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Welcome to reg.burma

Subject: Welcome to reg.burma

December 25, 1993

     Welcome to reg.burma, a discussion group covering the South-
east Asian nation of Burma.  reg.burma intended as a source of news
about Burma as well as a forum for discussion of the culture,
politics, current events, civil war or history of the peoples of
the Union of Burma, including the Burmese, Kachin, Karen, Karenni,
Shan, Mon, Wa, Kokang and Rohingya peoples.  As is appropriate for
a Peacenet discussion group, reg.burma is committed to the free
flow of ideas and information and will welcome all points of view. 

     Readers of reg.burma are free to post anything related to
Burma and are especially encouraged to post newspaper, wire
service, magazine articles or tv/radio transcripts relating to
Burma.  Reports from the "Burma Issues" documentation center in
Bangkok as well as newsletters from NGOs working on Burma-related
issues will also be posted regularly.

     reg.burma is unmoderated insofar as anyone is allowed to post
directly to the group.  If your setup does not allow you to post
directly, you can still post by sending an email message to:


     reg.burma will remain unmoderated unless the bandwidth taken
up by irrelevant or harassing postings outstrips those that are
relevant and informative.  Encouragement of diverse points of view
and open debate does not extend to tolerating postings so profuse
and irrelevant as to crowd out other postings. (If you don't know
what this looks like, scan USENET's "soc.rights.human" group for a
vivid example).  With the caveats about excessive posting and
topicality, there are no restrictions on the editorial content of
postings.  There is a maximum size limit of 300,000 bytes per
posting, but this is imposed by IGC's conference policy.

     To contact the facilitator of reg.burma, send an email message

  or by phone: (66-2-287-4506)
  or by snailmail:
    772/1 Suan Phlu, Soi 3
    South Sathorn Road
    Tung Mahamek
    Bangkok 10120, Thailand

The Situation in Burma:

     Burma, intermittently also known as Myanmar, is a nation of 41
million people, bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos,
Thailand and Malaysia.  It covers 671,000 square kilometers and
contains several distinct ethnic groupings, many of which are or
until recently were in rebellion against the government in Rangoon. 
Ethnic Burmese make up the majority of the population and also
dominate the government.  The current regime in Rangoon is the
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) which some say is
still dominated by Ne Win.  In any event, SLORC is the current
incarnation of the military government that has ruled Burma since
Ne Win toppled the last elected government in a 1962 coup.
     In recent years, Burma came to Western attention most notably
for the pro-democracy uprising in 1988 and the ensuing violent
repression.  During the demonstrations that summer, Aung San Suu
Kyi, the daughter of Burma's martyred independence hero came to
prominence as the leader of the non-violent, democratic movement. 
She was placed under house arrest by the government but was allowed
to contest the elections called in 1989 to diffuse the crisis.  In
an election marred by allegations of government-sponsored coercion,
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy was still able to
garner in the vast majority of the vote, as well as most of the
seats in the legislature.  Despite their electoral repudiation,
SLORC annulled the vote, outlawed the opposition and continued Aung
San Suu Kyi's incarceration.  In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize and numerous individuals and groups have called for her
release, including President Bill Clinton in an address in the Fall
of 1993.
     As this group goes on-line, SLORC remains entrenched in power,
the ethnic insurgencies enter their fifth decade and Aung San Suu
Kyi begins her fifth year in prison.  With a cease-fire between the
government and the Kachin Independence Army, some movement toward
a settlement of the civil wars has been made, but whether the cease
fire represents anything like real progress in a negotiated
settlement or merely a SLORC military victory remains to be seen.