Beyond A Political Rhetoric of “Peace”

The KIA spoke-person La Nan has recently commented on Kachin News Group that Burmese military government only wants to “talk peace, not political resolution” in its approach to KIA. It is a century-old rhetoric of the dominant party “to talk peace” since the Roman Empire. For example, the Romans frequently claimed that the existence of Rome is to establish peace among the nations and across the world (See the Roman colonizing texts such as Virgil’s Aeneid). The Roman peace, Pax Romana, was often achieved at the price of all human costs, especially from the side of the colonized and the vanquished.  The Roman peace, therefore, is fundamentally an absence of war or the silent repression of the colonized due to their defeat. The peace that the colonizers promote is more than often a political conditioned desired by them. It is a kind of peace that serves their interest.

The ideology of peace can be easily manipulated and exploited in the context of unjust and unequal power relation. It is an ideological weapon to achieve the desired condition of the powerful who often dominate in the process of defining the condition and the nature of peace.  Thus, the dominant party often labels those who unwilling to accept their definition of peace as the opponents of peace. The Burmese Military government has frequently shown such ideological tactics in its state-run media against its ethnic opposition groups.  The important question that we need to be asking in such unequal power relation between the Burmese military and KIA is — whose interest is this peace going to serve.

The condition of peace is not just the absence of conflict or the silent repression of the oppressed. It is the well-being of the whole that has been broken or destroyed. The work of restoration, therefore, must be the beginning point if the Burmese military wants a genuine peace. It is a process of restoration of the conditions that made un-peaceful. Burmese Military one-sidedly defines the current on-going civil war as un-peaceful condition. NO, it is not. They need to accept the fact that it is just a symptom of the real disease. The war is not something that needs to be stopped. It is not the real problem. Rather, it is fundamentally a struggle for peace with costly human and material sacrifices. If we treat the underlining disease to these symptoms, the arm-conflict will be over. The real disease is the unequal and unjust treatment toward the minorities by the military. The work of restoration in the areas of the century-old unbalanced power-relation, animosity, and distrust must be the first step toward building a genuine peace. By only realization of such disease and practice of justice will keep the KIA and the Burmese military government on the pathway to a genuine peace.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect kachinlandnews’s policy.