My feelings on 63rd Anniversary of Burmese Armed Forces Day

29 March 2008

I refer to "How will Burmese Armed Forces vote in the referendum?" and "Burmese Armed Forces Day to mark Decades of Military Rule" by Min Lwin, Irrawaddy.

The Burmese Armed Forces Day seemed to have come and gone without making much impact in the minds of Burmese people. In the past, probably a long time ago, we used to hold the army in great esteem. In fact, many young people aspired to become military officers, seeing it as a prestigious duty to serve their own country. How times have changed. How such aspirations have dwindled to nothing more than just contempt and fear against the army. All these changes would not have become reality if not for a group of power-hungry military dictators who, over the decades, have crippled Burma to what it is today.

If we look back at our history, there are mainly three societies who are capable of stirring the hearts of Burmese people: Sanga, students and soldiers. So far, Sanga and students have been seen as playing a crucial role in democracy movements. What about the soldiers in the army? During 1988 uprising, the military personnel, especially from Air Force, protested alongside the people, Sanga, and students. Such show of courage and patriotism is still strongly embedded in our memories. We, Burmese people, have always hoped that we will not see the alienation of soldiers from the people when we pursue our path for Burma's freedom from a handful of dictators.

I once asked a friend, a military officer, about his opinion. Like many of the people interviewed in Min Lwin's reports, he revealed his dismay at the actions that the dictators have taken against the people. My subsequent question to him was: then why do they still dance to the tunes of dictators and accept being made use of as weapons of SPDC? He cited the nature of army as having to obey orders and also said that with all the restrictions that have been imposed on the soldiers, he did not believe that they can do much for the sake of people at this moment. Upon hearing his answers, I wondered how many more soldiers have the notion like him. Though I must admit that I feel rather disappointed at his answers, at the same time, I can empathize with their predicament. There is not a single doubt that ruthless dictators have done whatever they can to instill fear in the army as much as the way they have done towards the people.

Whenever I see ex-soldiers, who have lost part(s) of their body in the battles, having to struggle by themselves with the meager pension given by the government, I feel sorry for them. We all know for a fact that discrimination and abuse of power by those who are in favor, are widespread in the army. Apart from a favored few, majority population of the army is also struggling in their own ways for their own survival.

It has been 63 years of history for the army. How our future generations will remember the army in many years to come, depends solely upon the army. As an ordinary citizen of Burma, I would like to remind those in the army of the brutalities that the dictators have unleashed upon monks; sons of our revered Buddha, students and the people.

I would like to urge them not to allow SPDC to use them as weapons of mass destruction upon their own people, to stand in front of us and to bring back the light that has been fainting in Burma over the decades. It is time to write their own history and bring back the glory of army for the people.

2 comments:

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