On July 27, Burma had to forgo the alphabetical rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Some see it as a softening of Burma’s repressive stance leading to democratic reforms.
This is being proved wrong. The military junta’s compromise with the ASEAN is a prudent response for the well being of the Generals, and not for its people. Signs of trouble are still brewing. Continued arrest of pro-democracy activists and ethnic leaders, continue to taint the National Convention ignoring as it does the 1990 elections where winning parties like the National League for Democracy and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy were sidelined.
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest while at least four NLD members have been arrested within a month and another Shan leader Sao Khun Kyar was arrested in the first week of August. The junta’s road map to democracy is illegitimate. Moreover, the junta is forcing the
private media to write articles in support of the regime’s policies. It has cautioned the media not to be critical of the ASEAN turnabout.
There is a little doubt that such policies are plunging the country into a snake pit of chaos and poverty.
All of this is a metaphorical connection between what is happening inside the country. Refugees and thousands of migrant workers are heading for neighbouring countries. HIV-AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, illicit drugs are rampant, leading to influx to the region and even to the West.
World Food Program executive director James Morris said one third of young children in Burma are chronically malnourished and large numbers receive little or no education. He said this in Bangkok following a four-day visit to Burma.
The military junta’s policy that “The Tatmadaw is your Father and Mother” has led the natural resources rich country to where if finds itself today.
A panoramic view of the wider failing of the Constructive Engagement Policy of ASEAN and a corrupt regime being propped up by China and India is resented by its own citizenry. It is a domineering business interest driven geopolitics that ignores human well being.