Burmese Expatriates:Dollar Earners or Great Patriots?

On 18th of June 2007, the official daily newspaper of ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in Burma – The New Light of Myanmar published an article entitled, “To Dollar Earners” written by Ba Toe (Taunggya Kaladet), accusing all democratic Burmese expatriates as well as Burmese people working in the broadcasting stations of Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of working against national spirit and dancing on the tunes of western nations to earn dollars. It also compared democratic Burmese expatriates and broadcasters as monkeys and thieves turned into Sadhus. However these sorts of articles are not new in The New Light of Myanmar and often appear as a unique selling proposition to perpetuate military rule in Burma.   

Recommendation of Noble Peace Prize for Tatmadaw!   

Interestingly for a moment the article tries to sympathies with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by writing, that, “The opposing groups and expatriate destructive elements have been always saying words repeatedly in praise of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. I wonder whether they are truly in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or they are attempting to destroy the country citing her as an excuse. Or are they trying to put the government in trouble or difficulty? In fact, you are trying to take over the throne or the seat of power while pushing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi onto the stage,” as if SPDC has now turned as a real well wisher of Asia’s symbol of democracy? However the author can’t control his real objectivity of negating Daw Suu Kyi’s role in modern Burma’s history and going to the extent of recommending noble peace prize to his mentor – SPDC, rather than Daw Suu Kyi, comes to the point by incarcerating her while saying, “Actually, the Myanmar Tatmadaw deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for making peace with the armed groups large and small. But the prize was awarded to Daw Suu Kyi who had not done anything for peace but stuck to the policy of confrontation and acted accordingly,” and compares her as a thief turned Sadhu. Although, it is not for the first time that, SPDC themselves projected as candidate for Noble Peace Prize, even earlier articles were written in the New Light of Myanmar advocating SPDC as a true claimant of Nobel Peace Prize rather then Daw Aung San Suu Kyi making mockery of world’s respected institution.  So Norwegian Nobel committee and its secretary and director of the Nobel Institute – Geir Lundestad should take note of recent claims made by SPDC people like Ba Toe to award noble peace prize to General Than Shwe for confining Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in detention since last seventeen years and keeping more then one thousand political prisoners in inhuman prison conditions in the tasks of nation building. However the author – Mr. Ba Toe forgets that a few months back, one of his friends – Mr. Maung Po Hmat wrote a long article entitled, “Nobel Prize that has become a tool of neo-colonialist” on 12th January 2007 in the New Light of Myanmar (pp. no. 8-9) and another friend – Mr. Pauk Sa wrote an article entitled, “Peace Prize or Interference Prize” on Nobel Prize in the same newspaper – “The New Light of Myanmar” on 13 January 2007 (page no.7) abusing Nobel prize committee, and considering it as a tool of interferences of neo-colonialists designs like he abused Burmese expatriates. Mr. Ba Toe took all preventive measures in his article, while recommending Nobel peace prize to SPDC, by abusing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese expatriates, so that he might also not turn out as an expatriate for recognizing institution of Nobel peace prize.           

Dollar Earners or Great Patriots?

Now the questions comes that, whether democratic Burmese expatriates are really dollar earners or great patriots? As far as my experience of meeting many Burmese people in India as well as abroad are concerned, lives in a very harsh condition, away from home since last so many decades. For these many Burmese peoples earning of a dollar is a Herculean tasks and even maintaining their family is a difficult job. They have a difficult but beautiful national dream to turn Burma into a real democratic nation, which their own protector – SPDC in the name of Tatmadaw fails to facilitate by keeping Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under detention despite United Nations Secretary General’s call and ASEAN’s wishes. It is difficult because three major players of world politics – China, Russia and India, competing with each other, are providing legitimacy to the military government in power, falsely in the name of geo-strategic position of Burma in Southeast Asia. Falsely, as air attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 has demolished the concept of naval supremacy in making any nation important in power-politics and started an era of Air Force supremacy, that, those who would rule the sky will rule the strategic results, likewise lessons of US-Iraq war in March 2003 has proved that, those who would excel in Space and advanced information technology (because most of the advanced weapon’s are based on these technologies), would change easily the geo-strategic configurations in their favour in the case of eventuality of war.   

