Burmese Dissidents May Explore Armed Resistance

Supporters of a democratic Burma have for decades adhered to a non-violent approach in order to secure some form of democratic processes in a nation ruled by murderous thugs who use violence in order to enforce their will. An organizer of last September’s failed uprising told the British newspaper, the Guardian, “There is a very real debate among us about how to begin a more sustained armed struggle. We are ready for that kind of action, if we can get the supplies and training we need.” Speaking from exile in Thailand, Soe Aung, the chief spokesperson for the National “Council of the Union of Burma(NCUB) which represents several groups, admitted “some are considering violent means… the Burmese people are not that kind of people, there has been a real change.”

Soe Aung admitted his group is able to receive assistance from the US State Department funded, National Endowment for Democracy, and the United States is “doing the most for the opposition. There has been real success in training and forming an underground movement through religious organizations and monastic organizations. These provide the best cover inside Burma.”

American aid undoubtedly has been provided in the form of access to the Internet and to the media, but utilization of religious organizations for armed resistance raises many issues. This is not to say at some point the Burmese people may decide to resort to violence, but including religious groups might be a mistake.