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NCGUB Statement on SPDC (r)

A Chance for the Generals to Redeem Themselves
November 16, 1997

The abolishment of the notorious State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC) was long over due. It was an entity synonymous with mass murder,
brutality and repression, and it was formed for the sole purpose of
perpetuating military rule. It should never have been there in the first

The replacement ruling body, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC),
made up of four senior SLORC members and a new crop of generals, has
declared that its objective was to bring "disciplined democracy" and
"peaceful development" to the people of Burma.

The change, which came after several months of investigation into the
corrupt practices and scandalous deals of the SLORC generals, only confirms
what we have known all along - that the generals are divided and only their
survival instinct is holding them together.

Now that a change has taken place, the SPDC has a good opportunity to
rectify the sociopolitical and economic conditions in the country.  The
generals must prove that the change is not in name only and show genuine
interest in resolving the nation's ills.  They would only be heading for
trouble if by "disciplined democracy" they mean, "guided democracy."  The
generals had a chance of becoming national heroes in 1988 when the people
were looking to the military to take the lead toward delivering them the
promised democracy.   The opportunity is here again.

A step in the right direction would be to initiate a dialogue without
preconditions with the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi.  The talks should be directed toward national reconciliation and
an eventual return to democracy.

Without taking into account the NLD, a party chosen by the people to lead
them, and without a sincere intention to build a democratic nation, where
rights of all the ethnic nationalities are guaranteed, the country will
continue to encounter the problems it faces today.  Under the conditions
today, peace and development will remain unattainable even if the generals
call themselves the State Peace and Development Council.