Thursday, March 10, 2011

တနဂၤေနြအစီစဥ္---ဖုန္းေမာ္ေန့ နွစ္ပါတ္လည္ကုိ သတိရျခင္း-


14 March, 1999 by Win Htein


Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of Burma's Human Rights Day. Ko Pho Maw, a 21-year old engineering student was killed by the army in the compound of Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT), and was the first martyr among 3000 people in the "8888 Uprising".

"At the time, they [riot police] shot at us with real bullets when we asked the soldiers to go back to their barracks. We could not see anything under the smoke-bomb and we ran like blind men" recalled Ko
Kyaw Htin in a border shelter camp. He was an RIT student. Now, he is a leader of the All Burma Students' Democratic Front.

"We had never experienced anything like this. I thought they would shoot plastic bullets and smoke-bombs". They believed that the police would not use real bullets or enter the RIT compound.

The evening before, five RIT students had clashed with young civilians in an RIT tea shop. A general's son wielding a knife injured the RIT students. They called on the authorities to take action in the case.

But the junta's replay was "It's the students' mistake, they wanted violence". This message challenged the students like a spark. If the junta's reply had not been so stupid, the "8888 Uprising" may not have begun at that point.

A day later, hundreds of thousands of students began an anti-authority
demonstration in the RIT for the first time in 26 years under Ne Win's Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) military rule.

At the shooting, at least two students were killed and about 30 injured. People were very angry with the government about the killed students. Then people joined with students to demonstrate in downtown Rangoon. They broke state-owned cars, buses, buildings etc and shouted "No confidence in the BSPP", "Hold an independent investigation into the case of Ko Pho Maw".

General Ne Win; and his men from the BSPP were very surprised at the students' sudden reaction. In their thinking, no one could challenge them while they stood watch with guns. Then they ordered the closure of all universities and the sending home of students.

But their plan was not successful. The students and people demonstrated again when the universities reopened in June. That time the demonstrations were more violent, wider and spread to other universities and cities.

However, strongman Ne Win never reviewed his BSPP's policy. He declaimed in BSPP's parliament, "The army will never shoot into the air. If they shoot, the guns will be aimed at the people. If someone wants to complain to BSPP, he must be careful of my guns.

After his speech, no one could control the angry people. People demonstrated all over the country- including in border towns and villages. They cried, "Enough is enough, BSPP", "Don't need Ne Win regime", "Build a Student Union".

"People could not tolerate any more at the time. They were facing suppression from military rule for 26 years. At the time, our tea shop case inflamed the people to challenge Ne Win's dictator regime", said another RIT student.

The ABSDF reviewed 'political progress in the last ten years' in their 5th conference on the northern border of Thailand. They analysed the "8888 Uprising" and the current political situation in deciding "How to move forward".

"In the last '8888 Uprising', we could abolish the BSPP with four presidents and all its administration, but why could we not take final victory?" questioned one at the conference hall.

"It's a big lesson for us. We were not ready to find a new government and did not understand that 'opportunity only knocks once'."

They said, "Now we have a leading political party with a strong leader. And the people are also more knowledgeable than 8888. This fact could be the main difference between 8888 and 9999."

The ABSDF decided to choose this year's Human Rights Day to alert people to begin a campaign for a '9999 (9-9-1999) uprising' in Burma. They said, "The whole political situation is ripe. People are just waiting for a spark".

The young political idealists said, "The students and people are ready to show 'People Power' like in the '8888 Uprising'. They are just waiting for a clear message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi".

They cited last year's student demonstrations in Rangoon in August and
September on the 10th anniversary of 8888.

Moe The Zun, one of the masterminds of the ABSDF, told the Democratic Voice of Burma, "We believe that there is just one path to achieve democracy. It's 'the People Power Way'."

The ABSDF concluded that it is not enough just to use the NLD's legal way of the people's parliament. The people power way must be added.

They said, "There are many pressures form the outside world and inside the country to transfer power from the military to the elected government. But the junta never responds to outside pressure."

People chose their representatives for their new government in the 1990 May election. Now these representatives have called a 'people's parliament' and called for dialogue.

However, the junta's reply is to arrest more than 200 MPs and more than 1,000 members of the NLD. Then the Military Intelligence Service forced the resignations of MPs and members throughout the whole country. Now over 50 per cent of NLD members and MPs have resigned, been jailed or are in exile.

Recently, the New Light of Myanmar, a state-controlled daily paper said "'Everyday, one MP and approximately 30 members resign, and one township level committee abolishes its office. This is of their own volition, as they did not like Suu Kyi's confrontational way to parliament". The junta knows nothing about justice, legitimacy and the people's desire.

"The generals have encouraged the NLD to choose the 'People Power way', by rejecting all other ways and backing them into a corner" the ABSDF accused.

They added, "The NLD has called for dialogue since the 1990 May election. And now it has called a people's parliament. But the junta never responds. Therefore, we would like to say 'enough is enough'. The NLD has no chance to choose any other way. Today, the NLD's main task is to lead people into the final battle".

Mr James, a spokesperson of a ceasefire armed group, Kachin Independent
Organisation commented in an interview with DVB, "There is no law and order in this country at the moment. So the NLD should not confront the junta because no soldiers are interested in justice and legitimacy. They are only interested in the power of their guns".

He added, "This country needs national reconciliation. If no side can
eradicate the other, there is just one path that must be negotiation".

No one doubts that the country needs national reconciliation, except the SPDC.

The source said that the NLD has chosen March to begin preparations for 9999. Which is the best way for this country? Dialogue or devastation?

Everybody wants to choose dialogue and negotiate. But the ruling junta is still rejecting dialogue. If this continues, there is only one way left for the people - that is 'People Power' in the coming '9999 Uprising'.


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