Sunday, September 23, 2007

Will Myanmar Military Units Defy Commanders and Side with Monks?

The Irrawaddy reports, "The lower ranks of military units must defy the senior leaders who are clinging to power during the current unrest, urged former commander, Brig-Gen Kyaw Zaw." The left-leaning 81 year old Kyaw Zaw is described as "one of the founders of the Tatmadaw (Burmese armed forces) and one of only two surviving members of the legendary Thirty Comrades, who formed the Burma Independence Army to fight British colonial rule in the 1940s."

According to this report, on Thursday "The Federation of All Burma Young Monks Unions issued . . . the first official call by protesting monks for the public to take part in their demonstration marches which have spread across the country during the past week. Previously, the monks asked the public not to join their protests."

I can't see how the regime can defeat the monks if they manage to maintain their solidarity. Foot soldiers are recruited from poor devote Buddhist families. I would think that harming a monk would be unthinkable to these good men.

Last year I was in Norther Myanmar. I spoke with a Western woman who had fought against the Burmese military (Tatmadaw) in the jungle and witnessed a battalion of Tadmadaw troops on-the-march.

Photo: Jotman file photo.