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Calling for Actions to Changes on May 2008 Referendum Let’s Boycott May 2008 Referendum



By Jonathan Thang 



First of all, I would like to ask each one of you (readers) upon your sincere opinions to express boldly in any media, regarding on, whether we are on the right track or we are missing the right way, to reach the so called DEMOCRACY; (or) are we confusing under this uncertain  DEMOCRACY CLIMATE by approving May 2008 Referendum?  

As for me, the answer is definitely “YES”.  We democratic forces are totally confuse on the way how military regime is playing the game with this “2008 Referendum,” and using the so called strategic-moves of “seven-roadmap to democracy”.

Every democratic activist and the people of Burma should have given some time by self to think and re-evaluate on above facts.   The reason is, Burmese democratic forces and activists are too much worry and moving into wrong steps by spending much times upon whether to vote “YES,” or “NO,” in this coming May 2008 Referendum process.

Actually, we should try to find out some facts and evaluate upon the people, who prepared those draft constitutions, how they are going to conduct this coming May 2008 Referendum, how long they have been manipulated on this referendum and how it will be ended up, etc.,.  

One thing is for sure that every representatives and delegates, those who participated during the process of preparing draft constitutions were neither elected by the majority grass-root people nor represent for any ethnics’ nationalities, which the country is formed by various ethnics.  Instead, most of them were picked up by the SPDC themselves, who will do accordingly SPDC’s selfish wills as their puppets. 

In the mean time, there may be some ethnics’ national representatives, who may be truly represent for their own ethnics, were also involved but never allowed to give any suggestions nor advices during the conference.  Instead, they were had to quietly listen what the SPDC’s men were lectured and presented to them.  Hopefully, there would be some, who might had allowed to give some short comments or suggestions, but 100% turned down upon their demands and requests.  Which, we all know that the nature of this military regime’s never ever wanted to find out peaceful solutions and ways.

Therefore, we can imagine how the leading ways of SPDC will end up under their unfair practices in this referendum process and 2010 election process too.  If the military regime really wanted to walk on the fruitful and truthful democracy path, must they have been followed the right ways and the correct approaching methods, right from the beginning of this referendum process.  

The current military (illegal-government) is pronouncing that they are on the way of of forming discipline political transition to lead peaceful democratic nation by using “seven-road map”.  The so called key steps in the military’s seven-point of “road map to democracy,” meant to culminate in multiparty elections in 2010; there are some facts which the military government is under-estimated to apply genuine democratic practice.  Which the basic facts are:-

1.      As we all knew, continues of detaining political activists and repressing people, who are trying to do campaign work for  “No” in this coming referendum, is totally against ways of genuine democracy. Since which never allows freedom of speech and peaceful association.

2.      Even today, the people of Burma don’t have freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of organizing or functioning any parties activities.  As a result, it is still far away even to see the genuine democratic transformation to be exit in Burma under the regime.  The above basic rights should be given right from the beginning of preparing constitutions and throughout the process of transitioning to democracy.

3.      The Burma cannot be called processing into genuine democratic transition as long as if the military keep detaining around 2,000 political prisoners and continue to crackdown upon anti-government groups.   Therefore every political prisoner must be released before referendum begins, if the regime is serious of transforming into genuine democratic land.

4.      The constitutional process could not be considered democratic, since all delegates of the constitutional assembly had been picked by the SPDC themselves.  As a result, approving the draft constitution would be cement and perpetuate military rule, in the form of civilian dress covering on them.  Since all the delegates are represents for military regime instead of the various ethnic civilians.

5.      Keeping under house-arrest of Nobel Prize-winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ban on her holding political office is totally unacceptable in democratic norms.  If the “road map to democracy” is genuine, there should be clearly demonstrate and respect the rights of individuals.

6.      The junta never accept international observers to present during May 2008 referendum, even though they have manipulated their level best in order to make sure the game is theirs.  Which clearly stated that the regime doesn’t want to create a genuine democracy to be exit in Burma, except playing with time, for the sake of to turn away pressure from international communities?

