Thursday, October 06, 2005

Worlds Apart: The Burmese Government and the Opposition

WORLDS APART: The GOVERNMENT and The OPPOSITION

"... the report is yet another attempt to discredit the government of Myanmar. It is based on misinformation by a few remaining insurgents and foreign fundedexpatriates who are now fearful that they will soon be irrevalent when Myanmarcrosses the threshold to a new era. They are after all expatriates who arefunded by some western countries with a hidden political agenda."

- The Burmese Government Statement on on Havel-Tutu's call for Security Council intervention, 29/9/05

"The National League for Democracy is therefore grateful to the former Czech President and the Archbishop for the detailed and accurate report they havesubmitted. We believe that the report has been prepared out of genuine andsincere motives."

- National League for Democracy, Burmese mainstream opposition Official Statement on the same report, 21/9/05

"The report is a realistic analytical observation of the real conditions in Burma and it is done with a positive attitude and with goodwill and sincere motives. Furthermore, since the report takes the correct attitude in calling on the UN Security Council to overcome the general hardships that need to be resolved immediately in Burma through dialogue - but without economic sanctions and pressure - it reflects the desires of all the democratic forces...."

- Committee Representing People's Parliament, 29/9/05

"Considering the highly-respected integrity of those who committed the report,it is therefore regrettable that various inaccuracies appeared in the text withthe potential to take away some of the relevance of the arguments yousubmitted."

- Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Representative, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Rangoon

"China, India and Thailand ... ... I think that they have the key to change inMyanmar, I think that in their own way, in their own style they have somequalities to convince the Myanmar authorities that, for instance, the road mapcannot be stuck and waiting for ever... ..."

- Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, UN Special Rapporteur of the Commission onHuman Rights, on BBC "Hardtalk 1 September 2005.

"... Professor Pinheiro's judgement of the importance of these three countriesin assisting the process of democratization, security and stability inBurma/Myanmar may offer a more practical way forward for the Security Councilto consider than Chapter VII action."

Retd. Ambassador Derek Tonkin, (UK Diplomatic Service 1952-1989)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A View from Rangoon, by a young Burmese journalist

Quote of the day:

"i do not hope any single positive movement from the US to burma."

- a young Burmese journalist from Rangoon



A View from Rangoon, by A Young Burmese Journalist

some people in burma think that the western economic sanction to burma is the only one way to make change to the junta. they have impression to the US blindly. their example is iraq. they were so happy for the US invasion iniraq. they think the US can do whatever it likes. of course, the US can do whatever it likes, but the US does not like to do anything to burma, but shout lots of words.

besides, iraq and burma are different. the US has some allied countries in the middle east region. and the strongest neighbour to iraq is syria and iran. but for burma, we are just in between the two giant countries. china has long been protecting the military government. i met some chinese journalists. they said they cannot write any criticism to burma in china.

india is becoming a new france. shouting human rights and doing business simultaneously. they will not stop saying democracy about burma while they are doing businesses in burma. in fact, the india government might see three things.

the first one is they supported the democratic movement in the past when china supported to the junta. when india was not having any single benefit from the democratic ones, china was getting a lot from the military goverment. so, now india government might regret that they chose the wrong side.

the second one is india needs burma for its insurgency problems on the border.

the third one is the oil politics. the economy of india is bigger and bigger. it means that they need energy a lot. burma is its neighbouring country; iranand middle east countries are further than burma and the pipeline should pass through pakistan. the indian companies are pretty much involved in burmese natural gas sector. they have very good businesses in rakhine state. for owing to the above reasons, india government is co-operating to the junta rather than contradicting.

let me get back to what i am trying to say. neither india nor china wants theUS involvement to burma. in addition, we have so-called regional organisation,ASEAN. only few countries in ASEAN are democratic; the rest are also dictator-ruled states, and they are just not as bad as burmese government. they will never accept the US intervention to burma.

so, i do not hope any single positive movement from the US to burma. and also the economic sanction is so funny thing. the US and the UK are closing the front door of burma, but they fail to close the back door. the sanction will be so great if all the major countries agree to do so.

but now, burmesegoverment do not care about the sanction. they might say, 'we have our good friends, china, india and asean.' so, what is the meaning of the sanction? it is just the useless thing if the US and its partner UK cannot stop other countries to trade with burma.

i am so afraid that burma will be another tibet. they dream of independenttibet is far and far away. the US treatment to tibet is like the tibet is just an entertainer to them. they will let some tibet people to stay in the US. if they remember, they will shout a little bit about the tibet democracy. that's all they do to tibet. i think they are treating the same way to burma, itspeople and aung san suu kyi.

president bush will never fail to shout aloud torelease of aung san suu kyi, but always fail to do any implemented action to release her. for me, the US and the UK are giving the counsel of perfection to burma and itspeople. they have been trying stick apporach for long, and they see nothing from their apporach. then, why don't they try for the any alternative approach? it can be carrot approach or can be any other. i am not an economist, nor am i a politician. i can just say what is happening.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Common Mission of "Burma Change", Different Approaches

Quote of the Day:

"Western supporters of Daw Suu have not failed her; but their policies have failed the people of my country."

- Zarni, In "Isolating Burma will not help Aung San Suu Kyi", The Independent, UK, Sat, June 18, 2005

http://comment.independent.co.uk/leading_articles/story.jsp?story=647658

This FBC Posting contains:

1). Desmond Tutu: Together, we can join forces to make Burma the new South Africa
2). Zarni: Isolating Burma will not help Aung San Suu Kyi

http://comment.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=647667&host=6&dir=140

Desmond Tutu: Together, we can join forces to make Burma the new South Africa
18 June 2005

In 1988, Nelson Mandela reached his 70th birthday. He was languishing inprison, having already spent 26 years locked up by the apartheid regime inSouth Africa. In Wembley Stadium some of the world's greatest entertainers -Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Sting, Annie Lennox and George Michael performed for a political prisoner whose face the world hadn't seen for a quarter of acentury.

The apartheid regime was left in no doubt that Mandela and the struggle here presented were in the ascendant. At the same time, on the other side of theplanet, an uprising of epic proportions was taking place - but with no global audience to bear witness.

In Burma millions were taking to the streets in a massive display of defiance against a brutal military dictatorship. The regime reacted. It killed thousands in an orgy of violence against its own people.

