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ABSDF: Voice if the Peacock, Aug-Se

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Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 16:02:34 -0800
Subject: ABSDF: Voice if the Peacock, Aug-Sept 1995

                          VOICE OF THE PEACOCK
AUG_SEP, 1995              NEWS & VIEWS             VOL-2, NO- 4


Second chamberlain?(EDITORIAL)

The tension between the Slorc military regime and Thai government 
has been increasing since the fall of Manarplaw. There are many
problems concerning  Moei River disputes, DKBO (Democratic Karen
Buddhist Organization) attacks on Thai soil, the opium warlord
Khun Sa, and the recent execution of some Burmese fishermen by
some Thai fishermen in Burma's waters. For every conflict, the
Burmese military regime has attacked the Thai government and Thai
explanations of the problems.  Also, the Burmese military regime
has often accused the Thai government of assisting the Burmese
opposition groups including ethnic armed resistance groups.

The Thai government seems to be seriously trying to solve these
problems. All the border trade at Tachilek- Mae Sai, Myawaddy- 
Mae Sod and Kaw Thaung- Ranong has been stopped for the past
several months.  Because of  the closing of the border trade,
both sides have been losing money. But the Slorc military regime
doesn't care because all the borders are under the control of the
Slorc. However, the Thai border traders have been losing their
profits in logging concessions, jewellery and other commodities. 
In addition, some Thai politicians who have been involved in
border trading for many years are unhappy about their lost
opportunities.  Since the closure of the border trade points,
some Thai politicians and businessmen who regularly earned their
profits from border trading have become united. They have been
willing to fawn on the SLORC in order to get SLORC to reopen the
borders. We can say that this is the main weak point of Thailand
when dealing with border affairs with Slorc.

The Slorc has another trump card. The Slorc military regime has
said that it must reunite its deteriorating army because of Thai-
Burma border conflicts.  The Slorc uses this excuse when it wants 
to show that Thailand is a serious source of outside danger for
Burma. The Slorc does not to dare to create such problems with
China or India. Also the SLORC is afraid to make a campaign
against Bangladesh, because they (Slorc) know how the Muslim
world would respond. Therefore, Thailand is the best target for

The Slorc is always afraid that their army will split up, so they
are always loudly shouting slogans such as "Any one who tries to
brake up Tatmadaw is our enemy", "We reject any scheme to brake
up the Tatmadaw", "No matters who tries to divide up, we will
always remain united". Big signboards with such slogans have been
erected throughout the country by the Slorc military regime. They
know that their enemies are actually not outside, but inside. 
Internal conflict is the main problem, but to solve the internal
conflict successfully, the Slorc has been creating the outside
conflict to unify people and divert attention from internal

Previously, the military regime has created some conflicts citing
the threat of outside danger for the country like the danger of
communism, the danger of colonialism and the danger of
insurrection by the ethnic groups. It means the existence of a
big and strong military is important for the country. But, for
the time being, it is impossible to make such statements, because
most of the ethnic resistance groups have made cease-fire
agreements (but not peace talks) with them. At the moment, in
their army, all of the high ranking army officers usually say
that now the ethnic resistance groups have become our friends.  

Therefore, at present, the Burmese army doesn't have any inside
or outside enemy, and they seem to be jobless themselves,
especially amongst the grassroots level soldiers. So, they want
to go back home and don't want to stay in the jungle anymore. But
some army officers and soldiers can get outside money if they are
in an area where some kind of business is booming.  In such a
situation, it is difficult for the SLORC generals to control
their army. 

On the other hand, because of the political and economic crisis
in Burma, the generals cannot order or manage their soldiers very
well. Every soldier complains that they want to go back home if
there is no enemy. Of course, the generals need to come up with
some reasons to control their soldiers, so they talk about
Thailand.  Since 1992, in order to promote nationalism, the
generals have started anti-Thai slogans among their army. They
have allowed certain writers to print anti-Thai articles, poems
and short stories in the military intelligence controlled journal
named "Myet Khin Thit"( in English "New green grass").

The SLORC has also erected statues of King Bayint Naung, who 
defeated Thailand many years ago, in the border towns of Tachilek 
opposite Mae Sai and Kot Thaung opposite Ranong. At the same
time, they have been reinforcing their army and buying Chinese
made aircraft and war-ships to be ready for any potential
conflict along the Thai Burma border.

At present, the relationship between Burma and Thailand can be
compared to the relationship between  Germany and England before
World War II broke out in Europe.  The Thai government  looks
like Chamberlain of England who went and tried to appease Hitler 
of Germany. But nothing can appease the wolf who has a
premeditated plan to eat such a little sheep, despite the fact
that the sheep has a constructive engagement policy and maintains
personal friendships with Burmese Generals.



The Closing Ceremony of the Basic Guerilla Course (1/95) was held
on July 31, 1995 in the Southern Sommand of the ABSDF and was 
attended by the members of the ABSDF.

The Ceremony was presided over by Vice Chairman Aung Thu Nyein
who delivered a speech to the Closing Ceremony addressing the
current political situation and duties that the ABSDF should
emphasized today.  This was in accordance with the political 
development inside Burma, particularly after the release of Nobel 
Peace Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

"We, the ABSDF, will continue our struggle until the restoration
of democracy and human rights in Burma, despite the current
difficulties we are facing, " said Aung Thu Nyein.

The ceremony was also attended by Thu Reinm (Organizing), Min Min 
(Chief of Staff of the Military Office) and other commanders in 
charge of an assortment of political, social and military 
departments of the ABSDF Central Leading Committee.

21 trainees successfully accomplished the training. Students who
passed the training with outstanding marks were honorably 
rewarded. The training was reportedly a one-month intensive
course initiated on June 30, 1995.  The course is combined with a
political course.

Vice Chairman Aung Thu Nyein awarded Best Cadet Prize to
Myint Lwin of Battalion 201. Progressive trainee prizes were
granted to Chit Win of Battalion 909, Ye Win of Battalion 201,
Aung Naing Soe of Battalion 909 and Htun Naing of Battalion
201 by Central Leading Committee member Thu Rein( Organizational 
Committee) and Military Chief of Staff Maj. Min Min. The award
for perseverance was handed to Chan Du Wan by the commander of
the military training.

The ceremony was successfully concluded by the closing speech of
Vice Chairman Aung Thu Nyein.


Following the Slorc's breaking of ceasefire agreement with KNPP
and increasing of  sending troops to the KNPP area to wipe out
KNPP members from their native area, leaders of the Karenni
National Progressive Party(KNPP),  All Burma Students' Democratic
Front(ABSDF), Mergui/Tavoy United Front  and Social Democrats,
Burma(SDB) organized a meeting aiming to find out an appropriate
way to help the KNPP, at a secret location of Burma near
Thai-Burma border, on August 17, 1995.

The violation of the ceasefire by the SLORC has led to the
critical military situation in the Karenni National Progressive
Party (KNPP) area. To support the KNPP in it's just struggles and
to initiate a genuine country-wide national reconciliation, the
military alliance was formed.

The members agreed to cooperate and help each other. The meeting
agreed to strengthen the line of communication and exchange of
information amongst the groups.

A meeting will be done very soon for the extension and promotion
of cooperative work. The Alliance reiterated that they will
continue their struggle until the achievement of their goals
despite any difficulties.

The Alliance calls on the international community to impose
effective sanctions against the Slorc until a genuine democratic
government is formed with the mandate of the entire people of


Inside Burma: All Burma Students' Democratic Front(ABSDF)
organized a memorial ceremony of the seventh anniversary of the
8888 uprising at Pae Dai village of Tenassarim township in
Tenassarim Division. Over 1000 people attended the ceremony. The
Village headman delivered the opening speech of the ceremony
while Maj. Sali Yaw Aung(a former University Students from
Rangoon Arts and Science University in 1988), Commander of
Battalion (201) and Maj. Win Naing, Commander of the
Battalion(203) of Student Army of the ABSDF, on behalf of the
ABSDF Chairman Moe Thee Zun, delivered the speeches regarding the
struggle for democracy in Burma and the unavoidable duties of
students and youths of today for the future of Burma. There was
reportedly no clashes between Students troops and Slorc troops
after the ceremony. 
In Bangkok: All exiled Burmese students in Bangkok unitedly held
a demonstration in front of the Burmese embassy in Bangkok
marking the seventh anniversary of 8888 uprising. Over 80
students joined the peaceful demonstration and nobody was 
arrested after the scene. Burmese students later held a memorial
ceremony in conjunction with Photos and Cartoons exhibition at
the Fistrap Office of the UNHCR in Bangkok. Aung Saw Oo from
National League for Democracy_ Liberated Area(NLD_LA) was the
main speaker at the gathering while Kyaw Thet gave a speech on
behalf of the all exiled Burmese students in Thailand and Ye Nie
served as the announcer of the memorial ceremony. Then, Asian
Students Association (ASA) 
hosted a dinner party for Burmese students at 6:30PM. Burmese
students exchanged their views and experience with other students
from Hongkong, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand,
Sri Lanka, Nepal, Palestine and Fiji Islands . The dinner party
was concluded by singing Burmese democracy songs and ASA
songs.(ABSDF is only Burmese students organization which became a
full-member of the ASA in 1989)  
On the next day,  August 9, Burmese students in Bangkok organized
a seminar on political review of current situation in Burma, at
SASA International guest house of Chulalongkorn University in
Bangkok in honour of the 8888 day. The Seminar was presided by Ko
Myint Thein(NLD_LA) while Maung Maung Soe was the announcer.  The
Agendas on the Seminar are: National Reconciliation,
International relationship on Slorc Toward the new genuine
national convention Overseas Mon National Students
Organization(OMNSO) and Overseas Mon Young Monks Union(OMYMU)
also joined the seminar. 


