by Mg Yin
2. Regional Stability
2.1 Internal Affairs
According to the law of the jungle, only the strong will survive.
But, in the whole human society, how do we humanly define the meaning of the so-called internal affair if that is death-and-life for millions people?
Let’s simply and humanly imagine that if we encountered one of our family members suffered from abusive attacks by others, should we, as his family, tender to ignore him by irresponsibly claiming that ““Oh.. this is his personal affair only, nothing to do with our family.”?
One more instance is that when we saw a group of armed men attack or rob or attempt to murder our neighbour in front of our eyes, can we simply ignore this by saying that “Oh!...that homicides is only their internal affair and nothing to interfere”? In a worst case, if we support that armed men or robbers to succeed their attempts by providing the supportive aids and encouraging them - “keep on terrorist men, we will be on your side and we will not make any interference into your internal affairs”.
In the positive way, should we defend and save our neighbours who are in danger of being so? We should at least ring police or alarm the neighbourhoods. Otherwise, forcing our neighbour into such humanitarian crisis and situation will lead the future of our human society in danger.
Myanmar is a member of ASEAN family. Further, Myanmar is bordered by five neighbours - two giants (China and India), Thailand , Bangladesh and Laos. That means we are in a big family, but the agonies of our 52 millions people residing in Myanmar are neglected by such a big family.
Thus, Myanmar is calling for actions by those neighbours and the so-called ASEAN family to self-examination - not to side-step the heart and human issues, but to take action on brutal military regime.
Who is the real neighbour of our border countries? Who is a genuine family member of regional family, the so-called ASEAN - 52 millions of Myanmar people or a small group of abusive Myanmar military regime?
China firmly claims that Myanmar affair is just an internal affair. This policy is actually not to interfere into the Generals internal affair. By blocking UN Security Council’s proposed resolutions and actions, China firmly stand by the regime side and encouraging abusive government.
On the other hand, by supporting military regime China contributions are actually interferences into the internal affairs of 50 millions people as Myanmars are suffered from poverty, fear and lost of freedom and human rights under the junta’s oppressive ruling system for more than four decades.
Regarding the internal affair, I wonder if One-China policy is internal affair or a threat to the regional stability. Whatever the principles claimed by the PRC is, “One-China” or “Two-Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, what will be happened at the present if president Jimmy Carter did not break off relations with Taiwan in 1979 in order to establish relations with the PRC.
I am curious how Beijing will respond if the other countries argue that diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and recognization of its independence is their internal affair only.
With my limited political knowledge, I also wonder whether One-China policy and HIV coupled with drug trade in borders are the internal affair or regional. Politicians and analysts may be able to answer this.
It will be more obvious if we look into the China’s foreign policy of supporting abusive governments for their oil trading businesses in Sudan, Latin Americas and Africa, now they added Myanmar.
For instance, as a part of China’s so-called “string of pearls” policy, China’s attempt to facilitate its access on the Bay of Bengal (see the Map in Figure) created worries among the Western and Indian analysts since China is believed to use Myanmar to build their naval and intelligence bases around the Indian Ocean. Recent evidences reported that China was delivering signals equipment for monitoring station on various coastal sites in Msyanmar. Further, China had a permanent presence on Great Coco Island which has fuelled Indian paranoia [Economist].
Under such brutal government who knows only how to use armed forces to crackdown on any uprisings, but not solving with wisdoms and wise management, It will never ever safe to presume that Myanmar affair is just an internal only.
Looking into the other side of borders, Rohingya community in Arakan State 250, 000 muslim refugees fleeing to Bangladesh as a result of brutal offensive by military regime. For this issue, over a period of years there were lots of international pressures and numerous outspoken criticisms of the military regime from a number of Islamic nations.
Bangladesh and India always keep their eyes open on military junta’s policy and its closed relationship with PRC government, but their eyes are closed for 52 M of people suffering from poverty, fear and lost of human rights.
2.4 China - Myanmar Border
Another significant concern of the regional stability along the borderlines is that the border trade through the morally degraded town of Ruili which economy boomed in 1990s, since the military regime seized the power. This booming border trade included opium and heroin. The most threatening challenge for the whole human world also thus comes along with that border trade, AIDS. Of course, China’s first reported HIV epidemic was found due to the shared-needles and drug trade in these border regions.
Thus, for the sake of whole human society, China needs to learn how “the stability of its neighbour” importantly plays for itself and the whole region. [Ref: Econimist]
2.5 Thai-Myanmar border
In 1997 estimated 500, 000 illegal immigrants from Myanmar working in Thailand. In 2006, as a result of cease-fire agreements with two dozens armed forces in Myanmar, this number raised to 2 M.
In result, the relations with Thailand are being strained due to the swelling of refugee numbers, threats to border security and drug and human trafficking. All these sourced from the political and economical instabilities created by military juntas’ poor management.
Burma is the largest in the Indochina region, mainland South-East Asia and we are relatively rich in natural resources – petroleum, mining products (gems, jades, copper, gold), timber (including Teak), marine fisheries and natural gas. But we are the poorest in the SEA region.
Regionally, in ASEAN family, cancellations of the joint ASEAN-EU meeting demonstrated that Myanmar is a problem child making serious concerns for ASEAN.
