Tuesday, August 23, 2011

President U Thein Sein’s Words: Can Arakanese Diasporas Trust Them?

Dhaka: Arakanese dissidents who have been living in exile are responding to President U Thein Sein’s recent announcement of his government’s leniency towards exiled Burmese citizens returning home as untrustworthy.

While addressing a meeting of businessmen and members of the local social groups on the 17th of August 2011 he announced that his government would consider that certain Burmese citizens, who have been living in exile for various reasons, except for those who have committed crimes, can return to Burma at any time.

Arakanese dissidents who have been sheltering in Bangladesh after the 1988 nationwide democracy uprising in Burma said the president’s words are untrustworthy and were presented simply in a private meeting, so they carry little weight.

“What the president has announced is just a speech in an ordinary meeting with businessmen and members of a few social groups, and there was no detail spelt out in his statement on terming the exiled Burmese citizens, so we especially dissidents abroad should not trust his speech easily to return home”, said U Kyaw Mra Tha, who was the general secretary of the strike committee for Minbya Township in western Burma’s Arakan State during the 1988 democracy uprising.

He said there were words in the president’s speech intentionally targeted the exiled dissidents into a trap if they would return to their homeland. “By analyzing the words that ‘his government would benevolently consider for those citizens who committed crimes and wish to return home to serve terms for their respective crimes’, we can smell the trap especially targeting for the exiled political activists because the Burmese regime usually levels them as criminals and destructive elements for the country”, he said.

He said that U Thein Sein led regime should prove their benevolence towards its own citizens first by freeing over 2,000 political prisoners who have been serving lengthy jail terms in the distant jails cutting communications with their loved ones at the homeland.

Ko San Aung who was a student leader in the ABSDF (Arakan) and have been sheltering in Bangladesh also said there needs to take some concrete steps rather than mere a speech for calling the citizens living in exile back home.

“If the government has the genuine benevolence towards its citizens living abroad, they need to take some important steps at home first. They have to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally for the first step and they have to announce a legitimate amnesty without any conditions for the second and they have to officially regard the political activists living in exile are not criminals for the third, and without taking those steps what the president has announced is just a speech that will never meet with actions”, said Ko San Aung.

Many political activists and intellectuals from Burma, who actually love their own country, have been striving for the genuine democratic changes in their country living in the exile, he said. But the offer made by the speech by the nominally elected president U Thein Sein for their returning home is nothing more than his aim to furnish his government image at home and abroad that his government has been taking all-out efforts to reform the country in every perspectives.

Post a Comment