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave the opening speech of the NGO forum on
the 29th August. Her speech highlighted international and Burmese
issues such as gender equality, peace, human rights, tolerance
and economic security. She cited a Burmese proverb about why men,
and not women, should be involved in politics: "The dawn rises
only when the rooster crows".

She then cleverly pointed out that the rooster crows when the
dawn comes, and not the other way around, and that it was not
only the progahve of men alone to bring light to the world. She
also discussed the struggle for human rights and democracy in
Burma and of how women are living in fear in the country.

Successful workshops were held during the NGO conference in which
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's speech was screened along with two videos
concerning human abuses of ethnic Burmese women, and the lives of
Burmese girls who have been trafficked as prostitutes to

Pro-democracy and human rights activists from the U.S, Japan,
Norway, Australia, Thailand, India and Sweden spoke on activities
they conduct in their countries. Thousands of copies of
literature concerning the situation of Burmese women were
distributed and important lobbying at both NGO and government
levels was conducted. After a number of attempts by these NGOs
were made to talk with the Slorc delegation, they were refused.

The Burma- Slorc delegation was led by Maj. Gen. Soe Myint
(Minister of Social welfare, Relief and Resettlement). It was
surprising to hear about women in Burma, from a man and high-
ranking military officer, especially after reading and hearing of
the abuses of women in the country, in the workshops at forum. A
banner was unfolded in protest during Soe Myint's speech, stating
"Free the people of Burma". The Maj.Gen. looked at the banner as
television cameras captured the event, and continued to read his

It was to be one of the only demonstrations in the UN plenary for
the whole conference. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is free, but will
anything change for the women and people of Burma?

[Ma Hnin Hlaing Oo]



A FAMOUS Burmese student union called, on July 12, 1995, for the
military government to open three-side peace talks with democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's numerous ethnic groups.

The All Burma Federation of Student Unions(ABFSU) urged the junta
to make several concessions to get the talks going, including
releasing student leader Min Ko Naing, suspending the
constitutional convention, executing restoring political and
press freedom and abrogating oppressive orders against democratic

"Today the general political situation of our nation is
undergoing a very delicate and grave circumstance, said ABFSU.

"We believe the democratic organisations led by Suu Kyi (and) all
nationality groups who had been resorting to armed struggle and
the SLORC have to set up a climate of mutual respect and begin a
dialogue "the ABFSU" said in a statement.

"All are responsible for (the) inauguration of such a tripartite
negotiation," it said, adding that "the Slorc has to realise that
it is most responsible party of all."

Among the eight things it said the Slorc should do were declaring
an agenda for the negotiations and letting international
organizations and news agencies monitor events in Burma.

"The entire population of all nationalities had been deprived of
their democratic and human rights; national unity and peace had
collapsed. Consequently national economy had crumbled bringing
our nation into the abyss of poverty," said ABFSU.

"If the Slorc decided to ignore their responsibility to implement
the above mentioned tasks and resort to suppression, arbitrary
arrests, intimidation and violence, and continue the long
standing civil war, and proceed with the national convention for
which public opinion had never been counted, the Slorc would be
responsible for all the consequences that resulted from its
insincerity" said in a statement.

The ABFSU is a historical student union in Burma since its
independence struggle. It was founded in 1936-37 academic year
and its first Chairman is Ko Yar Shit. Gen Aung San was the
second Chairman of ABFSU in 1937-38 academic year. Many
founders(Thirty comrade) of Burma Army and famous independence
leader of Burma took part actively as famous student leaders in
ABFSU in their student lives.  

ABFSU's building in Rangoon University was demolished on July 7,
1962 by the Ne Win's military regime, under the official name of
Revolutionary Council which was later transformed into Burma
Socialist Program Party(BSPP) and rule the country for 26 years. 

Min Ko Naing became Chairman of the ABFSU when it was reformed
during the 1988 democracy uprising in Burma. The military regime,
the Slorc sentenced him 20 years imprisonment on March 24, 1989.


Eleventh Congress of the KNU was being successfully held on
Aug 21, to August 31, 1995. One hundred and six KNU
representatives and 79 observers from the civil as well as the
military establishments in all provinces attended the Congress.
After deliberation upon the prevailing domestic and
international situations, the Congress  made necessary
modifications with regard to policies and programs of the Karen
revolution and Constitution of the KNU, so as to make them to be
in consonant with time. The Congress elected 35 candidates
consisting of senior, middle and younger leaders as Central
Standing Committee members and from among the 35, the Congress
again elected eleven members to serve on the Central Executive
Committee. The Congress also elected 20 young leaders as
candidate members to the Central Standing Committee. The Congress
elected Gen. Saw Bo Mya as President, Saw Shwe Saing as
vice-President, Saw Ba Thin as General Secretary and Mahn Sha Lar
Pan and Saw Tu Tu Lay as Joint-General Secretaries of the KNU.

It reaffirmed that KNU will firmly join hands together with the
entire people and fellow alliance forces, and resolutely struggle
on for victory by upholding high our objectives of the
establishment of genuine peace, democracy and a genuine federal



AMERICA'S UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright visited Burma on
September 8-9, becoming the highest ranking US official to visit
the country since the military violently seized power in 1988.
She met with Gen Khin Nyunt and visited UN-funded rural
development projects. 

The US envoy dubbed the National Convention, which was organized
by Slorc to draft a new constitution, a "phoney" operation and
rejected junta leader Lt Gel Khin Nyunt's characterization of it
as "a meaningful process for dialogue".

She said there was "not a great deal" of improvement in
human rights in Burma. While the US welcomed the release of Suu
Kyi from nearly six years of house arrest, and of other political
activists, Washington had "reasons to believe that other people
had replaced them in prison and detention".

She has urged the Burmese junta to take the "many other
steps necessary to restore democracy" and to respect human
rights, or face greater international isolation.

She quoted Khin Nyunt as telling her that the Burmese people were
smiling more. But she retorted that: "dictators often dilute
themselves into believing they have popular support. But people
often smile not because they are happy but because they are
afraid. The future of Burma must be built on hope, not fear."

She urged the SLORC to begin a meaningful dialogue aimed at
national reconciliation with Mrs Suu Kyi and other democratic
leaders. She told a press conference the US was "modestly
encouraged" to hear that Slorc was for the first time considering
opening talks with Suu Kyi. But she quoted Khin Nyunt as saying
such talks "will have to come after internal consultations"
within Slorc leadership. The US government, she said, "does not
believe that such a dialogue should be delayed any longer" and
repeated Suu own words, "the dialogue begins the better.

She said her visit had two primary objectives: to call for
democratisation and support the role of Mrs Suu Kyi as a
pro-democracy leader. Narcotics were also on the agenda. 

"America stands ready to develop friendly and constructive
relations with the Burmese government, but that can occur when
and only when fundamental progress towards democracy and respect
for basic human rights is achieved," she said.

She said the visit was successful in terms of making clear
the US position on its future relations with Burma.

She had also urged Slorc "to choose the path choose the democracy
rather than continued repression and dictatorial rule".

The ambassador, who had a breakfast meeting with Suu Kyi
on September 9, said she and Suu Kyi shared the view it was of
continued importance to keep the attention of the international
community focused on the situation in Burma. They also agreed
that this year's UN resolution on human rights in Burma "reflects
accurately the situation on the ground". Albright said she would
talk with the UN representatives of othercountries about ''the
possibility of making it [the resolution] more specific and
having a timeframe" attached to democratic progress in Burma.

"I plan to speak out a great deal when I get back on the
importance of the Burmese people having the ability to move the,
democratic process forward under the UN resolution," she said.



A Rangoon resident said that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has organized a
Committee to provide assistance to political prisoners in
different jails in Burma. She has recently contributed 1000 kyat
including a towel and necessary medicines for each political
prisoner. "The People express their support to her great
attempt," he added.
The Committee has also provided assistance for the poor family
members of the political prisoners. There are now about over 3000
political prisoners still detained in the different prisons in
Burma. "She said that she will continue to urge the Slorc for
their release calling the people to give her the support" said
another resident in Rangoon.

Later words are reveived that Aung San Suu Kyi's assistance to
the political prisoners in August, 1995, were confiscated by the
prison authorities at the prisons according to the order from the
superior. It was first allowed by the Col. Kyaw Win, Deputy
military Intelligent chief of the Slorc, who passed the oral
message of Gen. Than Swe for unconditional release of Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi on July 10 and has frequently visited her residence
since then, a Rangoon resident said.

She also provided the assistance to the poor family members of
the political prisoners, particularly, 5000 kyat each to the
family members of the political prisoners who died in the prisons
while serving their sentences.



Thai Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Gen Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh met Gen Than Shwe on September 1, 1995, duing his
two-day visit to Burma. Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw was also
included in the Burmese delegation discussing bilateral issues
with the Thai side. Gen Chavalit handed a letter on behalf of
Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa to his counterpart.

Thailand does not give special recognition to Burmese dissident
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, considering her merely a Burmese citizen
carrying out political activities in her country, Defence
Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said on September 1, 1995. "I
don't know why we have paid much interest to her," he said.

Thailand is ready to cooperate and coordinate efforts with
Burma in narcotics suppression through exchanging information
and stepping up joint crackdown operations.

But Gen Chavalit said Thailand may not be able to comply with
Burma's request that it stop providing medical care to wounded
troops of drug warlord Khun Sa fighting the military government.
It is necessary for Thailand to provide humanitarian assistance
to people seeking refuge in its territory, he said.

Gen Chavalit said Thailand has mercy in allowing Burmese students
to take refuge in the country.

However, those student should know that it would be inappropriate
to use Thailand as a base to stage protests and other political
activities against the Burmese government.

Those accompanying Gen Chavalit to Burma include his adviser
Pat Akkanibut, his secretary Boonchu Wangkanond and Assistant
Army Chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro.



