(Editorial) A recent trend that is common with all Myanmar leaders visiting foreign countries is to meet Myanmar nationals living in exile, and urge them to come back and work for the people of Myanmar with the education, skills and expertise they have acquired. Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi reiterated the same rhetoric when she visited Singapore recently.
We should retrace our steps through the history of our country and revisit the reasons that led to Myanmar nationals leaving the country. The answer is, of course, lack of economic opportunity, and most importantly, loss of freedom and democracy.
Now, due to changes that are taking place in the country, they have been urged to come back home. It is interesting to note that the majority of the Myanmar people who are asking exiles to come back are pro-democracy leaders.
We must discuss and review the socio-economic as well as the political situation of the country. We have to question- have things changed for the better? Are the reforms in the government conducive to the return of Myanmar nationals in exile?
We must accept that the current political situation of Myanmar can be described as unstable at best. Under these circumstances, we can infer that, the reason behind pro-democracy leaders urging Myanmar nationals in exile to come back may not just be driven by the satisfaction of reforms that are taking place in the country but the idea that they should contribute and rally around the great task of rebuilding the nation.
The fact, that we have not yet seen fundamental changes in the country whether it is economics, education or other sectors, cannot be disputed. The nagging question that is in everyone's mind is - shall Myanmar nationals in exile come back now or only after the country is adequately reformed?
In fact, the efforts for a comprehensive reform process is still in a nascent stage. There has been a considerable increase in the freedom of the media and efforts to promote democracy and peace building in the country. In addition, one of the most interesting change that we are witnessing now is the new political culture that is being exercised during negotiations to settle disputes and differences.
We believe that it is under these new political and historical circumstances that pro-democracy leaders are urging Myanmar nationals in exile to come back. It is true that the country has not yet achieved sufficient change. We cannot deny that the reforms so far, are still unstable, complex and not free from the menace of the Dark Ages yet. But we should take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the current reform process in Myanmar.
We must dare to take these opportunities. We support the stance taken by our pro-democracy leaders and urge Myanmar nationals in exile to come back to Myanmar and take active participation in creating a new Myanmar history.