialist’ revolution or in the Military.

Actually the Military dictators knew that they could not fool the educated class easily. The intelligent class always uses their heads (brains) and use to question and analyze each and every order. The dictators and especially Military leaders never like that attitude. Subordinates must always obey the command given to them. They have no right to think whether it is right or wrong, just or not.

Command is command. All must obey. Intellectuals have no place under Military rulers. If they do not want to keep their mouth shut, they must be put into detention or leave the country to avoid the dangerous consequences.

In civilized countries the scholar is always placed above the ‘man of war’ believing that “Nations which trusted the gun perished by it earlier”.

But in Myanmar under the Military rulers the opposite of the above rule is always correct. For Myanmar Military, power comes out from the barrel of the gun only. The might is always right for them.

And all the politicians are regarded as untouchables, low class taboo. General Ne Win in earlier days always equates them with the “corrupted, degenerated Parliamentarians” but later he introduced a “rubber stamp” Parliament to support and endorse his rule. And the army and ex-army men monopolized the politics and became Royal politicians.

Myanmar Military governments openly practice Nepotism, Cronyism and never decide on meritocracy alone.

Myanmar Military government is never transparent and is never free from corruption in all the dealings.

There is no check and balance, ACA (Anti Corruption Agency) or any organizations dealing with corruption must be independent from the administrative branch of Government. Newspapers, TVs and all the media must be free and independent to probe and do investigative reports. But those are turned into eunuchs and sycophants by Myanmar Military.

NGOs and other right groups must also not free to express their views nor even allow doing their works freely. All of them and various reporters have no free access to the government and the big companies connected them. These should be allowed as long as there is no real danger of espionage or national security. There is a danger of over protection and trying to hide under the name of national security to avoid exposure of the corruption.

There is no separation of powers in the SPDC Military Government. Administrative power of the head of the government should not let to be able to influence the Judiciary, Attorney General’s office and Legislative assembly.

Governments must accept that they were elected by the people to serve the people. When people give their votes, they are not choosing the masters to whom they are going to serve as obedient slaves. The people are just choosing a servant organization to serve the people. But most of the politicians act as absolute Monarchs or Kings, once they were elected.

Dictators use to claim that people must thank them for the successful guidance of the country to progress and for the government’s use of various budget money for various projects e.g. development, social, welfare and scholarships etc. But they conveniently forgot that people have voted them and even provided with salaries and all the parks they are enjoying and the money or budget they use is not from their own pockets but the peoples’ money in the form of various taxes and revenues.

When these dictators accuse the people of biting the hand who feed, it clearly shows that they even have developed an illusion or delusion of who feeds who and even has a gall to degrade and equate the people with dogs.

There must be enough check and balance as stated above if our opposition groups got power.

And there must be a strict rule to limit the length and terms of the head of the government, for example two terms of five year each. If not, each and every top leader would definitely overstay and slowly becomes a dictator by misusing all his powers to quell and silenced all the dissents. This is just a human nature and greed only. If there is no time or term limits, overstaying of the leaders of their shelf-life is not their fault but our fault of not making the important rules and regulations.

Sometimes he may even think that his mission to build, protect and contribute for the beloved country is not yet completed even after staying in power for few dozens of years. And there is a usual delusion among those leaders that they are indispensable and the country could not exist without their leadership. They sometimes sincerely but erroneously believe that they have to stay on and on for the historical needs of the country.

Even the democratically elected leaders will slowly transform into dictators in time.

Long serving leaders slowly become megalomaniacs and think that the country is there because of them. They equate themselves with the country and even have illusions that there is no one except him who is qualified to rule the country. They even believe that the sky will collapse and the country would be ruined and the chaos would set in if they were not there.

Most of those long-standing regimes try to point out some fellow long survivors to justify their overstaying. Continuity and stable government became their slogan and propaganda for the political battle to stay on in power.

According to them, their stable long serving government only could guarantee peace, bring in foreign investment, ensure continuous development and progress. They use to threaten the people with the possible political and racial riots, if they were replaced.