The U.S senate has approved sanctions against the Slorc military
regime in Burma by an overwhelming 91 to nine on September 21,
1995, after the efforts of Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican
from Kentucky since the beginning of this year.

Unanimously, the ABSDF (All Burma Students' Democratic Front) has
agreed on that measure against the military regime and stated
their warmly welcome on September 24, 1995. Approximately 3,000
political prisoners are still detained and the Slorc military
regime still intends to reconvene its sham National Convention to
take part and dominate in future Burma's politics by the
military, have been expressed in their statement.

However, "Today, acceded to the wishes of Senator John McCain, a
Republican from Arizona and withdrew my Free Burma Act of 1995 as
an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Appropriation Bill
currently under consideration by the U.S Congress" said Senator
Mitch McConnell on September 27, 1995, has been written in
Thailand's Bangkok Post by Ralph Bachoe on September 29.

Ralph Bachoe described that McConnell has decided to withdraw his
proposal by the intensive pressure from McCain, and, according to
a knowledgeable Republican source, the U.S oil companies, Unocal
and Texaco have over Congress with their powerful lobbying

Nevertheless, the ABSDF would like to express their special
thanks to Senator Mitch McConnell for his outstanding efforts how
he has sponsored for democratization in Burma ruled by the brutal
military regime.

The ABSDF is very pleased on what McConnell said, "I intend to
bring the matter before the Senate in the very near future. No
one should doubt my resolve to have the U.S Senate fully debate
the deplorable situation in Burma and bring about the trade and
investment sanctions I propose against the Slorc ( State Law and
Order Restoration Council).

Undoubtedly, the ABSDF believe that all American citizens like
Senator Mitch McConnell who love democracy and human rights and
topple military dictatorship on our earth, have been sympathetic
to the people of Burma who are starving "freedom", will continue
to participate hand in hand with the people of Burma in the



The sub-regional meeting of the executive council members of the
ASA ( Asia-Pacific Students' Association) was held in Bangkok
from August 7 to 12. It was attended by the representatives of 46
national students organizations spanning 26 countries in the
Asia-Pacific region. 

ABSDF Foreign Affairs Department joint-secretary, Ko Zaw Min
attended that meeting on behalf of the Burmese students, proposed
a campaign to release the famous Burmese student leader Min Ko
Naing, who was arrested in 1989 without any offense and sentenced
to 20 years imprisonment.

It also urgeS the SLORC to sit in a dialogue with democratic
forces in Burma led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.



The coming solar eclipse, on 24 October, 1995, would influence
both southern Shan state of Burma and the world, said by the
Burmese astrologers. Traditionally, Burmese people believe that
bad things will effect to the ruling government after occurring
On 24.4.92 the solar eclipse. Especially, it means that the
government would be changed from one to another.

Now, the Slorc is concerned about their controlled National
Convention which will be held again on October 24, 1995, in
Rangoon. The Slorc's so-called National convention was started on
January 9, 1993, but the Slorc has postponed the National
Convention for five times from 1993 to 1995. 

Time            duration              attended representatives

First         9.1.93- 11.1.93                    699
Second        1.2.93-  8.4.93                    695
Third         7.6.93- 16.9.63                    680
Fourth       18.1.94-  9.4.94                    643
Fifth         2.9.94-  7.4.95                    633
Sixth     scheduled to be restarted on 24.10.94    ?

On 24.8.92, one day after the retirement of Senior Gen Saw Maung,
who ever told that we will transfer power to the elected body of
1990 election and the Tatmadaw personnel will go back to the
military barracks, Slorc announced Notification No: 11/92 in
order to held a national convention within six months refusing to
transfer the state power. 

Concerning the National Convention to draft the constitution,
Aung San Suu Kyi who was recently released from six years of
house arrest, said that It is supposed to be a National
Convention, and a National Convention means that all forces in
the nation are involved, and what we would like to see it as a
true national one, and we should work together.

"The draft constitution is certainly not heading on the track to
democracy. So I think they should be open to negotiations" said
Aung San Suu Kyi.

Regarding the basic principles in the constitution, she said that
the basic principle of any genuine democratic government is that
the people should be able to decide whom they want to be at the
helm of the nation and when remove this people. "Every truly
democratic government must have the mandate of the people and
proper institutions to ensure that this mandate is given." she

At present, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the national opposition leader
and a Nobel Peace laureate has offered the Slorc a dialogue for
national reconciliation, but no response from the Slorc military
regime yet.    



At the end of July, 1995, a team of SLORC officials recruited
laborers for construction of unknown camps on the central Burma
range (Central Yoma). The labourers were all recruited from
Rangoon and other big cities but not from the local people near
by. The SLORC officials surprisingly gave 10,000 Kyats as an
advance payment for the work. But the workers were given no
information where, how long or the nature of the work. The
recruiting team didn't picked up anybody who refuse to take the
advance payment. Some sources think the work is connected with
either secret military activities or concentration or
interrogation camps for political prisoners.



After the release of national leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the
SLORC re-selected the "in charges" of streets, "in charges" of
every (10) households and enquired about their political outlook.
Most of the new "in charges" are pro-military USDA members.



It was reported from inside Burma that there are now over 3000
political prisoners in different jails of Burma. Most of the
political prisoners will complete their sentences by the end of
this year. It probably seems to be the Slorc that finding a way
to take advantages of the situation by announcing an amnesty or
something like that,  said a resident in Rangoon. Slorc may
announce an amnesty to exploit the situation, said one of the
political prisoners. 



The opening ceremony for the statue of the great Burmese King
Bayintnaung is scheduled to be held in September this year at
Tachilek opposite Mae Sai, Thailand.  Bayintnaung invaded
Thailand (then Siam) in the 16th century, and errecting this
statue is clearly designed to be an affront to the Thais.  The
SLORC has been carrying out an internal campaign to instigate an
anti-Thai spirit while anti-Chinese feelings are growing
particularly in Mandalay.

This is reflected even in jokes.  For instance, Zar Ga Nar, a
Burmese comedian, joked "I am studying Chinese". Another person
asked him, "Will you go and work in China?" Zar Ga Nar (Dr. Thu
Ra- Dentist) replied, "No. I will go and work in Mandalay."



After the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, videotapes covering
the current NLD meetings, her speeches at the gatherings in front
of her home, and the U Nu funeral ceremony where student
activists were arrested have become very popular in video halls
throughout Burma. In Burma, small video halls are located in
almost every ward of every township. 

Normally these video halls show mostly sex movies, comedies, and
foreign action stories. However, the videotapes of the Aung San
Suu Kyi-NLD meetings are attracting a lot of viewers at the

SLORC is very unhappy about this and in Bassein (Pa Thein), the 
capital of Irrawaddy division, NLD youth who brought these tapes
from Rangoon were arrested and detained for one night of
interrogation before they were all were released. In order to
intimidate the people, the SLORC officials in Bassein have
ordered all activists who actively took part in 8888 and have
since been released from the prisons, to send in reports about
what they have been doing from the time of their release up to
the present. 



A rumour which has been spread inside Burma is that the internal
split between the top brass of the Burma military has become
broader. Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt seems to have lost some power while
Gen. Maung Aye's clique becomes more powerful Senior Gen. Than
Shwe will retire by the end of this year and Gen. Maung Aye will
take his place as the Chairman of the Slorc, a Rangoon resident
said quoting the rumours.


In April, 1993, the Slorc started to open GEC shops in Burma for
government servants. The aims of the Slorc are:
1. To release government servants from current economic crisis in 
2. To have side-money for government servants.
3. To buy consumer goods cheaply for government servants.
4. To be flexible for the government servants according to the    
   changing economic system such as market system.
But people do not believe this because they have a lot of 
experience of co-operative practices during the time of one party
system, during the so-called socialist government's rule.
On May 6, 1995, the Slorc celebrated the third anniversary of
GEC. The Slorc Secretary-2 Gen. Tin Oo explained about GEC's
yearly accounts. But he did not explain at that celebration
whether the GEC had made a profit or not. Every GEC member has to
pay 750 Kyats per year and there are nearly 500,000 members of
the GEC throughout the country since 1993. He has instructed that
it should sell 24 kinds of goods for consumers from the GEC
shops. The only things GEC members could buy are: 
a. 8kg of rice per person,
b. 64 candals per person,
c. 2 pieces of soap per person,
d. 1 litre of kerosene per person.
The total expenditure of GEC has been also declining:
1993-94 expenditure 491.78 million Kyat
1994-95 expenditure 391.78 million Kyat
Once, there were some advertisements which repeatedly said: "buy
TVs and radios in GEC shops". But these were never actually
offered for sale.
It is unavoidable that there will be massive corruption by 
government servants whose monthly salary is 450 Kyat maximum,
when other manual labourers earn approximately 100 Kyat or 150
Kyat per day.



Before the release of Nobel Peace prize winner, Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, a jointly statement of ABFSU (the All Burma Federation of
Student Union) and (Committee for re-establishment of All Myanmar
Student Unions) circulated among the students inside Burma and
outside of Burma.

A source stated that the Military Intelligent got the pamphlet
and started to interrogate possible student activists of both
student unions.

The statement urged the students to gather and demonstrate in
famous pagodas of cities on the date of 11, July, if Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi was not released. The military government however does
not allow formation of any associations such as student union.



Because of the high price of rice in Arakan State, most of the
small local restaurants cook the low-quality rice. People he
became afraid to eat at these shops because many have suffered
diarrhoea, dysentery and other gastrointestinal disorders after
eating in them.



The people from the Arakan State have to 'contribute' labour 14
days per month. People are ordered to provide their own food at
the work site, bringing their cooking pots, as well as food
supplies etc....They are faced with food shortage because of the
loss of income-earning time while contributing their time for
labours without any payment or compensation.

