By Roland Watson
January 12, 2013

The optimistic view that Burma is now on the path to democracy is broadcast every day. We see it in story after story from print and television journalists (even from the “free” Burma media); in statements from a few NGOs (such as the International Crisis Group, which seems inordinately able to ignore crises!); and from diplomats who are invested in the view that the generals of the country’s dictatorship are allowing “real” change.

It remains to be seen, though, if this view is well-founded. While I generally don’t like to fault optimism - having hope is humanity’s most basic positive trait - given the regime’s continuing atrocities and lesser crimes, hope for Burma now appears to be reckless if not dangerous.

My view of the country’s democratic change is that it is not real - or at a minimum not complete - if it does not lead to the political conditions that exist in established democracies such as Norway, Australia, South Korea, and Japan. The people of Burma must have real and enduring peace, and freedom of speech and association. Also, the country needs powerful defenses against corruption, as this is the only way to ensure that national development is carried out in their best interests alone, so they can finally escape their appalling poverty, and have the foundation in place to build a fair and prosperous future.

I understand that this is a lot to ask, but nothing else will do.

Perhaps the most important criticism that I would level at the individuals, institutions and journalists who now “hope,” is that they appear to be willing to settle for less: A lot less.

They are failing the people of Burma, and they do not have this right. If they persist, then just as the Burma Army is the enemy of the ethnic nationalities, so too are they the enemy of the people.

Read more: The Critical Path for Burma.pdf


Allwebsitetools © 2014 Shan Herald Agency for News All Rights Reserved