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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 2-Oct-07
Burma (Myanmar) demonstrations fizzle after violent government response

Web Log - October, 2007

Burma (Myanmar) demonstrations fizzle after violent government response

Thousands of troops are exerting a massive stranglehold on the streets of Rangoon (Yangon) on Monday, as the street protests have died out.

It's thought that hundreds of activists and citizens have been shot dead or burned alive in government crematoriums. Thousands of Buddhist monks, who led the protests to begin with, have been rounded up and detained. Some have been found floating face down in rivers. Horror stories abound.

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Burma (Myanmar)
American aid ships are ordered to leave Burma's (Myanmar's) waters: Military junta is using cyclone devastation as cover for violent campaign against Karen minority.... (5-Jun-2008)
China requests foreign assistance for earthquake relief - cash only: It's likely that tens of thousands of people were killed on Monday... (12-May-2008)
Burma (Myanmar) junta is turning a natural disaster into a criminal catastrophe: Could it affect the Beijing summer Olympics?... (11-May-2008)
Cyclone Nargis could trigger violence in Burma (Myanmar): Burmese generals are placing obstacles in the way of international aid.... (8-May-2008)
China crushes protests by Buddhist monks in Tibet: The Dalai Lama, exiled in India since 1959, called for calm.... (16-Mar-08)
Burma (Myanmar) demonstrations fizzle after violent government response: Thousands of troops are exerting a massive stranglehold on the streets of Rangoon... (2-Oct-07)
Burma: Growing demonstrations by the "88 Generation" raise fears of new slaughter: At the UN, President Bush announced new sanctions on Burma (Myanmar),... (26-Sep-07)

In an odd coincidence, Sylvester Stallone has witnessed some of the genocide that was going on in Burma even before the recent protests began.

Stallone returned eight days ago from shooting his new movie "John Rambo," filmed on a river separating Thailand and Burma.

"I witnessed the aftermath—survivors with legs cut off and all kinds of land mine injuries, maggot-infested wounds and ears cut off. We saw many elephants with blown off legs. We hear about Vietnam and Cambodia and this was more horrific," Stallone told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday. "This is a hellhole beyond your wildest dreams," Stallone said. "All the trails are mined. The only way into Burma is up the river." Stallone said that he plans to incorporate the real-life genocide into the movie during editing.

Ironically, the army need not have resorted to violence to end the protests. As I wrote a week ago in my article, "Burma: Growing demonstrations by the '88 Generation' raise fears of new slaughter," Burma is in a generational Unraveling era.

Burma's last crisis war ended in 1958. Following the end of a crisis war, a country or society goes through a series of "generational eras," as the generations change and fight one another. The greatest conflict is between the generations that lived through and survived the crisis war, and those born after the war ended. This "generation gap" generates the behaviors that are characteristic of each era. The Awakening era, which begins 15-20 years after the crisis war ends, is characterized by strident political battles between survivor and post-war generations. The Unraveling era, which begins around 40 years after the crisis war ends, is a time when all the "lessons learned" from the last crisis war unravel. About 60 years after the crisis war ends, when the survivors of the last crisis war all die or retire, a new generational Crisis era begins.

During a generational Unraveling era, large protests and demonstrations occur, but they always fizzle out quickly, as I explained last week. So if the army had simply waited a few days, they would have gotten what they wanted without violence.

This is a perfect example of how an understanding of Generational Dynamics can aid policy makers. If the Burmese government officials had understood what a generational Unraveling era is, then they would have known not to start spraying civilians with machine gun fire.

There's a lot of wishful thinking going on in the world about Burma. For example, Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Sweden, wrote an article entitled, "Rotten regime will not be long-lived." In this article, he says:

"Regimes like that in present-day Burma never last forever, and in our increasingly open world these enclaves of isolation are being placed under ever greater pressure.

Human rights are justly regarded as universal; modern IT technology does not respect old borders, and the accelerating process of globalisation is gradually opening up even the most closed of societies.

The only thing we can say with absolute certainty about present-day Burma is that the current regime will sooner or later belong in the past. We would like to be able to say when and how this will happen - and we would like for it to happen now, through the open dialogue that not least the monks are calling for in their protest."

Unfortunately, Sweden's foreign affairs minister doesn't understand a generational Unraveling era either. If he did, he'd know that the current regime is certain to survive for many years. Burma will enter a generational Crisis era again in the late 2010s. Around that time, there will be a new civil war, and almost certainly the current regime will be overthrown.

There's nothing magic or psychic about these conclusions. Students of generational theory have identified hundreds of similar situations throughout history where exactly the same thing happens over and over.

Let's take a brief look at some other news stories that we've covered on this web log:

Every one of these examples has domestic policy implications for the countries involved, and foreign policy implications for the United States and other countries. Generational Dynamics can serve as a powerful tool by governments in determining matters of state and war. (2-Oct-07) Permanent Link
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