Wed 30 Jan 2013
Filed under: News,Opinion,Regional
The new government of Myanmar has dedicated itself to domestic political reform and national reconciliation. It has signed cease-fire agreements with more than 10 ethnic armed forces that include the Shan State Army, Karen National Front, Karen National Union. But many analysts argue that the ceasefire agreements signed are only principle documents and lack specific details on implementation. And it is yet to touch the core question of the peace negotiation. The conflict with Kachin this time further deepened the distrust between the government and the ethnic groups. If a ceasefire is not achieved as soon as possible, it might affect the process of a peaceful negotiation. The former Shan State Army representative for the peace negotiation, Kun Sai, told the People’s Daily journalist that the mutual distrust between the ethnic groups and the central government has led to the constant reoccurrence of fighting and an endless civil war. “The most important step of national reconciliation in Myanmar is a political dialogue. Only through peaceful negotiation will we find a final solution.”
People’s Daily journalists had a strong impression from the interviews that other than the lack of trust between the government and the ethnic armed forces, the suspicion and distrust among different ethnicities, especially between the Burmans and the ethnic minorities, are extremely profound. Many ethnic groups widely consider the Burmans to be “Burman chauvinists”. They feel that through controlling the local politics and economy, the Burmans are gradually pushing their “colonization” of northern Myanmar from the south, and are taking over the space previously occupied by ethnic minorities step-by-step. The Burmans widely embrace the education of national solidarity and unity, therefore having a sense of solidarity and “grand unity” deep in their hearts. In large cities such as Yangon and Mandalay, people could often see the slogan “Tatmadaw and people joining force to eradicate all sabotagers of the Union.” The official newspaper “New Light of Myanmar” has the eye-catching three principles on the front page: “No disintegration of the Union. No undermining the ethnic solidarity. Defending the sovereignty”.
Many people see the recent conflict between the tatmadaw and Kachin ethnic armed force not only affecting the process of national reconciliation, but also damaging the startup of the local economy. All parties should have serious introspection to seek an eventual solution. The Secretary General of the Myanmar United Ethnic Union Committee, Hong Sa, commented during the interview that the 65-year long civil war since Myanmar’s independence shows that only through political dialogue and equal rights for the ethnic groups, will real peace come to Myanmar.
Yaminruixintai (an interviewee) showed the journalist a Myanmar map: “The territory of Myanmar is just like one man’s body. All parts are components of one integral piece. The Kachin state is Myanmar’s head. The Shan state and Chin state make the shoulder. There are also hands and feet. We hope we could achieve national reconciliation, peace and stability of the state as early as possible.” (People’s Daily, Mandalay, Jan 16, 2013)