It is really refreshing and energizing to hear what General Gun Maw, vice-chairman of the KIO said recently in his interview with the RFA on December 15.
He spelled out loud and clear the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Kachin people’s political conviction in a precise and transparent manner, in the aftermath of A Nang Pa Village airstrikes by the military junta, during an ongoing concert to mark the Kachin Revolution Day on October 23rd night where some 80 people were killed.
When RFA asked how he would like to assess the current revolution that is now affecting countrywide, he replied: “The current situation is the showdown that will end the dictatorship and could say it is at its concluding phase. Because in the past, there was no such countrywide resistance-revolutionary situation. This time, as revolution and resistance are happening all over the country without exception, we can consider this as the last showdown that would end the dictatorship.”
Regarding the questions on what he think of the present junta’s cruelty than the successive past military regimes and its executions of Ko Jimmy, Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw, and two others; recent handing out death sentence to some more students; daily inhumane violations of human rights and burning down villages, he answered: “In the question that is just asked is quite meaningful to mention inhumanity. It is hard-hitting. Firstly I want to say that the military council is showing the path it is treading. The international community has been warning since the military coup, such as (to pay attention to) humanity, the country’s future and federalism and so on. And also not to prosecute Ko Jimmy, Ko Pyo Zeya Thaw and the group but the military council did it (executed them). Moreover it launched large-scale attacks on areas that are not military targets. Finally the attack on A Nang Pa happened and thus we could see that the military council is showing us the way it is going to tread. Another thing is what it is doing shows it lacks human compassion and human instinct. The third point is I would say the military council shows clearly that it can never stand by the side of the people.”
On question of what he meant by the grief and tears, in the aftermath of A Nang Pa bombing, would become priceless investment, he replied: “As for A Nang Pa, I would like to say that it is like the heart of the Kachin people has been branded with a hot iron. Before it, a lot of Kachin people thought the military council might have some kind of leniency towards the public and good intention in political negotiation. But when faced with such (horrible) situation, the Kachin people’s mindset emerge as more determined, transparent and realization that they cannot give up. All these are transformed into energy. I want to say that these (sacrifices) are priceless investment.”
On question of working with the parallel National Unity Government (NUG), he explained:
“Our cooperation with the NUG is one of mutual trust and cooperation. The main thing is that it is not even Kachin’s KIO anymore. We cooperate with Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and NUG with full understanding of the entire Kachin nation. Militarily, KIA is constantly cooperating on how to end this military dictatorship with the NUG’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Central Command and Coordination Committee (C3C). So we are really satisfied with our cooperation and would like to convey the message that we are trying continuously.”
He moreover said the following in the interview.
• he is pleased for NUG is constantly trying to move forward but will have to try a lot more;
• the military council’s military power is crumbling and becoming weaker with no opportunity to recruit and won’t last long;
• General Min Aung Hlaing is like a person playing the guitar without tuning it;
• the KIA has trained more than 4,000 PDFs;
• young revolutionaries are brave, decisive and have vision for the future but need to be systematically united;
• anti-aircraft weapons are needed, but various other approaches have to be explored as well;
• all ethnic revolutionary groups at some point will join together;
• fully believe in Arakan Army (AA) and the truce with the military council will be only temporary;
• collaboration of international Burmese diaspora is a formidable and very helpful;
• during the revolution defamatory accusation on one another should be avoided as it is a waste of energy;
• finally, he respect all those who have sacrificed for the the Spring Revolution, fully convinced that it will be successful as it is already on the right path and only need to march forward together with full determination.
Gun Maw has confirmed the KIO collaboration of the NUG which now makes the ethnic-democratic loose alliance more solid, so to speak. The KIO the Chin National Front (CNF), Karen National Union (KNU), and Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) are also on board together with the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) including Local Defense Forces (LDFs) in their territories.
In Mon State the NMSP is not on board as it is keen to negotiate with the junta, but the KNU forces in Mon State together with the local PDFs are attacking and resisting the junta.
In Shan State the EAOs such as the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) or Kokang and occasionally Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) are fighting the junta in northern Shan State and the local PDFs in southern Shan State close to Karenni border are doing the same. This leaves only the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) or Mongla, Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) that are not at war with the junta.
In Arakan State Arakan Army (AA) has recently just sign a humanitarian ceasefire on November 26, but as there is no time frame attached and the conditions are vague no one knows how long the truce will last.
Gun Maw optimism that eventually all ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) will join is a possibility. But the question remains on how to convince those who still want to strike a bargain with the military junta. One sure thing is if President Biden sign the Burma Act in to law, which the House of Representatives and Senate have already approved on December 5 and December 15 respectively, to impose sanctions against the post-coup regime and aid Myanmar opposition and resistance groups that does not include arms, the situation might change for the better or worse.
However, while this may likely benefit the anti-junta opposition groups, it could also heighten the latent cold war-like atmosphere with China joining the fray from junta’s side. As for the Russian it has already made it clear that it will back the military junta, with military hardware delivery and even gearing to build nuclear energy producing stations.
But leaving aside the possible international interference either in cold war-like or democracy versus autocracy conflict setting, let us ponder on the domestic situation purely on human instinct.
General Gun Maw political position can be interpreted as that there is no point to negotiate with the coup-maker, military junta, as it isn’t an entity that cares for the population’s welfare but only to dominate and monopolize state power at all cost. As such it can’t be treated as a political stakeholder, much less having a say in running the country. This leaves only one option left and that is to uproot the military dictatorship, including all forms of dictatorship whether it is in military uniform or civilian clothes.
In short, Gun Maw is on the right side of the history and his pushing for the realization to establish a federal democratic union according to the people’s aspirations is what the whole country desires. The task now is on how to woo the fence-sitters and those still inclined to cut the deal with the junta. And of course, the ethnic-democratic alliance may have to iron out the constitutional crisis that has plagued the country for so long, through fair give-and-take, if the revolution is to gather more momentum and speed.
But whether the Kachin leader’s pleas and optimistic views will make a difference among those undecided and join the revolution fray in unison in the coming year is for now anybody’s guess.