An Arab Spring in Burma Requires Alliance Between Armed and Nonviolent Resistance
In the Ten-Year Review of Dictator Watch, his invaluable site dedicated to rolling back the repression of Burma's military regime, Roland Watson presents a tactful, nuanced appraisal of the Nobel laureate who is the leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement.
"Daw [Mrs.] Suu is the moral leader of Burma, and here through her sacrifice and courage she has set a shining example. … Daw Suu has said that Burma requires a Spiritual Revolution [and] that there should be no fighting -- she has never offered any positive reinforcement to the armed struggle of the ethnic nationalities, even though acknowledging specific and widely publicized Burma Army atrocities against them. [But] she should understand that her silence has the effect of de-legitimizing their struggle. … This puts the people of Burma in a difficult situation. Should the ethnic groups fight or not? Their people are being attacked, so they have to fight, but Daw Suu apparently does not agree.
… It is not good enough to tell the people to wait. There is a terrible cost to this. More ethnic villagers will be killed or lose their livelihoods; more ethnic resistance -- and Tatmadaw [Burma's army] -- soldiers will lose their lives. … Even with a position of non-violence, Daw Suu should confer with representatives of the ethnic nationalities. … By talking together now, not only can they unearth opportunities to push for freedom, they will be building a pattern of cooperation for when Burma is democratic.
The view of Watson and Dictator Watch is
… that strategy for the Burma pro-democracy movement is relatively simple, albeit complex to implement. The movement has two arms, non-violent protestors and ethnic rebels. But, rather than opposing each other, they can instead complement and work together.
If the people start protesting, and the ethnic groups launch offensive operations wherever and whenever possible, the regime will not be able to handle it.