Monday, February 2, 2009

Burmese Rugby match in Ireland

By Dr. Sein Myint

Burmese people are ardent fans of English and European football, some even betting heavily in downtown Rangoon of some popular matches, but have not shown much enthusiasm in more physically-contacted games like rugby or American football. Perhaps, this could all be changed after some elected Burmese MPs in exile tried themselves to test it out physically of the rugby game in Ireland recently.

In her recent interview with the New Era Journal Chief Editor U Sein Kyaw Hlaing, the MPU Deputy Chairperson, Daw San San, an elected MP of Seikkan Township, Yangon Division, admitted that some violence was broken-up between certain elected MPs during the recent MPU conference in Ireland during the motion and debate on the UN Credential Challenge issue.

And further more, she also alleged that some elected MPs had changed their minds on this CC issue, reversing of their original positions once they were promised of ministerial posts in the new cabinet of exile coalition government headed by the re-elected Prime Minister Dr. Sein Win.

Changing positions and switching sides by the elected MPs are quite normal even in fully developed democratic parliaments of the West, such as the postwar Italian governments where many successive coalition governments had broken down due to minority coalition partners changing side, subsequently call-in for fresh elections to obtain new mandate to form new governments.

Although, heated debates with physical violence are usually rare in Western democratic parliaments, they are not uncommon in many developing democratic parliaments, especially for those hot blooded Taiwanese parliamentarians as pictures shown below. Taiwan's parliament is notorious for fistfights, with many lawmakers enjoying the media attention when brawls erupt.

However, no matter how ugly such violence scenes of disruptions in any democratic parliamentary process, no one can be denied that these physical brawls are much in pale comparing to those political prosecutions and intimidation routinely carried out by those repressive authoritarian regimes over its populace, especially to their political opponents.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t give a reason and a free hand to those elected MPs to act as they wish in public political process, no matter how emotional that they might feel on the debated issues at hand, tarnishing the very democratic principles, i.e. freedom of expression and thoughts, that they hold to their hearts and have been working so hard and long to establish in the country.

The negative effects of such misconducts and unruly behaviors by some elected MPs in Ireland shall not be confined only within the oversea Burmese diasporas and democratic oppositions inside the country , but also will reverberated through out the international communities who have been closely observing and monitoring exile democratic leadership of their integrity, performance, and responsibility.

Such disgraceful acts should not be take it for granted especially for those who were only ELECTED but not yet SEATED MPs to a democratic parliament, regardless of how contentious nature of the debated issue might had been.

Ultimately, the responsibly fell squarely upon the shoulders of the exile leadership who should be setting standard on principle and code of conducts of the fellow MPs carrying out the duties under their designated political roles. Statesmanship and political maturity can only be earned through one’s deeds not simply from one’s fancy words.

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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