Published on Monday, 21 January 2013 11:50 Written by Than Htut Aung
''Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice''
- Nelson Mandela
December 16, 1995
It is true. National reconciliation means fostering unity to rectify the wrong doing of the past. Unity must never be built on the misdeed and misdemeanor. Injustice and inequality must never be our destination to work neck and neck.
Dreaming is seldom felt in my life; however, many dreams creep into my nights in the first month of 2013. I saw my beloved dad, who passed away recently, in my dreams. I could not forget his eyes gazing at me with concern before he went into oblivion. Nothing has happen to my dad in my dream. I have the feeling of assurance as if he was telling me that he is near me. Perhaps, they were the cold winter night dreams driving the dreamer dazzle. May be I was thinking about them deeply at day time.
I dreamed about late Saya Ludu U Sein Win, a veteran writer and critic on social injustice. In my dream, U Sein Win was in his customary satirical and mocking smile.
The most amazing encounter in my dream was Boris Yeltsin, the Russian politician and First President of the Russian Federation. The hardliners arrested Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the then USSR, and ordered to roll in the tanks to crackdown the demonstrators. Alas! Boris Yeltsin jumped on the deck of the tank and delivered speech to the public. Boris gave me a sarcastic sour smile.
I am haunted as well as worried over the changes in the country this year.
Some day before passing away, Ludu U Sein Win told Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel laureate and chairperson of National League for Democracy.
“Criticizing means that we (the journalists) are in a way helping”.
That is true. Listening and sensing the view, voice and sentiment of the people and present the criticism in correct version is our job. Criticising the government is also helping the government. Moreover, we will also criticize the next future government.
I wanted to inform the honorable President and the NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the feeling and suffering of the people.
I am referring NLD because this party is almost sure to win in the 2015 general election based on the recent past and the current popularity among the public.
If the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), (previous military regime), keeps its promise on the formation of new government in accordance with the 1990 general election results, NLD was in a position to form the government as the party made a landslide victory with 81 percent votes. (If the NLD make alliance with the friendly parties, then the vote counts would be over 90 percent).
The 2010 general election was awfully amazing. (We could not even witness the vote counting at the booth right across our Eleven Media Group Headquarters). However, the NLD made a landslide victory with 95 percent of votes in the 2012 by-election.
If the trend goes in this straight forward manner, the 2015 general election will be in favor of NLD with possible vote of over 75 percent. Perhaps, the NLD will be in an upswing position to choose a president at their preference.
Whether Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would become president or otherwise depends on the ruling party and the armed forces.
Are the MPs and political parties desirous to work with a flexile, cooperative and dynamic leader?
Are they ready to work with the leader as chosen by the NLD?
Questionable aspect arises on the smooth transfer of power as the authority invested with the president is enormous in the state constitution. Let us set aside this matter for a while.
Many interested investors are pouring into the country. They are saying that the prices of land are high while the labor cost is cheap.
In the backdrop of “high living cost” with “cheap labor wage”, then the future of country and the people is unthinkable.
Lands, factories and mills, banking and investment, power and authority are all in the hands of the cronies. As the lands are in their hands, the land prices skyrocketed. Hiring cost of houses and apartments shot up very high. The leasing rate of restaurants and shops are going up. However, the income, salary and wage remain the same.
Now, the people in Yangon are in a status as if they are being strangled. When the commercial hub is choking, the economy of the whole country is falling apart.
When someone utters the words, “there are job opportunities due to investment”, then the expression is quite bitter to listen. The term is tantamount to a serious message that “there is no future for the workers and a certain number of starving slaves are likely to get paid jobs”.
I was happy when the president promised at the time of assumption of duty that the manipulation of the cronies would not be allowed. However, the lands, factories and mills are all in the hands of the cronies including the worst “build, operate and transfer” (BOT) businesses.
I have no desire to utter “Sadu” (rejoicing and saying well done over the charity of others) on the donations of the cronies.
I am taking the liberty to advice the president and the vice-president in creating separate funds for charity to be donated on behalf of the government.
