Time to Make a Move
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, December 09, 2023

Time to Make a Move

By THE IRRAWADDY Friday, October 28, 2011


A little more than a week from now, Burma will mark the first anniversary of its first election in more than two decades. Even now, it is far from clear that this is an event worth commemorating. While the election itself was a mockery of the democratic process, there have been growing hopes over the past year that it may have set the stage for more substantive change. But one year on, we are still waiting to see if these hopes will ultimately prove to be as false as the results of last year's election.

Internationally, many doubts remain about whether Burma is really on the road to reform. Today,  Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa arrived in the country on a long-delayed fact-finding mission to determine whether it is ready to assume the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2014. His findings could result in a decision by Asean as early as next month.

The United States has been even more careful about rushing to judgment. Derek Mitchell, the US State Department's special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, said following his visit to the country earlier this week that the freeing of some 200 political prisoners on Oct 12 was a welcome move, but added that the government needs to do much more to prove that it is serious about making a genuine transition to democracy.

Ironically, perhaps the most optimistic assessment of the current situation in Burma has come from the staunchest critic of military rule in the country, Aung San Suu Kyi. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, she compared her latest talks with Naypyidaw as being “where South Africa was in 1990” in its negotiations to end apartheid. She also had warm words for President Thein Sein, who she called “an honest, open kind of person” with a “sincere” desire to overhaul the country.

But even this is not enough to allay concerns that the country's progress has been far too slow, and could go into reverse at any time. The government has been unaccountably reluctant to release some of Burma's most prominent imprisoned dissidents, including the key leaders of the 88 Generation students group such as Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Min Zaya; ethnic leaders such as Khun Htun Oo; and Ashin Gambira, the monk who led the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

Even more disturbing, Burma's army has stepped up its offensives against ethnic minorities, offering piecemeal peace talks with individual ethnic armed groups, but so far refusing to accede to demands  for more comprehensive negotiations aimed at achieving national reconciliation.

Of course, the pressure is not only on the government. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) must also make some important decisions in the near future, as Burma's Parliament moves to amend the Political Party Registration law, paving the way for the NLD to reenter the political fray.

But what the people of Burma and the world really want to see is incontrovertible evidence that the government is sincere about loosening its grip on power and is finally ready to get serious about talking to both the democratic opposition and ethnic leaders. And they aren't going to wait forever: Something has to materialize soon, or this year's cautious optimism will quickly give way to renewed frustration.

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Garrett Wrote:
Myanmar Patriot, aka Fook Kaung, aka Burmese People, aka Crown Prince Shwebomin, aka HRH King Shwebomin II, et al wrote:

"RUBBISH! Let her prove herself for what she is worth, if anything- IN FREEDOM."

Dear Shwebomin,
I realise you have lived your entire life in Great Britain deep within the darkness of your envy of Aung San Suu Kyi's superior intelect, her courage & self-sacrifice on behalf of her countrymen in Burma, her family's historical significance, her ability to arrange words into inspirational themes, & most of all, the undying love & respect millions of her countrymen & people around the world have for her, & since you represent the exact opposite in every way, your animosity toward Aung San Suu Kyi is understandable.

She has the awesome responsibility of dealing with the regime wolves in sheep's clothing on behalf of 50 million plus Burmese citizens, while you're simply a nowhere man, living in your nowhere land, making all your nowhere plans for nobody.

Derek Wrote:
A string of 5 star Hotels up that west coast to take advantage of those Ocean Sunsets,

Westin,Nicky Hilton,Marriott, Shangr la, Movenpick, keep it upmarket and child friendly. The sleazy sex industry really spoiled Thailand.

Aung San Suu Kyi could work closely with the labor organisations, the government and international investors to ensure the workforce are provided with 21st Century rights at work.

Trawl for some major automotive investment. Myanmar can offer a well disciplined workforce. Automotive giants could open assembly and Myanmar can draw well disciplined employees from the armed forces. I am guessing lots of soldiers just want regular work and would welcome the opportunity to work in a modern Subaru assembly plant with a wage even below par with China.

Consider Myanmars debt in this Global Financial Crisis.

AAA Brand 5 Star 555 777 rating

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
Garrett Wrote:

"Aung San Suu Kyi has to play her cards close to her chest to avoid ending up locked-up again."

RUBBISH! Let her prove herself for what she is worth, if anything- IN FREEDOM.

Garrett Wrote:
Aung San Suu Kyi has to play her cards close to her chest to avoid ending up locked-up again.

The reinstatement of the NLD would be a major non-event, seeing as how the parliament is made up of regime appointees, constitutional military appointees, & the token opposition members whose votes mean nothing.

And since the sham 2010 elections cleverly corrected the flaws inherent in the 1990 elections, there is no reason to believe future elections will be any different.

Regime advocates will label this editorial "black & white" since it doesn't take all of the so-called "movements towards positive reforms" at face value.

The problem is, the regime's promises & agenda are like a casino which pays out counterfeit money (value=zero), a lose-lose situation for those who are foolish enough to play.

Those who advocate on behalf of the regime casino are either its shills, its dealers, or the guys who make sure there are lots of bells & flashing lights to mesmerize the players.

Paul Johnns Wrote:
I agree. The signs of change are too flimsy at the minute and it is impossible to tell what way things will go in the near term.

Thein Sein could easily be replaced if the conservative old generals sitting in the background become unhappy, and then we return to square one.

The most promising thing I can see is that people are now talking politics regarding local issues on the street and on the radio on a daily basis.

And some of the corruption has reduced - eg.: passports are now being issuing in far less time & with less opportunity for bribes to be taken in by government officers along the way...

Kyaw Wrote:
Poor country, poor Government of still riding a tiger.

Want to deserve the Asian Chair?

Do these:

Agree with the Kachins (UNFC) for Nationwide ceasefire

Agree to have third party in the peace talks and peace agreement (Preferably ASEAN)follow Aceh procedure.

Stop the military operation and ethnic cleansing immediately.

Release all political prisoners (not the criminals), stop degrading the political prisoners, accept that Burma does have them.

Min Nway Wrote:
It is unwise to notice the Robber after being hit on our back by him.

WE think that they will change. In fact they
afraid of Arab Spring and they know that anytime it can happen in Burma.

They are clever and cunning.

We are sincere, innocent and hopeful. It is simple.

They are creating Signboard Democracy or pseudo-Democracy by Burmese way just like their old masters.

At the end of the day Dictatorship will be prolonged in Burma with the help of China and Mr Putin of Russia.

kerry Wrote:
The 'government' of Burma should be prepared in 2011 to show that it is really making a change. For this it needs to free all the political prisoners and stop oppressing the people and planning any further 'development' until it has a clear elected mandate, and by example opening up the country to where it needs to move to: towards a new free and fair election.

Anything less is simply another cruel trick, which will sit badly on the tongue and stomach of the 21st C world.

Moe Aung Wrote:
It's elementary by Watson:

Ohn Wrote:
Than Shwe can now really rest in peace that NLD is now a simple dancing peacock proud in its own wonderful sheen and voice an he has found the best PR agent for Than Shwe. NLD couldn't find enough time to admire itself and the "democracy Government" let alone voice condemnation of the daily atrocities by Min Aung Hlaing's thugs who by the way is in exactly the same group as the NICE president.

The struggle of the suffering people of Burma in all places inland, coastal, border areas will go on until the evil doers are gone.

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