Since its inception in 1948 the Union of Burma (or currently Myanmar) has never been peaceful, stable and advanced. Why? It has been a big question for the international community and everyone is wanting to find a solution to solve it.

I would like to talk about it based on my own experiences and discussions with many other people. It is called ‘Union’ because it is made up of several different entities. Different countries have come together and formed it and it is evident by the treaty signed in 1947 known as the Panglong Agreement. Because there are different entities there are problems. The ethnic Burmese leaders become greedy and wanted to swallow up all the other entities, creating rebellions and paving way for the long civil war.

There are also different political ideologies in the union. Even groups belonging to the same ethnicity fight among themselves because of different political ideas. It eventually led to a military coup on 2 March 1962 staged by Ne Win who thought democracy, with its multi-political parties, could lead to disintegration and changed the political system from democracy to socialism and made contact with Russia.

Ne Win’s plan was also not successful, could not make the union stable.  The people and the Sangha, together with the students, staged a general uprising known as 8888 (08. 08. 1988) and Ne Win had to step down. Later Than Shwe made ceasefire with the ethnic armed organizations and wrote a constitution for 14 years. After that 2008 Constitution, Than Shwe held a general election and Thein Sein became the president. President Thein Sein then announced a ceasefire and invited all the armed groups to engage in political talks to solve the problems through negotiations, leading to the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

After 5 years of Thein Sein government a new government led by NLD governed for another 5 years (2015 – 2020). During these (8-9) years, the political dialogues were mainly arguments about one’s own policies and have not reach the main goals desired by the people. In 2021 the Tatmadaw (military) and the NLD could not compromise and the former accused the latter of cheating in the election and seized power from it, causing the political dialogues to stop.

Because the Tatmadaw seized and hold on to power, the people, the Sangha, the students and the government servants demonstrated in protest in the whole country and the situations of the union became even worse. Since peaceful demonstrations did not work but met with violent crackdowns they eventually turned into armed struggle and many people have been arrested, killed and injured, and hundred of thousands have been displaced, much worse than when Ne Win seized power. Because there is no trust, because of power and wealth, and corruptions the problems have occurred. They have occurred because those who govern do not have the spirit of justice and equality.

(wait for part 2)

By Sur Khan Fa
24 . 09. 2022


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