(At this juncture, I would like to submit a request to the president to stop the project of building a 34-storied high structure at the site of open-air space bazaar in downtown Yangon undertaken by Shwe Taung Company. A sincere request is made to the effect not to allow high structure within the radius of three miles with the same height to Shwedagon Pagoda that the Buddhists across the world pay highest respect. Moreover, the structure must not be higher than 20-storied. Buddhists are needed to come up for protest in this cause. I would like to request the cronies not to tarnish the Shwedagon Pagoda and leave the most respected structure alone).
There is a notion to the effect that “Let the cronies donate at good places and sectors” for which I vouched for it. However, the NLD is heading to reign of the country and get hold of power of the state in the future. I am talking about the conflict of interest.
I earnestly accept the notion that there are good hearted persons and patriots among the cronies. Moreover, I also agree that their participation on the tasks for the development of the country. It is nothing wrong to engage in relationship with the cronies. However, accepting aids and assistances (or) taking charity with immorality is tantamount to making “give and take dealing” for something.
It may not be fair to compare and match up among the political parties from deep rooted culture of briery and corruption of Myanmar and the systematic and well established western countries.
At this point, I am taking the opportunity to explain an event regarding the cronies to the president and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
In the aftermath of the unfortunate and devastating storm Nargis that hit Myanmar in 2008, the cronies poured in charities and engaged in rehabilitation and construction tasks in many townships and the people were very happy. Our Eleven Media Group in collaboration with the “Friend Doctors” and with the participation of the well wishers across the country had donated and constructed a “Cyclone Shelter” that could handle 300 to 500 people. The local people are still using the cyclone shelter as monastery of the village as well as reserved for eventual storm or cyclone. The total cost of construction of the shelter was K. 100 million, which is located in “Thagyar Hin Owe Village” at the remote corner of Dedaye Township in Ayeyawady Delta.
In Pyapon Township there is a cyclone shelter big enough to accommodate 1,500 people, three to four folds larger than our shelter. Perhaps, the large shelter might cost K. 300 to 400 million, but not more than this amount. In lieu of the cyclone shelters being constructed by the cronies, the government rewarded them in terms of other reimbursement on business grounds equivalent to average K. 1,000 million for each shelter. State fund is also the public fund that everyone agrees. Whenever, such type of similar donation or charity appeared in the newspapers, I feel a bit uneasy.
I have the definite idea of “Let it be, what had happened in the past”. The incumbent government must not be carried over or inherited the burden and trouble of the previous regime, and at the same time, I would like to warn in advance the next government on the load of problems.
I am ready to help to the best of my abilities to realize in boosting the GDP to three folds as the president have expected in his tenure. Nevertheless, I wanted to help Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD when they form the government of the country. What I could do and help is to tell the truth.
These days I am worried due to the reason that some of the staunch supporters of the dictators are active. In a dictatorial system, the main props are not the armed forces. In fact they are the members of the secret police force (intelligence sources) and the propaganda machinery. The backers in the propaganda field are very much active these days. They have created thousands of fake facebook accounts on the Internet. At the movement, they are engaging in surveillance works through the online, blatant threatening and crude attacks. The extremists are talking very loudly. The extreme crackdown at the Letpadaungtaung copper mine project was the clear evidence of their intent and acts.
The most significant and obvious are the Voice of Myanmar and the Myanmar Express. They could scoop up the government news, the government troop news ahead of the media. They slander and insult the opposition and the media. However, as the contents have no substance and standard, most people ignore to view their sites. Their works are not spread among the mass. However, their network has long arms and widespread.
In line with the system of this country, no website could stay on without the knowledge of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. I would like to raise a question on whose budget they are operating their web pages, while the parliaments would have interest to get an answer in this context. I presumed that was why a question popped up at the parliament. Suppose if the incumbent government did not provide an appropriate answer, then the next government will be liable to give an answer.
It is undeniable that Myanmar Express is the supporting pillar of the dictatorial system. I am not interested what they have written. However, I am very much interested in their accelerated tempo in their activities. It is due to the reason that the persons desirous to fortified dictatorial system are trying to control and influence the media and to always attack the people and the media.
We have made analysis on their tempo as well as the link regarding the violence and their activities.
I am interested in their activities. I am also interested whether they have hooked up with the members of the secret police and the secret intelligence sources. Their news posted on the web is very much doubtful. How they acquired the news? How they released the news? I am very much interested on these aspects.
