Saturday, May 24, 2008

Apologist pool

At least 2 get to vote for their choice (Royal couple Than
Shwe & Kyaing Kyaing).

Now that the referendum has been held (apart from the unfortunates whom Nargis temporarily deprived of their right to join the 92.4% plurality in favour of the new Constitution) the race is on to see which regime apologist will be first out of the gates with the argument that given the outcome of the vote, the results of the (genuine) 1990 election must be consigned officially to the dustbin of history. The argument could take two forms, realpolitik or SPDC cheerleading.

The realpolitik version is that the new constitution legally debars Suu Kyi from ever leading the country, and in fact prevents anyone who has ever been a member of a political party/organisation or advocated voting or not voting from being a member of the new parliamentary structure. As such, the NLD is a dead letter, and the 1990 results are incapable now of being recognised legally or legitimately instituted. Hence they must be forgotten.

The SPDC cheerleading version is similar but based on the pretense that the referendum was a real plebiscite i.e. one where it was legal to campaign for both sides, votes could be freely and secretly cast and the votes were actually counted. As such the people have spoken (92.4% no less) and performed a kind of mass version of the piecemeal resignations from the NLD that the New Light of Myanmar was wont to report on a daily basis for some years.

There are obviously numerous contenders to be the first to make the case (names like Taylor, Pedersen, Michael Aung Thwin spring immediately to mind) so we're running a contest to see who can find the first official in-print version of the '1990 is officially dead' line. It shouldn't be long in coming - at the 2004 Burma Conference in DeKalb the point was made during plenary discussion that a necessary step toward ultimately achieving democracy in Burma was to relinquish the 1990 results! That's right - the way toward genuine democracy is to ignore the results of the most recent (and most significant) indicator of what the preferences of the people actually are. Astonishing doublethink, and that was 4 years ago.


melanie said...

I'm not claiming the prize yet! Just curious to know what rationale was advanced for the claim made at deKalb?

BEW Team said...

As I recall it was a mixture of the claim that the NLD had to 'get real' and also that this was what had to be put on the table as consideration, if you like, in any contractual 'deal' in which the SPDC (and military more generally) would relinquish direct control. Of course there were also anti Suu Kyi elements present (blaming her for her own situation basically - statements akin to 'she's no angel' at a rape trial) who just want the NLD to disappear essentially.