Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The task of unification

Dr. Sein Myint
Mizzima News

The world's most renowned scientist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, successfully revealed the nature of light with his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 and postulated the curvature of spacetime in his Theory of General Relativity in 1916, integrating his work with Sir Isaac Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation, first conceived of over two-hundred years previously.

While high-profile searches for the unification of the four forces of nature continue through such mechanisms as the gigantic Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, the low-profile political quest for the "unification" of exile-Burmese democratic forces is subtly underway in the small town of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

It is most encouraging to learn that some exile student leaders from 1988 living in the United States and other countries have come together and are working under the process of unifying the exile democratic movement under a motto of 'One Voice One Goal,' as expressed by a former All Burma Students Democratic Front leader. And there is no shortage of endorsements and support from other exile democratic communities across the globe for their endeavors and efforts.

The unity talked about among exiles is long overdue, and time – a commodity that many exile opposition leaders took for granted for so long – is now running out. Soon after the 2010 elections in Burma, the legitimacy and mandate that the National League for Democracy (NLD) obtained through the 1990 elections will no longer be as effective a weapon as before.

The MPs elected in the 1990 election inside the country will soon be joining the Veteran Politicians club, currently comprised of ex-MPs from the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League era that lost their legitimate posts after General Ne Win's military coup of 1962.

In order for any exile organization to be named as a Federal Democratic Government, it should be based and founded upon democratic principles and must be supported by a broad grassroots-based exile community residing across the globe. And it should be well structured and organized, comprising dedicated, committed, honest and trustworthy team players, who are democratically elected by the various exile communities as their representatives.

However, today there are many exile democratic groups and organizations currently operating under diverse banners, with leaders pursuing their own political agendas and maintaining an egotistic stature – instead of promoting, as they should, unity in spirit and political magnanimity.

One shining example of unification across divides can be seen in the current actions of US President Elect Barack Obama, who has repeatedly made statements to the effect that he will reach out across party and personal divides when forming his future cabinet. Already, his principle Democratic Primary rival, Hillary Clinton, has been offered the post of Secretary of State.

Sadly, many of our compatriots are still wavering on priorities and lingering on self interests rather than the public interest, with many having long been living off welfare from sympathetic donors.

Under such circumstances, the emergence of a frustrated younger generation is inevitable, as many of them are well educated in Western universities and have lived long enough to appreciate the ways and functioning of democratic societies. Yet, they are still committed to the well-being of their fellow countrymen and women in their impoverished homeland, dedicated to the restoration of democracy and basic human rights and now ready to take on the task of unification.

Many of them still well remember how dear the whole population had to pay for the failure of uniting key political players at the critical juncture surrounding 1988. History cannot be allowed to repeat itself.

But the military regime is now well entrenched and more powerful than before, on course with a plan to rule for many years. Since the democratic opposition inside the country has been continuously marginalized for nearly two decades, all exile democratic leaders are imbued with the political responsibility and moral obligation to unite under a common umbrella group and to work for a common goal.

Dr. Sein Myint serves as the director of Policy Development of Justice for Human Rights in Burma, located in Maryland, USA. He is an Honorary Member of Amnesty International Chapter 22 in Washington D.C.

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