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Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe on Union Day, E

Received: (from strider) by igc4.igc.apc.org (8.6.12/Revision: 1.16 ) id OAA16509 for conf:reg.burma; Sun, 25 Feb 1996 14:19:42 -0800
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 1996 14:19:42 -0800
Subject: Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe on Union Day, Equality and Secession

The Union Day, Equality, and Secession                            
   ------------------------------------ Chao-Tzang Ywanghwe

	The Union Day is worthy of commemorating because it is an event
which the military cannot claim to have any role whatsoever in bringing
about.  As such, military rulers have nothing meaningful to say on Union
Day, except to utter empty clichés about "national unity" as Than Shwe
recently did.  It is amazing that he should talk about the rights of the
"national races," when in fact, no one but members of the top brass have
such things as human rights.
	The Union Day represents the day when Aung San, Sao Shwe Thaike
(the Chaofa-Luang or Prince of Yawnghwe), other Shan Chaofa-Luang
(Sawbwagyis), Karenni Sawphyas, Kachin Duwas, and Chin chiefs and
leaders agreed to co-found (repeat, co-found) the Union. The signatories
of the Panglong Accord were all equal.  Each was a leader of some
segments of the population, and none were national leaders because
"Burma" as it exists after 1948 did not (in 1947) exist before.  The
Union, therefore, is a joint-venture of all "races" of the Union, which
means that the Union is "owned" by all "races", and certainly not by the
"race" garbed in green.
	Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is therefore correct when she says that the
Union must be based on equality.  As of now, it must sadly be said that
all "national races" in Burma are, thanks to the military, all "equal"
in their plight as serfs.
	It is important for all the races, especially for the Bama, to
fully embrace the idea of equality.  Many Bama seem to think of the Bama
as superior, or as "Big Brothers", although there is no evidence of the
Bama being superior to any "race", collectively or individually.
	However, there are some Bama who talk about the "glorious" Bama
history and of "great conquerors" like Bayinnaung, etc., in order to
stake a claim on being a "superior race", like the claim made by Hitler
and his goons.  What they forget is that the Bama then were abject of
the king, who were Hitler-like figures.  The question is: in what way
does being abject serfs of a king make a "race" superior to another
"race" conquered by that same king?  For there to be equality, the idea
of any "race" being "superior" must be treated as useless, foul garbage,
or bad breath or B.O.
	What is meant by equality amongst "races", when translated in
administrative practice?  Fore mostly, it means that there must not be a
colonial situation of a "mother country" (Pri-Ma) and subordinate states
(Pri-Ne).  That is, the federal government of any of the constituent
states, and its powers must be limited by some agreed upon formula, or
by the powers of its member states.  The ideal for Burma would be to
have seven equal states, with none being superior to the others (like
having the status of the "mother state.")
	Daw Suu is also right in stating that federalism does not
automatically guarantee the right to secede.  However, secession cannot
be prevented as seem from the secession of thousands of Bama themselves
from the Union.  Moreover, thousands more Bama harbour a wish to secede. 
Also, SLORC bosses and military officers all dream of seceding from the
Union, and will do so once they have enough dollars stashed away.
	Since the Bama themselves have either seceded, dream of
seceding, or are looting in order to secede someday, why is secession
feared?  Why is it considered "bad" -- "bad" for whom?  In fact,
secession under conditions that exist in Burma since 1962, is inherent
in the situations.  It can be prevented only if not seceding is not
painful and not nightmarish.  This is something that our Bama brothers,
both bigger and smaller, should stop to ponder whenever they get a
reflexive anxiety attack upon hearing the word "secession." 

   --------------------------------------------- (Dated: 22/2/96)