Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Incoherent Meaning of Independence and Four Definitions to Practice


Friday, January 4, 2008

Incoherent Meaning of Independence and Four Definitions to Practice

Today is Burma’s Independence Day. Burma gained her independence from the United Kingdom on January 4th of 1948. This is 60th anniversary.

Sound’s great. Isn’t it?

The ‘independence’ means nothing for the Burmese people. No one has civil rights, civil liberty and freedom. After sixty years after Burma’s independence, the country turns into one of the poorest countries in the world and its fifty million people become hostages in their own country by the military governments. People are not only poorer by physically, but also morally. Especially, non-Burman nationalities have been more suffering under the Burmese military rulings.

Let us take a look on some written documents of government and today’s incisive realities.
Notes are taken from the Constitution of the Union of Burma (1947). (Red lines are from the constitution.)

Rights of Equality:

All citizens irrespective of birth, religion, sex or race are equal before the law; that is to say, there shall not be any arbitrary discrimination between one citizen or class of citizens and another.

“My son can never be an army officer in Burma because I am a Karen.”
Sa San Kyi Htoo

“Last year, a Burmese general got sick. The two ancient temples were totally destroyed by the Burmese military in Mrauk-U, our ancient capital city of Arakan because the astrologists said that to rehabilitate general’s health, they need to destroy those two temples. Is that the job of brothers? Is that equality? Is that justice? It is totally brutality on not only Arakan, but also on all mankind.”
An Arakanese Youth

“I am just serving in the army because I like fighting but I know myself that I can never be an officer.”
A Muslim Soldier in Burmese Army

There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of public employment and in the exercise or carrying on of any occupation, trade, business or profession.
“Air ticket? No. You cannot get this week. We have the places only for military specials.”
(A sense from air ticket counter)
“No. I don’t have to give those taxes and any kind of labor costs because my son is a member of USDA.”
(A sense from conversation between a tax officer and mother of a soldier)
(USDA means the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) is a government-run social organization.)

Rights of Freedom:

No citizen shall be deprived of his personal liberty, nor his dwelling entered, nor his property confiscated, save in accordance with law.
“They (Burmese military) raped the girls, killed all villagers and fired the village but who cares? No Burmese medias describe, no one reveal those things because we are Shans, not Burmese.”
Nan Naw (A Shan woman who fled to Thailand in 2002)
“Last night, our neighbor was disappeared. I don’t know what he wrote but sometimes he said that he wanted to write about his opinion on the government.”
Daw Ye Ye (Rangoon)

Since then, I am always confused and incoherent about the meanings of these words. There are four definitions we, especially non-Burman nationalities have to read and practice (about the meanings of words) everyday. The definitions are taken from Longman dictionary:

1. the freedom and ability to make your own decisions and take care of yourself without having to ask other people for help, money, or permission:
2. Political freedom from control by another country

1. the right to do what you want without being restricted or controlled by someone else:
2. the state of being free and allowed to do what you want
3. the state of not being hurt or affected by something

Civil Liberty: the right of all citizens to be free to do whatever they want while obeying the law and respecting the rights of other people

Civil Rights: the legal rights that every person in a particular country has. In the U.S., these include the right to have the same treatment whatever your race or religion is



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