Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thant Myint, a disgraced grandson of U Thant

I have never heard of his name until he launched his not so successful book “The River of Lost Footsteps”. In fact, I didn’t even know Burma’s beloved U Thant has a grandson until then. I suspect he has ever had the first hand experiences of the struggles of Burma and the true relationships between Burmese and ethnic minorities, for his writings didn’t show he has enough knowledge to talk about Burma’s internal affairs albeit naming himself historian.

Frankly, no historians know better than ordinary Burmese about Burma. Burmese are tight lipped about their sufferings for they afraid their words might endanger their families. As a result, the so called historians had to rely only on different books published in and out of Burma. Some of these books are indeed the work of oppressive regime and includes junta’s propagandas. However, the so called experts or historians didn’t even know the facts inside the books are totally wrong and misleading and happily refer the books. It is a sad case for the experts and historians of Burma affairs. Thant Myint is one of them.

His recent words "We don't want Myanmar to be a parallel of Iraq, where we said it's good Saddam Hussein is no longer there, but then did not know how to handle the insurgency that went on after he was gone." not only angered the ethnic minorities and Burmese around the world but also leads to something ASEAN leaders could happily refer to when they want to defend their policy of not taking any action against the regime. These words have been used by Singapore Prime Minister and Singapore Foreign Minister time and time again to justify their stand of keeping Myanmar in the family ( the family of ASEAN governments, not the family of ASEAN nationals).

Below is what Foreign Minister said in a parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi herself acknowledges the need to involve the military. Without the military, Myanmar can dissolve into civil war. The country has many ethnic groups, a number of which are still armed and can easily restart rebellions in the border regions. The last thing we want is a Yugoslavia or an Iraqi situation at our doorstep. In this regard, ASEAN shares a common position with China and India. Thant Myint-U, the grandson of the third Secretary General of the UN U Thant, who's no apologist for the regime, has wisely cautioned that "We don't want Myanmar to be a parallel of Iraq, where we said it's good Saddam Hussein is no longer there, but then did not know how to handle the insurgency that went on after he was gone."

It is a wonder how Singapore leaders accept and agree with some unknown writer’s view on Burma, especially when the writer might not ever spend even his childhood in Burma. However, just with this statement, Thant Myint has become a wise historian for ASEAN leaders. Sadly, he has become a disgrace in the eyes of millions of Burmese around the world. His grandfather would be so ashamed of him if he is still alive.

To be honest, this statement is a direct insult to ethnic minorities and Burmese alike. How could somebody living outside Burma say something he doesn’t understand? How well he knows about relations between Burmese and minorities? It is true that there are armed groups still holding their arms. But it is also true that they also want democracy, human rights, peace and stability. The rebel groups in Burma are not headed by trigger happy blood thirsty uneducated bastards. Almost all of the leaderships have substantial education before they decided to go against the junta. They all want to see their states progress. They all want to see prosperous Burma. Almost all the rebel groups including KNU have said they will drop the independence calls if they can get autonomy which we think is not unjust. Even if there are groups which haven’t done so, we can always talk. The citizens of Burma are not dumb. We have done it once in 1947. We can do it again in 2007. The only thing we need is our chance to do so. So, stop saying Burma would become a Balkan, or Iraq, or Somalia. We have the right to decide our own fate.

Allowing the citizens of Burma a chance to enjoy democracy and human rights would not lead to civil war but it would probably lead to lost opportunities to sell arms and buy rubies, jades, fish, timber and gas cheap.

31 comments:

Ko Paw said...

Again, I agree with your view. That is exactly what I felt when I saw Than Myint Oo's articles forwarded by some into egroups.

Win Myint said...

