Escaping the Traps of the Past
covering burma and southeast asia
Friday, December 15, 2017
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Escaping the Traps of the Past


By MIN ZIN NOVEMBER, 2010 - VOL.18, NO.11


Snr-Gen Than Shwe, center, walks with a cadre of possible next generation military leaders. (Photo: MMM/The Irrawaddy)
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Unless all countries concerned are somehow able to reach a consensus on where Burma should be heading after the election, however, continuing division will stand in the way of the sort of decisive action that will be needed to move things forward.

The Burmese political scene, in short, may be similar to a living museum, in which military domination, a hybrid parliamentary “talking shop,” thuggish political violence, kleptocracy, contained Balkanization, gulags and committed struggle by principled dissidents will exist and operate in multiple levels of conflict. Under such circumstances, the possibility of a collapse of Burma’s polity due to implosion or explosion can’t be ruled out. Of course, it is not desirable, as the country will descend into a bloodbath and anarchy.

Ultimately, however, Burma’s future direction will remain, in the near term at least, largely in the hands of its current rulers. But if the generals believe that a USDP “victory” will give them a mandate to stifle real change indefinitely, they are seriously mistaken. Just as the past cannot be erased, the future is also not to be denied. And the future belongs to those who learn from their mistakes and adapt accordingly—not those who consider themselves permanently entitled to dictate the fate of an entire nation. 

Min Zin is a Burmese journalist living in exile.



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Zaw Min Wrote:
03/11/2010
I can not agree more with all that is written by the writer of this article. I just hope the majority of our people is of this view and thus plot, participate and form the destiny of ourselves and our country accordingly.

Thanks to The Irrawaddy for providing another excellent view from another angle.

tocharian Wrote:
01/11/2010
This just shows that Burma is still a feudal oligarchy, stuck in the dark middle ages. The social pecking-order is based on corruption (bribery/nepotism) and coercion (intimidation/oppression). For the past 50 years or so, the military has been the way to power and wealth in Burma. Intellectuals have no chance to succeed in Burma and so most of them left the country.

The Chinese know that and that's why they support and bribe Than Shwe (they think of Aung San Suu Kyi as the burmese version of Dalai Lama). They also know how to divide and conquer the different ethnic groups, following Sun Tzu's advice in "The Art of War": Let the barbarians fight each other! I am pessimistic that "universal values" such as democracy and human rights (words that Peking hates!) will ever take hold in Burma.

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