Friday, June 5, 2009

Burmese Dictatorship-Part I

This thought has been loaded onto my mind for a period of decade since I was a university student in Burma. It is like a recurring process going on and off, and sometime it is spinning my mind until I get stuck and exhausted into the questions that have been asked by many people. What kind of military dictatorship describes Burma and how are they ruling the country? How does Burmese culture blend together into the military mindsets and evolve into corruption? What is the future of Burma? So many questions have been answered and so many voices have been heard, but nothing vividly comes up with the solutions that could possible drive into the concrete construction of democratic road map. Perhaps, we haven’t paid attention enough to the ongoing phenomenon and practices of military framework. We are still living in the debate of ideology but occasional uprisings with sacrifices. In fact, we have a tendency that we are trying to win over one’s idea when it comes to political debate by different parties and then ended at into separations.

During 1996, I started exploring into the reality of puppet politic and social affairs behind the curtain of military show in Burma as an independence university student after having the first experience of 1988 uprising for demanding democracy in my hometown. It was also the time that I was building mature awareness upon government welfares and intellectual decline during the era of military ruling party in Burma. A lot of event happened while I was living in university hostel as a distance student and persuading my normal university education in Yangon. After 1996 student revolution when government can not compromise with the peaceful demands from university students, universities were shut down through out the whole country and all the students were forced out of hostels while we were hunger of knowledge and university education. Every university students understand that there are so much of corruptions in every level of Burmese education system and most of them must have gone through giving bribe to their school teachers in order to pass their exams. Hence, I have to be really careful choosing the right words to write in my blog because we, Burmese people, are quite sensitive when it gets to cultural perspectives. Some people may not like to tell the fact that school teachers are taking bribe because any form of teacher are considered one of the most respectful figures, according to Buddhism teachings, in Burmese culture. Some people still do not accept the matter that our society is declining in term of poverty, health, education, morale and morality while government slogans and statistics are trying to covering up the truth matters. It is a natural consciousness of human beings that we tend to defense for what we have grown up for so long.

Therefore, one has to understand deep level of culture perspectives to understand how we think and how we are striving to the present situation in Burma for a long time. Regardless of what political system is driving to the future path of Burma, the simplest question we are constantly asking ourselves is that “Is military supporting party is the best solution to rule the country while basic human rights are being suppressed?” When I was in Singapore, I was surprised to learn that the country is growing so quickly and competing with China and India economically. Singapore has military dictatorship which allows only one ruling party. Believe me- the election exercise in Singapore is truly unbalance and always favored and guaranteed to get winning votes only for the current ruling party which is tightly bound with military framework. Even freedom of speech and freedom of right in Singapore are strictly restricted, the principles of basic human needs are still provided.

When you learn closely all the dictators from the period of Mussolini's March on Rome or a dramatic massacre like Hitler's Night of the Long Knives and then to the recent era of Burmese military regime’s systematic cracked down over 1988 Protest and Chinese Communist Party’s cracked down over Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. There are ten steps, according to Naomi Wolf's The End of America, that all dictators take when imposing their control over freedom of basic human rights and influences from democratic ideology. How do Burmese military dictators exercise their military framework in order to secure their seats in power? Does the world truly understand the reason why Burmese military dictators are able to grip to the political power for a long time even though imposing of international sanctions has been made, United Nation has attempted dialogs with military junta several times for political reconciliation, and also people lives have been sacrificed sadly during the events of protest? But nothing seems to be working.

Naomi Wolf's The End of America pointed out the following 10 steps that all the dictators take in order to bring down an open society.
1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat
2. Establish Secret Prisons
3. Develop a Paramilitary Force
4. Surveil Ordinary Citizens
5. Infiltrate Citizens' Groups
6. Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens
7. Target Key Individuals
8. Restrict the Press
9. Cast Criticism as "Espionage" and Dissent as "Treason"
10. Subvert the Rule of Law
I am just filling the facts from an ordinary Burmese citizen point of view based on my experiences.

Ba Kaung