7.     Throughout the process of preparing draft constitutions, there are questioning on where the rights of indigenous people are and ethnic minority group in this referendum?  Eventually, the draft constitution is abolishing the rights of all indigenous and minority ethnics.  In the mean time, is military regime expanding Burmanization poicy and ethnics cleansing policies.  That is for sure that such kind of regime wills never efforts to create a genuine democracy.  Instead, they will lead into a stronger dictatorship system in Burma and enslave the people as long as they can.

8.   The draft constitution is being made publicly by the junta a month before the referendum process conducted.  Which actually is too little time for the people to understand the contents of the constitution, which they will have to be vote?  Even for those who are actively working on laws and legacy subjects, will not able to read details to understand well within such a little time frame.  Therefore, conducting the referendum process is totally critical for civilians to make the right decisions without correctly understanding on the draft constitutions.  It is important to every citizen to get enough time to read and understand clearly the constitution before they vote.  As a result, the referendum will never ever represent the wills of majority people.

9.   The junta allowed their puppet organizations, i.e., USDA and other individual criminal gangs to attack to those who oppose the referendum process.  Which clearly stated that laws and order is not able to take place fairly yet in Burma?  By giving special opportunity to their criminal groups to form a association and freely conducting their activities shows that the so called “seven-road map to democracy” is purely designed to create injustice system in Burma.  By allowing the group of criminal gangs to conduct their activities lawlessly, point out that the military regime is using total partiality or injustice treatment on a particular group and neglecting other.  As a result, it can neither be called any pro-democratic changes nor target to change into democratic government, even in the future.  The military regime has clearly shown that it is not in favour of “Free and Fair” referendum but to ensure military to hold power.

We all know that the military government is purchasing arms and weapons several times from their dirty allies, mainly from China and some neighbour countries like North Korea.  According to recent reports, within this 2008 alone the military junta has purchased three times military trucks, which are designed to tow the howitzer and could be used to transport military supplies such as ammunition and foodstuff.   It simply shows that the military junta is not really interested to negotiate and build on peaceful democratization in the country, instead buying time and playing with the good office of United Nations and International Communities. 

Since military junta doesn’t have any enemy to make war or attack, but only to target and attack on their own ethnics people.  It is for sure, that if they failed to win in this coming referendum process, there is another option for them to suppress any ethnics’ insurgency and democratic forces by their newly purchased arms.  Therefore, we all ethnics’ insurgency groups and democratic forces should simply boycott this coming May 2008 referendum, instead of participating neither to cast “YES” nor “NO”.  

Right from the beginning move, the so called referendum is totally leading into the wrong direction.  Therefore how can we participate to discuss on whether to be approve or not by knowing.  Definitely we have to say that this referendum is not even worthy to give ballot of “NO”.  We just need to ignore this kind of tune which military junta used to play for international communities and opposition groups and must be aware of diverting the opinion of Burmese people. 

As for me, I would like to suggest each every Burmese citizen that we should ignore this coming referendum process.  The reason is, by voting itself means that you are accepting somewhat some level of military junta’s move.  But by boycotting this coming referendum, will means that we don’t recognize all the moves of military junta, which is much stronger than disagree, which also mean as totally unrecognized. We never ever talk about referendum, unless the constitutions have been prepared by tri-parties (military junta, NLD <winner of 1990 election> and Multi ethnics <including minority ethnics and tribes>).

A United Nation’s investigator or special rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro says Myanmar’s plans for a May 10 constitutional referendum as “surreal” on Monday, and said he saw no credible moves towards political transition in the military-ruled country.  “How can you have a referendum when you make repression against those that are intending to say ‘no’? This is completely surreal.” “I will end my mandate saying that this is not a democratic political transition,” said he.

Note:   Jonathan Thang, who writes this articles completed Master of Art in Economics along with Management and Administration degree; he has been a member of “Burmese Seminar” which is based in India.

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