And many of them will slowly introduce nepotism, bringing in their own children and relatives in to the line of succession. Even if they were not to take over the power immediately, they are carefully groomed to step in later after the immediate successor, who have to warm the seat for the heir apparent.

By using the proxies, e.g. the names of other family members, the children and especially in-laws, they will accumulate wealth by hook or by crook.

Nepotism is rampant and always favours the cronies of Myanmar Army and ex- Army only. No transparency in all the government dealings and corruption have even damaged the whole population nation wide, starting from all the peons and officers of each and every government and local administrative and cooperative or semi government offices up to the Cabinet Ministers. They all will neglect the people and refuse to even entertain if not bribed. Nothing can be done without greasing their palms.

Even the peons will ignore your simple request for the basic information, the guards would not let you in, the application forms will not move from one table to another, or worst of all lost if there is no bribery.

Even in the hospitals, doors will be closed, hospital attendants refuse to push the wheel chair or trolley, no one will look after or nurse the patient. Medical officers ignore the patients if there are no presents or bribes. The consultants skipped the beds and see his own private patients. (The patients they had seen in their private clinics or the relatives have gone to send presents to their houses.) The patients were advised to send their specimens to the private labs for various investigations. Although they are in the government hospital and had paid to the various persons in that ward if they need operation their relatives have to go and see the Anesthetic at home. And they have to buy the stitches, plaster, gauze and etc. from the Operation Theater Staff. If not, no one will assist the patient in the operation. He had to engage a private nurse. Biopsy must be sent to the hospital Pathologist’s Private lab.

If you want to see an officer or a Minister, first of all you have to pay the PA then to the wife or children of the Ministers and Military leaders. You have to engage with the brokers specialized in the various fields and various ministries. And if there is a transfer of the relevant officer or the changing of Ministers, you have to start a new bid. If there is any ceremony, birthday, wedding etc. interested parties have to give expensive presents, jewelry, cars, gold bars and few thousands to millions of bank notes preferably the US dollars. To get the various contracts and permits, there are even generally agreed percentages to pay to various parties involved. Foreign investors need to pay up to millions of US dollars. If Ministers wives go for shopping to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or etc. the related foreign investors have to follow them and need to settle the bills.

We are mentioning the corrupt practices of the present government and government servants so that we could avoid those kinds of corruptions if we form a new government.

Myanmar Military rulers are reported to have organized and have even donated a lot nowadays. I hereby wish to remind all of you to please remember the teachings of our Lord Buddha. Don’t degrade your good-selves into the role of organizer, contractor or carpenters who have no chance of staying inside the pagodas and temples you built. Please do not just contempt been a gardener or farmer but enjoy the fruits yourselves.

Please enjoy the fruits of Dahma and practice what Lord Buddha taught us.

Redemption is never late.

There is a well-known saying in the Army,” (We)Do not want to know about the hole in the water bottle. We want water only.”

In the army you don’t want excuses. You want results only. That means: the order must be fulfilled without any excuse.

Please stop the excuses and give us democracy with the respect of the rights of the minorities, as promised by your predecessor General Saw Maung.

According to the Transparency International’s 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index, Myanmar is in the second last group position only because the corruptions of the politicians add up a lot on other countries. Actually 90% of politicians in most of Asia/Africa are corrupted. But most of the politicians in Burma/Myanmar are in opposition, no power; many of them in jail or outside the country, the marks of corruption of Politicians are almost nil and lost the honour of the last place in corruption Perceptions Index. If not Myanmar could get the last place and even could score 0.001. (10 =highly clean and 0 =highly corrupt, so 0.001 is very close to highly corrupt).

  “Today’s survey shows that people believe corruption is deeply embedded in their countries,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.

“When a poor young mother believes that her government places its own interests above her child’s, or that securing services like that child’s basic health care requires a hand under the table, her hope for the future is dampened. But embedded corruption can be rooted out when people join together to change the system that facilitates it.”

The Barometer indicates that corruption’s impact on personal and family life is most dramatic on poor households. In addition, citizens in low income countries tend to pay a significantly larger percentage of their income in bribes than in higher income countries.

 “Like a bad disease, corruption is often predictable, preventable and curable,” stated David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of Transparency International.

