The Kachin Post / January 29, 2022
Some of the Burma’s People Defnese Forces (PDFs) and Ethnic groups representing Zomis and Kukis operating on the Indo-Burma border have actually become the informal Border Guarding Force (BGF) of Burma Army. As junta forces have been under pressure due to increasing casualties, these PDFs and Ethnic groups are now shielding the Burma Army from the attacks of pro-democracy forces.
Such PDFs lack ideology or commitment to the people. They have not only embraced Burma Army but Indian rebels like Nagas & Kathes for convenience to reap benefits on both sides of the border. As Indian rebel groups have had their camps in Sagaing, Chin and Rakhine for decades, these PDFs in the past few months have been trying to establish their bases inside Indian territory but fortunately India has discouraged & distanced from such arrangements as India is wise enough to know it’s security implications later.
Most of the PDFs are in self styled mode having no accountability due to lack of unified command or controlling authority. Availability of arms/ammunition have actually turned them into militia or bandits. Ideologies have been lost and business is a priority now. If one introspects the situation in Burma (pre coup & post coup), the society has been fragmented further due to emergence of local PDFs. These PDFs are not only a threat to the public but also to existing Ethinc Armed Organizations (EAOs) as they have already started demanding separate space and share in revenue.
Inter or intra tribal clashes in Chin state between Zomis and Chins speaks of a new dynamic. Chin groups are fighting against Junta whereas Zomis are targeting Chin groups over jurisdiction issues. Precisely, greater cause is being marginalized by factional fights. It appears that the divisive policy of Junta is working well and people have been engrossed in trivial issues.
Closure of schools and universities all over Myanmar since the coup has actually thrown the education system out of gear. Future of lakhs remains uncertain. Similarly, tea houses, restaurants, KTVs and massage parlors are not able to hold employees, mostly youth from the countryside due to heavy losses since the last two years. Unemployment is at an all time high and it has led to petty crimes & theft in major cities. Some believe that survival is priority now whereas education and employment is luxury.
It seems that people have not taken the struggle in a planned or effective way and for many it was just “adventurism”. Holding a gun does not mean one is a good combatant. Taking selfies with guns or uploading videos of celebrities in army gear who had joined Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) or PDFs has become a routine affair and there is a set lobby for generating comments and likes believing that it may help them to garner international support or receive donations.
The street protests have become almost nothing indicating either people have conceded or accepted the reality. Though NUG is continuing its propaganda supported by the west but fact is people have lost hope in NUG as well since NUG could not sustain the ground and failed miserably as “Unified Command”.
The article is contributed by N.B Chyoi, a Kachin Lawyer and geopolitical analyst especially focusing on Burma, China and India.