From this political landscape emerged Burma's own Mandela, in the form of the powerfully charismatic woman Aung San Suu Kyi. She will be 60 tomorrow. On that day she will have spent nine years and 238 days in detention.

In Mandela's Rivonia trial, he said a free South Africa was "an ideal for whichI am prepared to die". Suu Kyi, a fellow Nobel Peace laureate, has the samedetermination. In May 2003, during a brief period of freedom, she toured Burma. Despite massive intimidation, thousands gathered to hear her talk. She was arrested and has been in detention ever since.

As with the ANC in South Africa under apartheid, the NLD has called for economic sanctions against the regime. Only the US has responded. The EU has imposed a few symbolic measures.

During the struggle against apartheid,musicians, trade unionists, churches, teachers and students showed what we cando here in the UK against tyranny miles away. South Africa is now a democracy.

We can make Burma the next South Africa.

If such a coalition could be mustered for Suu Kyi, the result could be as glorious. Burma would have a leader whosecommitment to her people is unwavering. Asia and the world would have one ofthose rare leaders whose integrity and vision is already proven by her courageand sacrifice.

I make a direct call here, to the friends who fought against apartheid SouthAfrica, to help support the people of Burma. Suu Kyi says: "I have stopped hoping for anything for myself - but I certainly hope for a lot of things forBurma. I hope for the kind of change that will enable our people to realise their full potential. I hope for the sort of change that will make Burma atruly happy and progressive place and a country that can actively contribute towards the betterment of the world.

"My life," she says, "is the cause for democracy and I'm linked to everyoneelse in that cause." I think that means you, and that means all of us.
====================================================

Zarni: Isolating Burma will not help Aung San Suu Kyi

18 June 2005, The Independent, UK

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's most famous political prisoner, turns 60 this Sunday, under house arrest in her lakeside villa since 2003, with only two maids to keep her company and infrequent visits from her personal doctor, himself a former political prisoner.

The best birthday present her supporters could give "Daw Suu" is to help tore-integrate her country, both the regime and the society, into the world's community and economy.

An impressive collection of luminaries, Hollywood celebrities, rock stars and politicians have sent their birthday wishes through the international media.They all offer a common birthday gift: a promise further to isolate Burma "until the regime reconciles with its people".

Daw Suu's supporters are well meaning and their heart is in the right place.But in any country under prolonged sanctions and isolation, the people are the ones who pay the heaviest price, not the generals.

No one denies that my country's conditions - human rights, poverty,long-standing and political conflicts, just to name a few - are deplorable. The regime is responsible for many, if not all, of its ills. But the causes godeeper than lack of good governance, transparency and accountability. They are intergenerational, ethnic and deeply structural. It will take a painfully long evolutionary process to address them. And it will need a lot of assistance, intellectual, political, economic, and, last but not least, patience.

Daw Suu's supporters must evaluate the impact of the isolationist policies. Formany around the world, especially in the West, "Free Burma" has become just another "Free Tibet". Changing a society deep in conflict and poverty requiresa bit more thought and effort than burning one's Triumph bra. (Triumph pulled out of Burma under consumer pressure, leaving hundreds of women jobless.)

There is no one-size-fits-all policy model. Burma under military rule is not apartheid South Africa. What worked in Tutu's South Africa - or Havel's Czech Republic - may not work in Daw Suu's Burma.

The departure of Western corporations extracting Burma's natural resources hasnot disrupted revenue flows to the regime, since Asian investors, especially those from the two fastest growing economies, China and India, are quick tofill the vacant seats. The generals have shrugged their departure off, ratherthan feeling pressured to open a dialogue.

Worst still, thanks to its policies toward Burma, the West has marginalised itself, if not made itself entirely irrelevant, in terms of its ability to influence domestic developments. Conversely, the West's policies have failed to strengthen Daw Suu's democratic opposition. Among the dissidents, both in exile and inside my country, it is now an open secret, if taboo to say it, that the NLD has been in a revolutionary coma since its iconic General Secretary waslocked up. This is a reality unlikely to change.

My coalition and other citizen activists around the world worked hardadvocating these policies in the past 10 years. We were truly inspired by DawSuu's fearless words and her exemplary sacrifices. It is now a bitter pill for me to swallow to witness that the campaign has failed. Western supporters ofDaw Suu have not failed her; but their policies have failed the people of my country.

For their survival, the generals don't need the West. The generals have China and India, on each side of the borders. They don't even much like Westerners coming in with their universal standards. But it is the Burmese people and the country that need the West. They need it for progressive ideas and ideals, for education, for technologies, for greater exposure, and for the growth of democracy.

Pro-isolationists among my fellow dissidents abroad and Daw Suu's Western supporters alike have argued that "constructive engagement" pursued by the ASEAN has not worked either. They are right because it engages with only thegenerals and doesn't address real substance or sensitive issues. So what then is my prescription? The answer is, in a word, evolution. Evolutionary in the backdrop of the successively failed revolutions, including Daw Suu's fearless "revolution of the spirit".

Asia is going through rapid and powerful evolutionary changes. The surest, if slowest venue for social change is to ensure that the country - yes, "the evil regime" as well - gets integrated into the trans-Asiatic current of change through trade and security, cultural interactions and intellectual cross-fertilisation.

I know that Daw Suu herself would say her movement is all about people, not about her. It's past time that policy makers and my fellow dissidents abroadput people back in their policy advocacy and formulations.

That would be the best 60th birthday gift her supporters around the world cangive this extraordinary human being.

===================
Dr Zarni is founder of the Free Burma Coalition, and currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of London Institute of Education. He was born inMandalay.
=======================================================

He may be reached at zarni@freeburmacoalition.org or mandalay1886@yahoo.com

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sampling "Democratic Intolerance": A Sordid Tale for Burma/Myanmar

Compiler's Remark:

I don't mean to sound as if all Burmese exiles who genuinely push for democratic reforms in my country are vicious and mindless or viciously mindless when I write Burmese 'democrats' can't deal with differences, without getting vicious and nasty to one another.

But the system they say they are fighting for is to be based on a foundation of differences and a process of sorting those differences out in a civic and constructive manner, both in theory and practice. We have a saying "because of a few rotten fishes on the boat, the whole boat stinks and is disgusting."

I would prefer to think that our Burmese saying will turn out to be true.
For the opposite would be a devastating blow to any Burmese who wishes genuinely to see democracy built in Burma.


