By Roland Watson
March 16, 2014
There is now a desperate push by Burma's military dictatorship, including
one of its public faces, the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), and also ethnic
traitors, to complete a nationwide ceasefire by early April. All sorts of
announcements have been made saying that this timetable will be achieved.
Of course, there have been months of such announcements regarding earlier
deadlines, all of which were nothing less than regime propaganda, and
which due to the insistence by the ethnic nationalities for achieving a
fair deal for their people and for all of Burma, were not realized. The
question should now be asked: Why does the regime view April as being so
The first thing to understand is that Burma's generals are demanding a
unilateral or one-sided ceasefire, in other words, a complete surrender.
The push for April therefore is nothing less than a negotiation over the
surrender's timing. The regime is yielding nothing! It will not stop Burma
Army attacks against the ethnic forces and peoples. Indeed, it has
publicly stated, even in the face of unassailable evidence, that it is
doing no such thing. Similarly, it will not stop its never-ending
commission of gross human rights crimes, including murder, rape, arrest
and torture, destruction of villages, extortion of and theft from
villagers, etc. Nor will it agree to remove its forces from the ethnic
areas, or even genuinely discuss the establishment of codes of conduct,
which codes it has already agreed to negotiate and implement in its
separate ceasefire agreements with the different ethnic armies.
Ultimately, it is demanding that the ethnic forces disperse, give up their
arms, and "join the legal fold."
Moreover, the regime refuses to discuss, much less agree to, the different
ethnic demands including not only the cessation of attacks and abuses, and
creation of codes of conduct, but also the drafting of a completely new
Constitution to consign the military to its appropriate role in a
democracy, and to establish a truly federal state and federal army.
In view of its continuing if not perpetual obstinacy, there is no reason
for the ethnic groups to agree to anything, and given that the rightful
representatives of the ethnic peoples can hold off the traitors, they
The ethnic nationalities have now agreed to establish a joint committee
with the regime to continue the discussions. From the regime's
perspective, not to mention MPC and the traitors, the function of this
committee is to prepare the specific terms of the surrender. It is
therefore essential that sincere, uncorrupted representatives of the
ethnic peoples are appointed to the ethnic side of the committee, not the
corrupt traitors, so that ethnic and real Burma-wide interests are served.
This still leaves the question, though, why is the regime pushing for
April? The answer to this is simple. The dictatorship knows that the
upcoming census will be fraudulent. Its plans for this are already set. It
further understands that much of the fraud will be uncovered, and that
this will precipitate a popular reaction. In such an environment, an
ethnic surrender will be precluded.
The regime has seen that its separate ceasefire agreements effectively
defanged the resistance groups. Even in the face of the Burma Army
repeatedly breaking and otherwise failing to fulfill the agreements, the
ethnic forces, other than in Kachin and Northern Shan States, have done
nothing. The dictatorship is confident that with a nationwide
ceasefire/surrender in place, the ethnic forces, under the command of
traitorous leaders, will also not react to the census fraud.
The ethnic groups should not agree to anything until after the census is
completed and the results have been publicized, and further not until
after any proposed deal has been presented for comment to the ethnic
publics and civil society organizations.
Indeed, for the census, Kachin groups have already said that they will not
recognize the results, and Karen groups have called for it to be
postponed. Shan and Mon groups are planning their own count, to counter
regime lies. Even worse, the regime has announced that Burma's most
oppressed group, the Rohingya, will not even be counted.
Burma is still a military dictatorship, with a civilian facade. The recent
announcement that the rights of the military to veto any constitutional
amendments, will not be changed, not to mention its constitutional ability
to act with impunity and with no legal consequences, is proof of this.
This leaves us once again with elementary arithmetic. For Burma to be
freed, there must be a new popular uprising, and/or renewed armed
resistance. Nothing less will suffice.
For an uprising, a trigger is required. The people of the country, from
all ethnic groups, both ethnic nationality and Burman, are very angry, but
something is needed to take them over the edge into large-scale action.
While it is impossible to predict what will set a subjugated population
off - witness Tunisia - a number of potential flash points in Burma are
- If the constitution is not amended to permit Suu Kyi to become President
(or for that matter if it is not redrafted to reflect fundamental
- If Suu Kyi realizes the folly of her ways, returns to her real
pro-democracy advocacy of 1989, and calls for protests.
- In response to the census fraud.
- In response to fraud in the upcoming election (which personally I give
only a 50/50 chance of even being held - at least under the dictatorship's
It would be best if the people of Burma became proactive and started
demonstrating now, rather than wait for such a flashpoint. They must
reject the dictatorship's propaganda, that any peace, including even a
unilateral ethnic surrender, is good for the country.
In other words, they should once again protest for freedom and democracy,
not only against land thefts and other types of abuse.
To kick all of this off, one can only ask: Where are Burma's revolutionary
Monday, March 17, 2014