When Burma’s democracy icon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was released on November 13th, the election period was over. Then, the unfair and unfree election results came out with a landslide victory for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the proxy party of Burmese Army.
The Burmese military regime has ensured that its rule becomes legitimized through the elections. It has also tried to show both Burmese citizens, and the international community, that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer important for a leadership role in the military orchestrated elections and political transitions.
‘National Reconciliation’ is vital for the current political situation in Burma. It needs to happen even before ‘democratization’ can occur, especially as these two issues are interrelated. While there are thousands of political prisoners in jails, and fighting is constant among the ethnic minorities at the border, there will be no democracy. In order to solve these problems, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must call for a release of all political prisoners and for the start of political discussions between Burmese politicians and ethnic political leaders.
But if the current State Peace and Development Council (SPDC – the current Burmese military regime), or future USDP government, does not accept these proposals Daw ASSK will be unable to move forward with her political agenda. The new USDP government backed by the Burmese Army will not accept any threats to its political power, and it is highly likely that she will be arrested yet again when the new government is formed. There is little hope that the military leaders will change their minds and cooperate with her in the same way that Corazon Aquino in the Philippines was supported in the 1980s with People Power.
Holding a 2nd Panglong Conference to demand a 2nd Independence and re-establishment of the Federal Union may sound like a challenge or call for confrontation among all concerned parties. Remember that the Burmese Army seized political power in 1962 when ethnic groups from around the country were discussing guidelines for a Federal Union. This time, the ethnic groups calling for a 2nd Panglong Conference will be in danger of arrest and suppression.
We will wait and see how the tolerance of the new regime. As Daw Suu said, if the people are not involved in the movement and if they just rely on her, it will be difficult to achieve democracy. That is right. However, the people’s rise to power will take a long time under Burma’s policies of harsh surveillance.
For the change in Burma, I believe not only the people in Burma, including the ethnic minority groups, must help her in bringing national reconciliation, peace and democracy, but the international community needs to help as well, especially so that Daw ASSK is not put under house arrest again when the new USDP regime takes over the government.