Campaign And Articles
Campaign for Honour, Truth, Justice and
The Honourable Kofi Annan,
The Secretary General of the United Nation
U N Plaza
New York -NY 10017
10th. November 2001
After the UN Secretary gave a speech on terrorism, after the September
On behalf of the Shan people I am writing to let you know how very
pleased and heartened we are to learn that having recognised the unique
position of the United Nations, you are prepared to fight terrorism on
the global front.
I am not certain Sir, when the United Nations use the word "terrorists",
whether or not it applies only to non-governmental group of people. If
it is correct to say that the meaning of "terrorists" is a group of
people who terrorises other people by using violence to achieve their
political ends, then should the word "terrorists" not also include those
people who hide behind a screen, called government, and use their
illegal power to terrorise ordinary citizens of a country?
A few nights ago, on the television an Afghan author who was being
interviewed by an English journalist said that the Telebans were " state
terrorists" who violated human rights against the people of Afghanistan
and, used drugs to finance their army and failing economy.The Burmese
Dictator Government is doing exactly the same. Like the Telebans, they
are "state terrorists" who for more than four decades have been
terrorising ordinary citizens, especially those of the non-Burman
ethnic groups. They have and are still violating human rights, engaging
in atrocious acts, bigotry, murder and genocide.
Like the Telebans the Burmese military junta finance their army and
economy by means of drugs. They are in partnership with the ex-opium
warlords and the Wa army, the biggest army in the world dealing in the
production and trafficking of drugs. In August of this year tons of
Amphetamines, the type produced by the Was was trafficked to
Switzerland, but fortunately, they were caught by the Swiss authorities.
The farmlands, in Central Shan State where the farmers used to grow food
crops are being confiscated by
the military and used for poppy cultivation. In some cases the farmers
are given poppy seeds with an order to cultivate them, and to sell the
opium back to the government. Very soon there will be an explosion of
drugs all over the world, followed by AIDS and other infectious
diseases. This will not be a sudden destruction of human lives like
other forms of chemical warfare, but a slow and sure way of destroying
them. Unless the International Communities intervene the Shan State will
be full of poppy fields and like Afghanistan, it will become a breeding
ground for crimes and terrorism, if it is not already one.
Unlike the Teleban, the Burmese military junta is not confrontational
but more devious. They are sensitive to world opinions of their actions
and try to show a white front. They are blatant with their lies, and
their propaganda machine is excellent. No wonder, some international
communities have in the past given them the credit they do not deserve.
During the forty or more years of their regime the Burmese military
junta have more or less succeeded in paralysing the voice and actions of
the citizens of Burma, particularly those of other ethnic nationals.
They, now claim that Burma is very peaceful and secure, with all the
ethnic groups back in the legal fold. But, what they have not said is
that the people are so terrified that they dared not open their mouths
or act like normal human beings. In theShan villages at the sight of
Burmese soldiers a child trembles with terror; even the dogs stop
barking and the cattle will stiffen their ears to listen and try to
Recently the Burmese military junta have set up an information web-site,
in which they make an attempt to inform and explain to the international
community of their activities during their regime. But they have
not revealed any of the worst atrocities and gruesome acts they have
committed behind closed doors against other ethnic nationals: rape,
torture, murder, massacre and genocide.
With other slightly lesser atrocities: forced labour, the violation of
the 1947 constitution: their prejudice against people with different
religious beliefs, the non-Burman ethnic nationalsí resistant movement,
the non acceptance of the NLD and SNLD 1988 election, Aung San Suu Kyi
as Leader of NLD, harbouring of ex-warlord, Khun Sa and the expansion of
poppies and their by-products, the Burmese junta have blatantly
whitewashed them with lies and excuses, and by putting the blame on
other people or governments, the British and the Americans.
These and many more atrocious acts of terrorism have been committed by
the state terrorists,the Burmese military dictator governments. As you
know "state terrorist" are also a social menace, and the suffering they
inflict on other people is unimaginable. Therefore, as Secretary General
of a unique organisation we hope that your fight against terrorism does
not stop at non-governmental groups of terrorists, but may we beg you to
please extend your fight against "state terrorists." The September 11th.
