Contact: Roland Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
REVOLUTIONARY FATIGUE, OR FREEDOM?
January 5, 2006
Note: We have prepared a new article, False Positives, about the current assault
on a fundamental legal foundation of the American system of jurisprudence (the
right not to be falsely accused of a crime). Also, while we disagree with its
original application, Burma watchers reading this statement might find the following
link of interest. It is to a
manual allegedly prepared by the CIA, in the 1980s and in Spanish and English,
to encourage noncompliance, and stronger steps, by Contra rebels opposed to the
Sandanistas in Nicaragua.
2006 is the year for freedom in Burma.
The world is now paying attention. At the instigation of the United States, the
political staff of the United Nations gave a private briefing about Burma to the
Security Council. Russia and China want things to end there. The U.S., U.K., and
other Council members want formal proceedings initiated, out of which sanctions,
other actions, and ultimately democratic change, may result.
For this to occur, there must be a response from the people of the country. People
of Burma: The world is talking about you. NOW, you must make your desire for freedom
The people can be divided into two groups: The general public, and the ethnic
resistance forces (including those that have ceasefires with the SPDC). Both must
respond, the public by initiating a popular revolution, and the resistance forces
by resuming their armed struggle.
If there is such a response, the U.S., U.K., and other international supporters
can say that the people of Burma are reawakening their long-suppressed voices,
and that the world must do more to help them realize their dream. The U.S. can
also issue a clear warning to the SPDC, that it must not react to the popular
will with violence.
However, if there is not a response, other nations will conclude that the Burmese
do not really want freedom, that they have effectively given up, and that SPDC
rule is tolerable.
Many people have given up. It has been a long, hard struggle. The years have taken
their toll, and revolutionary fatigue has set in. This fatigue must end. The people
must reclaim their revolutionary fervor.
To do so, three specific problems need to be addressed. First, the leadership
of many of the pro-democracy and ethnic resistance groups are now quite elderly.
They no longer have the spirit of youth. (This does not hold for all such leaders,
but since most of the groups operate by consensus, risk-averse individuals are
able to stop all aggressive plans for action.) Further, the older leaders appear
unwilling to pass the flag to younger generations who are ready to take risks
and who retain the desire to fight. (In some groups, you only lose your position
when you die. There is little accountability, and no such thing as term limits.)
Also, some leaders, and through them their groups, have made deals with the SPDC
and become corrupt. This includes the DKBA, KNPLF, and the main Wa and Kachin
groups. They have abandoned the goal of freedom.
Secondly, a number of high-profile individuals, outside Burma, are publicly advocating
against a popular uprising. A variety of reasons may exist for such statements,
including that they honestly believe an uprising is unwise; they are afraid they
will lose their claim on post-democracy government positions if freedom is achieved
by internal action rather than their personal initiatives at external lobbying
and dialogue; or they are SPDC agents of disinformation and propaganda.
Thirdly, the Burmese people are tired and afraid. Moreover, they have become de-politicized.
There is little political discussion, and more importantly underground organization
dedicated to accomplishing change. The underground networks that do exist are
small and weak.
The people of Burma need to start talking politics again. They need to be woken
up and radicalized. They need to demand change.
For change to occur, more and more people must talk privately about the SPDC and
the tyrants Than Shwe and Maung Aye; get angry in the process; and then do something
about it. A wide variety of noncompliance tactics are possible. This in turn will
embolden more courageous individuals to carry out concrete and public action,
including writing slogans on walls, distributing revolutionary broadsheets, etc.
The Fighting Peacock must live again!!!
Burmese leaders on the outside can encourage this, by speaking clearly and strongly
about the need for such public action when they are interviewed on radio programs
that are broadcast into the country.
Five years ago, the situation was bleak. The public was completely cowed. But
now, following the purge of Khin Nyunt and Military Intelligence, people have
begun talking about revolution and freedom again. This needs to be supported,
not opposed. We need to focus on freedom now to the exclusion of everything else.
Everyone who cares about Burma should ask themselves, what can I, personally,
do to encourage, or assist, or participate in a popular uprising. With one big
and widespread push, change can be achieved.
2006 is the year for Freedom In Burma!