No.01 - 12/20072 December 2007General
Youth Dialogue: Three versions
The following reports on the youth dialogue which took place on 29 November were filed by SHAN inerns: Yawd Lao, Hseng Khio Fah and Zan Noi.
Youth to enhance their role in Burma’s politics
By: Ywe Lai
A youth dialogue was held yesterday among youth leaders from different ethnic nationalities of Burma in Thailand to talk about their role during transitional period of Burma and prepare to enhance their activities, even though the situation inside the country has been silent after last September crackdown.
The dialogue "Role of youth in transitional period" was organized by Nationalities Youth Forum (NYForum) on the Thai-Burma border where more than twenty participants from different ethnic background including Kachin, Chin, Shan, Arakanese, Lahu and Karenni were present.
During the one-day discussion participants exchanged their ideas for the role of youth for political and social changes . "I would say it will take one or two years for changes," said Shwe Myo Thant, General Secretary of NY Forum. NY Forum is based in Thailand and an active umbrella organization comprising different youth groups from Burma. "The youth should therefore be ready for transition by two missions; one is a good transition plan and second, to rebuild the educational system," he added. East Timor and South Africa were discussed as standards – how they value their youth and expect them to take part in their country development by overcoming difficulties.
" We should consider about our past mistakes in order to overcome problems in the future," one participant said. "Not to be like 1990 elections when Aung San Suu Kyi won the election and the junta refused to respect the result. Awareness to tricks in future is the role of the youth in order not to fall into junta's trap," one of the participants voiced his opinion.
" Democracy also has its own difficulties, " Pam Green, NY Forum's Organizational Development Advisor explained while she was talking about democracy. "Democracy can be a form of dictatorship, " reminded Shwe Myo Thant, taking Thailand when Mr.Thaksin Shinawatra was prime minister as an example. Just before the dialogue was over in the evening, Pam Green said, "the role of youth is to participate for better changes in the country."
Burma’s future discussed at Youth Dialogue
By: Hseng Khio Fah
South Africa and East Timor’s tight national development plans are used as a model for Burma during its transitional period, in a dialogue held on Thursday November 29 on the Thai-Burma border, attended by over twenty different ethnic youths.
“We also need to follow in their steps, but with our own form,” urged Shwe Myo Thant, General Secretary of Nationalities Youth Forum. In addition, he said, “To dig out the roots of dictatorship, some say it will last 5-10 years .But I have reasons to believe it may only take one or two years.”
His reasons were:
- Junta’s brutal actions on peaceful demonstrations ended public tolerance
- Being under the world’s spotlight
- Getting more people’s participation everywhere
- Getting people more critical on the junta’s justice and injustices
- Burma issue is on the list of UN Security Council
- Getting more support from all over the world
- Aid cuts from Australia, Japan and other western countries
- Unsmooth communications with ceasefire groups
- Various public rebellions
- Unstable situation in its own group are leading to explosion
“Thus, it is not so far for us to reach our goals. But the route will not be smooth for us, so we must be strong for it,” he warned.
“Solidarity and credibility is important for us to reach our goals,” said an ethnic male in the dialogue. All agreed with this suggestion.
“We should keep better communication among us and raise awareness among us as well as inside,” suggested a female attended. “From now on, we youth should put greater effort to get justice for the violence committed against peaceful demonstrators,” said a youth.
“To achieve Unity, Stability and Justice, we need to plan carefully among our youth,” concluded Shwe Myo Thant at the end of the dialogue.
The youth dialogue was organized by Nationalities Youth Forum, an independent and non-profit youth forum serving the ethnic nationalities of Burma, uniting a network of youth organizations in and around the Thai-Burma border. According to its statement, its mission is to stands for political policies of ethnic alliance and work to create equality, national reconciliation and solidarity among the ethnic nationalities of Burma. NY Forum strives to build a genuine, peaceful federalism and to establish mutual understanding among ethnic nationality youths.
Youth discuss Transitional period of Burma
By: Kwarn Lake
A youth dialogue on “The role of Youth in Transitional Period” was held on 29 November, in Thai-Burma border organized by Nationalities Youth Forum.
About over 20 participants from different political organizations and ethnic groups such as Kachin, Kareni, Karen, Chin, Mon, Burman, Arakanese, Shan and Lahu attended the meeting. The aim of the dialogue was to learn how much the youth are ready for the change of Burma, said one of the source person.
“After the bloody crackdown on the monks by the Burmese military régime, the world increased its focus on Burma. International diplomatic pressure and sanctions on Burma make the military junta hard to breathe. For that reason I think Burma will change in 1 or 2 years. Anyway we will have to face a bloody transitional period. It can be a time of controversy among the people, politicians and the resistance groups. So, to be prepared for it, thinking about how to solve problems or make them less is the responsibility of the youth to take”, said Shwe Myo Thant, the general secretary of NYForum.
The resource person, Pam Green, a volunteer from Scotland, said, “The people in Burma are shouting for democracy and want to get it. But do you really know what democracy is and think it is the best system?”
“Democracy is the best system even if it has its weak and strong points. Everything comes with good and bad which we can't avoid”, said one of the youth.
The youth were divided into separate groups to share opinion on how to prepare and take part during and after transitional period. Each group came out with their action plan to present and give comments on each other.
“Youth have a main role to play for the change and rebuilding of the country”, said the general security of NYForum.
“For the change of Burma we must have solidarity and have good communications among the youth both inside and outside the country”, said one of the participants at the end of the meeting.