By Kyaw Myaing
No less a person than Albert Einstein once said “Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order —in short, of government.”
Our Union citizens have witnessed the successful conclusion of the first Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong which was held from 31 August to 3 September 2016. At this historic conference, Union Foreign Minister and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told the delegates thus: “So long as we are unable to achieve national reconciliation and national unity, we will never be able to establish a sustainable and durable peaceful union,”
As the Union Government prepares to convene the second Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong on the 28th of February this year, there are certain points worth pondering.
First of all, let us take a brief moment to discuss the meaning of each word in the quote made by Albert Einstein. He has emphasized the words “justice”, “law” and “order”. As we all know we have the three branches of government namely, the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch and the Legislative Branch. Without each of these three branches of government functioning properly we can neither hope to have “justice” nor “law and order”; in other words, we cannot have a strong and effective government.
Let us now look at the peace equation and see who the important players are in the “peace process” to get a clearer understanding of the stakes involved. The government, the Tatmadaw, the People, the ethnic armies and the political parties are certainly in the list of the key players.
From this list, let us first look at what the people can do to support the peace process. The writer is of the opinion that there are many important things that the people can do. For example they can read the newspapers and journals regularly to understand what is happening in the peace process. These days the people have many sources of news, namely radio, TV and of course the very popular Facebook which is part of the internet. In a sense the Myanmar people are very lucky because they can use their smart phones to access their favourite websites and Youtube videos which provide high quality news and interviews round the clock. This is how they can keep up-to-date and understand what is going on. This is called being actively engaged.
Let us now look at what the Tatmadaw and the Ethnic armies and the political parties can do. All of these three stake holders need to understand the importance of peace and also how much the country and the people can benefit once peace is achieved. This is what they call the “Peace dividend”. Once the fighting stops, all the killing and destruction will end and the internally displaced persons will be able to return to their native villages and begin the process of resettlement. Looking at this problem from a top-level view, a great deal of loss in terms of money, property and lives can be prevented once we have peace. Thus all the Union citizens will be able to enjoy the benefits of peace. Once peace is achieved development will follow. As we achieve further development, peace and prosperity will obviously follow.
There is one important thing that the members of different religious groups could do to support the “Peace process”. For attaining peace, praying for peace is one good option. It would be really wonderful if the spiritual leaders, preachers and reverend Sayadaws could lead their brethren in “peace prayers” in every town and village. Peace should live in the hearts of all our Union citizens and once the respective religious communities pray for peace in accordance with their traditions and rituals, we can be sure that the good vibrations and thoughts will spread in all directions all across this land of ours. Once the vibrations of Metta or “Loving Kindness” echo in our Dhamma prayer halls, churches, temples and mosques, we can be sure that to that extent we will all be nearer to our goal of peace. At this moment, Peace will surely be in the air.
By Kyaw Myaing