Enigmatic Problems and Rough Ride of Myanmar (Part -2)

After independence, General Aung San was honored as national leader to be inspired by young generations to come. In education, patriotism was embedded, and school curricula in English were replaced with those in Myanmar. History was rewritten and taught only about patriotism and Myanmar patriots. Students could not learn a true history, but a propaganda of patriotism and nationalism. A significant example of teaching an untrue history was that federalism would cause disintegration of the union and political split, and as a result there has arisen challenges and difficulties in building national unity. It was so influential that no one dared use even the term Federal. Anyone who talked about federal ideas was accused of breaking up the union. Nowadays, the term federal has been on the lips of every politician, and there is almost no political event that doesn’t include federalism in the agenda.

Dr. Than Tun, a well-known Myanmar historian said learning history is not to be ignorant. However, in reality due to teaching of patriotism and nationalism without a true history, students fall into a bog of patriotism and become ignorant. Such a teaching/learning doesn’t grow any patriotic spirits, either. Only a true history can teach students critical and analytical thinking skills in politics, and they can also learn lessons from the errors in the past and avoid repeating them in the future. A nation which is built on such skills and wisdom will be peaceful and prosperous.

At the age of globalization, no one can keep truth or reality from young people. Today, every hidden secret can be disclosed. Military leaders thought the people’s uprising of 1988 arose due to lack of patriotic spirits. Then, they arranged campaigns for growing patriotic spirits such as horse-racing and boat rowing events in ancient Royal Army costumes and music concerts. At present, they cannot even imagine such events, and young people will surely laugh at them. Time changes so quickly. One of the reasons why so many young people get involved in the Spring Revolution is that they now see a true history and oppressions all along the past as truth reveals itself. They understand if they bow down, their whole life will be over and they must take a risky resistance for their future. They walk out bravely through the door opened to them as they know what went wrong and what to do to make them right. They also know bad consequences of dictatorship and bad leadership and so they become willing to overthrow it.

With technologies, it’s now hard to conceal wrongs and injustices. People can easily find out what is not right and distinguish who is right and who is wrong. They also have an easy access to views and opinions of scholars and experts and can read and reflect on them.

Looking back on a recent history, the military of the 1988 coup pledged a multi-party democracy, political party registration and an election, and quenched the people’s uprisings. Political parties registered, and the military did hold the election in 1990. However, as the military-backed National Unity Party did not win, they did not transfer power to the winner, the NLD and said winning in the election was only to call a parliament. When winning political parties urged them to call a parliament, they broke their promises. When they held the 2010 election in accord with the 2008 Constitution, they defeated other political opposition unlawfully with unlimited early voting until they won. These are noteworthy historic events. Then, will the SAC really live up to their words for the 2023 election not to happen again like in 1990? Will they really transfer power to winning political parties? And will their election be really free and fair unlike in 2010? These are the questions worth considering, let’s say.

  Any politician who has hinted a dialog has been menaced and threatened. Neither side is willing to talk, and tension is mounting very high. It is like ogres entering the Kingdom of Vaishali.

There are sound reasons why people don’t trust military leaders. In 1964, they nationalized all the businesses throughout the country, even including small betel and barber shops. Tons of gold as a reserve asset for domestic currency were blunderingly withdrew and gone. Basic commodities such as rice, oil and salt were sold in quota. They held the election in 1990, but as their allied party didn’t win, failed to call a parliament, and besides, oppressed Members of Parliament elected by the people, charged them with criminal offences and forced them to withdraw. When the people were in sufferings and poverty, Generals became very rich and, their children squandered before the eyes of the poor citizens. People became suspicious of the military because of these past events, and they will continue to disbelieve even if the military plans something in good will. Therefore, they need to re-build trust of the people, and prove they did change not to be seen like before. But the military today is going opposite of what was said above.

Nevertheless, counting on current situations, the 2023 election is very unlikely to be free and fair. At present, armed resistance against the military coup is everywhere.   Any politician who has hinted a dialog has been menaced and threatened. Neither side is willing to talk, and tension is mounting very high. It is like ogres entering the Kingdom of Vaishali.

A lose-lose situation can degenerate the country, and lead to a failed State in the long run.

It’s not unusual to see armed conflicts, but killing of civilians who are not combatants looks hideous and ugly. Such attacks and killings are unexpected, unbelievable and so shocking. No one is safe anymore. Peace and stability and rule of law are at stake. Decision to kill civilians as punishment or with an accuse of taking enemy’s side is really difficult to understand. What is worse, as these acts are committed by both sides, ordinary people are totally sandwiched and don’t know where to find justice. They are in a really difficult situation.

A lose-lose situation can degenerate the country, and lead to a failed State in the long run. The country’s economy has been badly deteriorated in particular. Education of the youth and healthcare of the people are also affected. Lack of peace and stability or rule of law is the worst scenario. It can be said that it’s not surprising to sacrifice to such extent, but no one can deny damage is so immense. It is a very hard and head-aching issue or problem not only for Myanmar leaders, but for international leaders to find a solution.

So far, it seems neither side has an idea of restructuring the country from debris. They must’ve determined to play it by ears only when the time comes.

Nyan Lynn