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/* Written Mon 6 May 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* --------" Ethnic Nationalities Unity on Federalism.."--------- */


Encouraging signs have emerged within the Burma's democracy movement
in relation to the unity about ethnic minorities: The ethnic leaders
adherence to the federalism in Burma and their support to National
League for Democracy that was announced in recent postings.
This move by ethnic leaders will certainly help to undermine
the SLORC's only remaining political legitimacy: Burmese military
as the sole protector of secession of the Union.


Any political grouping or organization have their respective beliefs
and legitimacy. SLORC, like other political organizations 1./, also has
its own "political beliefs". The existence for SLORC as an organization
thus far have been, in addition to these Generals' greed on the power and
privileges, based on such political beliefs - or, rather, delusions -
that their continuation of rulings are of a necessity.

One of the Burmese military junta's beliefs, throughout its rulings
since 1962, is that the military has been sole protector and the
guardian of the Union from the secessions. Because of this political
belief, the SLORC is able to consolidate its power within the military

The political campaign or the political battle against such an entity
as SLORC involves removing the fundamental causes of their beliefs. In the
present example is that the ethnic freedom fighters' pronouncement about
the belief in a federal union and non-secession, which exactly may
serve to remove the SLORC's fundamental beliefs and, hence, legitimacy.


Although such move may lay good ground for the negotiations with
the Burmese military, it is quite unlikely that the negotiations will
take place without pressure. It is precisely because of the attitude of
some of the members of the SLORC towards politics and minorities.
Such attitude originate at the Burmese General's perception about
politics in general and the minorities' rebellions in particular.

When reassessing last year's (1995) work, it almost entirely devoted to the
peaceful mediation of conflict with the help of the diplomatic community.
International community's efforts to that was made with the help of mediators
such as Sayadaw Rawata Dhamma and Archbiship Andrew Mya Han. Throughout
the year-1995, various diplomats have visited Burma and put their efforts
for such mediation.

My impression in early 1995 was that the SLORC may have some difficulty,
due to the existence of different factions within its military circle,
about getting into the negotiation. After the SLORC's cabinet
reshuffles in June-1995 and the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in July,
my estimation was that SLORC is ready to enter negotiations. Most
vigorous effort was thus made in order to facilitate necessary help
from the diplomatic community, particularly from the Australian Government.

Australia have had long interested in Burma and at this time also appears to
have made their best efforts. On early December-95, the Australia's National
Party leader Tim Fischer - now the Deputy Prime Minister - visited
Rangoon. It was, however, found out later that the initiative for
mediation by Australian Government had been rejected from the
SLORC's side. A point to be made here is that the SLORC was given
enough opportunity to resolve the conflict with the help of diplomatic


Further revelation about the SLORC's delaying tactics was made in
Bangkok Post report on 17.3.96. As the KNU negotiators described,
SLORC appeared not having any proper position to enter dialogue.
What the SLORC was doing in regards to negotiation, thus far, has
been trying to hide behind a smoke-screen so as to avoid the diplomats
and U.N. officials.

SLORC's current position may be that they would delay and avoid any
negotiation with the Oppositions, hoping that some un-expected change in
circumstances may come-up so that it can re-consolidate its position.
In SLORC's view, the longer it can hold on to its present position
and avoid negotiations, the better it is having chance for survival and
to continue ruling of the country.

In addition to the insincerity in dealing with the issues, SLORC has also
proven to be one of the difficult political opponent: it shows no sign
of giving up hope for its objective. SLORC's initiative for ceasefire
with the ethnic groups is not aimed at achieving a genuine peace;
it is made with the intention to promote itself as a peace-maker in
order to gain international legitimacy. SLORC's attempts to mordernize
the economy are not aimed at developing the living standard of population;
it made rather to show the population off "how military is capable of
mordernizing". In sum, SLORC has been making every efforts to
promote its internal and international legitimacy.


>From my understanding, a political struggle or battle - unlike that
of military one - cannot have a clear-cut "win" or "lose" on sight.
Since political battles are fought essentially in peoples' hearts and minds,
only the time at a longer period can tell who is winning or losing.
One can compare the position of Democratic forces vs. SLORC at the
U.N. forums in recent years and that of early 1990s. This is why one
always need to persevere and have patience in a struggle in order to
achieve one's objectives.

A great many leaders told us time and again that the democratic forces
must be "strong" and "united" to remove the dictatorship from  power.
My interpretation  to the word "strong" is "politically strong" and
"united" is "politically united". In my view, a thousand people chanting
anti-government slogans cannot be exactly said being politically strong.
However, with the help of a ten people who know what are the moves of
their opponent and know how to make counter-moves will make much a
stronger political entity. This is why the dissemination of good
information amongst pro-democracy groups is vital to build-up the
political movements.

On the one hand, the political battles seems to have waged differently from
military battles. In military battles, the command from one General
will be carried out by its soldiers. In political battles, the policies
against any such political entity (in our case the SLORC) are carried
out by diverse organizations and numerous individuals, which they may not
necessarily have a formal connections. However, so long as these
organizations and individuals implementing the very same policy, they
can be considered as "politically united". To achieve such unity,
the knowledge and understanding of various policy initiatives
amongst pro-democracy groups are most essential. Such knowledge
and understanding of policies will enable the pro-democracy groups
to build-up a unified movement.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.

endnote 1./ SLORC never refers to itself as a political organization (which
in fact showing its political illiteracy.) The political beliefs, however,
are in someway necessary to have amongst SLORC rank and file not to become
trapped into indentifying themselves as a group of 'organized bandits'.
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