Our fail­ure to com­pre­hend

Mizzima Business Weekly - - EDITORIAL -

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.

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