In Cardi village of Kyaut Taw township, 50 households out of a
100 have fled and abandoned their village because of the
escalation of forced conscription for the Kyaut Taw- Bu Thee
Taung Car road. 

One case, U Pu Hla Aung, 35, of death from starvation was
reported from this village during July. 


A system, in which "Tatmadaw(Military) family members are
automatically exempted from forced portering", has become
apparent all over Burma. For example, if a girl marries a soldier
her family escape forced portering. If a son of the family joins
the Army, his family members can avoid forced portering. 


Light Infantry Battalion No (20) in Sittwe have been recruiting
the young boys of only 12-13 years old for the military. When
these young boys are asked why they joined the military, they
replied: "we can have a regular meal if we join the military".
"We did it for hunger" the young boys said. "Outside the military
compound, we are unable to enjoy regular meals', they said.



A source from Arakan state claimed that top SLORC officials have
planed for Maha Myat Muni Statue(the famous Buddhist statue about
4.5 feet height in Arakan state) to be carried around the cities
of Burma soon to be honour. 

Apparently, the local Sanga Council members of Kyauk Taw township
discussed this issue and one monk agreed and the other members of
the Sanga Council of 11 monks rejected this proposal. Local
Arakan people also disagreed with that proposal. (Long ago, a
Burmese King conquered Arakan state and transferred  a statute of
Famous Arakan reign " Maha Myat Muni" to Mandalay.

Despite objections by local Sanga and people, the top SLORC
officials are determined to carry out their plan in the coming
October (at the end of Buddhist lent).



The military authorities ordered the people in Kyauk Pru, Ran
Bree and Amm townships to
supply them with the following items:

1. Fire wood to bake bricks(1Ft width x 2Ft length_ 700 kyats) -
80 Nos per home  
2. Roofing thatch(two kyats/unit) - 75 Nos per home
3. Timber for supporting home(20 Ft in length_ 120 kyats)- one
per home
4. Brick(1200 kyats per one trench) - For one trench per home
5. Chili(150 kyats per one viss) - One viss per home
6. Bamboo(two kyats/unit) - 50 Nos per one home
7. 5000 kyats per one home for Township Law and Order Restoration



1. Ma Khine Soe, a girl from Ye Nan Dane village of Kyauk Pru
went Psychosis because a soldier from a column of Light Infantry
Regiment No(34), opened fire close to her ear without any reason
in March, 1995. 



Maung Tin Myint, 35, from Ywar Ma of Ma Yut village in Ran Bree
township died because of over-work ordered by the military
authorities on construction of Rangoon- Minbu-Amm-Kyauk Pru Road.
On that day, he slept because he was seriously ill and refused to
go to the work-site, but two soldiers from Light Infantry No(34)
forced him to go to the work-site. He died while he was working
in his work-site on that day. He had a wife, Ma Khin Nyunt and
five children.



The peasants making up  70% of the population in  Arakan State
are allowed to work only 40 days to take care of their own crops
in every year, while the rest of the time they are forced to work
for the military projects, for example the Rangoon-
Minbu-Amm-Kyauk Pru-Mrauk Oo Road, as the military orders
The price of rice is skyrocketing. It is around 50-60 Kyats for
one viss of rice. Rice from Bangladesh have been smuggled from
Bangladesh to Arakan State. 



In June, 1995, in Sittwe township(Arkiab) a son of Col. Htay Win,
Deputy-Brigadier of Western command(Arakan Division), died at the
Sittwe summer resort tower. He and his friends were unconscious
and referred to the State hospital in Sittwe urgently. Col Htay
Win arrested many young civilians, and interrogated and tortured
the people investigating the case.  He was angry when the friends
of his son became conscious and told him that they suffered
unconscious because of using morphine. Col Htay Win angrily
abandoned body of his son at the hospital and the hospital
authorities took responsibility themselves to cremate the body.



12 villagers from the different villages of Pa Lat Wa and Kyaut
Taw township were arrested and later executed inhumanly by the
Slorc troops after being accused of having contact with the
Arakenese revolutionary groups. Their eyes were gouged and hands
were cut. About 1200 villagers, in July 1995, have fled to the
Mizoram state of India after crossing the India-Burma border as
they could tolerate no more. These displaced persons are now
facing a lot of difficulties since they have received no
assistance from any humanitarian aid organizations.
Avaiable list of victims
NO   NAME                AGE       NAME OF VILLAGE     DATE OF
1. Mr Rammado            48             Loungadu                
   (Village Headman)
2. U Nga Mae Che         46        Taung-roa               
   (Village Headman)
3. U Oung Zan Oo         54        Taung-roa                    
   (Secretary of Village Council)
4. Maung Shwe Doot       25        Taung-roa               
5. Mejir                      33        Taung-roa      
6. U Thar Maung          55        Setpaik-pron                 
7. Hla Han                    28        Setpaik-pron            
8. U Maung Fru           46        Trawn-ai



In Seik Phyu township in Magwe division, there are about 150
village tracts and nearly 30-50 houses in a village. Most of the
local people earn their living by growing paddy, wool, Peas,
beans and Onions. Most of the villagers are land-less and only 5%
of local people own 5-10 acres, generally being poor farmers.
The local SLORC officials ordered them to sell their farm
products compulsorily to the SLORC's store. Some farmers have to
buy from outside to replace the quota sold to the SLORC when the
weather brings poor crops.

               The product forced to sell         Production
For rice       2 baskets per acre                 30 Basket/Acre
               (Price 60 Kyats for a Basket=    )
For cotton     30 Viss/Acre                       200 Viss/Acre
               (Price 10 Kyats /Viss, in outside  50 Kyats per    
For bean       1.5 Viss/ Acre                     12 Viss/ Acre

The villagers were also ordered to do digging work for a
reservoir project. The quota was 150 feet length by 6 feet width
by 4 feet Height earth pit per village without any payment. The
villagers then were forced to work on the construction of the
Railroad from Pakoku to Myaing Township, each family have to send
a person to work a month or the officials fined 1000 Kyats for a

In that area, daily wages for a hard laborer is only 15 kyats and
because of drought last year, there is widespread poverty and
starvation. Now a lot of villagers including youths and families
from that area have migrated to towns in search of jobs.



The Slorc is currently building a new Navy base near Thit Poak
Taung village on the island of Kyauk Phu in Arkan state with the
help of Chinese experts. For this new navy base, the Slorc has
taken over more than 300 acre of land from local people without
any compensation. It is believed that the new navy base will be
equipped with  a high-tech radar system. Over 30 buildings have 
already been built on the island, but no details about the new
base have been released by the Slorc. Kyauk Phu island is the
biggest island in Burma waters.



The Slorc only recognizes eight monasteries in Kaw Thaung
township in Tenessarim division, eventhough there are 250 monks
and 26 monasteries in the township. Only the monks from these
eight recognized monasteries are allowed by the SLORC to go into
monsoon retreat. 

In accordance with the orders of the SLORC, the Central Monk
Council, on July 8, 1995, issued an announcement that the
remaining 18 monasteries would be abolished before the period of
the monsoon retreat. The notification was issued only two days
before the commencement of the retreat.

All monks staying in the monasteries which are listd for
abolition called a meeting and submited an appeal letter to the
Central Monk Council and the SLORC, asking for the suspension of
the abolition order. The monks requested to be allowed to stay in
monasteries for a month in order to take part in the monsoon

The SLORC however has denied the request demanding that its
abolition order be implemented."If they fail to do so, we have to
use force" said an military authority. Monks are now facing many
difficulties in Burma.



Nowadays, the health condition of the prisoners in the Mergui
prison is at risk. Previously a medical doctor took care of the
prisoners as the In Charge of Health unit in Mergui prison.
However, at the moment Capt. Aye Thaung from MI(19) takes
responsibility for the health of the prisoners but he is only
pretending as a doctor. 

Medical doctors from the Mergui hospital who receive referrals
with complications after mistreatment or delayed of treatment by 
the prison's so-called doctor, are extremely disturbed.



Since at the beginning of this year, the SLORC troops have been
reinforced in the area of Tha Pyay Chaung village and Zalun
village in Tenasserim division to provide security for the gas
pipe line being built there. Light Infantry No (267) and (269)
were recently stationed there. Light Infantry No (401),(402), and
ground engineering corps no (957) previously were located in
these two villages. The presence of a lot of troops and several
movement of column of troops have created problems for the local
villagers. Young women have been sexually harassed frequently by
the SLORC soldiers. Some were raped during the work hours of the
local rubber plantation, but the village headmen dared not take
action against the soldiers. The security problem for worker
women in the rubber plantation fields and farms means that many
dare not to go to work. (Source. KNLA, Brigade 4)



On August 16, 1995, 20 Slorc's soldiers from LIB (408) led by
company Sergeant Aye Hlaing and Sergeant Hla Myint came to Zinba
village in Yay Phu township of Tenasserim Division.   There they 
asked the village headman for money .  The headman had collected 
the money, which included charges of porterage, forced labor and
the (Union Solidarity and Development Association) USDA fund, all
of which was to be transfered to Yay Phu township Slorc's
chairman. But, the head of Zinba village refused to hand over the
money and was beaten by Sergeant Aye Hlaing.  Finally, 28,500
Kyat was seized from the headman of Zinba village.



Abbot U Wi Mar La, a 36 year old monk from Kyat Chaung village,
Mergui Islands township(Mrake Kyun Su) was arrested at Mergui
Airport in May 1995 by Military Intelligence No(19). 

The military has seized Gold and jewellery owned by a friend of
Abbot U Wi Mar La and the abbot was arrested while preparing to
leave the Mergui airport for Rangoon to ask the higher Monk
authorities about the case. He has been detained in Mergui
township until now without any official charges or trial.