You can't build a democratic system with a few good fishes if the whole pile of fish were dead in spirit and mind. Poverty of intellect can be remedied. But there is no panecea for poverty of heart and viciousness of spirit.

Enjoy the following cluster of samples - a deformed version of democracy at work, on-line and in reality - among the exiles, including the leading figures of the group that calls itself "the government in exile."

From: NLDmembrsnSupportersofCRPPnNLDnDASSK@yahoogroups.com On Behalf Of peacock_8888@yahoo.com
Sent: 10 June 2005 16:49
To: NLDmembrsnSupportersofCRPPnNLDnDASSK@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [NLDmembrsnSupportersofCRPPnNLDnDASSK] Prime Minister Sein Win and Zarni in the UK parliment

A Melodrama of Verbal Confrontation between Dr. Zarni (FBC) and Dr. Sein Win, the Prime Minister of the National Coalition of Union of Burma (NCGUB)
"Dr Sein Win (Compiler's note - It was really Dr. Sein Win's deputy Dr. Thaung Tun, not Dr. Sein Win) explained to the audience that Dr Zarni must be missing the country by living in exile and frustrated for not being able to returned to Burma. ... It was a strange reality to witness a 'pseudo military junta's' representation by Zarni and Dr Sein Win elected by the people of Burma having a verbal exchange in the very mother of Parliament where tradition of British democracy is rooted."
=====================================
"Ko Sa La" Sat, 11 Jun 2005 14:19:13 +0100 Subject: Re: [NLDmembrsnSupportersofCRPPnNLDnDASSK] Prime Minister Sein Win and Zarni in the UK parliment

Ko Maung Daung
Many thanks for an interesting article. It's shame that I came to know about the event quiet late and hence I was unable to be there at the Partliament witnessing Zarni's Maniac Melodrama.

=================================
From: "pow_volume" pow_volume@yahoo.com
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 19:14:46 -0000
Subject: [Women-Group-Burma] Re: Savvy Salt of the Earth, not Cowed

P.H.D. (called Pizza Hut Delivery in some countries).

On behalf of the one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, Dr Zarni has blasted the NCGUB........ The spokesman's hint cannot be regarded the approved decision, etc. A hint is clearly a hint.CONTROL YOURSELF WHEN YOU HEAR OF VICTORIES OF DEMOCRACY. P.O.W.
=====================

To: Women-Group-Burma@yahoogroups.com
From: "tayza thuria"
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 20:29:29 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: [Women-Group-Burma] Re: Savvy Salt of the Earth, not Cowed

Hi everybody

That person called Dr. Zarni, used Daw Suu's Nobel Prize money to finish his furhterr studies abroad and now he is shamelessly attacking Daw Suu & NLD. NLD should sue him to get all those money back from him. Tayza
=====================================================
To All Burmese "Democrats" Who Can't Tolerate Differences

Despite whatever pro-democracy words that come out of your mouth, you clearly don't understand that democracy requires that we respect and appreciate - not attempt to suppress, silence, or otherwise intimidate - those who hold views that are different from yours.

You cite Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as your leader. And yet you do NOT practice whatshe preaches. This movement is not simply about political change in Burma. It is also about changing our spirit and behavior that are typically authoritarian, anti-democratic and, worse still, vicious. Didn't she write or say somethingto the effect that this whole movement is to bring about "the revolution of thespirit"?

I respect her immensely and, for 10 years, I supported her policies, her leadership, and her party when I believed they would be able to lead and deliver our country from 4-decades of our people's misery.

Leaders and governments come and go. Parties come and go.

My loyalty is to the country I love and the ordinary people in whose name I joined this fight.

I have no party, organizational or personal loyalty to any leader,organization, or party.

If that makes me an enemy of you all and if that will make me burn in Hell for the next 1,000 years, I am more than happy to burn in hell than to beassociated with those who claim to fight for freedom, but whose minds are poisoned, whose words slanderous, and whose spirit mean, and whose intellect wanting.

We have all been looking for ways to push for change in our country.
No social change has ever come about as a result of a leader or a party. It's always a result of many different factors, external or internal, leaders or followers, organizations or individuals.

We all continue to share the NLD'smission of pushing for change in Burma. But we may no longer agree with NLD'spolicies or strategies. That doesn't make us SPDC apologists.

The world is more complicated than the simple 'bad-guys-and-good-guys' slogan or view. There are more than two categories of individuals - good and bad, selfish and altruistic, opportunists and genuine revolutionaries and so on. There is more than one way to look at a problem and thus there is more than one solution.

You argue or advocate what you believe, without being nasty and personal.
If I were Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, I would be so embarrassed, beyond words, that you call her your leader. And yet you don't even understand what she has been pushing the Burmese - to revolutionize the way they behave or think. She wants you to think democratically.

And thinking democratically demands that you don't behave like those in power - intimidate, slander, suppress, and otherwise attempt to silence those who are critical of their views.
If you can't be democratic, at least think!

In the most unlikely event men (and women) like you come to power, God helps Burma and the Burmese people.

You are no different from the guys in power who would beat up or lock up those simply because they disagree with the government's views or generals' views.

Zarni

Friday, June 10, 2005

Savvy Salt of the Earth, not Cowed

Quotations of the Day:

"In the eyes of the West, the politics in contemporary Burma (Myanmar) have become an epic struggle between the forces of good and evil. "

- From - Savvy salt of the earth, not cowed, The Times Higher Education Supplement, June 10, 2005, p. 29

"Unlike Burma's urban-based opposition, the politics for the farmers are immediate and local, material and concrete. As long as they feel they could resort to various strategies involving local and central authorities, at times playing one off against the other to maximise their local, immediate interests and minimise the state's extractive and authoritarian practices, open confrontation with the state or the Government is not on the farmers' minds."

- From - Savvy salt of the earth, not cowed, The Times Higher Education Supplement, p.29, June 10, 2005


Savvy salt of the earth, not cowed

Published: 10 June 2005, The Times Higher Education Supplement, p.29

Title: Behind the Teak CurtainAuthor: Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung
Reviewer: Zarni
Publisher: Kegan PaulISBN: 0 7103 0941 4
Pages: 263
Price: £85.00
Title: Karaoke FascismAuthor: Monique Skidmore
Reviewer: Zarni
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0 8122 3811 7 and 1883 3
Pages: 248
Price: £39.00 and £15.00

In the eyes of the West, the politics in contemporary Burma (Myanmar) have become an epic struggle between the forces of good and evil.

