The founder of a U.S-based grassroots organization Dr. Zarni's one day trip to Burma for talks with military officials last May has generated both pro and con views among the members of the pro-democracy movement in exile.
Even within his own group Dr. Zarni of anti-military government and pro-sanctions fame since the inception of the Free Burma Coalition he founded nine years ago is now facing some dissension. Some say the uproar could hurt the group's future standing and relevance in Burmese pro-democracy movement.
Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein, a son of the late Deputy Prime Minister of the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League government in the fifties and a member of the Free Burma Coalition's Burma Strategy Group, says he disagrees with the group's leader Dr. Zarni on his recent trip to Burma.
"The timing of his travel was very wrong," Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein said.
Dr. Zarni went to Rangoon to discuss with the military officials on May 31. That was two weeks after the resumption of the military-sponsored National Convention which the National League for Democracy boycotted because the authorities refused to release from house arrest General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi and Vice Chairman Tin Oo.
Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein said this move by Dr. Zarni amounted to a total disregard for the democracy movement in general and a slap in the face for hundreds of political detainees languishing in Burmese prisons in particular.
Although he believes that an alternative approach to national reconciliation and democratization in Burma is necessary, Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein argued that the responsibility to accelerate democratic reforms resides squarely on the ruling generals.
"One does not need to go to Burma to find out what the generals have in mind when it is so obvious that their prime motive is to prolong the military rule," Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein said.
The Burmese dissident also made it clear that U.S. sanctions against the military government will stay until Aung San Suu Kyi is released and a substantive democratic process is in place.
Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein said, "I don't want Burmese people to have any confusion about it nor get disheartened with a misconception that U.S. sanctions might soon come to an end."