Burma marks 63rd anniversary of ‘independence’
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Burma marks 63rd anniversary of ‘independence’

Burma dictator Senior General Than Shwe urged citizens Tuesday to be vigilant for efforts by aggressive countries to overcome the political power of the nation, in his message to mark the 63rd anniversary of it’s the nation’s independence.

“It is not strange certain covetous, aggressive countries are anxious to gain political control over a geographically strategic country like Myanmar (Burma),” he said.

Although he doesn’t say who these “aggressive countries” are, he was likely targeting Western countries, rather than Asian neighbors. China, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations all compete to appease the generals so as to enjoy or exploit the natural resources of Burma.

“I would like to urge the entire people to guard the nation with political awareness against any forms of disruptions in order that the mother country’s independence and sovereignty will never be under alien influence,” he said.


Burma's military officers salute the state flag during a ceremony to mark the 63rd anniversary of Independence Day Tuesday. Pic: AP.

Military-ruled Burma sponsored a sham election in November, in which the military-backed party declared a landslide victory. The new parliament, which will select a military-backed president and two vice-presidents, is expected to convene in last week of January.

The Burmese junta released democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi after seven years and six months of house arrest in November, but only after holding a rare general election denounced by foreign governments and opposition groups as a fraud. Rights groups also say the Burmese junta is detaining more than 2,200 political prisoners.  Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burma’s assassinated independence idol General Aung San, has spent most of the past 20 years in detention. Her party won a landslide election victory in 1990 but it was never acknowledged by the regime.

Prior to the incoming parliamentary assembly, Aung San Suu Kyi has constantly called for a national reconciliation and publicly announced her will to cooperate with the military regime on improving the situation in Burma. She has also called for the release of all political prisoners as a sign of understanding.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) has also marked the 63rd anniversary of the independence of Burma. During the ceremony, Suu Kyi urged the incumbent regime to take responsibility to start national reconciliation process for development of the country.

NLD also released a report on the country’s economy. In the report, the NLD suggests that condition must be fail-safe for Burma’s ethnic nationalities’ rights to enjoy the equal economic opportunities, in order to reduce the existing socioeconomic differences among them and help the country prevail over its present economic stagnation.

On the contrary, Than Shwe said: “The Union of Myanmar is blessed with vast tracts of waters and lands, rich natural resources, temperate climate patterns, food security, and geographically strategic location. So, surely certain countries are desirous of having influence over Myanmar. To break up the Union and national cohesion is the major as well was only way to weaken Myanmar. In order to implement that point, external elements will be likely to organize and mobilize participation of some nationals who lack political awareness to disrupt national development. Therefore, I would like to urge the entire people to guard the nation with political awareness against any forms of disruptions in order that the mother country’s independence and sovereignty will never be under alien influence.”

Actually, the Burmese junta has no genuine wish to give self-determination to ethnic minorities in order to move towards national reconciliation. No proposal of the ethnic representatives was taken into account during the national convention (1993 – 2007) in which the principles of the 2008 constitution were laid down and recent November election was held.

Recently, Western countries including the US and EU countries hailed Suu Kyi’s political activities and expressed hope for a real change in demoralized Burma. After Suu Kyi released, US, UK, Australia, France and the EU also articulated optimism for a healthier Burma. While ASEAN General Secretary, Surin Pitsuswan hoped for Suu Kyi to “contribute to true national reconciliation,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called her “an inspiration” and called upon the Burmese government to release all 2,200 political prisoners as a sign of political reform.