Since the spontaneous popular uprisings swept across the country's urban centres in 1988, the successive "illegitimate" military governments have been at loggerheads with the election-winning National League for Democracy (NLD), led by the Nobel prizewinner Aung San Suu Kyi, for political power and the right to represent the majority of the people.

The elected governments in the West - from the White House to Whitehall - have opted to support the NLD by slapping sanctions and other symbolically punitive measures on the authoritarian regime and exceptionalising it as an international pariah struggling to shake off its legacy of the self-imposed isolationism of 26 years. But every Asian government - most significantly Burma's giant neighbours, China and India, - has refused to join the sanctions regime, quietly writing it off as yet another example of Western hypocrisy cloaked in the language of democracy, freedom and human rights.

Meanwhile, cultural conservatives, trade reformers and human rights liberals in the West have become strange bedfellows, adopting the charismatic Oxford-educated NLD leader as their idol and giving her the status of self-made, accomplished politician-revolutionaries such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel and Martin Luther King. From the perspective of the Burmese generals and their supporters, the West's "adoption" of Suu Kyi has only reinforced the common suspicion that she is a stooge of neocolonialists in big Western nations, hellbent on imposing their will and promoting their interests, ideological or otherwise, in Myanmar.

Needless to say, this has led to the regime's determined attempt to further render her domestically irrelevant through prolonged incarcerations. For better or worse, in my view for worse, the template of the Burma tale has been set in stone. And no protagonists may be expected to shift their views or switch their roles any time soon.

It is this backdrop of Burma's epic struggle, perceived or real, that serves as the context for two field-based studies: Karaoke Fascism: Burma and the Politics of Fear and Behind the Teak Curtain: Authoritarianism, Agricultural Policies and Political Legitimacy in Rural Burma/Myanmar, written respectively by Monique Skidmore, a researcher at the Australian National University, and Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, a Burmese political scientist at the University of Massachusetts.

While Karaoke Fascism is a narrative and "intuited" account of everyday life around Mandalay and Rangoon as experienced by the urban displaced and disadvantaged, including young prostitutes and recovering drug addicts, Behind the Teak Curtain examines the least studied, yet numerically and economically significant segment of Burmese society - farmers - and how they view, experience and deal with the authoritarian state.

Skidmore's book accepts a priori the lack of legitimacy and presence of popular hatred towards the ruling military junta, which she treats as a monolithic entity bent on building a modern "fascist utopia" and supported by the state apparatus of repression and surveillance. In contrast, Thawnghmung's book rejects this conventional, normative view, which the pro-democracy Burmese opposition promotes abroad. Instead, she advances a more historically informed and empirically grounded analysis of the multilayered process of the self-legitimising state and its relations with the most important societal group, its farmers.

Thawnghmung writes that "the same autocratic and repressive military leaders who are perceived by a particular sector of population as 'illegitimate' may at the same time be favourably seen by another segment of the citizens". Her penetrating analysis cuts through the ideological fog of the Orwellian notion of "two legs bad and four legs good". As the farmers in her study informed her, in a historically situated local Burmese context, the authoritarian state is neither wholly bad nor entirely positive. Nor is the Burmese state a singular, monolithic entity that leaves no social or institutional space for any type of economic and political actions for citizens' material betterment, individually or communally.
Because Skidmore views the state in Burma as in essence totalitarian, she is forced to see only sinister motives behind its every move, thus assigning the ruling clique too much power and reading too much into the state's actions and policies. She therefore ends up painting the public as more or less powerless "automata", individuals who "under the weight of fear, anxiety of constant vulnerability and the numbing demands of the state" deliberately present only their "lifeless hollow bodies for the state's use, while their minds reach out into the cosmos to an array of alternate realities".

In much of the post-independence period, both the now-defunct Communist Party of Burma and their nationalist brethren, who led the armed forces, competed fiercely for the support of rural communities, through both coercion and promises of local progress. For it is farmers who are the backbone of Burma's civil society and serve as one of the largest national economic building blocks.

According to Thawnghmung, the provision of agricultural loans and credits, favourable land reform measures, the building of irrigation systems, provision of fertilisers, imported technologies and seeds, as well as various national agricultural policies, have all been part of the state's strategies to boost agricultural production and to keep this vital rural population politically quiescent. Unlike the urbanites, who periodically challenge the authoritarian state, rural resisters are almost unheard of in postcolonial Burma.

Thanks to television and radio, made affordable through various agricultural policies, paddy farmers have also been able to keep themselves informed about domestic and world events. This stands in sharp contrast to the widespread, urban-centred view that farmers are an ignorant lot who need to be lectured on their democratic rights by the Western-educated elite with no roots in or genuine concerns for rural welfare. An average farmer has his or her own view as to what is good for the country, which does not necessarily conform to the abstract political visions prevalent in the pro-democracy opposition of the urban-based Western-educated counter-elites. A Karen farmer in Rangoon Division typifies farmers' views and sums up their locally rooted definition of a desirable polity: "I will still have to farm if there is a democratic government, or a military government, or a communist government... I don't really care what type of government we have, as long as the country remains peaceful and consumer prices are low and stable."

Unlike Burma's urban-based opposition, the politics for the farmers are immediate and local, material and concrete. As long as they feel they could resort to various strategies involving local and central authorities, at times playing one off against the other to maximise their local, immediate interests and minimise the state's extractive and authoritarian practices, open confrontation with the state or the Government is not on the farmers' minds.

A general fear of repression no doubt serves as a major deterrent for any peasant revolt against the country's authoritarian state. But fear alone does not tell the whole story. Since the 1990 elections in Burma, the country's urban opposition led by the Western-educated elite, most notably Suu Kyi, has been arguing its case internationally. It presents itself as the legitimate voice of the people, while its nemesis, the authoritarian regime, contests that claim, citing and mobilising pockets of popular support from other social classes as evidence of its institutional legitimacy.

Meanwhile, although vaguely sympathetic to their urban-educated brethren fighting against "the authoritarian state", the farmers are, nonetheless, sticking with the socioculturally familiar state, the state that in their eyes is functionally and historically legitimate.

============

Zarni is a visiting fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, and founder of the Free Burma Coalition. He was born in Mandalay.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Burma as South Africa: A wrong comparison

Quote of the Day:

No nation gets their freedom through telegrammed statements of moral support, pro-democracy newspaper op-eds or editorials, or early parliamentary motions.