Episode is most horrible and thousands of people have died leaving many
families sad and bereft. Please also remember that tens of thousands
more people have died in the Shan, Kachin, Karenni, Karen and Chin
States at the hand of the "state terrorists", the Burmese military
S. N. Oo
Written just before the UN Security Council- to Secretary General of the
United Nations and some Leaders
Unlike the Military Regime we have no mechanical arms or ammunition,
therefore the only means in defense of our freedom and our rights are
through our "pens". During the last four decades we knocked consistently
at closed and barred doors. I hope this time you will not dismiss our
letter which echoesthe voice of the peoples inside the Shan State and
Global Shan Community in exile.
As far as we understand the declaration of Human Rights was adopted by
the General Assembly in 1948 and member states have reaffirmed their
faith and pledge to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the
promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and
fundamental freedom for all citizens of the world.
If our interpretation is correct, then does it not follow that some
member states are not true to their pledge and are unworthy of the
citizens they represent and the organisation they stand for? The SPDC
does not represent any section of the population of Burma other than the
The United Nations was born out of the struggle against Nazism and
Fascism with their doctrines and practices of racial superiority and
genocide. The present dictatorial regime of Burma has the same doctrines
and practices which members of the United Nations abhor.
We pleaded to the United Nations, Western Governments, Japan, Thailand
and ASEAN to help solve the dire political and human rights situation of
Burma. Until now every nation is treading softly, softly with the excuse
that they do not want to interfere in another countryís affairs. The
International Governments and United Nations have failed to see that
Burmaís affair is not internal but an international one, and also to
view the situation as a crisis that needs addressing immediately not
only on humanitarian but also on political grounds.
The Honourable Kofi Annan in his second term as the Secretary of the
United Nations Stated that he would not turn a blind eye to help and
protect those that are weakest and most vulnerable. Five years have
passed since then and the Shans and other ethnic groups are still in the
same or even worse dilemma as they had been four decades ago.
We understand that the Secretary General alone cannot solve such
complicated global problems. After the terrorist attack on the World
Trade Centre on the 11th of September 2001 in New York, the Secretary
General also called on all member states to join forces and act firmly
Members of the Burmese military regime who use brutal force and
terrorize the citizens of Burma mustsurely be classified as terrorists
and their action as an act of terrorism.
All governments, the United Nations, Media and citizens have a role to
play in making the world a safer, more peaceful and happier place. In
the present civilised but chaotic and dangerous world it is time to
reassess the priority of human values and adhere to the principles and
moral codes laid down in the United Nations.
In conclusion we would like to make a plea to you, the Secretary General
and Members of the Security Council to:
1. Ignore the SPDCís claim that Burmaís affair is a domestic matter and
of no legal or legitimate concerns to the world. Please do not let them
hide further behind the curtain of the so called Nation-state. If the
fifty- year old Burma problem is to be solved we need International
InterventionMr. Gambari, in his recent UN mission must have realized
that the SPDC cannot be trusted.
2.. In the coming UN Security Meeting we request that Mr Gambari, the
Secretary General and Members of the UN Security Council work toward a
resolution requiring an end to the attacks on the ethnic nationals and
the release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and Khun Htun Oo.
3. For a neutral Government to mediate during a Tripartite Ė talk; -
the problem could not be solved without the participation of Non-Burmese
Ethnic Nationals. All groups must have equal participation in the
process of reconciliation.
4 I am making a plea to all Governments to stop supplying the Burmese
dictatorial regime with arms and ammunition used to murder Shans, Karens,
Karenni, Mons, Rakhines, Chins and Kachins. Man killing man is an act of
barbarism, which is the immediate cause of terrorism and chaos in the
The Prime Minister of Isreal,
Care of H.E, The Ambassador of Israel
2 Palace Green
London W8 4QB
When looking at human history during the last century we
find that due to the existence of tyrannical dictator governments many
people suffered horrific human rights violations. The Jews had been the
victims of prejudices and bigotry: the unjust treatment inflicted on
them by their own human kind was at its worst during World War II when
the Nazis committed the most gruesome crimes of persecution and genocide
against the Jews for no other reasons than that they were Jews.
Some countries like Spain and Argentina also had their fair share of
being under the military dictator governments during which many innocent
citizens were imprisoned, persecuted, murdered and disappeared without
In spite of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights some countries in
the 21st. Century are still ruled by dictator military governments who
grossly commit human rights violations against innocent people.
