Why forming a Bamar Ethnic Armed Group is important?


Dr. Nai Ponnya Mon

In order to eliminate military rules and to build equal partner federal union in Myanmar, a Bamar ethnic armed group should be established. Historically, there has been no Bamar ethnic armed group fighting

against the successive military regimes or authoritarians in Myanmar. Although there were some armed
groups such as Burma Communist Party, Pyi Chit and ABSDF led by ethnic Bamar leaders, these groups
didn’t claim that they represented ethnic Bamars. They claimed that they were national organizations
and represented all people of Burma. I think in order to fight against the military rules and establish equal
partner federal union successfully in Myanmar, Bamar ethnic group should form political and military
organizations which can represent their political, social and economic interests. Below are some reasons
why forming a Bamar Ethnic Armed group is so important.

1. If Bamar ethnic group has its armed group, it can represent ethnic Bamar armed forces when the federal
army will be formed. Although current Tatmadaw is led by ethnic Bamar, it doesn’t represent ethnic
Bamar political, social and economic interests. Even though it does, I believe that majority of ethnic Bamar
do not accept the army which kill its own people.

2. Since Bamar ethnic group is majority in Myanmar, they are the most important force to fight against
the military rules. Unless they are also part of armed resistances, the military rules will not be able to be
eliminated in Myanmar. Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) have been fighting the Burmese military for
over 70 years. But they have not been succeeded eliminating military rules so far because while they were
fighting against the military, majority of ethnic Bamar were supporting the military. In order to succeed
the fight against the military rules, ethnic Bamar should not only protest against the military rules but also
need to fight against with arms or need to form armed resistant organizations.

3. In order to build equal partner federal union, ethnic Bamar do not only need to establish military
controls in ethnic Bamar dominant regions, but also need to establish a Bamar political State. Under the
armed group, ethnic Bamar should also establish a Bamar political State. Thus, the armed group can
protect and defend the people’s interests in the state.

4. As Bamar have their own armed group and political state, they can establish equal partners with other
ethnic groups politically and militarily and they can represent their political, social, and economic interest
in future federal union. Thus, if Bamar see themselves as an equal partner in building the future federal
union, all units under the future federal union will become equal partners. No unit will be superior to
another politically and militarily.

5. Unless ethnic Bamar see themselves as one of the units in forming federal union or federal army, we
won’t be able to build federal union based on political equality. Having a Bamar ethnic armed group is a
starting point which leads to building equal partner federal union and federal army.

In order to be successfully to form Bamar ethnic armed group, the group needs to be based in ethnic
Bamar dominant areas in upper Burma such as Mandalay and Magwe divisions or where EAOs are not
based. It needs to build both political and military controls in these areas. The group can only be grown
and survived if it can build both political and military control areas. It can be done only if it is based in
ethnic Bamar dominant regions. If the group is based and operate in non-Bamar ethnic groups’ areas or
under EAOs controlled areas, it cannot operate independently. For example, if it is based in any of EAOs’
control areas and if any of these EAOs sign cease-fire agreement with the Tatmadaw, it also has to stop
fighting as well. Thus, it cannot either operate independently or build political and military control areas.
However, it can have military trainings and supports from EAOs, but after the training is over, it can
operate in Bamar ethnic dominant areas where it can gain supports from local Bamar population and
where it can establish both political and military controls. Only then, it can achieve its political and military
Some non-Bamar ethnic groups may concern that having Bamar ethnic based armed organizations would
cause inter-ethnic conflicts. I believe if the organization’s goal is aiming toward forming equal partner
federal union and federal army, it won’t cause inter-ethnic conflict. It would rather support establishing
ethnic harmony and political equality among ethnic groups. But if the group’s goals are aiming to build
greater Bamar or Burmanization in Burma, it would fuel inter-ethnic conflicts. I believe future ethnic
Bamar armed group’s political goals will be aiming toward building equal partner federal union and
fighting common enemy than building greater Bamar and Burmanization in Burma.

Some Bamar may not prefer this idea because if they see themselves as representing ethnic Bamar in any
political organizations, they are afraid of that they may not be able to influence in national politics. But

they still can influence in the national politics through their ethnic based political organizations under the
federal political system.

Therefore, having a Bamar ethnic armed organization is important to be successful removing military rules
and establishing equal partner federal union in Burma. Most of non-Bamar ethnic groups have their own
armed groups, but not ethnic Bamar. Thus, they should have one. When federal army will be formed,
Bamar ethnic armed group should represent ethnic Bamar as a unit in federal army. EAOs should help
and support Bamar ethnic armed organizations if their goals are to build equal partner federal union and
federal army.

(This article is solely my own opinion. It doesn’t reflect the opinion of the organizations which I affiliate

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