“The Global Corruption Barometer offers a harsh diagnosis, but effective treatment is at hand. Legal changes such as anti-corruption codes and conventions are being put in place. Companies are introducing anti-corruption programmes. The world is turning against the corrupt.”

Bribery is usually a hidden or tacit transaction. An illegal payment may be understood to be required in order to obtain a free service, or to speed up delivery of a required approval, such as a business permit or license, or to resolve a problem, even when a bribe is not explicitly demanded.

 “An unspoken request for payment is no less corrupt than an open demand for a bribe, especially if refusing to pay means that you may not get the medicine you need to survive,” said Huguette Labelle.

SPDC Generals could not be able to clear away the accumulated mass of rubbish of its own doing: corruption, mismanagement, and the deteriorating condition of the people’s, physical health, moral corruptions, psychological sufferings, religious intolerances, economical destruction, low GDP, low earning power, rising cost of living and legal mess. Burma as the country is financially poor economically ruined and Burmese people are physically and mentally weak nowadays. We need strong mental strength and willpower, mobilizing all the people of Burma and of course with the help of the whole world.

So if we really are patriotic, love Burma/Myanmar and wish the country to prosper, peaceful and progress, we must recruit the help of all the Burmese people residing inside and abroad, opposition parties, all the ethnic minority groups and different race and religious groups to reeducate our citizens about the good moral values.

We certainly could correctly read rampant corruption among many of us and has summed up quite accurately that many of us ignore the good moral values. We are able to deduct that even if we obtain our second independence in the not too distant future our country’s future is not very bright.

As politics is not a science but an art, very fluid and could change any time. We cannot read and predict the politics using arithmetical calculations or what we experience at present only. And surely the 8888 saga should have taught us that by now that a small spark could surprisingly trigger big political changes in a short time. Yes, in politics, expect the unexpected. Even 24 hours is a very long time in politics.

We the Reformists fight for equality, justice, transparency, good governance, an end to corruption, but all such ideals have to build on high moral grounds. If we just build our future progressive Shwe Bama country on the easy sand or shaky moral ground we are sure doomed to collapse in a very near future. We should rebuild our future paradise on the solid rock of moral ground. We were to follow and face the nature’s rules of “being in reality”, it means that we have to accept the reality of Burmese politics and we have to give a little leeway for some imperfection but could not compromise on morality.

Many Burmese “political geniuses” in opposition are prone to promote their own party only and downgrade other parties. See how “wise” and “realistic” they are when comes to Burmese Politics? We have to see the forest not the trees. And now in this globalize world, we have to see even various kind of jungles and numerous trees and not just only our way and our own party ways to see the true equation in Burmese politics.

There is a saying that if a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump out to avoid death. Conversely however, if the frog is placed in cool and pleasant water and slowly heated, it would swim merrily in the increasingly warm water until it is too late to escape and is eventually cooked. But scientifically speaking, the above metaphor may be factually wrong. But the wisdom contained within it is however not. Corrupt Burmese citizens may one day awake to experience a very different melting pot, one like 1950’s. We got democracy but almost all of us are morally corrupted and we could face a lot of problems and turmoil endlessly.

Myanmar SPDC Military Generals believe that their incompetence can be covered up through an exhibition of power. Basically, there is a lack of good leadership and this has much to do with the fear culture currently prevalent within the military administration. No one dares to take a stand on his belief or for the truth. If the head of the Military Junta is rotten then what more can you expect from the subordinates?

Late PM of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told his daughter, Benarzir Bhutto (who also later became the PM and suffer the same faith, deposed by the Military):

“Don’t be an idiot (to believe the Army Generals), armies do not take over power to relinquish it. Nor do the Generals commit high treason (Coup against the legitimate governments) to hold election and restore democratic constitutions.”

True! General Zia of Pakistan promised in July 1977 that elections would be held within three months. But he repeatedly gives excuses and postponed it for eleven years until he died in a plane crash. So we should wait for another person from Myanmar, who is doing the same thing to follow the same faith.

At the present corrupted life goes on within the Myanmar civil service without check and balance or even without a guilty consciousness. But then you must know how to lie. SPDC is hopeless. Their lie of seven steps of the road to democracy is exposed and the whole world knows that they are deceiving.

