August 19, 2016

True national harmony

National reconciliation is essential for a democratic transition in Myanmar. Therefore the government has been endeavouring to achieve a nationwide ceasefire agreement with ethnic armed groups. The international community has praised the efforts of the government.
However, peace with armed groups alone cannot achieve national reconciliation as there are many unarmed groups that are still divided, disenfranchised and ill at ease in this country.
Armed conflict and sectarian violence are just one aspect of the problem of national reconciliation. This leads to an incorrect understanding of democracy as a system that does not allow armed conflicts but approves of unarmed conflicts and more subtle means of attack.
Actually democracy is a means of ending all conflict, armed and unarmed through negotiations and ensuring that all can enjoy their rights. Some think that peaceful demonstrations are a healthy sign of democracy. Sometimes demonstrations can represent current division but in the end the right to peaceful protest is of paramount importance and the cornerstone of liberty and freedom. ‘Freedom to congregate’, as it is known in the west, is of utmost importance.
But alas there are signs that the rights of some groups of people in this country are being denied and it does nothing but causes national harm, discordance and loneliness in Myanmar.
Political groups, workers, peasant farmers, students and activists who demand their rights can often lead to national crises and instability. In fact, conflicts with armed group are limited to areas the armed groups control and rarely escalate to national crises although it causes great destruction to the lives and property of local people. It is something to consider. We must be open to negotiation.   This shows that the same effort should be exerted for national reconciliation with unarmed groups. As long as conflicts with unarmed groups persist our society will still be divided and national reconciliation will be as far away as it has been in the past.
It is important that the government makes a serious effort to promote reconciliation with peaceful groups. This will aid the stability of the country. This will ultimately contribute to reconciliation with armed ethnic groups. True and sustainable national reconciliation can be achieved only when everyone in the country can enjoy their birthrights.


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