Burma’s Leader: Nation Needs to Learn From Past

People gather near the Sule Pagoda in Rangoon during celebrations of the New Year Water festival on Tuesday. President Thein Sein said on Sunday that people in Burma should use the festival, celebrated with friendly water fights, to symbolically “cleanse black spots like the clashes, conflicts and instabilities” in the Southeast Asian nation plagued by recent religious unrest. (Photo: Reuters)

RANGOON—Burma’s president said Sunday his country needs to learn from the violence and instability that has wracked the Southeast Asian nation over the last two years if it is to overcome the challenge of democratization.

Thein Sein spoke in a radio address broadcast to mark the start a day earlier of a traditional New Year holiday that is celebrated by revelers across Southeast Asia with friendly water fights.

Thein Sein, a former general, took office two years ago after Burma’s long ruling junta stepped down. He has since led an unprecedented transition toward democratic rule, releasing political prisoners, easing censorship and signing ceasefire deals with all but one of the nation’s rebel groups.

But the country has also been plagued by a war with ethnic Kachin rebels in the north, sectarian violence in western Arakan State, and anti-Muslim pogroms in central Burma last month that left 43 dead in the city of Meikhtila and turned whole Muslim neighborhoods to ashen ruins.

“We have achieved successes that we had not hoped for and also experienced shocking and saddening events we had not expected,” Thein Sein said. But “during this long road toward democracy, we have to sustain our successes and take lessons from the losses, and be prepared to face the challenges ahead.”

For many decades, Burma’s four-day New Year festival, known as Thingyan, has marked one of the few times people here could cut loose under the watchful eye of their repressive leaders—albeit with squirt guns and high-powered hoses used to soak civilian targets.

The water has symbolically been used to cleanse past ills, and Thein Sein said people this year should use it to “cleanse black spots like the clashes, conflicts and instabilities” which plagued the nation.

Thein Sein’s government imposed a state of emergency in the wake of the violence in Meikhtila last month, deploying the army to restore order.


5 Responses to Burma’s Leader: Nation Needs to Learn From Past

  1. Happy Thingyan. A happy and a prosperous new year to come.

  2. Imposing a state of emergency after many houses had been torched and many lives had been lost is just playing life and death game. Rule of law must keep the land in peace. Placing ladder after the child’s fall is idiot’s way. Prevention always is better than cure.

  3. “We ( thein sein and than shwe) have achieved successes that we had not hoped for and also experienced shocking and saddening events we had not expected,” Thein Sein said. But “during this long road toward democracy, we have to sustain our successes and take lessons from the losses, and be prepared to face the challenges ahead.”

    -Seem to be good to hear but after second thoughts, it feels chilling because see below:

    Yes, in the past, Ne win created the Chinese and Burmese clash”” after nationalising Chinese business without any compensation. In the past, U nu made Buddhisnization to make against Kachin for bamanization to dowgrade Kachin’s progress because of jealousy and security as well in U nu governement. Inthe past, Than shwe robbed kachin land to get Business with China ( hydropower project) and mining project from the robbing of ordinary Burmese people respectively.

    Now, than shwe is making and manipulating sky rising price of property and industrual lands with Japan to rob ordinary Burmese poeple. All are learned from the past and now are continue to rob Burmese people again and again with the show of how than shwe’s private army is important. From there, than shwe wants third panglong agreement ( second panglong agreement is from DASSK) with forcing all ethnics, like aung sang did in the past. It is “”to take lessons from the losses”” -slogan ( like Aung san’s kyat slogan).
    Than shwe is gaining to seize local Muslim’s business with the promise of share to faked Buddhist monks-wirathu.
    Therefore , there might be bombing in USA because than shwe and faked monks irritate Muslim’s extrimists in order to favor USA in the faked, story made- news in which ( Aung thaung ) said the recent clash between Muslim and Buddhism is due to Burmese communist-past opposition rebel party. Than shwe wants to show Chinese that US is at his back now in the aspect of Chinese involvement in Kachin issue.
    All are funny to note that than shwe makes questions (stories in killing local ethnics ) and answer his questions by himself in that way. Than shwe still thinks he can fool all ordinary Burmese , US, and Chinese as well. Than shwe wants to delay democratic reform as well as shows his objection to delete 2008 nargic constitution by DASSK in favor of rule of law and justice. UN warns than shwe that than shwe must pay more price for his inhuman behavior continuously.
    It is the result of their learning from the past by quasi or so called bama military government.

  4. If there’s anything we have learned from the past it is that tigers do not turn vegetarian.

  5. Well,..I am much more happy to see Myanmar (people) government in Myanmar.
    I am not sure I will be happy to see that Democratic Myanmar is controlled by Foreigners!! We have to protect our territory from the Greedy Sneaky Muslims and Communists!1

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