The third son
According to an old Burmese saying, when the “three sons” of the nation join hands, the military regime will be in big trouble. Two of the “sons”, the monks and the students, have already teamed up for 11 days of protests in Rangoon, Myanmar and other Burmese cities. According to the Guardian, the last “son”, the military, might now be coming around.
The British newspaper reports that army Division 33 has refused to shoot at the people in Mandalay. The government then ordered Division 33 to move out of Mandalay but they refused to follow the order. The has sent Division 99 to replace Division 33, and, according to unconfirmed rumors, fighting has broken out between the two divisions.
The Guardian also reports that disgruntled officers have formed a group called the Public Patriot Army Association and expressed their backing for demonstrators in a letter drafted on Tuesday.
It is a promising development if an entire division has refused to shoot at the people, and is more willing to fight other army divisions than unarmed civilians. While no one wants a civil war with Burmese soldiers fighting each other, it will be a vicious blow to the military government if they lose control of the army. Hopefully, other divisions will follow the example of Division 33, and there will be no need for infighting in the Burmese army. If enough soldiers refuse to shoot, the military junta will have lost their only important means of staying in power, and the people will have won a strong and important ally.
Only time will show if the majority of the Burmese soldiers will side with the Public Patriotic Army Association and the people, start fighting each other, or follow the orders of the military junta. Hope and pray for the best and follow the situation in Burma here.
Please keep in mind that the Burmese government are doing their best to shut down Internet connections and phone lines out of Burma. There are very few independent journalists in Burma these days, and the junta has resorted to hunting for, threatening and even killing journalists and photographers. The junta also spread false news, both in Burmese media and through other channels like blogs and e-mail. Because of this, it is very hard for outside media to get accurate coverage of what is happening in Burma. Any news and updates from the country – including this blog – should be read with this in mind.