Getting news out of Burma’s more remote corners — such as the Kachin Independence Army/Organisation headquarters at Laiza — can be a difficult job at the best of times. When there is inherent, and perhaps even deliberate, ambiguity thrown into the mix it is almost impossible.
Nonetheless I was startled to see the contrasting headlines for two recent and very important articles. They are, just to clarify, about exactly the same matter!
- Lawi Weng, “Kachins reject Border Guard role”, The Irrawaddy, 10 June 2009.
- KNG, “KIO accepts junta’s idea of transformation of armed-wing”, Kachin News Group, 9 June 2009.
Taken together it looks like there is acceptance of “transformation” while the junta’s immediate effort to convert the Kachin Independence Army into a “Border Guard” has been rejected. Or has it?
Whatever the reality of the recent negotiations it sounds like the Kachin are playing a smart hand up at Laiza. They even managed to get the only coverage of these historic matters to take the story in completely different directions.
As this excellent article recently pointed out, these are interesting (and tough) times for many of Burma’s ceasefire groups.