In 1962, there was a military coup in Burma and members of U Nuís
government were put in prison and this was when Burma became a land
without law and order. The military readily used its power to
oppress, persecute, and terrorise people especially those belonging to
ethnic groups: the Shan, Karens, Kachins, Chins and others.
The Ethnic groups in Burma, especially the Shans are the worst victims
of human rights violations in Asia: they are being uprooted from their
farmlands and relocated to places where they cannot earn a living. As a
result, they are suffering from malnutrition and even starvation.
Thousands and thousands are being tortured, young girls raped and then
killed and countless massacred.
Many had to flee to neighbouring countries as refugees, who are being
sent back or allowed to stay as cheap labourers.
Since the military junta took over power the ethnic groups in Burma have
been living in hell. Their present predicament is similar to that of the
Jews during Hitler regime. They run a risk of being subjected to awide
variety of human rights violations simply because they are a member of a
We have been continually appealing to United Nations and Leaders of the
Developed countries to please listen to our plight and help us. We would
also like to appeal to you, your government and the people of Israel to
please consider seriously the dire political situation of Burma. The
British Government and the European Parliament have adopted the position
as below, and are prepared to put greater pressure on the Burmese
military junta, and we hope you will do the same too.
1. To stop them from inhumane treatments of Shans, Karens, Karenni,
Chins and other ethnic groups in Burma.
2. To ban all new investments and encourage existing companies to
pull out of Burma.
3. To lobby at the United Nations for world-wide arms and economic
sanction against the Burmese military junta.
The ethnic groups are helpless and defenceless: they cannot compete in
arms and ammunitions with the Burmese military who is also getting aids
from other bigger countries.
We hope this is untrue, but there are rumours or news flashing around
that the Israel Government has an arms deal with the Burmese military
junta. We were shocked for we believed that the Israel Government, the
majority of whose citizens are of Jewish origin would not be giving aids
to such a regime.
The nations who are giving aids to the Burmese military junta are
turning a blind eye to the horrific crimes they have and are committing,
and are encouraging their actions instead of openly condemning them.
Those who trade with the Burmese military junta are supporting a
If nations ignore and do not learn from history and try to prevent
mankind from destroying its own kind, mankind will be doomed.
The developed countries also have the responsibility to play a role in
the moral and ethical issues of the world and encourage smaller nations
to adopt democracy and human rights. The world would be a better place
if governments and United Nations find a way to prevent a country from
being taken over by the military or similar dictatorial or tyrannical;
organisations. If this could be achieved there would be less human
sufferings, refugees, asylum seekers, orphans and people fleeing to
other countries. Surely, most people except in certain cases would
prefer to live in their own homeland.
We humbly beg of you to please take heed of our plea. Please look back
on what the many generations of Jews have been through and recall on
what it was like to live under an evil dictatorial regime.
S. N. Oo
To the Japanese Ministers who were responsibe for the affairs concerning the Tasang Dam in the Shan State
Takeo Hiranamu Yohei Kono
Minister of Finance Minister of International
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Finance Trade and Industry
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of International Trade
We the overseas- Shans are gravely concerned to hear that the Japanese
Government is considering
the possibility of financing the Tasang Dam on the River Salween, in
Southern Shan State, east part
of Burma, and also for allowing the Electrical Power Development
Corporation to conduct the feasibility of study.
Even before the construction of the dam, the area around the site has
been increasingly militarized,
resulting in increased forced labour and forced relocation. The
construction of the dam would lead to
the change in the river flow and ecological imbalance.
The Salween or Nham. Khong is a river which flows down from the foot
hills of the Himalayas, rushes
down from north to south along the whole length of the Shan State before
flowing through the Karenni,
Karen and Mon States into the Indian Ocean at Moulmein .The Salween
River and its many tributaries serve
productive and industrious Shan farmers water for irrigating rice
fields. Rice cultivation has been Shan culture
for generations and most importantly, it is their livelihood. Therefore,
they are resolutely opposed to the building of the dam on the Salween. They fear that if the river ceases to flow
the Shan State as we know will be lost
forever. The Nham Kong River is as important symbolically to the Shan as
Mount Fuji to the Japanese people.
The dam will not only have devastating social and environmental impacts:
large area of farmlands will be inundated and countless more people will be displaced with little hope
of compensation. Even if not submerged,
forests in the area will inevitably be depleted when logging companies
move in to use the infrastructure
built to serve the dam.