-from Compiler's Remark, Apartheid South Africa and Burma Under Military: A Wrong Comparison




Apartheid South Africa and Burma Under Military Rule:
A Wrong Comparison
Zarni
Free Burma Coalition


For those of us who helped draw the parallel between South Africa'santi-apartheid movement and our pro-democracy movement, between South Africa under apartheid and Burma/Myanmar under successive military governments, between ANC's leadership and activities and NLD's leadership and activities, we conveniently ignored major differences.

First, we chose - at a heavy cost to our own efforts for change - the country to compare Burma with, which is located in a radically different set ofgeo-political and economic conditions.

Second, the ANC was categorically different from the NLD, both in its leadership capabilities, its strategic framework which did not rule out political violence as part of its overal work, organizational strength, the level of mass participation - at all costs to the participants, and the wisdom and calibre of South African exiles who operated from Western and NorthernEurope.
Self-made, Nelson Mandela was ANC's Leader of its Military Wing. He was tried on charges of treason against the apartheid state.

Third, both UK and USA were leading opponents of international sanctions against the apartheid regime in Pretoria. And Ronald Reagan gave a speech at US Congress in late 1980's deriding sanctions against Pretoria as "immoral."

Fourth, all South Africa's neighbors allowed the ANC to operate on their soils, helped with the ANC smuggling arms into the country, helped set up militarytraining camps, and perhaps equally important, all black Africans - as well as blacks all over the world, specifically in Europe and North America, identified with the ANC's anti-apartheid struggle. They peceived the ANC's fight as their epic struggle against white domination and exploitation.

Fifth and finally, the ANC, under extremely repressive regime, was capable ofbuilding its new generations up, and created a multi-tiered leadership, bothwithin the country and among the exiles. As a result, even when Mandela was locked up and as used initially as the rallying icon, his equally capable comrades in exile and within the country were able to execute numerouspolitical activities, both violent and non-violent,successfully. It was indeeda revolutionary movement, self-reliant, enjoying pan-African solidarity, EVE IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION FROM SOME GREAT DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS IN THE THEN WESTERN BLOC. The ANC had the stomach - and strength - to have claimed responsibilities for its violent acts.

No nation gets their freedom through telegrammed statements of moral support, pro-democracy newspaper op-eds or editorials, or early parliamentary motions.

So, next time when we compare the ANC's struggle and our own, let's not remember only selectively what the apple-boycotting Westerners did in support of anti-apartheid and imprisoned Mandela back in that revolutionar society. Let's not get enamored with Bishop Tutu's nicely coined phrases as to how his people go their freedom, that is, sanctions and through language of love and peace or non-violence.

Here is a dose of reality as to what the ANC was like and what it was prepared to do to accomplish its revolutionary aims 20 years ago:


http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/20/newsid_
4326000/4326975.stm

20 May 1983: Car bomb in South Africa kills 16

=========================================================

I was in Pretoria at the time. The ANC (or rather their military wing "Umkhonto We Sizwe", often known simply as "MK") achieved little through their sporadic attacks on quasi-military targets, rarely more than two or three times a year. The infiltrators were often ill-disciplined and simply chose whatever targets of opportunity there happened to be. Conditions in ANC training camps in neighbouring territories were rough and difficult. In the end, there was no military solution to apartheid, but a political one in which so many people played a part. Comparisons with Burma, as you say, are meaningless. There was democracy in South Africa, but it was for the whites only.

Derek Tonkin, Former British Ambassador, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam

at d.tonkin@btopenworld.com

===============

There should be a sixth major point of difference in the comparison betweenthe South African and Burmese scenes. This point may be termed Accountability, or rather, Sense of accountability.

We must remember that the White minority responsible for the apartheidpolicy must have felt some guilt all along simply because it was the Whites who actually robbed the land from the autochthons, the Africans. The SPDC generals, on the other hand, are convinced that they legitimately inherit their own motherland from the larcenous British colonialists, and they are the ones who know how to run their country without the interference of Western-influenced (read democratic) NLD and the internal as well as external opposition groups, including the ethnic resistance organizations. About the SPDC blokes, sans a modicum of guilt, plus the mental set up already well entrenched, anyone or any outfit trying to oppose them is going to be fighting an uphill battle, just about an impossible one without some happenstance, if not an outright miracle, more likely through a Power quite beyond human comprehension.

BaSaw Khin at bgkhin@gainusa.com



Pushing for Reforms in Burma/Myanmar: Lessons from Our Own Past

Quote of the Day:

... it is much easier to make a revolution than it is to transform a failed state into awell-performing democracy.

- Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, In 'Five core principles for the world's reformers', May 26, 2005


A Short Essay for Fellow Dissidents Pushing for Reforms in Burma/Myanmar
Zarni
Free Burma Coalition

May 26, 2005: Today marks the independence of Georgia, the country of Joseph Stalin and Edward Shevanadze, her two most famous - or infamous in the case of "Uncle Joe"- sons. As we rejoice in the successes of other peoples' revolutions some of which are romantically labelled 'Rose, Velvet, Tulip,' and so on, we, Burmese, might wish to pause for a moment and think why ours has as yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is indeed much easier "to make arevolution than transform a failed polity into a functional one", as the author of the essay below points out.

We the citizens of Burma/Myanmar should know better. For we have been trying to make not just one, but waves of them since March 29,1948, starting with the armed Beijing-supported Communist revolt, followed by the Karen National Union's impressive, but eventually failed attempt to take over the reign of the civilian government of PM U Nu. And the list goes on.

Here an example might help. Imagine ourselves as visiters invited to observe a mouse in an experiment designed to understand animal behavior by once fashional behavioral scientists. And we have a view from above - the mouse and the cheese differently located in the maze. We will have noticed if the mouse smells cheese and keeps taking the wrong turns, then it will have gotten frustrated, smelling the cheese and yet never reaching it. But if it is intelligent, it will search for alternative paths or makes alternative turns or may perhaps pause or try new things. One of those tries will lead the mouse to cheese, and BINGO!

Most certainly, this metaphor is rather simplistic having only three elements, namely the mouse, the cheese and the maze. To belabor the obvious, society and attempts to change it are incomparably more complex, difficult and intergenerational, as it were. The Burmese are known for their strength and ingenuity. (Perhaps this applies to all peoples in need, with equal force).

