Do Ethnic Armed Groups voices really resonate ethnic people wishes?

a writing by Han Min Ohn


Why are these peace talks failing in Myanmar? Some critics may blame that it is because the NLD government does not have any control over the military and that military is making amending the constitution impossible. Some truth definitely lies in these claims but are we sure that we are talking to armed groups that represent majority of their people or are we negotiating with personal armies using ethnicity as a tool for their own interest?
In my opinion, we need to analyze an armed ethnic group before we start negotiating with them. It will only create more turmoil, insurgency and even political manipulations by outsiders if we are saying we are willing to talk with any group that has weapons and a few followers. The reason insurgent groups will usually give is that their people are being suppressed/discriminated by the government and on behalf of their people they fight.
The question here is, do they really represent majority of their people? Are they really supported by most of their ethnic people or just by their followers? Have we really verified that majority of the ethnic people support the insurgency type response even if they are or feel they are suppressed or discriminated? In Myanmar, armed conflict has gone on for decades and even if those EAG might initially be supported by their fellow ethnic people, we cannot be sure if it is the similar case nowadays.
Nobody knows for sure, but in my opinion, it is worth to do transparent analysis to clarify whether the ethnic minority people (by these I mean all people, not just those insurgences) support armed conflict and these armed ethnic groups really represent most of their people. Results obtained can be used to decide our future directions and applied during peace talking.
Central government should only recognize and talk with an EAG which is supported by majority of its ethnic people and should leave the negotiation with the other armed groups to local ethnic political parties with the purpose of de-arming them. If this fails, central government should declare them as insurgences utilizing ethnicity to create un-stability inside a state for the purpose of their own interest and should defame and punish them effectively. In this way, we will be talking with armed groups who actually represent the ethnic groups and actually listening to the voices of the real ethnic people, not with those who hold weapons in their hands and call themselves representatives of ethnic people.

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