Are you fully aware that the International Labour Organisation has
recently passed a resolution urging its
members to re-evaluate their relation with the military regime in Burma,
a country using the most intensive labour in the world?
The Shan Human Rights Foundation has reported that up to date there has
been no evidence of any effort on
the part of the military regime to stop the use of forced labour. In
fact, only recently two elderly porters who
could no longer continue to shoulder the heavy loads travelling on a
very long trail was brutally killed.
The Tasang Dam Project will undoubtedly involve forced labour. Japan
being one of the leading member states of ILO in Asia, we would like to make an earnest plea to you and your
1. To refrain from supporting and giving aid to the Burmese military
regime, particularly in financing the
Tasang Dam Project.
2. Not to grant permission to Electrical Power Development Corporation
to conduct D/D detailed design),
even if they should win the contract.
3. To put pressure on the Japanese Financial Corporation: Bank for
International Co-operation MITIís trade
insurance not to finance the Tasang Dam Project.
Participation in this project will damage the EPDCís international
reputation. By knowingly participating in a project which clearly involved in the Tasang Dam would violate the
resolution since it is clear that
forced labour as well other human rights violations, are linked to the
Japan is one of the leading nations of not only Asia but the whole
world. A small country, like the Shan
State looks up to Japan with admiration, especially when its citizens
cannot even live like ordinary human
beings. They have all the human rights taken away from them: the right
not to be massacred, the right not to be raped and the right to refuse to like draught animals. They
donít even have to own and
cultivate farm lands for food.
We beg of you to consider justice and compassion and justice for
humanity more important than political and economical interests. After all you are dealing with an evil,
illegal government. . Being one of the
leaders of the modern world we have hopes that you will lead other
smaller nations to rectify injustice and prevent human rights violations. Also, does not an advanced country
such as Japan carry the responsibility of playing a role in the moral and ethical issues of the world? We
truly hope we can rely on you
Thanking you in anticipation.
On behalf of all Overseas Shan,
S. N. Oo
When the Japan voted against the UN Security Council
The second time
he voted in favour
The Prime Minister of Japan
Office of the Cabinet-Public Relations Cabinet
1-6-1 Nagata- Cho-Chiyoda-Ku
I am Nel Adams, alias Sao Noan Oo who has previously written to you
on behalf of the Shan people. In each of the letters I have asked for
help from you and your government, as in the Tasang Dam Project in
2000. You have listened and acted with understanding, consideration and
compassion for the ordinary citizens of the Shan State. Thank you.
Since my childhood I have high regards and respect for the Japanese
people as I feel that you, the Japanese stand for honour, truth and
Like many Shan people I am sad and shocked to hear that Japan is
supporting China and Russia to oppose the UN Security Councilís
resolution against the SPDCís human rights abuse in Burma.
We understand that you acted with your own reasons but we feel that you
are turning a blind eye to what is really going on in Burma. If you go
along with this decision you are supporting the most despicable and evil
regime, which does not understand the meaning of honour, truth, justice
The U N members who oppose the resolution give the excuse that "no
nation-state should interfere in another nation-stateís internal
affairs". But, in the case of Burma it is not a nation Ėstate but eight
separate states according to the Constitution of the ex- Union of Burma.
The two Military Regimes destroyed Burma as a nation-state when they
destroyed the "Panglong Agreement" and "the 1948 Constitution".
All members of the United Nations have pledged to support the
declarations of human rights and therefore have the responsibility to
abide by their declaration, and if governments knowingly turn a blind
eye to a regime which practises mass murder and other heinous acts then
does it not follow that those members are neglecting their duty as
"members of the human family"?.
The United Nations is a great Institution but it has pitfalls that need
to be addressed. Some unethical governments are not true to their pledge
and are not worthy of the people they represent. They are
given consideration over the people they violate and terrorise. The
weakest and the most vulnerable groups of people which need protection
are being ignored by some UN members.
These are the forgotten people of the world and they desperately need
help from the UN. We have hope that a country like Japan will, with
other super powers take part in the reform and improvement of this great
institution, to see that human rights are for all citizens of the world,
to stamp out terrorists including governments that terrorise their own
May I request you alter your decision and vote for the U N Security
Councilís resolutions against theBurmese military human rights abuses?
