Lessons for Burma from Yugoslav uprising
Lessons for Burma from Yugoslav uprising
Bangkok Czech Press
The popular uprising in Yugoslavia watched minute by minute by the whole world on live television definitely made the Burmese opposition leaders inside and outside Burma jealous and wondering why the same couldn't be achieved in their country.
It was similar to the "people power" revolution in the Philippines during 1986, followed by the collapse of eastern European communist regimes and finally the overthrow of Suharto in Indonesia attributed to the popular uprising, when the people managed to topple their oppressive governments without the use of weapons.
The opposition leaders in all liberated Asian and eastern European countries gelded millions of people who participated. The people's power succeeded in overthrowing the dictator, destroying the regime and installing a democratic government.
Burma remains today the last country in the long line of oppressive regimes which have collapsed.
One must wonder if the opposition leadership is up to the task. Excuses for the inability to polarize and organize the popular uprising cannot overthrow the SPDC.
Many Burmese opposition leaders inside and outside of Burma are afraid to criticize the NLD leadership in fear of being labeled by their compatriots as SPDC collaborators and sympathizers.
Everyone understands that the
conditions for the popular uprising in Burma are different from
other countries. Due to the policies of the SPDC regime, the level
of education of the Burmese people and their political awareness
can't be compared to the people of Europe. A lack of communication
facilities contribute to the tougher task for the
Some Burmese dissidents believe that the only chance at this moment to get rid of the SPDC is a coup conducted by some unsatisfied Burmese military generals.
In most cases the oppressive regimes in Asia and eastern Europe were overthrown by a well organized opposition capable of mobilizing the people, especially in their capitals.
In many countries, the security services attacked demonstrators at the outset of the protests, but joined later on with the crowds after realizing the overwhelming odds against them.
It is not always easy to organize a successful people's revolution. Several Yugoslav opposition leaders failed in many attempts to topple President Slobodan Milosevic because they insisted on peaceful demonstrations without the use of violence. But Vojislav Kostunica and other opposition leaders this time planned to seize the government TV stations, radio transmitters, police stations and most importantly the Yugoslav Parliament. This tactic surprised the Yugoslav security apparatus and before they could mobilize their forces the opposition was totally in control.
Even Mr. Kostunica himself and his aides were surprised how fast the regime crumbled. After 10 years of trying the Yugoslav opposition finally succeeded!
The successful result of the Yugoslav uprising depended on able leaders who could organize the people in the capital and in several large towns.
Very similar events as we saw in Yugoslavia occurred during the "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia. Hundreds of thousands of people converged on the main square in the middle of Prague and remained there for several days until the regime gave up and resigned. At first the police attempted to break up the demonstration using armed personnel carriers, but after being surrounded by the people, they gave up.
Comparing Burma and the former communist Czechoslovakia there are many similarities between the two regimes: No freedom of speech, movement, gathering, constant surveillance by a vast network of secret police and the military backing. However, the Czech opposition could find a way to outsmart the regime and to instigate the uprising which took the communists by surprise. The regime crumbled within a few days.
Some countries that support the Burmese opposition are doing it in a very limited way, especially financially. The amount of aid given to the opposition is totally inadequate. Some world powers spend billions of dollars all over the world but give the Burmese opposition what could be described as a pitiful amount.
Whatever problems there are, the Burmese opposition shouldn't feel discouraged and must continue to fight to free Burma.