Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 06:00 Written by Maung Thwe Chun
Myanmar Citizens protesting for Anti-war (Photo - EMG)
My head and heart are boiling as I want to discuss my philosophy and opinion amid the constant news of the desire of the people for peace.
My mind always rushes back to a religious verse composed by a learned Buddhist monk named “Maha Gandaryone Sayadaw”.
“I won’t try this hard just for my sake, but for all involved”. As I looked at the road, waves of youth coloured in blue for peace could be seen.
The young ones, the age of my son and daughter, on behalf of the parents, the people and the nation, walked down the lanes and roads advocating peace.
Despite the heavy barriers, they bravely exposed themselves to risks. Their aim is peace. Those unwilling to embrace peace were hindering the youth.
Are they going to give the reason that the barring of protests is for the rule of law? Section (18) of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law (PAPL) is casting a dark shadow everywhere.
There are rules hindering people from gathering in the precincts of mills and factories, the universities and colleges, and even on public lanes and roads.
If Section (18) of the PAPL is not enough to suppress the people, there is still an old law called Section (144) of the Penal Code.
In the traditional belief of Myanmar people, the numerical total of the number 18, and also 144, yields the digit “nine”, which has mighty magical power.
Even before the traditional power of “nine” has a deterrent effect, people already knew and felt the suppressive Section (18).
At that juncture, my mind rushed back to my high school days, when I enjoyed the whole night at a theatrical show by the renowned “Sein Aung Minn Troupe”.
The artist sang a wailing song in lamentation, which is still popular, as a satire to tease the lawmakers. “Please don’t add more suppressive laws and rules as I am very much afraid at this moment as a simple and naïve Kayin national race”. (The opinion writer is referring to Kayin national in the drama show).
I can’t remember the title of the drama, but I am certain that the artist shot up to fame with the show of a Chin national race named “Chin Hpa Way”.
That was why he presented another show based on “Kayin national”. This song of lamentation stayed in my heart for many years.
The story was based on a king, out on a hunting trip in the forest, who arrived at a hamlet.
A beautiful Kayin woman offered clean, cool water to the king, who instantly fell for the charms of the female.
Unfortunately, the soft gender happened to be married to a Kayin male.
The king consulted his advisers to pave the way for him to marry the Kayin, and issued an instant law in the remote village.
The immediate order meant the Kayin husband was jailed as he was accused of cutting and stealing the trees, which were the property of the king.
In the drama, artist Sein Aung Min acted as the arrested Kayin husband, and started to sing the wailing song of lamentation by beating his own chest.
The audience sobbed in silence. With high emotion in their hearts and anger, the audience threw all sorts of debris such as left over boiled corn cobs and old footwear at the man acting as king and at the king’s advisers on the stage.
Then I left the theatre and sat down at a coffee stall with my friends to enjoy a cup of tea for 25 Myanmar cents.
I said to my friends, “Karl Marx was right when he wrote that law is an instrument created to hit hard at the people from behind the bush''.
One of my friends responded back, “Hey! You fool. Karl Marx had nothing to do with the theatrical drama.”
The king in the drama issued a nonsensical law as he wanted to arrest the husband and marry the wife.
What was the purpose in issuing Section (18) of PAPL? Did the authorities want to arrest the protesters?
Do they want to split apart the peace-seekers?
The speaker of parliament has already announced: “The people’s voice is parliament’s voice; the people’s desire is parliament’s desire; the people’s hope is to be implemented by parliament”.
The unanimous expression on September 21 was the people’s voice, the people’s desire and the hope of a people demanding peace.
If the authorities hindered the people, who acted under the State Constitution, through Section (18), then it means that the offer of civil rights to the people is just on paper.
Again, if applications for legal protests were turned down all the time, then the upheaval is sure to explode.
The desire to express peace should never be suppressed.
When the approval is given in line with the law, then the protest will go well and end smoothly.
Despite the bees sucking and gathering honey from flowers, the beauty of flower remains intact.
Looking back at two recent anniversaries, the July 7 anniversary -- the heavy massacre of university students by the military junta – was not allowed to be commemorated.
However, the 8-8-88 anniversary – the upheaval of people against the army rule – was permitted by the president, and even two union ministers attended the gathering.
The ministers even donated funds towards the memorial.
Such relaxation brings harmony and unties tensions. “Participation of all” in politics does not mean to be only on the side of the government.
If the government wanted to see the participation of the people along with the authorities, then the government should come to the shows organised by the public.
At a time when the “desire” of the public is strong, Section (18) is not effective at all.
In the Buddhist religious context, there are four pre-eminent conditions, called “adi-badi”, and that the “desire” [not in the sense of craving nor passion] is the strongest element.
Writer Saya Maung Soo San, a guru of philosophy and policy, not long ago bluntly said that the era of “street politics” was gone.
On the contrary, people from 85 large cities in the People’s Republic of China are demonstrating on the streets. Let’s look at the Republic of India – the large population is on the streets demanding their needs.
The Arab world is no exception. Nothing could hinder the strength of “desire”. The desire of the people should be shared and fulfilled.