The bosses in charge of the Ye Tavoy railroad construction for 
Myanmar Railway corporation have regularly paid money asssigned 
as labor fees to the local army regiments who maintain security 
along the railroad construction route, because the bosses don't
need to pay labor fees to the forced laborers. The prices of
digging in the ground are as follow:

1. For a 10 x 5 foot ft hole   - 100 Kyat
2. 10 ft    x 5 ft of soil     - 150 Kyat

At 30 mile Prisoner Camp located along Ye-Tavoy,  the railroad
construction site, the Railway Corporation has been paying the 
following fees into a fund for the Slorc's army:

1. 4 ft square x 4 ft rocks and stones - 200 Kyat
The forced laborers in Yay Phu township are now ordered to make
bricks and the Slorc army is now selling those bricks at five
Kyat per piece to local traders.   



On August 10, 1995, Daw Naw Jew (40) from Myitta village in Tavoy
township was fined 10,000 Kyat by the C company of the 25th
Regiment for not informing the army that two guests were sleeping 
in her house.  The army fined her 5,000 Kyat fine for each guest. 



On August 13, 1995, Second Lt. Aung Mon from LIB 410 attempted to 
commit suicide by shooting himself with his pistol after
quarreling with his senior officer.   He is now seriously injure
and lies in Tavoy hospital.


Railroad Construction Site in Yay Phu Township (Aug,1995)

Following are the numbers of forced laborers including prisoners
in southern Burma.  

1. 21 mile camp (Yay Phu township)
There are about 1,000 forced laborers and every day approximately
100 are contracting malaria. Absent laborers have to be punished
by the Slorc's soldiers.

2. 30 mile prisoners camp (Yay Phu township)
There are about 150 prisoners and every day they have to work
heavily breaking rocks. Approximately 50 prisoners are
contracting malaria every day.

3. Nwe Lein camp (Yay Phu township)
There are about 700 local forced laborers and every day
appoximatey 70 contract malaria.

4. Zinba camp (Yay Phu township)
There are nearly 800 local forced laborers and approximately 80
are contracting malaria every day.

5. 30 mile camp (Yay Phu township)
There are about 900 local forced labors and approximately 100
get malaria every day.  The above-mentioned facts are collected
by our local cells and is not entirely completed.  Further
research is being conducted to augment these details.

Every local forced labors from Tavoy, Thayat Chaung, Longlon and
Yay Phu townships have not been paid any labor charges or
compensation. Therefore, all the labor charges have to be paid to
the local Slorc's army by the Myanmar railway corporation.



On August 13, 1995, LIB 406 reported to the Myanmar Railway
corporation that 900 holes were completely dug.  So, the railroad 
bosses from Tavoy came and inspected the holes, but only 190 were
actually finished. An argument ensued and the bosses refused to
pay money for 900 holes to the army. 



In the morning of August 18, 1995 there was fighting between
KNU guerrilla unit 3 of the 10th Battalion in the KNU's Brigade 4
area and the Slorc's LIB 408.  On the Slorc's side, two soldiers
were killed and three injured, but no causalities were reported
from the KNU.  That evening the same KNU unit clashed again with
the Slorc's LIB 408.  Three Slorc soldiers were killed and six
injured, but the KNU suffered no casualties.


In August, 1995, Corporal Sew Oo (Inf/565954) from LIB 401 argued
with his officer over unfair conduct between soldiers and 
officers, and hit him. Corporal Swe Oo was sentenced to one and
half years in prison by the Commander of LIB 401 and was sent to
the Tavoy civilian prison.


On August 23, 1995, at the 30 mile prisoner camp, where prisoners 
were breaking rocks into small pieces for railroad construction
in Yay Phu township, a mining service explosion killed two
prisoners. The explosion released rocks which fell on the
prisoners.  Three others were seriously injured and were sent to
Tavoy hospital.



On August 24, 1995, local forced laborers from 21 Mile Camp were
forced to work by LIB 407 despite the heavy rain. 900 forced
laborers dug 40 big holes and 180 holes for collecting soil.
According to one forced laborer who returned from the railroad 
construction site this means that LIB 407 is due 31,000 Kyat from 
the Myanmar Railway Corporation of Tavoy Township for their fund. 


On August 16, 1995, 80 Slorc troops led by Capt. Than Sein from
the101nd regiment came into Nawbal village in Palaw township and
seized a 70kg pig, fifty chickens, 16 kg of fish and 2000 Kyat
worth of commodities from a small store.  In total, their haul
would be worth 12,000 Kyat, said one of the villagers.



Informed sources say  an intelligent officer(at the level of
captain) is now attached to Myaing Gyi Ngu abbot ( who led the
brake away religious faction of DKBO). Earlier, the monk refused
three times to accept the intelligent officer and then later
agreed. The intelligent officer is under direction of Military
Branch No (3), Taungoo.



The movie, Beyond Rangoon has been given worldwide publicity
since the end of August, this year. During the period of shooting
of this film, the Slorc voiced a lot of criticism of it through
their state-controlled Magazines. 

However, a replica of Sule pagoda constructed in Malaysia for the
shooting of Beyond Rangoon was featured on page 93 of Moe Wai
Journal(November, 1994). Artists particularly authors inside
Burma are happy with this picture in the Moe Wai Magazine.

It was included in a translated article about Malaysia in the
travel section of Moe Wai Journal. The photograph of the
construction of Sula pagoda appeared with a caption about
"construction of Sule pagoda for a picture which is being shot in

Readers are commenting on the case as a failure or defeat of the
censorship board authorities of the Slorc or a trick lesson
toward the Slorc.



On August 8, 1995, a car carrying students from the Middle School
of Ban Yin village was stopped by the Slorc troops looking for
porters. The Light Infantry No 423 interrupted the students while
on their way to Si Sai township High School in Shan State to
enter the military quiz contest.  The Students became annoyed and
then refused to answer the questions asked by the military in
order to express their antagonism for the portering. Finally the
Slorc gave-up.



On August 17, 1995, the KNPP ambushed several Slorc military 
vehicles near by Shar Taw township in Kayah State. Seven Slorc
soldiers from Light Infantry No 261 were killed and 32 wounded.
Lt Col Tin Myo Hlaing ordered his troops to find a crowded place
in Loikaw township of Kayah State to collect the porters if

On August 29, 1995, Slorc troops accompanying Maj General
Maung Kyi while he conducted an inspection trip around Loikaw
were attacked by KNPP troops near the Law Pi Ta water Generation



On April 6, 1995, SLORC's infantry no (331) which had been
fighting the MTA at Khon Hsar and Ping Kor villages, 7-8 miles
west of Tachileik, returned to Tachileik. As they marched into
town, each household of every village circle was ordered to come
out and greet the soldiers with 300 packets of candy and
garlands. Anyone absent had to pay a fine of 300 Bahts.
(Source- S.H.A.N)


At the beginning of 1989, the Slorc began promoting border 
trade. Since then, timber, rice, mangoes, water melon, various
peas, even wooden sculptures and Japanese-made saloon cars have
been exported to mainland China through Yunnan province. In terms
of border trading, China has exported a large amount of weapons
to the Slorc military regime and different goods for Burmese
Some sources said that three 3-tonne trucks carrying TNT 
explosives have arrived in an area where the opium-warlord Khun
Sa has some influence--Mandalay, second city of Burma. These
three trucks were stranded in Mandalay for nearly one year. Khun
Sa has threatened that he could blow up Mandalay as a reprisal
for the Slorc's offensives in his area in Shan state this year.
We do not know whether those TNT explosives are being hidden
among the new buildings which are owned by new- comer Chinese or
Some reliable sources said that Gen. Kyaw Than, Chief commander
of middle command or MI (1) and MI (16) might elaborate with


Mine Shew is the region in Shan state where precious stones 
are found, such as rubies and emeralds. All the armed ethnic 
groups who made cease-fire agreements with Slorc are 
allowed to dig those kind of stones in this area. However, 
block 5 and 6 in this area are being controlled by the Slorc, 
because of its good quality of stones. Four months ago, one 
funny thing happened when some Wa ethnic soldiers dug in 
these blocks: the Slorc army came and warned them to 
withdraw. Finally, the Wa soldiers ran away, but they left 16 
guns there. However, these Wa soldiers got a lot of precious 
rubies, despite losing their guns.
List for head of miners in Mine Shew (1994) 
Block Name      Organization             Advance money to Slorc
----- ----      ------------             ---------------------- 
1/b Daw Mya Nyunt individual               700,000 Kyat
2/b U Ba Shwe        "                   1,400,000 Kyat
3/b U Kyi            "                   1,200,000 Kyat
4/b Daw Kyar Fu      "                   4,200,000 Kyat
5/b Law Sit Han   Ko Kang               20,600,000 Kyat
6/b Ye Moe Lyan  Shan special region 1. 20,800,000 Kyat
7/b Za Khaun   Kachin special region 1.  5,000,000 Kyat
8/b Yan Moe An   Shan region 1.         10,800,000 Kyat
9/b .........    individual             10,000,000 Kyat
10/b E BAy           "                   2,000,000 Kyat
11/b Sai Lin     Shan region 4.          4,000,000 Kyat 
[The complete list for 1995 has not yet been confirmed.]
In this area, the Slorc has been using 4 regiments and 4 light 
infantry batallions to control security.
No. 11 Light Infantry / No. 221 Light Infantry No. 43  Regiment /
No. 225 Light Infantry No. 49 Regiment / No. 227 Light Infantry
No. 65 Regiment No. 66 Regiment
Slorc chairman fled to border



The Slorc apponnted chairman of Village-lorc(village law and
order restoration council) from Yin Gyi village in Long Lon
township fled to Thai border in August, 1995. He admits that he
couldn't continue to collect money from villagers monthly for
township Slorc's chairman and No.(104) Regiment.