For no society sandwiched between two of the most influential civilizations in history, namely China and India, could have survived - and at times even thrived without having had some considerable internal strength as a people. It was no small feat that we remain a sovereign country without being swallowed by one orthe other.

Nor was it possible for the Burmese to have been able to develop their distinctly Burmeseness, being influenced by both civilizations, without some degree of ingenuity and creativity.

Five decades of radical power-grabbing attempts by different groups in our country have not produced desired outcome. That's an under-statement. In fact, all have been spectactular failures!

We keep on pointing fingers at the 'colonialist' or 'neo-colonialist' Capitalist West, Communist China, or "opportunistic" Thailand or some other outsiders for our own failures. Or we can keep playing the domestic blame game at which we all have become expert at. At the end of the day, fingers, however, are pointing at all of us, within and without Burma.

It's about time we should look around and reflect, in a brutally honest fashion, why others succeeded where we have failed spectacularly. Putting on hold, momentarily, feelings of all-round inadequacies and bruises, mutual animosities and prejudices, and unarguably failed revolutionary attempts of the past 50 years, it might be worth our while to examine a diverse sample ofsocieties that have moved on to finer and better things such as post-conflict reconstruction or successful transformation of internal conflicts.

What worked under Gandhi's "spiritual revoluton" in India five decades ago may not work - and has not worked - in contemporary Burma/Myanmar. What was crucial for the successes of the Czec playright Havel's Velvet Revolution, ANC military leaderMandela anti-apartheid, Aquino's "people's power", Walesa's Solidarity may not be that pertinent or strategically applicable in our case. For each social change process has its own specific circumstances and dimensions.
Each generation stands on the shoulders of previous generations.

And it's about time we look around for ideas and explore new paradigms for change, if we are to avoid "the frustrated mouse" syndrome. No one wants to root for - or side with a loosing team or loosers. The priceof loosing in revolutionary affairs is no trivial matter. Successful revolutions - Rose, Velvet, Tulip and what have you - usher in a new era of change and bring the winners to power.

Failed revolutions keep our colleagues behind bars for ever and ever, or so it seems, while they invite more waves of repression. There's got to be better ways to 'make revolutions'. And we still have a longway to go, if we think about the task to "transform a failed state into awell-performing democracy." As a multi-ethnic country, we Burmese of all stripes and colors would do well if we remember the words of someone who succeeded in where we fail:"A free democratic state is about far more than elections or personalities."

======================================================

Five core principles for the world's reformers

By Mikheil Saakashvili,

The Financial TimesPublished: May 26 2005 03:00 Last updated: May 26 2005 03:00

Dramatic changes are sweeping across the area that was once the Soviet Union. It is clear that, after the revolutionary changes in Tbilisi, Kiev and Bishkek, the old status quo is gone forever. Kleptocratic ways of governing are obsolete, autocratic rulers cannot ignore popular moods and people are uniting to demand freedom.

Today marks Georgia's Independence Day and 18 months after the Rose Revolution we have learnt some important truths: first and foremost that it is much easier to make a revolution than it is to transform a failed state into awell-performing democracy. We inherited a dysfunctional state administration.

An immediate donation ofseveral million dollars by the United Nations Development Programme made a critical difference. We dramatically increased the salaries of 200 tax collectors and a select group of anti-corruption investigators, leading tosignificantly increased tax collection. We quadrupled our budget and now pay every civil servant a decent salary.

Having despaired after many months of attempts at reforming our thoroughly corrupt police, we decided to fire all 15,000 officers and recruit an entirely new force. We equipped the reformed service like any other modern European police force and increased salaries 10-fold. This surgery resulted in a quick and complete recovery of Georgia's law enforcement capacity.

The new police force has a 95 per cent approval rating and Georgians now see the police as protectors rather than predators.

We undertook significant reforms in other sectors. We are currently in the process of abolishing most licence and permit requirements to empower investors and entrepreneurs. We defied International Monetary Fund advice and dramatically lowered our tax rates. But we achieved our goal: overall taxrevenues increased.

My fellow reformers and I learnt from our own mistakes when we tried to reform the failed government of Eduard Shevardnadze from the inside.

We also learnt from the mistakes and successes of eastern European reformers - from Poland to Estonia to Serbia. Economic "shock therapy" works and is indeed the only way to move from acriminal economy to a market economy.

Dwelling on the injustices of Soviet brutality is not a substitute for membership of Nato and the European Union. Tragically, the greatest threat to a young democracy comes not from external enemies but from the crime and corruption that flourished under decades ofcommunist occupation.

There are core principles that all reformers - present and aspiring - should heed.

First, the window of opportunity for democratic reform is very narrow andwill not stay open indefinitely. Every reformer should know that the race for the future is won by the swift. Something that was easily possible immediately after a revolution becomes much harder after just a few months, even with a legislative majority and broad popular support.

Second, reform has to be comprehensive. One cannot reform parts of the statestructure and retain the old order in others. Reforming the economy without addressing law enforcement will result in failure. Reform must be a continuous process uninterrupted by pauses. This approach needs a vision of a country'sdestination and a systematic plan to get there.

Third, the people are the best ally of the reformers. In principle, there should not be such a thing as unpopular reform; rather there are reformers who often fail to explain their programmes and to link them to the long-term publicinterest. Reformers will have little chance to succeed if they alienate keyconstituencies. Public debate over reforms is thus central to their success. The more open a society and the more transparent a government, the greater thechances for ultimate success.

Fourth, reformers must build free institutions that will endure long beyond their term in office. A free democratic state is about far more than electionsor personalities. It is about building the institutional foundations that preserve individual and economic freedom, sustain the rule of law and protectall elements of society.

Finally, reformers should not count on keeping society permanently happy. They should accept that, sooner or later, their constituents will be disappointed with them and they will be voted out of office. Reformers must seek long-term change, not short-term political gratification. It is not the eternal gratitude of society to which we aspire but lasting results. The ultimate prize for every reformer is the transformed society they leave behind.

The writer is president of Georgia

Freedom of Speech, Press and Publication and the Closing of "the Burmese Mind"

Quote of the Day:

Closed-mindedness of the generals in powr, perceived or real, cannot be fought and won by equally closed minds.

- from Freedom of Speech, Press and Publication and the Closing of "the Burmese Mind"

Freedom of Speech, Press, and Publication and the Closing of "the Burmese Mind"
Zarni
Free Burma Coalition

Freedom of speech or publication, while admittedly non-existent among our fellow citizens back home under the current system of governance, is a pillar of any democracy, to stress the obvious.

