(8-11 January 2017)
This time even before the journal on the 24th trip was properly finished, I was back in Burma/Myanmar again.
And since the strategic planning meeting, due 9 January, was postponed at the request of two signatory organizations, there was only a few other informal meetings left for me to attend.
As usual no individuals, organizations and places will be named so I don’t end up killing the goose that is laying a golden egg for all of us each day.
Day One. Sunday, 8 January 2017
A great country is like the lowland toward which all streams flow.
Hence, if a great country can lower itself before a small country, it will win over the small country;
And if a small country can lower itself before a great country, it will win over the big country.
The one wins by stooping; the other by remaining low.
Tao The Ching, Chapter 61,
John C.H.Wu translation
The government Peace Commission and the United Wa State Army, including vice chairman Xiao Mingliang, in Panghsang on Dec 30, 2016. / UWSA / Facebook
My arrival in Hopeland is followed by mutual updates of information with friends. As always, I have much to learn from them, most of whom are younger, energetic and eager for peace.
Here are some of the things I have learned and would like to share with all:
For those who are unfamiliar with the NCA, an official translation of the political roadmap in the NCA is reproduced here:
The political roadmap
(According to the 36 resolutions attached to the NCA, “security reintegration matters” means SSR ‘security Sector Reform’ and DDR)
The Wa leadership then proposed a visit to Naypyitaw to present a 7 point proposition to the State Counselor and the Commander-in-Chief, if possible, before the Chinese New Year (28 January).
Note To this date, the visit is yet to take place.
“If he’s going to go along with another one: The Right of Self Determination, that is the right to exercise three political powers (executive, legislative, and judiciary) in accordance with the agreed common principles for the Union constitution, the rest will be plain sailing,” comments an academic. “Because other principles are just Ta-Nwe-Ngin-Tazin-Pa (Pull one string of the creeper and the rest will come along).”
Apart for the “lover’s tiff” between the SC and the CinC, there is fighting up in the north, where China and Wa are suspected of involvement, and the UNFC saying if it is invited only as observers it won’t come. Economy is yet another “big,big headache,” calling for prompt action. “She needs some notable achievements,” says one. “Right now, there isn’t anything to show.”
Others however point out that incidents like the overthrow of U Shwe Mann, and later, U Thein Sein, as heads of the USDP, followed by the appointment of Gen Myint Swe as Vice President, wouldn’t have come about without personal intervention by the former strongman.
All in all, everything seems to be hanging in the balance, some are betting that there’ll be no UPC 21 next month.
One bright side is that the National level political dialogues (ND) is starting to take place, beginning with the PaOs and Karens. The Shans and others are due to follow soon. “We will know what our people want it said, whether or not there is a Panglong in February,” declares a Karen friend.
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2016 Shan Herald Agency for News