Battle news

On August 5, 1995, there was a fighting between the students army
(ABSDF) Battalion (102)/(201) column and Slorc's No.(103rd)
regiment near Ko In and Kyauk Sarit village in Tenasserim
township, southern region of Burma. It was informed that two
Slorc soldiers killed and one injured. A platoon commander of the
students army, Lt. Myo Than Htun was wounded, said a spokesman
from ABSDF.



SLORC strangulate on SSA

Since at the end of March, 1995, the SLORC ordered a 10 points
restriction on SSA Brigade (7) operating in Ka Leint- Kon Hein
township, a source from S.H.A.N said the 10 points are: 

(1) The SSA (Shan State Army) forces must inform the local SLORC
officials and request permission if they want to pass the village
or town with their weapons.

(2) All of the SSA forces must transfer their bases 10 miles far
from truck roads.

(3) The SSA forces that are operating in Ka Leint- Kon Hein area
must completely move to the HQs of SSA located in Sibaw township,
in North of Shan state within three months.

(4) The SSA forces must ask permission from local SLORC officials
if they want to travel over truck roads either by foot or by

(5) The SSA forces who are working in gem-digging concession
areas in Mine Shu area must operate in the permitted area only,
and must not take any money from either individuals or

(6) The SSA forces must stop taking new recruits or demanding
food and porters.

(7) The SSA troops must follow with the columns of the SLORC when

(8) The SSA should prepare and think for the systematic abolition
of the SSA in future. If they want to hold arms they must become 
a special police force (or) local guards.

(9) Following the cease-fire the SSA must obey the orders and
regulations accurately or else return to the jungle again.

(10) The SSA forces having any connection with the MTA( Maung Tai
Army) have been warned that they will be severely punished.

At the beginning of 1995 in the Maing Shu gem mining area, five
SSA soldiers were beaten severely by the SLORC forces.
The SSA signed a cease-fire agreement with the SLORC on 24-9-89
led by Say Htin and following Brigade (1)(3)(4) and (7). However
the SSA also sent a delegation to the meeting of the PDF (Peace
and democratic Front).

(Sources- S.H.A.N)

Pa-0 National Army: No political and military movement here too,
only taking business with marketing, digging gems in Maing Shu
area. The PNA also earned incomes by running a passenger bus from
Taung Gyi-Maing Shu- Saing Lyan.

Kachin Defence Army : No political and military movement. The KDA
also earns income by opening a check point in le Cha- Pang Lon
road taking a tax of 300-500 Kyats for small trucks and 800-1000
Kyats for big trucks.

Palaung State Liberation Army: No political and military
movement. It is reported that PSLA is making business by digging
gems in Maing Shu area.

(Former 815-768 military area)

Superficially there is no political and military movement, but in
the eastern part of Shan state, Maing ma- Main La- Sa Lu area,
the forces are collecting new recruits, giving military training,
and they held a Shan National Day mass rally. This group is led
by Sai linn (Lin Min Xian) and also known as the National
Democracy Alliance Army. The NDAA is the second strongest forces
after UWSA (United Wa State Party) in the PDF (the front formed
by the cease-fired groups in Shan state) and have an estimated
strength of 3000 to 3500.

The NDAA get much profits from the gem-digging business in Pan
Swe-Phai San area.


On 9th July of this year, a small clash broke out between Mon
troops and the SLORC's Light Infantry Battalion No (62) in the
Three Pagoda Pass area and a Mon soldier injured.

After the cease-fire agreement between Mons and the SLORC, the
SLORC troops re-enforced its Three Pagoda Pass forces with a
Front Line Tactical Command.... LIB (62), (106) and (32).

During the signing ceremony for the cease-fire agreement, the
Vice-chairman of the New Mon State Party, Nai Htin stated in his
speech that the agreement was only a military truce agreement.

periods were arrested

The KNPP (Karenni National Progressive party) had signed a cease-
fire agreement with the SLORC in March of this year. Last month,
heavy fighting between the KNPP troops and the SLORC broke out
and now almost 16 SLORC battalions are positioned in former KNPP
controlled areas in violation of the agreement. The SLORC has
been arresting the supporters of the KNPP from Loikaw, De Maw
Soe, Fru Soe townships during the periods of the truce.

SLORC troops collected money, 300 Kyats from each family to cover
porter fees from Mae Senam village and as well they arrested 90
male villagers form that village to work as porters for the
military and so the villagers were forced to escaped to hide in
the jungle. The farms from that villages have been damaged and
left empty.


The SLORC permits the New Mon State Party Forces only in the
agreed limited area in Ye Phyu township. Because of the Gas
Pipeline project in that area, the Mon troops must accept the
close guidance of the SLORC regional commander, the sources said.

On March 12, 1995, there was a military exercise held in Mai 
Yan in Shan state by PDF, which was formed in November 
1994 with 8 ethnic resistance groups who made cease-fire 
agreements with the Slorc. They fired at least 600 rounds of 
heavy weapons in those exercises. More than 500 troops from 
768, 815, UWSA, Ko Kant, Kachin and Plaung participated 
there. But, they did not inform the Slorc for their military 
exercise. At that time, the Slorc thought that PDF would have 
to try and attack Mai Yan and sent 3 regiments to Kyai Ton, 
Mai Khat and Mai Phat. But, PDF did not allow the Slorc 
troops in that area. If the Slorc troops entre that exercise 
zone, PDF troops will attack them. Finally, the Slorc troops 
had to withdraw. 
PDF (Peace and Development Front).
768 and 815 are Divisional army from former Communist Party of
UWSA (United Wa State Army)
Ko Kant are Burmese born Chinese and recoginized as ethnic 
people like Wa. 
Kachin are northern indigenous ethnics.
Palaung are indigenous ethnics in northern Shan state.


Open letter to the Voice of the Peacock

To the editor,                                                  
July 27, 1995.

Dear Sir, 

I am not an expert in writing, but I am writing this letter to
you, because I feel impatient. I am really satisfied after
reading your Voice of the Peacock bulletin which I have borrowed
from a friend of mine in Singapore.

I want to try to explain you one thing.  I am a medical doctor
who was a classmate of one of General Khin Nyunt's sons,
Secretary (1) of Slorc (State Law and Order Restoration Council)
of Burma when we were in the University in Rangoon. At present, I
am a very new doctor struggling for my survival while his son, Ye
Naing Win, is successful in business. 
As you know, the Slorc's generals including Gen. Khin Nyunt used
to say that they themselves are very patriotic and that the
youths  of Burma should practice and preserve Burmese traditional
culture and join the Buddhist religious training. If not, Burma
will be under other nations like a colony. However, nearly all
the youths who have been going to westernized night clubs and
karaoke bars are the sons and daughters of the Slorc's generals.
They can use however much money they want, just like one Burmese
proverb says "use the money like water". They can buy every
modern appliance and the latest foreign-made clothes which are
very expensive in Burma.

At the moment, Gen. Khin Nyunt son's Ye Naing Win and Colonel
Kyaw Win's (military medical doctor and personal doctor of Ne Win
who is now staying in Canada as the Slorc Ambassador to Canada)
son Htut Kyaw Win and the movie actor Kyaw Thu have jointly
opened a store named "Living Color Boutique" in Bogyoke market in
Rangoon. All fashionable foreign-made clothes are available
there, but people like us cannot afford to go there except for
window shopping. They sell only genuine US-made clothing.

 I have attached  two Burmese newspaper cuttings with this letter
for you: one is an advertisement for Living Color Boutique and
another is the speech of Gen. Khin Nyunt. So, you can compare and
consider whether these two who are father and son have very
different attitudes towards their country or whether they are
working hand in glove, and the generals are only talking about
patriotism cosmetically.

On January 23, 1995, Gen. Khin Nyunt was quoted in the Burmese
newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar, as saying "Every patriotic
person has to defend the country from the danger of destructive
elements who have been exchanging national dignity for
selfishness"," Businessmen should be giving first priority to the
political views of the country", "Movie stars and singers have to
reconsider their style of dress and if people fail to maintain
traditional culture, foreign culture will dominate the whole
country", "Secretary (1) Gen. Khin Nyunt urges all to build an
independent economic system without foreign domination". 

When I was in Rangoon, I went to Khin Nyunt's residence many
times at the invitation of his son. Among our friends at that
time, if we wanted to listen latest American album, we had to
borrow it from him. He had so many many albums by singers like 
George Michael, John Taylor, Duran Duran, etc...He never talked
about Burmese traditional songs. In his room his walls were
covered with posters of western singers and actors including
George Michael, John Taylor and Tom Cruise. There were no wall
posters or pictures of historical Burmese singers or artists
hanging in his room. Whenever his father went abroad as a
personal assistant of Ne Win, Khin Nyunt usually bought his son
things like Nike and Adidas walking shoes, American jeans, and
expensive shirts. He wore mostly western pants and very rarely
wore Burmese traditional longyis. Everything in their home is
US-made including toilets and bath rooms, while other people are
using locally made things.

But I couldn't understand why they are full of patriotic
sentiment at the same time. Now, look, his son is running his own
businesses, even though he has a medical doctor's degree. 
Nevertheless, other new doctors are being sent to remote area
hospitals with lack of medicines and equipments.

The next thing I would like to tell you is that one night 2-3
months ago, the son of Gen. Lon Maung, Minister of the Prime
Minister's office, namely Aung Aung stopped his car and was with
a prostitute in his car near Tamwe circus. At that time, there
was a festival in Kyait Kasan square near Tamwe circus and a
night patrol policeman checked them, but Aung Aung rudely said 
"Do you know what is my father?" Finally, the policeman guarded 
Aung Aung's car for the whole night and served him like a waiter 
getting him his whisky.