But it exists for those of us privileged enough to check our emails, undeteredand uninterupted. At least, we should develop healthy respect and tolerance ofdiverse views and ideas, using the Internet as a space where we whohave this privilege use it wisely, rather than in ways vicious, nasty and self-destructive.

We air our views, popular or unpopular, controversial or consensual. Some amongst us, including our international friends and supporters, argue, unconvingly, that we must refrain from making public any and all critical self-examination of the pro-democracy efforts and actions against the sole empirical yardstick, specifically concrete improvement of the well-being of our fellow citizens back home in Burma/Myanmar.

After all, all pro-democracy Burmese - from NLD leadership down to us, pro-change foot soldiers around the world - have been waging this up-hill fight in order to bring about change in Burma. And it is being done specifically in the name of ordinary people. Legitimacy of this work, this campaign, the current opposition leadership, is all based solely on the 'people' of Burma. In other words, we stand on their backs. It is legitimate to ask by ourline of advocacy and campaigns, are we breaking their backs, instead of strengthening it?

It is therefore only logical that we measure our work against how ourcheer-leading and campaigning on-line improves the life of our ordinary people. And, conversely how successful are we in pressuring the generals in power to simply sit down and work with the election-winning NLD leadership, as well as non-Burman ethnic peoples?

Measuring whether we have succeeded on either count is no ideological matter; nor is it a matter of who is pro and against change. The evidence is there for those who use their reason and intellect to assess what our collective efforts have accomplished and how our common progress chart or graph would look like -from 1948 on, if you are a Communist or sympathizer; from 1949 on, if you wer eoriginally a Karen secessionist; from 1962, if you are a left-over from July 7 Unrest on Rangoon University campus; from 1970s, if you are a part of PM U Nu's spectacularly failed armed revolution; and the list goes on.

It's not that there are no changes in our country. Change is constant in life and thus in history. It is taking place in Burma/Myanmar. We may not like how, in what direction or under which leadership it is heading.

For instance, the NLD is withering, and the leadership has refused to recognize this and has lashed out against anyone and everyone who wisphers this truth in their ears, let alone people like Aung Zaw or myself who have gone on air to say such unpleasant things as, well, the NLD's policy and leadership failures to deliver.

Major taboos in and about this "movement" are indeed being broken.

Ko Aung Zaw's latest Irrawaddy on-line commentary - "Regrets - the Residue of the 1990Election" - is a case in point where he captured the quiet, but majority sentiment widely shared amongst the Burmese, both within and without Burma: that neither NLD nor SPDC offers any hope and that despite our pride on the fact that our beloved Bogyoke Aung San's daughter won the Nobel Peace prize we have in fact been let down by her inability to lead this fight in any practicable, strategic or pragmatic way.

There are those among us, the Burmese emigres and exiles, as well as well-meaning foreign supporters of democratic change in Burma/Myanmar who find it intolerable that some of us dare break these long-observed taboos about our campaigners or activists many of whom we ourselves supported, followed, recruited, groomed, manufactured or elevated to where they are today.

For these individuals, the unpreparedness to stare at our own camp's unpleasant truths, as the dismal situation demands, is born either out of what they perceive, wrongly, as a strategic need to continue rallying behind the symbolic, notpratical or strategic, leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her octagenarian advisors or the 'Uncles'.

The demand for unconditional loyalty and support is an undemocratic attitude. And many, if not all, of us have become accustomed to it, to the detriment of any efforts to push for change in our country.

I think my-leader-right-or-wrong, my-country-right-or-wrong attitude is completely self-destructive, myopic and short-sighted, uncharacteristic of any people or community that aspires - or more accurately fancy - to self-governance, that is, 'government of, for and by the people'.

This is an attitude born out of ignorance of history, which offers numerous examples of how populous leaders and populous campaigns destroyed themselves and thus eventually ended up undermining the very missions they set out to accomplish. Hitler was democratically elected - however flawed his elections may have been; Japanese militarism had popular roots, and ended with two atomic mushrooms on Hiroshima and Nakasaki. The populous French Revolution of 1789 ended up creating a situation wherein Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself as Emperor and went on to restore an extremely powerful monarchy, himself having eventually ended up a prisoner of war on a small St. Helena Island.

Be that as it may, out of this mental calculation or emotional need for unadulterated loyalty develops intolerance toward any and all views that challenge the NLD policy of isolating the country - or any orthodox views. Last year two of my Karen National Union (KNU) colleagues - Naw May Oo and Saw Kapi - got expelled because they have the intellect to see that the KNU old guards have failed spectacularly in their 50-year old revolution and, equally important, because they have the guts and integrity to speak truth to power.

There are those of us who have built on-line and real-time networks internationally, established organizations and helped popularized and galvanized grassroots and media support for our mission for change back home. After 16 years of our involvement, our political views have matured. We no longer believe in seeing Burma in simplistic Orwellian fashion of 'two-legs-bad' and'four-legs-good.'

Burma is a country gone wrong. Now we are a movement thathas gone wrong. And two wrongs don't make one right. As long as orthodoxy and intolerance are two supreme values of leading Burmese dissidents and their sheepish followers and supporters, the road ahead is grim, dark, nasty and vicious.

Irrawaddy Editor Aung Zaw argues that neither SPDC nor NLD is good for Burma.
One may disagree.

But it is his right as a citizen of Burma, a professional journalist, and an accomplished dissident in exile, to express his views and analyses - however unpopular those views may be among the orthodox followers and supporters of theNLD or ethnic resistance groups.

By the same token, we should recognize the freedom of speech and publication which Thant Lwin Htun as Head of Voice of America Burmese Service exercises inbroadcasting, say, his more nuanced understanding of the allegations ofreligious persecutions by the SPDC based on the evidence which he has gathered as a long-time professional journalist.

Both are proven and accomplished Burmese whose political involvement was rootedin the 1988 uprisings. No sinister motives should be assigned. They say what they see, and if anyone disagrees with their views, they should debate or challenge their views, insteading of resorting to despicable below-the-belt invectives.

From inside looking out, this whole thing - the wave of social and political revolt which originated in 1987/88 and which many cling on to as 'freedom movement' - has been turning on itself, shredding its own rank and file on the path of self-destruction.

Many able and strategically placed Burmese, both within and without Burma, stay away from this nasty political business. They would not touch many of the exiles with a long pole who have in fact become fanatics, without a clear strategy, a vision or political competence.