Most importantly, the military regime has been engaged in one of the most ambitious arms programs in South-East Asia. Weapon and arms are mainly sourced from China and Russia. The juntas invested approximately 50% (up to 10% of GDP) of central government spending on strengthening the military force. For ASEAN making Myanmar, a buffer between China and India, as a partner is more secured rather than the outsider. And they can also secure the access of natural resources in Myanmar and finally constructive engagement which has been effectively working on paper only.
ASEAN’s constructive engagement finally ended with the death of Buddhist monks and people in their supported military regime’s crakdwons on protests, inpatient people deserved human rights and democracy, hundreds of lives fleeing from their homes and thousands of arrests.
With the evidences of massacres, now Myanmar hopes that the ASEAN will recon that the oppressive rule, violent crackdown, death and threatened lives of peaceful protestors, killing the Buddhist monks and forcing people to flee their home and loved ones are not the constructive engagement, but the destructive.
2.7 Internal or Regional?
Cease fired groups along the Myanmar borders can anytime return the border regions into the unpacific region. Influences of India and China on Myanmar is not only our internal affair, but the regional affairs, especially ASEAN as those two giants will get both political and economical benefits from the region via Myanmar in the future.
Further, development of humanitarian implication is not the internal issue, but the global security for all human-beings. Instead of supporting military regime, any civilized nations must stand by the side of million of people.
Up to this point, one may clearly conclude that whether the crises in Myanmar are internal affair or a threat to regional stability and human beings.
2.8 The UN & Junta
Military junta hosted the UN envoy Mr. Gambari with fake mass rallies and kept him away from genuine people’s voices on the streets. The junta’s spies and military forces continued their brutal missions of mid-night raids on the residential premises and monasteries and arrested thousands of people even during Gambari’s visit.
The UN last week issued a statement calling for a peaceful dialogue and genuine national reconciliation. The juntas rejected the UN statement and claimed that they are right to do anything with their blind reason of internal affair only. The arrests, harassments, non-stop mid-night raids at the residential and monasteries are still going on, Myanmars are still living insecurely under the junta’s oppressive ruling system and harsh crushes. Poor Myanmars are not sure for tomorrow.
With no surprised with junta’s response to the UN statement as this is the way they juntas work - never listen and pay attention to the world. As usual, the junta claimed that external pressures are the policy of neo-colonialists to interfere our independence and internal affairs.
The UN envoy and military junta should not be like a Tom & Jerry script in which the state terrorism keep quiet while Mr. Gambari was around them and there will be humanitarian crisis while the rats reached out of cat’s eyes. On the other hand, this is, in deed, a life-and-death play for 52 millions of Myanmar people.
But, “Who care? Killing or firing, this is our internal affair only”, the junta keep arguing the world.
Then we do not know how many of our lives and next generations need to be sacrificed?
3. WHAT’S NEXT?
Beijing is dramatically booming within past decades. Shanghai and Beijing become world cities and those cities' living standard is getting closer to the first world. Roars of the regional tigers like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia echoed loudly in the region. Their living standards are far ahead from one of their family members, Myanmar, a third world country. Shamefully, millions of poor Myanmars from a resource-rich country are not sure for tomorrow, even for a regular two meals.
Now is fair enough to knowing that the military junta dare to reject the UN Security Council statement, as thye used to pay no attention to the UN and the world. On –paper-statements and sympathetic concerns issued by the UN and ASEAN can not help our people.
Thus, whatever China, India and ASEAN claimed – internal affair or regime’s affair, we, Myanmar students, Buddhist monks and people, have decided to continue fighting against the brutal regime until such inhuman dictatorship and their Fascism of killing its people completely disappeared from our home ground. Myanmar will never forget about the monks and people sacrificed and the brutalities of regime. More revolutionary protests are coming again so.
Further, new generation of Student Union will continue leading this revolution, though the 88 generation student leaders and monks are now in the prisons. This is due to the fact that students and monks lead the way to against any unfair law and order whenever necessary and, in deed, future is in the hand of our new generation. So, the effective actions by the UN Security Council and pressures from ASEAN, China and India will assist our movements without anymore bloodsheds. This will also be a great contribution for our new generation, real owners of our country’s future.
We have no doubt that a resource-rich country like Myanmar is a genuine ground of nutrient-rich soil for growing strong and healthy plants with peaceful flowers leading to change from a third world country to first one which will also contribute our regional stability.
In summary, all the civilized nations, our neighbours and the ASEAN family must accept a very basic human concept -
“Every flower got a right to be blooming.”
What do you say?Do you agree with the author or not?
Any supportive feedback and contribution for our movements and supports from the region?
4. J. Phillip, D. Mercer, Commodification of Buddhism in Contemporary Burma, Annl. of Tour. Res., Vol 26, No. 1, pg 21-54, 1999.
5. H. Beech, Burma’s Agony, TIME, Oct 8, 2007
6. G. Wehrfritz & J. Cochrane, The Monks’ Uprising, Newsweek, Oct 8, 2007
7. Myanmars and the world, Destructive Engagement, The Economist, Sept 29, 2007
8. Bernt Berger's "Why China has it wrong on Myanmar", Asia Time On-line.
9. Matthew E. Chen, Chinese National Oil Companies and Human Rights, Orbis, Volume 51, Issue 1, Winter 2007, Pages 41-54
10. China Uses Trade to Prop Myanmar Regime, Knight Rider Mar 6, 2006.
11. Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Myanmar. Fourth Quarter. Kent: Redhouse Press 1997
by Mg Yin