Sao Noan Oo (Mrs. Nel Adams)
On behalf of Global Shans in exile and people of the Shan State.
A letter written to the Prime Minster of Thailand and all governments
planning to attend the Bangkok Process (The Burmese Junta did not attend
but cowardly backed out)
28th. March 2004
I am not a politician nor am I member of an activist
organisation but I represent the feelings of the majority of the
voiceless people of the Shan State. I would like to thank the Thai
Government for undertaking to chair a gathering of international
governments who are meeting to bring about the reconciliation between
the SPDC Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Leaders of the Non-Burman
nationals. I, on behalf of the voiceless people of the Shan State would
also like to thank all governments who will be present to take part in
the discussion of "the reconciliation and peace process" in Burma.
As we hope your kind endeavour will be successful I would be grateful if
you would take the following facts into consideration: We feel that if
you know the reasons for the make up and the break up of the Ex-Union of
Burma you will understand the root cause of the conflicts between the
parties. In 1947, the Leaders of the Non-Burman ethnic nationals
participated with Bo Gyoke Aung San in jointly asking the British
Government for independence. They signed the "Panglong Agreement" to
form a federation in the Union of Burma, with each nation having equal
status and opportunity. The Leaders of the Ethnic Nationals accepted the
change and were prepared to work together with the peoples of Burma
But alas! Their hopes and aspirations did not materialise because the
Constitution agreed in the "Panglong Agreement" was altered by the then
Prime Minister. The Shan Leaders realised that they had been taken
advantage of and made their views known to Prime Minister, U Nu, in
March 1962. When Parliament assembled to discuss the issue of Federalism
in Burma the army under Ne Win staged a coup and placed all members of
parliament including all ethnic Leaders in prison and subjected the
people to military rule.
The military coup was followed by the obsession of the Generals and
their followers to have full control and Burmanise the non-Burman
nationals by using arms and brute force. Being forced to abandon their
language and culture had made the Shans more determined than ever to
revive everything that was Shan.
Many Shan youths formed groups to resist the army rule as they fought
for their survival and freedom.
As years went by and until today the military junta are more anxious to
hold on to power, and soldiers and officers more inhumane towards the
citizens of the country they occupied. As amnesty international reported
in 2000 Burma became an " instrument of torture", and torture was used
by the authorities to keep the population in a state of fear. With such
policy in mind they subjected the citizens, especially those belonging
to the non-Burmese ethnic nationalities with fear and terror. Their
human rights violations include ganged rape of women and young girls,
extra-judicial killing, murder and genocide. They denied the citizens
the fundamental human rights including the means of survival. During the
two regimes many people have died through ill-treatment by the soldiers,
thousands of people have fled from Burma into Thailand and many more are
internally displaced, hiding in the jungle. The internally displaced
people are desperate, trying to survive with whatever they can find for
food; they have no shelter and have to be prepared to run in case they
are seen and shot at by the soldiers.
We pleaded to Western Nations, the United Nations, Thailand and SEAN to
help solve the dire political and human rights situation in Burma. So
far every nation is treading softly, softly with the excuse that they do
not want to interfere in other countries internal affairs. The
International and United Nations have failed to see that Burmaís affairs
are not internal but external, and also to view the situation as a
crisis to be addressed on humanitarian grounds. Does it more than forty
years of civilians being treated worse than animals need
The declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of
the United Nations in December 1948. Members of the United Nations
reaffirmed their pledge and faith in fundamental human rights and
freedom. Yet we see today that some members have not been true to their
pledge and are unworthy of the citizens they represent and the
organisation they stand for. Members of the Security Council and all
democraticgovernments have the responsibility to apply stricter rules in
deciding which governments should or should not be eligible to be
representative of the citizens of their countries. The SPDC does not
represent any sectionof the population of Burma other than the armed
forces. The other section of 30 million or more of the population,
especially those who have been the victims of human rights violations
have no voice or any form of representation.
All citizens, governments and the United Nations have a role to play in
making the world a safer, more peaceful and happier place. Knowledge
through science has advanced greatly in several fields but little
attention has been paid to the study of humanity. In this supposedly
civilised but chaotic and dangerous world it is time to reassess the
priority of human values and adhere to the principles and moral codes
laid down in the United Nationsí Charter. In the "Universal Declaration
of Human Rights" the General Assembly proclaims "Recognition of the
inherent dignity and the equal inalienable rights of members of the
human family is the
foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".
