Sep 21st, 2007
Have the SPDC gone completely stark raving bonkers? I ask a simple question, as the whole world is reporting mass anti-government demonstrations by thousands of the Burma’s monks, the UN are trying to get their special envoy back to Rangoon, the US and UK have denounced the appalling handling of the situation by the roughneck thugs … and the New Light of Myanmar page one news is Lt.Gen. Myint Swe claiming that “in olden days, Myanmar used to be an Asian football power, and many of the Myanmar footballers at that time were Tatmadaw members”, and the NLM leader article discusses the positive aspects of the government’s bridge-building programme – despite the “internal and external saboteurs are blocking the nation-building tasks on purpose.” The only place where Burma’s growing velvet revolution is not reported is in Burma.
Can it be that the generals don’t know what to do to bring peace to Burma? Their only response so far is a growing menace of violence, detention, torture, tear gas – what next? Do they think that they can operate the same way as they did in 1988? Do they think that the protests will fade away as they keep to their same old tactics of suppression?
Pro-democracy political groups, non-ceasefire groups like the SSA-S and human rights campaigners inside Burma and around the world have praised the actions of the monks this week. The sangha have long been a potent and creative force in forging Burma’s independence – from the YMBA of 1904 and Sayar San’s 1930 rebellion against colonial rule. Today, as in 1988, the sangha are at the forefront of the second independence movement – in a bid to bring about the peaceful evolution to true independence from the brutal military dictatorship. Today, every person who believes in freedom and self-determination for the people of Burma are praising the actions of the sangha – and like Feraya says, let us all ‘Pray for the Monks of Burma’.
The public face of the junta is a classic psychological defence mechanism case of being ‘In Denial’ – “Denial can be thought of as a complex psychological process where there may be some conscious knowledge or awareness of events in the world, but somehow they fail to feel the emotional impact or see their logical consequences. Denial is an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes — or even a painful external reality that alters the perception of themselves. It is a psychological defence mechanism to afford (non-existent) protection.”
We can all well understand the benefits of sport for physical well-being and bridge-building for economic development. However, the SPDC need to focus on a different type of well-being – their own mental well-being; and also focus on a different type of bridge-building – bridge-building with the people of Burma to allow themselves to let go of the reins of power. It seems obvious that presently the junta are indeed suffering from ‘denial’ – they refuse to accept what is happening in Burma and what the people want, and they can’t understand what to do – but we can all tell them how easy it is; to get off their high imperious horse, open the tri-partite talks and confine the troops to their barracks, and rapidly ease the way to civilian government.
Football in Burma : In ‘The Trouser People’, Andrew Marshall illuminates an excellent travelogue through modern day Burma with the history of Sir George Scott, the Victorian British adventurer who helped establish colonial rule, documenting the tribes who lived in Burma, and left a lasting legacy by introducing football (soccer) to Burma, where today it is a national obession, and where football matches give ordinary people one of few occasions where they can publicly hurl insults and jeers at tatmadaw and government officials who play the game.