There is no central umbrella leadership in the various opposition groups so everyone seems to be doing what they like. If possible we should try to unite ourselves first.  But now anyone who dares to complain about the true situation of corruption and some of the problems in the opposition will find the entire group making his life miserable by accusing as SPDC agents or spies. If someone from within the same party has done a criticism, then he has to worry of the ‘Pushed into a Gauge’ that could even destroy his life or his peace. See what happened to ABSDF Upper Burma, hundreds of students were arrested without a substantial proof and about half of them were executed unfairly without even given them the chance to defend themselves or even showing any proof. (Relevant students’ relatives had complaint to the UN, US, UK and Japanese Embassies) Up to now, no one from ABSDF is trying to clear the air yet and future student activists would think twice before joining the rebels at the border. The truth with Politics is about the attainment of power. It is plain and simple. I would call ‘telling your version of the truth’, is very much part and parcel of the political game. A good politician, must master the art of even twisting the truth, or spin doctoring i.e. giving the people your version of the truth and we can call it a propaganda warfare or counter offensive. Because politics is about perception. It is how people perceive you that counts and not only what you really are.

As Benjamin Franklin wrote in his ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’ in 1759:

“A little neglect may breed mischief … for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the rider was lost.” Here the mischief is not little!

We could not even neglect or brush aside one of the above facts as minor and not important but must consider in detail each and every facts.

So I hereby wish to request our politicians to stop playing dirty politics. We all should try to become true freedom fighters but not the opposition politicians to earn back the rewards after the revolution or to collect the money that is really meant for the opposition activities . If all of us really love our country to become a progressive wealthy secular democratic Federal Union we need to nurture good moral values.

Not only do we need to educate our citizens about the good moral values but we must also practice what we preached. And I remember one of my professors’ good advice, “Teaching is the best way to learn”. Seems awkward? In order to teach someone or a class, the teacher or lecturer has to read a lot, must understand the subject thoroughly and must be equipped with the up to date latest information. Even I my self managed to learn a lot just to be able to write this article.

Wake up all Burmese/Myanmar citizens. We need renaissance of the religions we professed to. We need strong Moral and Religious Values to cleanse ourselves. We do not need the religions to fight each other. We need religions to purify ourselves. Even if we no more have a shame or self-consciousness or guilty feelings we all should afraid of Buddha, Jesus or Allah (according to our beliefs). Religions should be used to pull us out of that corruption whirl. If not even if we get our second independence our country’s future would not be brighter.  

BO AUNG DIN 

………………………………………………

Comments

U Myo Nyunt, Myanmar Studies, Perth, Western Australia, said _

Dear  Bo Aung Din,

                                Emanating from your heart, the inner mind— mind mind,  Burma (Myanmar) freedom can be achieved through the “people’s will”– the people of  Burma.
Those who have once propagated  “the end of history”  and “the clash of civilizations” have now shifted their messages of perpetual domination through “new imperialism and capitalism” by their  political  agenda to combat and  wipe out  “terrorism”.

There is no end to  history, it unfolds.

The present “crisis”  in  Burma, is  the reflection of the  “value wars”  of the  twenty first century.

Back to the path— the  Noble Path. Burma (Myanmar)  peoples  life and  destiny is in our  own hands and in practicing the Buddha Dharma.  Perhaps as   Buddhists— we can accept  the existing reality in  our  country- Nation, and have faith in the  last words of The Buddha—  “strive on”. Dalai Lama in our  midst now has  also pointed out with other words :

 “all living beings form a spontaneous idea of self “

Myanmar (Burma), as a  “space” where we as Burmese democrats can  contribute to  life (human security) and peace (  even handed justice) rather than assist others attempt to Burma’s destruction and dissolution.

Towards Peace, Security  and Justice in  Myanmar (Burma)

Conla Fru said _

Good article! Successive military regime created/creates this environment of highly-corrupted society. If one gets a job, the first question his/her friend or relatives ask is “in what department?” just to know if he/she can make a lot of money from this post. The whole society is suffering from this pandemic corruption disease.