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Junta Uses Racism as Weapon against All Oppositions

(S.H.A.N. & Burma's News Published by Burma's Chinese 貌强,缅甸华族)

   By Mahn Kyaw Swe Civil war broke out since Burma gained independence from British. Within 6 decades of civil war too much bloodshed occurred in our homeland. There is no sign that SPDC junta is willing to talk with NLD party or ethnic armed groups to end 6 decades long civil war or to bring national reconciliation practically. Instead, SPDC's secret agents create more confusion and hatred between Burman and none-Burman using racism to hold the power for its best benefit. Whether it is in national convention, intellectual debates, or everyday conflicts of all Burmese discussion groups and communities, racism is burning us all. Some of us have third degree burns or have died from it effects, many others live in the charred wreckage. Most of us suffer first and second degree burns at some time in our lives. We all live with fear in the glow of the fire's menacing and distorted light. We saw the fire flare up and again, as we are frightened. Many of us wanted to do something, to pick up a bucket of water and throw water on the flames, but he size of the blaze seemed to make our individual effort useless. Majority of Burman are scared of ethnic nationalities about their right of self-determination as separatist ideas. For that reason, Burmese regime used its army to control ethnic territories. Most of the ethnic people are scared about violence used by the army, economic exploitation, forced labour, extra judicial Killing, torture and looting. They moved away from to avoid from the Burmese army. Most of the time those fears are directed toward Burman (Bamar). Even though many Burmese including ethnic nationalities came to exile after 1989 and received good education in the western countries, some of them are even more fear and feel more insecure than ever. Once again the agenda of ethnic conflict of Burma and the use of racism as a weapon by SPDC regime was brought to our attention. U Tin Maung Win, former member of CRDB mentioned in his book about the circle of racism as a pot of pickle (Chin Phet Oh), during his time of struggle as an armed resistant with PDP under the leadership of U Nu. Besides, many of us thought that we were too far away from the cause of the fire to make a difference. Racism is often described as a problem of prejudice. Prejudice is certainly one result of racism, and fuels further acts of violence toward people of ethnics. A Karen witness who does not identify his name recalled his memory regarding a plot of racial conflict created by MIs during 1988 uprising. In his detail, he described that the ruling military junta's attempt to flare up ethnic conflict between Burman and Karen as follow. An unidentified source said that, "about five hundreds of Karen national costume were stolen from Theingee Zey department store, in Rangoon, the capital city of Burma. Those clothes would be used by pro BSPP demonstrators on the street. They were not really Karen ethnic people, but they were just MIs (military Intelligents). We were going to beat them hard on the street." On the other hand, a Pwo Karen community leader approached to him and said that "I received a letter from Mahn Win Maung, former president of Union of Burma, and he requested that to gather Karen people for demonstration leaving from Insein junction to march along the Insein Road to Thamaing." Then he asked the community leader did he meet that person who brought the letter to him. "No, I didn't." He answered to me. He is very honest typical Karen who is ready to take the order. "I already told other Karen community from Thamaing and North Okkla to join us.", he continued. They were so willing to come out with Karen costume. I suddenly connected from two sources of information and made a quick decision. "Mahn, please inform all Karen people you invited by telling them the demonstration is cancelled. Nobody needs to show up. Stay home and stay safe." It seemed to me he had no clue when I told him like this. He insisted that, but Mahn Win Maung sent me a letter to do so. Forget about that letter. That was a plot by MI to create a conflict between Karen & Burman to swift the attention of democracy uprising to social chaos. This time he showed the sign of fear. He said, "I better inform to my people not to show up", and disappear quickly from the teashop we were sitting. SPDC regime frequently abused Buddhist religion against its political oppositions whenever, or wherever they have a chance. Since 1991, Burma army started its offensive against Manawplaw, the headquater of NDF, DAB, NCGUB, and ABSDF using over 10 battalions with support artillery units. SPDC's original plan of to control Htwee pha kwee kyo was failed with thousands of dead and injured. The commanders of operation were Maung Hla and Tin Oo, who was killed in helicopter crashed in Paan. Their second plan was to divide KNU by all means. One of the Burmese soldier captured by KNLA revealed the plan B of SPDC army to split KNU between, the young and the old, between Christians and the Buddhists and between the Pwo and the Sgaw. For the democratic opposition groups, Manalplaw is so important in politically and strategically because KNU has been hosting all other oppositions, armed or unarmed organization including NCGUB. Manalplaw was not fall by military attack of SPDC regime. It was fall by attack of political warfare using psychology, religion, espionage, drug, rumors as propaganda, and misinformation. SPDC's attempt to divide between Buddhist Karens from their Christian brothers. It was not the first time for Burmese army using religion as a weapon against its enemies. After Ne Win took over power of the country in 1958-1960. Army's psychological warfare department printed over a million copy of booklets known as (Dahamma in Danger) in Burmese. The main objective of its offensive was to attack of the CBP (Communist Party of Burma) and tried to mobilize the country's monks against the CPB. Other edition was prepared in Burmese and Urdu for circulation among Muslim community. On the other hand Burma army published another book, The Burning Qestion aiming at Christian Community and Christian led KNU in Sgaw and Pwo Karen languages. A notebook of U Chit Hlaing, a young communist cadre who attended CPB training classes led by Thakhin Soe was used as a main source. The booklet contained some anti religion teaching by Thakhin Soe like, "Religion is the opium of the people". At another point he noted, "Buddhism is the enemy of the proletariat in Burma; therefore, it must be attacked at every opportunity". Early 1960, KNU and CPB (Communist Party of Burma) reached as joint military alliance and found (NDUF) National Democratic United Front) in 1959 with the members of CPB, the NMSP and KNUP (Karen National United Party) and expanding control territories. The effectiveness of such anti-communist campaigns created religious argument among above and underground with a total chaos. Many Karen Christians and churches turned against KNUP for its associating with CPB. It was sometimes in 1989, thousands of letters were dropped from Burmese Air Force in Karen State. Those letters contained black propaganda of Burmese army to its soldiers to take Shan women as wives to control Shan State as a part of building IV Burmese empire. The soldiers who took a Shan woman as a wife would be rewarded according to the social status of the woman. The letter said we have a huge amount of fund for successful soldiers. Even though Burmese Army is targeting Shan State, those letters were dropped in the Karen State. Religion and ethnicity are quite sensitive issues for Burma until today. 1988 November to the end of 1992, there were thousands of Burmese students and oppositions had been taking refuge in the camps of KNU territories. Those kinds of letter served Burmese junta like double blades to Burmese students and ethnic soldiers. It is a clear attempt of the regime to persecute Burmese students and civilians in the hand of ethnic armed groups. However, due to the effort of experienced ethnic leaders, the things did not go wrong so badly right away. Later MIs penetrated among student group and created splits among them or with the others. Those are clear sample of SPDC junta's strategy of psychological warfare to split Burman and ethnic people using racism. Whenever, oppositions group came close to be a united force, the SPDC junta would create another method of dividing our people. The size of fire flare up and SPDC's agents make the things worse, like a powerful wind in every discussion groups.

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