|Journalist Bertil Lintner.|
The EU and US have expressed public views to that effect. On January 31, EU president Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement after a summit in Brussels: "I welcome the important changes taking place in Burma/Myanmar and encourage its government to maintain its determination to continue on the path of reform." The US State Department said the day before that it was "encouraged " by Myanmar's recent reforms, "including its decision to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to run in upcoming elections".
Others, however, suspect that the signs emerging from Myanmar's leadership reflects a well-orchestrated "good cop, bad-cop" routine to neutralize domestic opposition and win new foreign allies, especially among former critics in the West. Either way, Thein Sein's regime has so far skillfully played its cards in a way that few, probably even among themselves, could have foreseen. "Those in power are military men, not representatives of a democratic government. This is how they work," says a Myanmar national who has followed political developments for decades.
In order to understand Myanmar's policy shift - and why the West has been so supportive - it is instructive to look back to the early 2000s. Then condemned and pressured by the international community, the ruling military junta announced in August 2003 a seven-step "Roadmap to Discipline-Flourishing Democracy." That plan called for the drafting of a new constitution, general elections, and convention of a new parliament which would "elect state leaders" charged with building "a modern, developed and democratic nation".
|Hsen Noung Lintner.|
|Late Hsipaw (Thibaw) Sawbwar Sao Kya Hsen and his American wife Inge Sargent (1954).|
Following is short extracts from Inge Sargent’s book “Twilight over Burma – My Life as a Shan Princess” published in 1994. Inge Sargent was the Austria-born American wife of the last Sawbwar of Hsipaw Sao Kya Hsen (1924-62) presumably kidnapped and murdered by Burmese Army in 1962.
|Shan State North Map of Burma.|
|Bahtoo Military Town is at the top end.|
|Thibaw East Haw.|
But he was the only Shan sawbwar allegedly killed by the army that time for unknown reason. So why did the army and Ne Win persistently deny even the arrest and keeping him captive at Ba Htoo Military Town? The widely believed theory then was that somehow the young Thibaw Sawbwar was either accidentally killed by the MIS men during the interrogation/torture session or shot by the guards while he tried to escape. Since the army didn't want to admit his killing they also denied his arrest/kidnapping.
Followings are the extracts from the interview given by Inge Sargent to Khin Oo on 27 July 2003.