I think the George Yeo misquoted him. If you read his article "Saving Burma the Right Way" he says that Burma will fall apart in 20 years time if there is not more effective international action now to change things. And his warning is not about inter-ethnic conflict, its about the collapse of state structures because of military rule. Dont let foreigners turn Burmese against Burmese.

khin myo said...

sadly, there are a lot of historians and specialists of burma like than myint. all they know is what they read in books. and who can guarantee that everything written in the books are accurate???

this kinda people tend to criticize or advice what to do to those who are trying hard to survive their daily life in burma and also those who face bravely the thugs without fearing that it would harm not only themselves but also their families.

what they don't know, despite their GREAT knowledge and many historical books they've written, is that sometimes theory doesn't work in reality. especially in burma, theory NEVER worked, and will never work. you never know how they will react the thugs in green uniforms.

i'm glad that u thant is no longer alive to read what his grandson wrote. if he had known, he would be ashamed of his grandson.

the same thing for bo gyoke. if bo gyoke could know what aung san oo and his beloved wife are doing to damage his reputation, and especially to betray his people and his country, he would be very glad that he was dead!!!

khin myo chit

Htay Lwin said...

All he said was he didnt want Burma to turn out like Iraq. Whats the big deal? Who wants Burma to turn out like Iraq??

Let's use our heads a little and stop trashing people for no reason.

Thant Myint Oo has always written very critically of the SPDC. This attack on him seems like a Burmese MI plot to turn people against him.

Htay Lwin said...

All he said was he didnt want Burma to turn out like Iraq. Whats the big deal? Who wants Burma to turn out like Iraq??

Let's use our heads a little and stop trashing people for no reason.

Thant Myint Oo has always written very critically of the SPDC. This attack on him seems like a Burmese MI plot to turn people against him.

Htay Lwin said...

All he said was he didnt want Burma to turn out like Iraq. Whats the big deal? Who wants Burma to turn out like Iraq??

Let's use our heads a little and stop trashing people for no reason.

Thant Myint Oo has always written very critically of the SPDC. This attack on him seems like a Burmese MI plot to turn people against him.

Ko Paw said...

Some more different opinions here.

http://sitmonethu. blogspot. com/2007/ 11/different- view-with- than-myint- u-bertil. html

May said...

After 19 years of going no where, I agree with Than Myint Oo or anyone who are looking for various answers. Than Myint Oo as well as Daw Su has not lived in Burma all their lives. The answer is Burmese people were not given chance to practice democracy.

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculous post. Based on a misinterpretation of a misquote! So sad to see exiled Burmese stoops to these kinds of attacks. I think Thant Myint Oo is a hero for saying what he honestly believes and trying to help his country. I wish more people would listen to him.

Anonymous said...

How can we know that this is a misquote or not? The author of this post should verify the source of this quote. Welcome criticisms of opinions. But better prove to be media-savvy.

Soe Thane said...

The author of this post, and the creator of this blog, is a first-class idiot and arse-hole (I've met him). He claims to be some pro-democracy ex-student from Burma when he's not. His name is Kai Za and he lives in Singapore and makes a living from cheating other Burmese in the city.

His attack on Thant Myint U is probably some attempt to gain attention. He has psychiatric problems.

Thiri K.S. said...

I agree. Thant Myint-U is a hero for saying what he believes and for standing up for ordinary Burmese people in the face of the kinds of vicious attacks like the one in this blog (by a cowardly anonymous blogger).

His book is fantastic, and definitely worth reading. It's people like him who will help bring a better future for Burma, not pathetic bloggers like this one.

I just read this review of his book, which I agree with:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3663556/Burma-a-poisoned-Shangri-La.html

He also had a good piece the other day in the Washington Post

Anonymous said...

Thant Myint-U should be congratulated for having the courage to stick up for his views, even if they are politically incorrect at times. He is looking for a solution that will help the Burmese people, unlike this blogger who seems only interested in ad hominem attacks. U Thant would have been proud. I am Burmese, and I am ashamed to be of the same nationality as this blogger. I hope he will have the courage to reveal who he is.

May said...

Lamest post in your blog, and some lame comments too. Why are you blaming the scholars? "All they know is what they read in books. and who can guarantee that everything written in the books are accurate?" Well, they just don't write whatever they want. Historians do study closely and I am sure Thant Myint U graduated from the most prestigious institutions for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Thant is a weasel. There has never been a person or family on earth that milked their relative's position for all it is worth. What does this guy know about Burma? Nothing. Just a UK educated worm blaming everything on the west. Tell him to go back to milking his relative's job.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, that was quoted out of context. I met Thant Myint-U several days ago, and asked him regarding his previous comments. You guys have it all wrong!

