Can we trust ourselves?

When the character played by Tommy Lee Jones in ‘Lincoln’ was questioned by a fellow politician how Lincoln could be trusted, he replied, in effect, “Mr…, I was under the mistaken impression that your chosen profession was politics.”

His words, in a nutshell, told us that in politics there are more important things than trust, no matter how important it is. It is a lesson many of our non-Burman leaders have yet to learn.

In 2009, a year after the military drawn constitution was adopted by the military, Senior General Than Shwe, then junta supremo, reportedly called a close door meeting where he appointed who was going to be who after the 2010 “elections”:

Gen Thein Sein                    President
Gen Thura Shwe Mann         House Speaker
Gen Min Aung Hlaing           Commander-in-Chief

What followed were a series of surprises for all at home and abroad:

2010 General elections
2010 New government “headed” by Thein Sein relaxes media laws; invites armed groups for peace talks; holds meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, who later decides to enter elections; suspends controversial Myitsone dam on the Irrawaddy
2012 Continued fighting in Kachin State. President’s order to call off operations goes unheeded. Fighting with the two Shan State Army (SSA) factions go on despite ceasefire being signed
2013 Ceasefire talks upgraded to framework for political negotiations talks. Fighting meanwhile continues. On the international front, sanctions have been lifted, but investments still inadequate. World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Naypyitaw has a message: No peace, No investment. Visiting Karen and Shan resistance leaders given VIP treatment

No doubt some of what the reader has read may not sound right, but yet others may.
One leader recently asked SHAN almost the identical question from ‘Lincoln’: “How can we trust the Burmese government?” SHAN reminded him what sages long ago had counseled:

Whether or not you trust someone is important
But, more important is whether or not you trust yourself

Ongoing trustbuilding programs and activities therefore are unquestionably very important. But, after reading between the lines here, the reader may also agree that the master key is the right understanding of the situation.


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