By Ohn
October 22, 2012

Kachin Affair is Bamar Affair. In more ways than one.

Kachin, for long history being connected to Burma regardless of the initiating circumstances, are taken as kinsman by common Burma populace. Even disregarding the forceful integration by way of "model village" construction, there have been long and intricate associations between Kachin ethnic people and the low land dwellers.

At the same time, there is palpable increase in chauvinistic attitude in some quarters drummed up by the military which traditionally has intense racist, chauvinistic foundation. The three Warrior Kings of the statutes in (horridly named) Nay-pyi-daw were all Burmese.

Still, there were concerted efforts by common populace of lowland Burmese to stop the Kachin war by congregating for Peace Prayer sessions at Botataung Pagoda in Rangoon before Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to get out of house arrest.

After her release, those grass-root movements paradoxically stopped but it is now picking up again without her or NLD's official blessing or involvement culminating in the largest public demonstration in Rangoon since 2007 seen on the International Day of Peace, 21st September 2012. So Kachin Ayay seen as Bamar Ayay has come forth again. From the grass-root Bamar public.

But it is worrying that another interpretation of "Kachin Ayay being Bamar Ayay" is the extraordinary number of Bamar military casualties reported from battle lines by the Kachin News outlet http://www.kachinnews.com/news/2408-time-for-thein-sein-to-come-clean-about-burmese-losses-in-kachin-state.html. This point has generated some discussion in New Mandala in the past. http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2012/04/11/3000-dead-burmese-soldiers/

Realistically, the number of casualties is never going to be accurate unless the involved parties publish them with credible evidence. The above reference quoted Bamar military deaths at 10,000 in a space of one and a half years. It is more concerning as the reports of deaths are more and more in recent months than earlier times. With the rainy season gone, there is likely to be more engagement. At the same time, the battle lines which were around the dams where the first skirmishes took place in June 2011, and along the Chinese Pipeline (Shwe Gas), have now widened to commercial jade production area- Phakant. Attacks around and towards Kachin capital Myitkyina are also being talked about.

Even if half of the casualties reported are true, it is disturbing that there is no demonstration of anguish found among the Burmese people regarding such large, rapid loss. Not a single one of even remotely related report is found in newly supposedly "Free" media inside or outside the country about the effect of these casualties on the Burmese populace in general or their close relatives in particular. This is something the American military may want to learn from their new best friends, Burmese military counterparts. A lesson in how to keep a tight lid on any repercussion from huge casualties. Intense and absolute repression/deception lesson 101.

It does raise the question of voiceless-ness of the Bamar soldiers and their relatives. With or without the much wildly celebrated "changes", "democracy", laudable globe trotting "Leaders" and international loan agencies (IMF, WB, ADB) making useful infrastructures with loan money generations of Burmese public will spend their lives in ghettoes paying back, these are bad news.

Deaths, the voiceless-ness and the total lack of "News" which is only possible with conspiratorial "Free Media" Burmese style.