Our failure to comprehend
Paris graces the cover of Mizzima Weekly this week for all the wrong reasons. In this special issue of our magazine we attempt to dig deep in an examination of what is arguably – bar climate change - the biggest threat of our time. This threat is the politics of division. And when it comes to the Paris terrorist attacks, Paris and Myanmar are torn by similar forces, albeit set in different circumstances.
The people of Myanmar understand division. They have suffered the pains of a country at war with itself on ethnic, racial and religious grounds, with a military that has used the British colonial tactic of “divide and rule” to keep people squabbling amongst themselves in order to support the idea that the country needs a strong army to keep it together.
News of the November 13 Paris terrorist attacks was quickly brought to the attention of many in Myanmar through the internet and mobile phones. Over the last five years, the country has quickly begun to get connected and has grown more worldly wise. And this increasing connection, and the information and education it brings could well help empower a citizenry emerging into the light.
So what’s the crux of the problem? We should rightly grieve for the victims of the Paris attacks. But we need to comprehend that the real story is not in the headlines and the mix of angry and sympathetic responses and call to war.
Many fail to understand the real forces at work in society and fail to grasp who is really running the show. This applies to Myanmar as much is does France or other Western countries.
In Myanmar, growing communal tension has been seen often encouraged by hidden hands seeking to divide society in order to control it. The same holds true for the government’s wars against armed ethnic groups. The dynamics should not always be viewed at face value. This includes the intriguing question as to whether the former ruler, Senior General Than Shwe, is still pulling any strings.
Similarly in France, what you see is not the full story. Far from it. Often it is a false narrative. In the limited space we have available in our special coverage this week we offer a glimpse into what could be the real agenda behind France’s call to war. It is not what you think. You could well be shocked.
Our failure to comprehend the forces at work whether in France or Myanmar could be our undoing.