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A true profile of the Military Regi
Subject: A true profile of the Military Regime of Burma
Many still believe that Ne Win still controls the political climate in
Burma. On 24 May, Ne Win will be 88 years old.
Very recently, Ne Win is being portrayed as a religious man and claimed that
he has truly retired from politics according to his royal servant Khin
Nyunt. Make no mistakes in believing in those claims.
At this point, we ought to be reminded of an old Burmese saying :"Khway Mee
Kauk, Kyi Dauk Suut". The validity of this saying can be can judged if we
can trace back to the true profile of the military regime of Burma as far
back as in 1969.
Ne Win have portrayed himself as a womanizer and a gambler in the years
before 1958 successfully making all his political rulers at the time into
believing that he had no political inclinations at all. In October 1958, U
Nu and his parliament had made a grave mistake by handing over the power to
Ne Win. Making full use of the situations at the time, he quickly claimed
that "he had been given the mandate to put back the country in order" before
the promised general elections could be held supposedly within six months.
Ne Win broke the promise and the election was held in February 1960. Ne Win
took his time and the power was not handed back to U Nu's government until
December 1960. After all, Ne Win had learnt the ropes of twisting the arms
of the democratically elected politicians and managed to delay the formation
of a new government almost six months after the general election was held.(
It appears that Ne Win has passed on his skills to the present regime as
However, U Nu's government was short-lived when a group of military officers
who have served Ne Win from 3rd and 4th Burma Rifles and those who have
served under the Caretaker Government of 1958 had taken over the state power
after a brief military coup on 2 March 1962.
After U Nu and several other prominent political prisoners were freed in
1966, Ne Win, as the Chairman of the RC (Revolutionary Council), officially
allowed them to form the IUAB ( Interim Unity Advisory Board )in 1968, in an
attempt to improve his image. He managed to deceive them into believing that
he was genuinely seeking a political advice from the board. Subsequently,
IUAB had submitted a report to Ne Win in June 1969 which contained a
concrete proposal to transform the military regime into a national
government including former politicians, army officers, representatives from
the ethnic minorities and civilians. Among other things, the report also
recommended a decentralized economy, a multi-party system of government and
have peace talks with the ethnic rebels groups.
But, without much serious thoughts given to the IUAB's report, the outright
rejection of the report came from Ne Win the next day. Ne Win argued that
"the report was irrelevant as the RC never intended to rule the country
indefinitely and that the time was not ripe yet".
Thus, since 1962, Burma remains under the rule of Burmese Generals in
various forms and sizes:
1. RC (1962 -1974)
2. BSPP (1974-1988)
3. SLORC (1988-1997) and
4. SPDC (1997-till now).
In commonality, all have claimed that they did not intend to stay in power
NLD has won the May 1990 general elections in an overwhelming majority.
Since then, SLORC/SPDC have not allowed the elected representatives to
convene the parliament.
So, it is very important to take note that we should not make any repeat of
the mistakes made by the U Nu's Government and never should we give an
"outright mandate" to the Burmese military to take care of the law and order
in the future negotiations with the military regime though a compromised
atmosphere is widely recommended to end the stark stand-off between the NLD
and the SPDC.
More than enough time ( i.e more than 37 years: 1962-1999 ) or chances ( i.e
almost ten years: 1990-1999) were given to the military regime to respond in
a peaceful manner. It is time that SPDC honor the mandate that NLD was given
by the people of Burma in the 1990 general elections and give up its
unsuccessful stance to involve the military in the economic and political
affairs of the country for 37 years.
Let's end the stand-off but NLD should keep in mind this true profile of the
military regime of Burma. I hope the military regime can accomodate a much
needed change and that both the NLD and the SPDC are willing to compromise.
The time is ripe and the change must come right now.
Minn Kyaw Minn
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