Anonymous said...

This is simply a misunderstanding regarding a misquote!

Anonymous said...

When I was starting to read his book and I noticed that the first several pages of his book are about his luxurious lifestyle including mansion, servants and his acquaintance with dignitaries. I become very very bored and stopped reading it.

This guy is so full of himself and I will not spend my time on listening to a guy who is so wrapped up in himself rather than giving his genuine opinion.

No, he will never be a national figure like Daw Suu and he is just someone who tried to milk the world's awareness after saffron revolution by publishing the book.

Please go back to your mansion and stop pretending to care about Burma.

Anonymous said...

I'm Glad i found this blog.Added generation96.blogspot.com to my bookmark!

Anonymous said...

Once I see this page loaded with a logo of " Free Burma" I knew this is gonna be waste of my time but just something to say to this pathetic blogger please don't bark at the moon..

Anonymous said...

I don't think he cares how people are thinking of him. He will say what he really believes.

Anonymous said...

To be frank, as a young Burmese living outside of Burma, I was grateful for his book. I understand your point of view that people inside Burma or people who have grown up in Burma may be disappointed by the lack of historical accuracy, but for people like me, it makes Burmese history a lot easier to understand when it is told from a Western Burmese.

If a historian were to write a book on Burma based solely on information from inside Burma, the book will never be published. What I learned through my studies of Burmese people is that there are too many differing opinions and factions of issues to come to an agreement. In addition, rumors to topple enemies are endless and I would not trust the information coming from different parties. I think Thant Myint-U was right to base many of his information on scholastic articles, books, and personal experience.

Anonymous said...

What U Thant Myint says is as everybody knows sanction doesn't work to get a democracy. ofcourse, it makes the generals difficult to do their business. but not enough to destroy them. and also it effects oridinary people in burma. you guys might not know it effects people because you are not on of them. moreover don't dream that somebody, including US will help us. we got to work together whether we like it or not. If we cannot do revolution, we got to do evolution.

Thu Kar said...

Mr Thant Myin U should be ashamed

His book "Where China meets India" published last august has been shortened into articles Im not sure what the book says on the whole but I read the artcile and I now understand better reviews of previous bloggers on this blog

His artcile published in the guardian.co.uk and French translated in slate.fr today is simply appalling.

Mr That Myn U, burmese teacher in Cambridhe seems like he writes like he doesnt know what life is in Burma ! or perhaps only the lives of a mere few does he ?

He makes no mention whatsover of the 2000+ political prisonners in Insein and other places in Burma, he makes no mention how these priosoners are treated he makes no mention that nobdy gets to hear from most of them.

He makes no mention whatsoever of inhumane crimes perpetrated in Kayin, Kachin, Shan sate etc.

He makes no mention whatsoever of the thousands of burmese forced to labour to build damms all accross the country only to serve the profit of China and a few other western companies who blindly and carelessly pays the burmese junta.

He should be ashamed living in a western country as a burmese intelligentsia skiping those matters.

Where today Yangon and more largely burmese citizens are afraid of naming their dictators names, where they are even more afraid of pronouncing publicly the name of Aung San Suu Kyi where is the globalisation here, globalisation begins with human rights.

I see Burma's junta following the footsteps YES of China opening their business to foreign investment but keeping the average citizen away from having opened opinions and opened ideas.

The new academical generation in Burma dreams of Malaysia they dont see a new so called "global" era anytime in the near future.

Anonymous said...

This blog author is retarded. This is an obvious misunderstanding.

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Anonymous said...

I know nothing much about Burma except their struggles reported by Papers in India, occasionally. However I had heard from my grandfather, who taught in a college in Rangoon till the Second World War. He had only good things to say about Burmese people. He had only appreciation for them and missed his life in that country.

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