It does not matter if all the demands of the people cannot be fulfilled.
The general public would be happy if the authorities hear the voices of the people and have empathy. For many decades, the people remained under heavy repression their whole life.
Only recently, they have been allowed to speak up, and therefore, the people poured out their hearts.
There might be persons with pessimistic views over the expression of wishes of the people and youth.
The renowned writer Saya Maung Wuntha wrote in the September 13 issue of People’s Era Journal: “Nowadays, some persons have started to criticise over the protests and the expression of desires of the people.
Moreover, it has been noticed that the symbolic term ‘democracy leader’ is profusely used these days.
I am afraid that some people are deliberately using this term to let democracy down into the drain as a cheap item”.
Saya Maung Wuntha, in fact, is a journalist on the side of democracy forces advocating a democratic system.
If such a prominent person perceives the leaders of the peace-seekers in a negative light, then the remaining old guards of autocratic rule would be loathing with hatred.
Their heads would be swelling with extreme dislike.
The protests and demonstrations are to be hailed and welcomed as the perfect characteristics of a democratic system.
More protests mean more democracy.
In the 1970s, commercial sex workers in the Kingdom hit the streets and avenues to stage a protest.
The reason for the demonstration? US troops stationed in Thailand, the regular clients of the ladies of the red-light areas, were going home. What would you say? The right of democracy is an entitlement for everyone.
Let’s observe the magic and wonder of the protests and demonstrations.
Time Magazine chose demonstrators and protesters across the world as “The person of the Year”.
The magazine acknowledged the role of protesters across the globe, from countries in the Arab world to New York, who were fighting to bring about changes.
The December 16, 2011 issue of Biweekly Eleven News Journal quoted Time magazine’s managing editor Stanley Gale as telling NBC television channel, that these demonstrations were highly contagious and that the demonstrators had already changed the world in the past, and were sure to change the future course of history.
The magazine eulogised the demonstrators for bringing dignity and prestige to the people and for being torchbearers of democracy.
In today’s political landscape, the public leader and the democracy leader are born out of strong opposition movements and tough demonstrations.
The president of the nation was born out of the armed forces, who paid much attention of the public.
In an interview to the Washington Post on January 27, 2012, he said, “In connection with today’s changes in Myanmar, the main factor that pushes the conditions are the people of Myanmar themselves.
The changes and reforms are taking place in order to facilitate the desire of the people”.
The prime desire of the entire people of the nation is independence and peace.
To ensure liberty and freedom, full democracy has to be offered to the people.
To ensure internal peace, the civil war has to be stopped entirely.
One should seriously keep in mind that without peace, nothing can be enjoyed.
When peace is achieved, all things are affordable. One could expect anything in their hopes.
Education, health and social development are within reach. Literature, culture, arts and sports are all dependent on peace.
If there is no peace, the rule of law is a remote case. There is no law in the war zone. Law courts could never be established on the battlefield.
However, the rule of law is very much vital in the no-war zones. The rule of law is the indicator on how we could have peace of mind in our daily lives.
There is a simple Myanmar saying: “When the living room is in jeopardy, the kitchen is also in danger.”
When war is escalating anywhere in the union, everyone feels the heat.
That is why only when the battles are stopped, the protection provided by the rule of law can be enjoyed.
The ceasefire and a halt to the war should not be a temporary arrangement, but it should be in the context of the 1947 Panlong Agreement covering political dialogues and urgent agreement is needed.
A temporary ceasefire is like a lull or a quiet period, gathering strength for another round of heavy battle.
Battles are like nurturing demons and ogres and they are sure to eat away the hosts one day.
Normally, the ceasefire is to be followed by political dialogue without any foot-dragging.
On March 27, 2012, the peace negotiating government officials and the Kayin National Progress Party (KNPP) had met and discussed a peace agreement.
The KNPP submitted the proposal that “After signing the ceasefire agreement, the political dialogue in the context of the whole country is necessary to be conducted at the earliest”, which is likely to be also the view of other armed forces among the national races.
The extension of more army units, battalions and bases is not to be implemented to lessen the burden of the population and to withdraw the army units within 60 days after the signing of the ceasefire.
The demand of the KNPP is sure to be followed by other national races.
The KNU also submitted that, “There are more than 80 government army bases in Kayin State.
Today, in Kachin state, the battles are heavy and there are more than 40 government army bases.
The national races armed groups are desirous that the temporary peace agreement should be enhanced to eternal peace and the government troops are to be withdrawn.
If the first stage of the peace process is successful, then we will have to laud, praise and welcome the efforts of the government armed forces.
We are desirous to put up a milestone in the new chronicle that the armed forces have brought peace aspired by the people.
Going in the direction of the goal of peace, we have to pass many hurdles and difficulties, sacrificing many things.
Stepping into the journey of peace, we will have to take with us all the national races without leaving anyone behind.
The new nation is to be built only on the foundation of peace.
The demand for peace in conjunction with the expression of desire will sprout across the world.
The blue ocean and the blue sky, both representing harmony, will virtually meet to welcome peace one day.
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