SPDC thinks that, by continuing their rule and abusing their own people and leaders like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Tin Oo, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, they are doing a great national service. However SPDC missed to understand that, leaders like – Daw Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t born everyday in any nation’s history, like it is very difficult to resurrect Mahatma Gandhi in India and John F. Kennedy in USA despite people’s desires.  

More importantly, SPDC’s also failed to learn lessons from their two large neighbours that, what important role the Indian Diaspora and Chinese Diaspora are playing in both the nation’s development? However, military rulers lacked these visions to comprehend, because of their prejudiced draconian policy against Burmese expatriates. The Burmese expatriates, who could become brand ambassadors through RFA, DVB, VOA, and BBC in world economy are facing consistent abuse and forced to leave from their loved homes. In addition they are forced to leave for their independent opinion, patriotism and love for Daw Suu Kyi & perseverance for genuine democratic transformation in Burma.  

SPDC says that, Burmese expatriates are working hand-in-glove with vested western nations to establish neo-colonialism in Burma. But at the same time, they also demand lifting of western economic sanctions and accuse expatriates and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi responsible for economic sanctions. If western nations are so bad, then why SPDC need’s lifting of economic sanctions? And, if western civilization is so neo-colonialist, then why you participate in the proposals and meetings of Asia-Europe Meetings (ASEM) and signs agenda of ASEAN’s cooperation with West? And more importantly what is the need of maintaining embassies’ with huge government costs in European and North American continent? SPDC themselves know that no nation in present scenario can live in isolation of world economy and scientific developments. In the present globalized world sharing of knowledge is norms of the day and migration of skilled people doesn’t always result into brain drain but also facilitates dialogues among civilization.  The pathetic condition of Burmese expatriates in India’s northeastern states, in Delhi as well as in Malaysia, Thai-Burma border and elsewhere in globe can be easily visited and watched with pain (the recent plight of 228 asylum seekers and refugees from Burma in Malaysia on 25th June 2007 reported by SUARAM –suaram.net is an important example). Because of SPDC’s bad economic management, their savings in Kyat will bounce in world money market and off course earning dollars is not an easy task as the article presumes. Military in any nation has certain roles to play; they can’t do the jobs of economist, space scientists, software experts, agriculturist and governing political-civilian administration? They can fight with weapons for protection of the nation, which many a times Tatmadaw did as part of their great national duty. But for a long time, if SPDC would involve military into civilian administration, it will start loosing its vigour of discipline, which is required for any nations military.  

Conclusion: 

Those Burmese expatriates, who now work in RFA, DVB, VOA, and BBC, are pursuing journalistic careers and jobs standing for genuine democracy in Burma and not small patriots compared with Tatmadaw. Rather accusing Burmese expatriates as dollar earners, SPDC should look under their own sleeves and policies. SPDC’s diplomatic skills would be realized in grand success, if they work to formulate their policy in tandem with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s world vision. So that, Burmese expatriates working in RFA, DVB, VOA and BBC naturally become harbinger of economic growth in Burma. Any of present SPDC’s General’s representing Burma on the stage of UN, ASEAN, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and any regional & international organizations summits and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on stage has vast difference in terms of impact of individual personality in world politics, which tatmadaw fails to understand, the role of individual in history. The personality of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which could have utilized to raise Burma at world forums and take Asia near to European Union’s development, is languishing in house arrest. By keeping her in detention and not allowing NLD to even meet her, SPDC is harming themselves, Burma and Asia’s development in long run distancing the continent from other part of the globe. I’m sure that even Indian Prime Minister – Dr. Manmohan Singh would accept (without any malice and disregard against him) that, there is a difference of impact in comparison with personalities like – Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrs. Indira Gandhi speaking at international and regional summits and any other Indian Prime Minister speaking at those summits; whatever reforms President Hu Jintao carry in China, he can’t become Mao Tse-Tung.    

(The End) 

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