Dear Sir, the real situation about patriotism is so far from what
the generals have talked about. So, I open my heart with this
letter about what I have seen and heard.

Dr. Soe Moe Naing


                           STATEMENT ON 28th ANNIVERSARY OF AKYAB
Date: August 13, 1995
                                                    August 13,
1995, this is the 28th anniversary of the day when
the Arakanese people, courageously fought against the military
regime in Akyab(Sittwe), the capital of Arakan State, and over
a 300 Arakanese sacrificed their lives for the rice problem
for their people.  

In 1967, five years after the 1962 coup d' etat of the Burmese
Army under the official name of Revolutionary council, people
throughout Burma were faced with very high rice prices and
shortage of rice in the markets, because the military
government kept the rice for export to foreign countries to
earn foreign exchange. When the people demanded the
authorities to sell the rice from the stores which were under
military guards, the military government refused to do so.
Eventually, in Araken State it led to some people dying of
hunger and the demonstration know as the "Akyab Rice Riots".
The junta responded by killing unarmed demonstrators and the
uprising was brutally crushed. 

(In order to divert the growing public unrest over the rice
problem throughout the country at that time, the Revolutionary
Council provoked the "Anti-Chinese riots" in Burma in October,

On that bloody day, August 13th in 1967, all the Arakanese
people showed their heroic spirit to struggle against their
suppression by the military regime in Burma. Every year on
that day, we respectfully honor all the Arakanese heroes who
sacrificed in action while fighting against the military

At present, all the Arakanese people face unjust military laws
and orders and  suffering created by the Slorc military
1. The ALD (Arakan League for Democracy Party) which was
elected by the Arakanese people,  was dissolved by the
2. The peasants making of  70% of the populations in  Arakan
State are allowed only 40 days for their own crops in every
year, while the rest of the time they are forced to work for
the military projects, for example the Rangoon-Minbu-Amm-Kyauk
Pru-Mrauk Oo Road, as the military orders them to do so.
3. The Slorc military regime has been unnecessarily increasing
its army in Arakan State supported by the hard-earned money of
Arakanese people.
4. Arakanese youths are forced to join the Slorc army and any
who do not want to join the Slorc army are not able to
continue to live in Arakan state.

Therefore, we call on all Arakanese people to continue the
struggle for democracy;
     1. To topple military dictatorship by all means at hand.
     2. To double the efforts for the freedom of people.
     3. To achieve unity among the Arakanese people.

We, Arakanese students and youths vow our determination that
we will continue out struggle for the liberation of the entire
people of Burma from the oppression of the brutal military
                       Long live the spirit of 13th August!

All Burma Students' Democratic Front (Arakan Region)
For more information please contact: Mrat Kyaw_ In Charge of
ABSDF(Arakan Re                   gion)



This article is directly translated from the Burmese  Dana
[Wealth] magazine to introduce the true economic situation and
investment condition in Burma. The pages of this interview was
seriously censored by the government censor officials. But we
believe it can show some extent of the distorted open-market
economy of the SLORC. And it is our responsibility if there
are any mistranslation in the Burmese to English translation.

We would like to express thanks to the editors of Dana
[Wealth] magazine for the arranging this debate and the
experts and intellectuals who expressed their true opinions
for the benefit of the country's economy.

Place          : The Oriental House
Date           : December 12, 1994
Sponsored by   : Dana [Wealth] magazine                     

Participants :

1. William Paul
Member of the Statistic Council of Burma,
Retired professor of the Commerce Department of the Economic

2. U Thet Tun 
Member of the Board of Directors of Tun Foundation Bank,
former Director of UNESCO office (Paris),
retired Burmese Ambassador to France,
Chairman of the Central Statistic Board.

3. Dr Khin Maung Kywae, 
Former chairman of Educational Research Department of Burma,
Professor of the Administration Department of the Economic

4. U Thein Aung,
Former lecturer of Commerce Department, Economic Institute,
and Administration Department, Rangoon Institute of

5. Dr Sein Maung,
Chairman of First Private Bank

6. U Chan Aye (Maung Su San)
Economic researcher, frelance writer,
former CEC member and co-founder of NLD.

Topic: The Private Sector of Burma today.

Issued in :    Dana Vol; 5, No. (6), January, 1995 . 
               (The 1994 yearbook of the private Sector)

Dana Editor:   One year has been passed. We would like to know
the outlook of experts and intellectuals for the condition of
the private sector in Burma. We also would like to know about
current problems and the means to solve them. Please explain
especially about the development of the private sector.

Dr Sein Maung:      In general for 1994, we  can say there has
been progress in the Burmese economy, in current trend, most
may say it is enough at the rate of GNP 5%. As an official
figure, it shows 7%. But we have to repair for the sake of
development of country, in macro level (principles) and micro
level (detailed economic sector).

U Thein Oo:    It's progress of course, but we need to think
the progress is on the right trend or if not how to put this
progress onto the right trend.

U Chan  Aye:   When I was in Mandalay, somebody asked me if
the situation should be meant as development in despite a slow
or a decrease in the production sector and the mushrooming of
big buildings. I answered as much as I seen, we have to accept
that the development is the mushrooming of big buildings. I
have to witness as I see. But we need to find out some other
causes for the decline in the production sector as a separate

Dr sein Maung:      I have seen that the public private sector
emphasizes trade rather than production. My opinion is to
develop production for the benefit of the country. Couldn't
they do the production sector? Or dare not to do it? Or
couldn't they compete with the capital of foreign investments?
And how should the government support to compete?
As I have seen, there are defects in the production sector
while much increase of imported goods in country. For example,
the blankets form foreign countries are imported and the
factories of blankets in Mon Ywa township have lost. We need
to find  out the points for incompetence.

U Thein Oo:    It is possibly the lack of courage, or the lack
of experience of do something. But there are a few people who
try to compete, at present.

William Paul:       I couldn't get the accurate figure of the
damaged private sectors.

U Thein Aung:       I guess that most of people think founding
of companies is the private sector. But definitely not. Really
the private sector means any business independent from
It is so important to create the appropriate environment for
the private sector to survive.

Dana Editor:        We need some suggestions for the
development of the  private sector.

U Thet Tun:         For my opinion, the most important thing
is the infrastructure. If there was a good infrastructure, it
might be good soil for foreign investment. This infrastructure
must include; (1) standard transportation (2) Electricity and
(3) communication such as telephone.

Now, some extent of infrastructure has been developed but we
need to develop a lot. Now , big hotels are being constructed
and the hotels run electricity itself and cause black outs.
Many areas have faced those kind of problems.

U Chan Aye:         For my opinion, the problem of
electricity, can be solved in small and medium scale township
by transferring to private contracts. I have heard some are
ready to do this business. [Censored ..... inked out]

Dr Sein Maung:      I think the policy matter is most
important for the economic booming. [censored .... inked out].
Especially we need to review for the tax and tariff on exports
and owners of production. And we need to think about the
monetary policy for supply and interest rates.

William Paul:       We can say only after close research in
details. We want to adopt the policy and implement it after
careful close research. [censored ..... inked out]

U Thet Tun:         One major problem is money inflation rate.
For example, the appearance of more and more gold shops in
Anawratha street and Bogyoke market, many lottery shops,
increasing steep price of land, i.e. in Rangoon and Mandalay,
the experience of the sale of land "by feet" like in Tokyo and
Hong Kong.

The reason of much appearance of gold shops is that the
stability of currency is threaten by inflation. Buying of
rooms, gold and land is done to hedge against the instability
of the currency. For solving this matter, we need to reduce
some expenditures.

U Chan  Aye:        Some owners of capital said, when some
production business owners need to find some big amount of
capital, it is a problem because the profits from investment
is much less than the interest rate. They are reluctant to
take the interest rate.

U Thet Tun:    It means a negative rate of interest. I think

U Thein Aung:       I want to discuss more about inflation and
why we cannot catch up. For example, we need 100,000 Kyats for
investment, and later we can start the investment with the
capital 1,000,000 or 3,000,000 in future.
This is the nature of inflation and its defects. Much of
private sector cannot catch up.

U Chan Aye:         Now the border trade was being engaged
with India, China and Thailand. Most of Burma's natural
resources, we loss from this border trade.

One of the causes of inflation is the loss from border trade
on the Burma side. And most think that injustice exchange of
Burmese currency and exchange trade with low quality goods.

Dr Sein Maung:      Yes, of  course, we are losing. We haven't
gotten the  actual price that we should get and have to pay
more for import goods. So we can say we lose two times.

U Thet Tun:         For foreign investment to come to Burma,
the main barrier is foreign currency exchange. The official
exchange rate is 6.5 kyats per 1 US$. If they invest with this
rate, they are not happy to invest. So the foreign  companies
invest two types.

The first is the method which imports only equipments, no 
currency. The second method takes 100% investment with foreign
capital, and no involvement with Burmese people. Because if
they allow Burmese partnership, the Burmese will invest with
the rate of 1 US$ per 6.5 kyats. They think they lose.

Dr Sein Maung:      For the future of foreign investment to
come Burma, I've seen more are coming. But the big TNCs are
afraid of the pressure of their sharing partners. For the
escape of pressure from interest groups, they will avoid
direct involvement and make investment thorough other

Burma has fertile soil compared with  Vietnam infrastructure.
For example, good law and regulation system, most of the
Burmese can speak English, and most Burmese are simple.

U Chan Aye:         [censored ..... inked out].

U Thein Oo:         We need a clear message that the
government will do some sectors that are not able for private
sectors as a principle for supporting private sector.

Dr Khin Maung Kywe: It is convenient that the government
guides the details but not to involved itself. The environment
for improvement of the private sector is freedom for the

Dr Sein Maung:      We need to run together the privatization
and deregulation. If possible, the first need is to adopt the
privatization law. For implementation of this system, first,
the priority, secondly, programming, third, time frame to
implement are needed for effectiveness.