There will always be extremists in any camp. It is a given in any political and social movements. As such, they have closed off their minds.

But that doesn't mean the majority of Burmese within and without Burma are incable of keeping their mind open. Closed-mindedness of the generals in powr, perceived or real, cannot be fought and won by equally closed minds.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Want to change Burma?: Study Her Neighbors

Quote of the Day:

"There has never been anything like the Chinese industrial revolution, thegreat transformation from basic needs centrally-controlled Communism into aso-called socialist market economy. But it's a patchy revolution: huge parts of this vast country have yet toexperience fully the gale of modernisation blowing through Shanghai, Beijingand the south."

- Peter Day, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service, in "Hi-tech revolution inChina's rustbelt"

This FBC Posting contains:

1). Compiler's remark, Want to change Burma?: Study her Neighbors
2). The view from Qingdao, BBC, 2005/05/09
3). Hi-tech revolution in China's rustbelt, BBC, 2005/03/10

Compiler's Remark
Want to change Burma?: Study her Neighbors

The relations between China and Burma go back to Pagan period (11th and 13th century).

Historians still debate as to what caused the fall of Pagan.

The conventional school argues that Pagan was sacked by the invading and superior Mongol forces of Kublai Khan. Some such as Michael Aung-Thwin of the East-West Center in Hawaii counter, however, that the fall was caused primarily by the structural tensions within this early Burmese power center, wherein the Buddhist Order caused the dwindling of resources, both material and other types, which could have been put to use for early state building purposes. Aung-Thwin also raised serious doubt about the conventional scholarship which accepts the rise of Shan power following the demise of Pagan (14th - 16th century) as fact. In a series of articles on Burmese historiography, Aung Thwin argues that the rise ofShan political power is one of the biggest myths in Burma's national history. According to his research findings, ethnic origin of the three Shan princes who are believed to have set up a Shan reign after Pagan was not verifiable or never been verified. In addition to pointing to the lack of any admissible or credible evidence on which the claims of Shan reignin Burma were based, Aung Thwin asked sociologically how it could have been possible forBurmese or Myanmar literature to flourish to an unprecedented degree under3-centuries rule of Shan rule, given that domination and control of one ethno-linguistic group over the others, by definition, do not generally stop at the boundaries of direct politics.

However this internal issue in Burma's national history is resolved, it is an issue that is of interest, more or less, to professional historians, and it has no immediate or future relevance to real politik in Burma/Myanmar.

What is relevant is the role Shan plateu served as strategic buffer for both Chinese and Burman monarchs bent on empire buildings. To return to one of the most relevant issues of our time, if you are a Burmese, Burma's relations with her giant neighbor will need to be recognized as the one most important for the historical development of Burma violently interupted bythe rise (and fall) of European Colonialism in its classical form. China herself was subjected to Western domination and confronted with the efforts by various Western powers to 'divide it up.'

Both countries shared somewhat similar fate as weak states steeped in old waysof thinking and fractured by internal strife, which the newly emerging Western colonial powers succeeded in subjugating, in one form or another.

The wise, if undemocratic leadership in Beijing - still operating as nominally Communist - is developing serious knowledge/intellectual base to serve the country'slong-term interests.

To be sure, there are still serious problems in China - uneven economic development and cultural transformation among different regions, the increasing income disparity between the haves and the have-nots, and industries seething with potential for labor unrest, etc.

However, China has, beyond the shadow of a doubt, taken off, both economically and intellectually, with unstoppable political and sociological ramifications for the Chinese society at large. China's transformation is being felt not simply within her boundaries - but all over the world - as the articles in this posting point out. Of the Burmese politicians, General Ne Win was the only one who paid serious attention consistently to the developments within the giant neighbor. In an interview with this writer 10 years ago, the Burmese historian Dr. Kyaw Thetsaid, as a sign of compliment to the general, Ne Win borrowed - and actually read - the former's doctoral thesis on Burma-China historical relations. During his 26-years reign, whatever the internal problems and failures his leadership and policies caused, the General navigated the country cleverly away from any direct confrontation with Mao's totalitarian regime inBeijing. At the time, Beijing was supporting openly all communist undergroundmovements throughout South East Asia, including the Burmese communists.

Today China is consciously transforming herself, and the top leadership is to be credited for this transformation, in spite of their continuing authoritariangrip on society, politically speaking.

We the Burmese will need to pay attention to our ancient neighbor which ourcountry has had difficult relations at times. For changes in China will be incomparably more impactful on our country vis-a-vis changes at 10 Downing or the White House or who presides the European Union at any given moment.

If we are wiser, we should even begin to learn Chinese, despite whatever national pride we may feel about our language. If China, unlike the now defunct USSR, remains a cohensive polity in years ahead our country's fate is bound up with that of China.

Intellectually and ideologically, we should look at Europe as the happening place in today's world where new ideas in many fields and new types ofgovernance are being explored and tried. Economically and politically, China may be studied as a 'model' - for lack of a better term - for change,especially for those whose categorically failed revolutions - spiritually orpolitically - left a bitter taste in the collective mouth of the proverbial 'masses.'

Of course, no one model can be imported, without due regards to the specificities of our country.

Revolution or evolution, leadership of a qualitatively different sort is going to be needed, if Burma/Myanmar is going to be able to move forward. If those at the top are not cut to provide the kind of leadership necessary for state building, then the task falls on 'ordinary' Burmese.

One of the most fruitable ways to remain useful as Burmese expatriates or exiles is to study societies in successful transitional PROCESSES such asChina, Thailand, Vietnam and so on. The fatal mistake we have made as amovement is to have romanticized Nelson Mandela's South Africa or Gandhi's India while those who could teach us a thing or two about social and economictransformation are just around the corner.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/4508287.stm

The view from Qingdao

By Peter Day Presenter, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/4508287.stm

Published: 2005/05/09 23:41:26 GMT© BBC MMV

============================================================================Work in Progress is the title of this new exploration of the big trendsupheaving the world of work as we steam further into the twenty-first century. And it is a work in progress, influenced and defined by my encounters as Ireport on trends in business and organisations all over the world. Peter Day ============================================================================ Hi-tech revolution in China's rustbelt

By Peter Day BBC World Service 'Global Business' presenter in north-east China

. Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/4336453.stm

Published: 2005/03/10 15:35:41 GMT© BBC MMV