- The Long and Painful Path
By Salai Kipp Kho Lian
January 6, 2003
Understanding the path
As 'National Reconciliation' is the path we have chosen to
end all conflict and suffering by our people, we need to understand
the deeper meaning of these words themselves. To reconcile
basically means “to find a satisfactory way of dealing
with two or more ideas or needs that seem to be opposed to
each other” and “to make people become friends
again after an argument or disagreement”. So the act
of reconciliation is a process “of making it possible
for two or more different ideas to exist together without
being opposed to each other”.
In order for these basic principles of reconciliation to
be embodied into the Burma context, one needs to comprehend
the nature of the stake holders and the conflicts that encompass
the fate and destiny of our nation as a whole.
Taking into account the long standing civil war that has
consumed such a large chunk of the country’s potential
energy and human resources, the people's desire for freedom
and democracy, and the urgent need for rebuilding a united
and prosperous nation, the process of reconciliation needs
to be carried out at the national level as a single package
rather than through piecemeal solutions.
All Burmese stake holders, including military leaders, political
forces and the general population, need to be well prepared
and have a clear understanding of what the essence of the
national reconciliation process involves. All factions must
be determined to work together since the process will involve
acts of give and take, compromising long-held political stances
and sacrificing short term interests for the sake of achieving
more promising long term benefits for the whole nation.
In welcoming the military leader’s recent proposal
for the Nantional Convention, the Burma Strategy Group of
the FBC did so out of its collective desire for genuine national
reconciliation. It believes this desire is shared by the bulk
of the Burmese people from all ethnic backgrounds. The BSG
considers the alternative of protracted conflict will only
prolong the people's suffering and will arrest our once prosperous
and proud nation from realising its full potential as part
of the family of nations.
The BSG/FBC shares a common vision with many key players
in Burma's national politics including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and the NLD leadership who embrace "dialogue" as
the way to resolve Burma's long-standing historical and structural
The BSG/FBC’s evaluation is that the National Convention
has the potential to evolve into a genuine national dialogue
that involves all stake holders and in which all members of
society, including the military leaders, the general masses,
and the ethnic and democratic forces inside and outside the
country, have an interest in its success.
END OF PART II.
(The author, Salai Kipp Kho Lian, from
Burma Strategy Group/FBC Advisory Network, contributed this
article to Mizzima News.)