Like other non-Burman ethnic Nationals, the Shans primarily desire
independence but for the sake of peacethey are prepared to join the
others as one of the eight federal states and contribute to the building
of peace and success of the federation.
To bring about the reconciliation between the three parties: SPDC, Daw
Aungsan Suu Kyi and the Non-Burman ethnic nationals, all mediating
governments should take the above facts into consideration, and look at
the situation through the eyes and feelings of the parties concerned and
refrain from being bias because one of the parties has a stronger voice.
Unless honour, justice and fairness are taken into account the political
situation in Burma will not be resolved. I trust you will not fail the
parties concerned especially the victims and unrepresented sections of
society in Burma.
Thank you- S. N. Oo
Time to face the Truth
(Published by Burma
Sao Noan Oo
Burma is a country of eight ethnic states: Burma Proper, Shan, Karen,
Karenni, Mon, Kachin, Chin and Arakan States, named according to the
most numerous ethnic national inhabitants in each area.(however, in
Kachin State, the Kachins are not the majority). The countryís history
was made by a succession of different groups of people who migrated from
Tibet and China, all of whom played a part in the countryís development.
Early History tells us that there had been fierce struggles for power
between the Mon, Shan and Burman (or all three had been at the height of
dominance at one time or the other). In the earliest part of history the
Mon were the most dominant, followed by the Shan who ruled the northern
parts of Burma and the Shan State for over two hundred and fifty years
and the Burman about the same number of years, from Bayintnaungís reign
until the British colonisation of Burma.
The British originally ruled Burma as an appendage of India, but parts
of the mountainous Ďfrontier areasí which had never been
under lowland kingdomís direct rule, were mapped into Burma and many
hill populations ended up split between Burma and
neighbouring countries. In the frontier areas there might have been an
initial resistance to colonial rules but soon they
accepted the British as their Government. In fact the period of British
rule was one of the most peaceful periods, especially
in the Shan State. It was free from the Sao Hpas, also known as Sawbwas
(prince) quarrelling amongst themselves, and the
interference of the Burman Kings, and their armies marching to war
against the Chinese or the Siamese (Thailand). The British
also introduced law and order in different areas of Burma.
Most Burman nationalists bitterly resented colonial domination and they
were angered and humiliated by what they
considered the British divide and rule method between Burma Proper and
the Frontier Areas. Up until today, they harbour
this feeling of humiliation and grudge against the British, and so vent
their bitterness on people of the frontier regions. They try
to erase the humiliation of colonialism and to prove their own
legitimacy and superiority by linking their own political and
religious activities to the accomplishments of the great Burmese Kings.
Burma has never before been so divided ethnically, politically and
religiously than in the last fifty years. Under the two military
regimes the people of Burma, especially the non-Burman ethnic nationals,
live in fear and terror. Few people in the world and
even those living in Central Burma can really understand and imagine
the extent to which the Burmese army has caused tensions
and suffering in the rural regions of the Shan, Karen and Karenni
States. Along with the expansion of the militaryís presence
throughout the country the regime also engaged in its policy of
Burmanization of other ethnic nationals.
The Burmese dictatorial regimes blamed the British for their divide and
rule policy, which they say "resulted in suspicion and
discord among national races. This subsequently led to armed insurgency
that spread to various parts of the country for decades".
It is true, that the British Government had divided Burma Proper from
the Hill States during their administration, perhaps with the
intention of protecting the peoples of the Hill States from the
Chauvinistic and bullying nature of the more worldly wise and cunning
Myanmar politicians. Members of the army seem to feel very strongly that
the British had practised a divide and rule policy
during the time they were in government, yet the Burmese military
practiced a divide and rule policy between different ethnic
groups, and within the same group, a policy which is much worse than
that of the British.
One of the most popular statements of the Military regime is "Myanmar
has existed as an independent kingdom for thousands of years. It has always been proud of its culture, tradition
and values. Therefore colonisation by Great Britain
was a great shock to the psyche of the Myanmar people."