Myanmar Express has lately posted inhumane torrent of abuses and insults about my dad who recently passed away, which tarnished the prestige and dignity of my father as they even mentioned by name on the web. It was a method of provoking concerned person with the intent to pull out the anger of the relevant persons. In fact, my dad was a gentleman and an officer at the State Timber Department holding the post of General Manager with the capability to harness wealth in his career, but he did not offer us with substantial inheritances. Of course, he provided us with proper education. He led a simple life through out his career.
At this point, I would like to point out that the Myanmar Express has the access to the inside information that normal media could not dig in. It was because they had the inside information about my father-in-law who died 26 years ago while conducting experiment and research on weapons. He was given with full military honor at the funeral. He was enlisted as fallen soldier in military action and the spouse is given the privilege to enjoy military pension in full. When my father-in-law died in action, he left behind his wife, ten years old son and 12 years old daughter whom I married later.
One could imagine how hard they have to struggle those years.
At a time when the family members have to reapply for a fresh pension pay with a slight increased payment, he was degraded as normal death, but not as active duty death which hit hard to my mother-in-law with anxiety. They applied not because of increased pension pay as the difference of enhanced pay was K. 30,000 only. When the family members were discussing the matters to file a complaint at relevant defense department, the Myanmar Express posted this personal matter on its web pages. We are mentioning this matter not for the sake of pension amount which is small. We are considering this matter as the family members that cherish and attach important to the compensation of pension which could well interpreted as a soldier died for the country.
It was regrettable that the heartbreaking family members were dubbed as swindlers for family pension. They must have empathy. They must have esteem. I would like to request the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Service to expose the website of the Myanmar Express that undermined the dignity and stateliness of the whole armed forces. The soldiers and the family members of the armed forces have high esteemed and attachment towards the military. The dislike of the military dictatorship is another part.
Those handling the propaganda task over the website are the persons resurrecting the dictators to life.
Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Service Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said, “Honored posts are not meant to pursue through short cut. Dictatorial system is not acceptable,” for which I heartily welcomed. Moreover, I witnessed that reforms are going on in the armed forces. Additionally, tough measures are being undertaken with regards to the bribery and corruption. We welcome the administrative and reform tasks being undertaken in the military so that dictatorial system is not a place for backsliding. Meanwhile, the defense services should deter and curb the writings and the advocacy towards the dictatorial system, and take necessary action to these slanderers to save face of the armed forces.
When the previous regime handed over the state power to the present government, the prominent and outstanding persons away from briery and corruption like the incumbent president, the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services, the Vice-Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services have been called in which reflected the democratization process. During the two years of changes, over 70 percent the army brass above the rank of colonel have refrained themselves from bribery and corruption.
I earnestly hope that the incumbent commander-in-chief and the deputy commander-in-chief would be able to salvage and pull out the defense service force from the vicious cycle of muddy and chaotic political sphere.
The armed forces must change the mindset towards the national ethic races that considered and accepted as the enemy of the state.
The genuine federal union concept is in other word “non-disintegration of the Union”. These days, the national ethnic races are voicing and pledging that they may never break away from the Union.
The political dilemma must be addressed in cooperation among the politicians and the armed forces. The military matters must be resolved and settled among the persons that hold the arms.
As a matter of fact, the civil war broke out and prolonged due to our lack of unity among us. The civil war breeds the dictatorial system. The dictatorial system pushes the country into poor status. At this time of urgency, we must made clarion call for unity. If we are to unite on the basis of righteousness and justice, then all the people must have guts and nerve. We must be brave and courageous for the sake of justice.
''We have to forgive the past and at the same time ensure that dignity of the victims is restored and their plight properly addressed''
- Nelson Mandela (September 18, 1994)
- I Will Tell the Real Truth (17)
- High expectations as Myanmar takes Asean helm
- Corruption in Myanmar: take down the real villains
- Myanmar's turn in the spotlight can have benefits
- Ways for Myanmar to make better headway
- I will tell the real truth (16) - Part (2)
- Leaders have to decide
- I will tell the real truth (16) - Part (1)
- I will tell the real truth (15) ...
- The country surrounded with refugee camps is called …