When going back thousands of years as shown above, the Shan or Tai had
their own dynasty, "The Nam Mao Long Dynasty, expanded from Yunnan, Shan State, Assam and large areas of Central and
Northern Burma. Like the Burmans, the Shans are also proud of their history, culture and literature. The Shan State
was a separate country from Burma, and had always been autonomous during the British and Japanese regimes, and even in
the days of the Burmese Kings. Therefore, when the Burmese Military occupied the Shan State and subjected the Shan people
to its rule and all forms of human rights violations it was not only a complete shock to the psyche of the Shan peoples, but it
was the worst thing that had ever happened to them in many thousands of years of history. The Shan people had everything that
they valued, such as their farmlands, homes and means of survival, taken away from them by the two military regimes.
The Military Regimes have insisted that they are working to unify the
country; what they cannot see is that they are doing totally the opposite. Previous to the Burmese Military regimes the Shans
and the Burmans had mingled socially without prejudice against each other and the Shan culture was to some extent influenced
by that of the Burmese. But when the military regimes tried to destroy their way of life and forced the Shans to abandon
their language, literature and traditional buildings, the Shans became aware of what the regime was doing. They became more
nationalistic and were determined more than ever to ensure the survival of their tradition and everything that was Shan. Besides the
physical disintegration and suffering of society and individuals, the Burmese Military had also caused distrust, bitterness and hatred.
The military regime claimed that it has been sacrificing much of its
blood and sweat to prevent the disintegration of the nation. According to them the military coup was necessary because the Sawbwas
were trying to destroy unity by planning to secede from the Union.
By 1961 the Sawbwas realised that the Union was totally in the control
of the Burmans; therefore, the question of "to secede or not to secede" came to be an issue amongst Shan Leaders including U
Htoon Myint who was anti-Sawbwas. This was not a crime as it was a right provided by the Constitution. The secession
issue did not arise out of conspiracies by the Sawbwas; it originated from real grievances.
Even then the majority and more prominent Shan Leaders were committed to
working out a solution with the elected U Nu Government. In March 1962, during a high level seminar on federal issues
attended by Prime Minster U Nu and senior Shan representatives, General Ne Win seized power. The present long and never
ending conflict could have been avoided if the debate in parliament was allowed to continue democratically, and with
compromise. Ne Win and his generals were so obsessed with the idea of having full control over the frontier areas,
and to further their ego and superiority complex that they put the Sawbwas and other members of the government in prison.
The Regimesí Propaganda is that they have saved the Union from
disintegrating and that they are serving the interest of the national people.
The regime is definitely not serving the interest of the people other
than themselves. They are a self-elected government and their main aim is to hold on to power by hook or by crook ; by killing
or punishing all oppositions by any means no matter who they are, even those from their own group who once held the same polices
as themselves. If the present Generals feel that their policies are so right why are they so afraid to be transparent? Why
canít they face the opposition and have a debate with them like any civilized people instead of using guns and ammunitions to force
people to accept unreasonable terms? The Military regimes blame the British and the Shan Sawbwas for the
disintegration of the Ex-Union of Burma. If the truth be told it was because of the Shan Sawbwas and other Ethnic Leaders that
the Union of Burma came into existence, and it was the military regimes that destroyed the Union when they dishonoured
the "Panglong Agreement" and abrogated the 1948 Union Constitution. Yet the SPDC refuses to accept the Union of Burma as
being defunct. The Generals, one after the other, continue to hold the states together by brutal force.
The fifty years of their attempt to do so have failed dismally. And the
root of Burmaís decline and subsequent economic and educational decay can be traced directly to colonial arrangements
and misrule practised by the Generals. By looking at these facts there is little reason to pronounce that the present day
Burma is viable as a Nation state. A great nation is built by the diverse citizens of a nation; not by a handful of generals who are
making Burma into an empty shell and filling it with soldiers indoctrinated with their own policy, and provided with guns and
ammunition to exterminate non- Burman ethnic nationals and punish all oppositions.
In the 1950 -1960 I had the experience of knowing and making friends
with many Bamars. At that time all the ethnic nationals, each with its own culture and religion studied and worked together. We
were not free from competition but the competition was fair and just and we accepted success humbly and failure sportingly.
The difference in culture and religion did not come into question because there was no prejudice, bigotry, or distrust amongst
The Military regimes insist that they are safeguarding the Barmar
society and tradition. But from my observation the culture which my friends used to be proud of and those of us who were
not Barmar respected and admired has been tainted with the regimesí policies to promote its own ends- a culture which has
no regard and respect for human life; a culture that values chauvinism and superiority complex and a desire to have control over
other ethnic nationals. It seems the goodness in Barmar tradition has been swallowed up and twisted by the regimes.
The British and the Shan Sawbwas have been gone for fifty years and the
SPDC is still blaming them for the dire political situation in Burma. It was the extreme Burmese nationalists who
assassinated General Aung San and his colleagues; it was Ne Win who staged a coup and put U Nu and his government in prison; it
is the present SPDC who put Ne Winís family, Khin Nyunt and his followers in prison and violate human rights against
their opposition. It wasnít the Shan Sawbwas, the British or other ethnic groups that created disunity. It is obvious
that the SPDC are out to punish their people to safeguard their own power. It is almost predictable what is likely to happen next.
The Military regimes and the extreme Barmar nationalists cannot even keep their own group in order.
It is time for the Generals to admit that they have misruled the peoples
of Burma for fifty years.
It is time for them to regain their reason and conscience.
It is time for the generals to give up power and let democratic elected
members govern the country.
The two key political issues today in Burma are (i) the restoration of
democracy, and (ii) the resolution of the political rights of all ethnic nationalities. Nobody knows how Burma is going to develop; be
it a genuine federation or complete independence for some of the states depends on the attitude and will of all concerned. To
build a genuine federation the Barmar politicians must prove to the other ethnic nationals that they are honourable,
trustworthy and genuine in their dealings, and must not let their chauvinism and false pride mar any success. All must move forward and
past mistakes must never be repeated.
It is time too for all the ethnic peoples, including the Barmar to work
together for the commongood of all nationals and for the progress of mankind. It is time that we try to understand each otherís
feelings and treat each other as equals. After all, we are all human beings. Each ethnic group has its own traditions, language and
literature but with tolerance and respect we can still live peacefully side by side and Burma is big enough for all. We have a long
way to go because fifty years of pain, suffering misunderstanding, anger and bitterness are not easy to forget and
forgive. But if there is a will there is a way. Please take this unique chance and play a part in a vision of a new society in which all
of us may dwell in peace and harmony. Please be an agent of change for the betterment of the human condition; a chance to
stand up effectively for human rights which are the key to human happiness, to justice and to the welfare of the human race.
Best wishes to Daw Aung San Suu Gyi and members of NLD
Published by the Burma Digest
I would like to say "Best Wishes" to Daw Aung San Suu Gyi and members of
NLD on the 18th.anniversay of the founding of their party. I also
congratulate them for their fight for survival amidst an almost
impossible situation. I hope NLD will continue to fight for freedom,
democracy, justice and fairness for all peoples of Burma.
The time has come for all democratic forces to look forward to solve the
big problem that is facing them today, but just as importantly the
problems of the future. The new politicians must not believe and act
like the old ones. They must not exploit the situation. Burma must
confront its own past. The only way for reconciliation is to know why
the Union of Burma has gone sour. It will be a painful process and they
will have to go through it and find the truth. Only then can the peoples
of Burma move forward towards a genuine federation, freedom and
democracy. No one should ignore the injustices and nightmare of the
past, or lessons of history. But too often people hold on to history and
use it to fuel their anger, prejudices, hate and distrust. All peoples
of Burma must emerge from its past history and direct their vision
towards the common goods of all concerned.
There have been so many atrocities, cruelty, murder, rape, torture and
political imprisonment. In the Shan and Karen State there are countless
children who have been the victims of violence, whose lives are scarred
by the memory of witnessing their parents being tortured and murdered by
the soldiers, and the shock of being left fatherless and motherless. In
other parts of Burma children are forced to become boy soldiers, and
through indoctrination become part of the system that turned them into
people who are capable of terrible deeds against their fellow human
beings. Generation after generation of children have become the victims
of mistrust and hate when they should be having proper education and
learning to reason and to have compassion for other people. What a
terrible waste of good human resources.
The two key political issues today in Burma are (i) the restoration of
democracy, and (ii) the resolution of the political rights of all ethnic
It is time too for all the ethnic peoples, including the Barmar to
work together for the common good of all nationals and for the progress
of mankind. It is time that we try to understand each otherís feelings
and treat each other as equals. Each ethnic group has its own
traditions, language and literature but with tolerance and respect we
can still live peacefully side by side and Burma is big enough for all.