And mention the clear-cut policy for responsibility of each

U Thein Oo:         The state needs to support effectively the
success of the private sector. And the association of
merchants or privates need to support the improvement of each
membership. The association should  implement and do the right
things to fulfill the objectives rather than seeking survival
of the association.

Bureaucracy is everywhere, most are tired of Bureaucracy and
the association practice Bureaucracy again.

U Thet Tun:         Bureaucracy has its final means to solve
the  corruption problem like Singapore. Give as the salaries
of managing director to higher officials. But it is still
debate in Singapore.

Some of the Burmese people are untrustful which is a problem
for supporting private sector.

I was a government economic expert before and I used the
bookish words like "the first priority is more export, the
second priority is to replace the import for profit of the

Now I am a director in a private bank. It is totally
different. The bank always worries about their loans and
grants  to the partners.

And I've seen a man who came to borrow money from my bank. He
came with full documents attached with photographs. When I
sent my bank employee to check the condition out, it is a

I want to support the private sector but there some deceptive

Dr Khin Maung Kywe:      Now, all of the private sector only
emphasizes to make money and is weak in work ethics and
business culture, even they didn't understand. The economic
education is also important but not need to exaggerate much.

U Thein Aung:       Now the founder of the companies in Burma
are walking on popular ways and no knowledge of equity share
and bonds. They have no  experience in business and no
knowledge at all.

The age who have experience in the business field are widen
gap to fill. In the last period, they broken the individual
private business and nothing left at now to share the

U Thet Tun:         In the last age, the people started
business at the age of 30-40 and then their businesses were
nationalized and they had nothing to do.

Now, the free market economy is here again and they are in old
age incapable to involve, 60, 70 years old. Now, everything
started with new generation and widening gap for sharing 
experience. If the successive generation can continue to run
the business, the condition will be different.

U Chan Aye:         I think to day the market is more
complicated and not suitable with the  old businessmen. They
cannot take the tiredness and the burden. They don't want to
confuse and frustrate even in the old age.

Dana editor:        Now the private banks have appeared, and
can they support the private  sector?

Dr Sein Maung:      The private  sector wants to borrow money
from banks but the banks always consider the facts can they
pay back or not. The problems are insecurity of insurance
materials, no detailed statistics and budget in private
sectors. So the banks are difficult to consider the outcome.

Dr Khin Maung Kywe:      Of course, it is sure there are no
details statistic and budget in private sector. They don't
think the budget is the important factor, and they also not
expert in it.

Some private sector don't want to put the true figure to
government, the secrecy is the priority and they don't care
the statistic figure.

U Thet Tun:    [censored ..... inked out]

It is strange in Burma FEC (Foreign Exchange Currency) can
exchange in bank but even within the compound of the bank some
brokers buying and selling FEC with black price. Different
price for under US$ 1000 and over US$ 1000. They can exchange
with black price if they like. [censored ..... inked out].

William Paul:       In conclusion, it is not deniable that the 
country economy will progress, if the private sector booms. In
economy, the state sector cannot do much and we already have
those kind of experiences in the past.

There are still some weakness in private sector but it will
learn from its faults. And competing each other will teach
themselves. The main thing is the state need to support
systemically the private sector with the belief of the
progress of private sector which will bring the benefit for
the state.

For myself, I am old and I am considering what I can do for
others, mainly.


               Until It Stares Me In The Face

The year was 1986. It was one year after I had started off as
a private teacher when, despite protest from the abbot, I
moved out from the rich, but disciplined east Rangoon
monastery where I lived, because the household chores at the
monastery began to disturb my teaching hours. My third year
final exam was one month away. Although I was unsure as to
where else I could live, I politely turned down the offer of a
close friend to stay with their family as it was too far from
the town centre. Eventually, at the suggestion of another
close friend, I rented a small house in Mayangone near where
he lived, a mere fifteen minutes away from the main university
where I was studying, I shared the place with Kyaw Maung, a
friend of mine from my home town.

It was simple house comprising a bed room with three beds, a
kitchen, a small space which could be used as a class room for
a few students and a little living room with three rickety
chairs, a bench and a small short-legged table. In the drawer
of the table, we kept a pack of playing cards and 3
publications for our friends. One was a comic book entitled
"Island of Ghosts, another, which was in constant demand from
our visitors, was an old pornographic magazine that my room
mate had acquired from a secret dealer and which was dubbed as
our Students Magazines after a state-run magazine for the high
school students and the third and least read was RModern
History of BurmaS by Bamaw Tin Aung.

Our little house stood between two large houses, one of which
was occupied by our landlord and  the other by his
parents-in-law. Our landlord was a generous Karen whose
modest, but thriving business had been forced to close down
only two months previously for allegedly purchasing timber
illegally, as he had fiercely competed with another local saw
mill owner with close BSPP (Burma Socialist Program Party)

In front of our house was a small thirty square foot plot of
land where we played Chinlon in the evening and at night we
would play guitar of mandolin on the bench between two Padauk
trees in the corner.

This was where we made friends with Mon San Hlaing, Saw
Gaydoe, Saw Htoo and little Bogyoke.

Mon San Hlaing was from Hton Ein, a Mon village in Karen
State. He studied at the State School of Fine Arts. Mon San
Hlaing was not his real name. He was nicknamed, being a Mon,
after a well-known Mon BSPP cadre by one of our friends. He
painted, drew cartoons and excelled at playing mandolin. He
would rescue us when the old couple shouted and banged on the
wall of their house to complain about our noisy nightly
musical entertainment by playing their favourite song, an
oldie from the 1950s known as Ma Ma the BasseinerS. When they
heard it, they would quietly listen and give us tacit approval
to play two or three more modern songs before we called it a

Saw Gyadoe was a jovial Karen of about thirty two with the
straightforwardness of typical Karens. He was the youngest 
son of the old couple who let him stay with them in the upper
storey of their house. A bunch of other relatives occupied the

Saw Gyadoe had worked at his brother-in-lawUs saw mill, but
was now unemployed. At the time we met he was desperate to
accept any full-time job that would enable him to support
himself and his aged parents. He enlivened our occasional
drinking sprees by recounting his experiences in Rangoon,
particularly his story of a gay Karen who worked as a watch
man at the residence of a German diplomat in the rich
neighbourhood next to ours.  

The other Karen, Saw Htoo, was from a village near Papun. He
was the cousin of Gyadoe. He was about 21 and was, like
Gyadoe, a casual labourer. He would always laugh with his eyes
closed even at the unfunniest jokes, and played Chinlon

Bogyoke was a 3 year old baby with a little pot belly. Bogyoke
means General. I do not remember who gave him the name. His
father, people said, was serving a three year sentence for a
political offence which we later found out was the common
crime of having an alleged connection with the Karen rebels on
the eastern border. Bogyoke was a lovely child. He would cry
when we teased him, but would immediately stop wailing once he
was given a snack or a small coin, and would run home happily.

Weekends were long-awaited since many friends often visited
us. We would play cards, carom or spend the night playing
guitar or arguing over a local brewed whisky.

As well as having made friends with these Karens and the Mon,
I also had very close Karen friends in my class. But they were
different from my new friends; they did not drink and they
were good Christians.

Our new Karens soon introduced us to eating a variety of
insects, snakes, frogs, snails and even caterpillar. They told
us stories of Karen villages. They told us about the funny
jokes of the Karens. In turn they would listen to our stories.
We shared jokes and rare moments of peacefulness out on the
bench drifting along with the songs of Mon San Hlaing. And it
was during one of those conversations, often over a bottle of
local made "jungle juice", that they told us the stories of
Karen and Mon villagers being forced into porterage and how
people were forced to pay to avoid the service.

I knew about the porter service. It was not a big deal. A
porter always got paid for his service, after all. In our home
town, Maripur, a local hero of the Indian cow-catching Hindu
festival, used to hire himself out as a porter. He was always
waiting for the soldiers to come. Once he was hired, he went
with the soldiers happily, having given the money to his wife.
Two or three days later, he would appear at the bus station
and boast of how he had jumped off a speeding train or sneaked
out of the military camp where all the porters had been
assembled and escape from the job he had been paid for. But
one time, a whole two months after he had left with the
soldiers he returned home, lean and haggard and suffering from
malaria. It was the talk of the town.

The whisky glass was being passed from mouth to mouth for the
first round of drinking. I was after Saw Htoo. He allowed
himself the luxury of gulping a small quantity of the pungent
liquid Saw Gyadoe had poured him and began, "I want to go
home. I don't want to live here. A city like Rangoon is not
for me; it's so pretentious here. Too bad I can't risk going

I was confused and immediately concluded that he must have
done something wrong. I smiled so that he would not
misinterpret me, "Did you do something wrong? Did you blow
away the guy who was hassling your Munaw?

He replied blushing, "No. I did not do anything wrong. And I
don't have a girl friend."

"Then why can't you go home? I queried, grimacing over the
smelly juice I had just emptied into my stomach.

"Hmm", he sighed. "I mean I could go home, but I can't take
the risk of being taken as a porter. Besides, my parents can't
afford to pay porter fees. At least with me away from home
they might be able to explain to the soldiers that they have
no son strong enough to volunteer as a porter, but only girls
and an old man. So they might get away with not paying porter
fees. And as for me I am safe here in Rangoon."  

"Wait a minute", I argued. "Are you telling me that soldiers
forcibly draft people into porterage? No way, man. Be
sensible. I have never heard of such a thing. Have you, Mon
San Hlaing?" I turned to him in an attempt to get backup. If
you are desperate to get money you hire yourself out to be a
porter. But you get paid. You are happy and they are happy.
But that's all porterage is about."

Patiently Saw Htoo continued, "Let me explain. The government
are fighting the Karen rebels and they need people to carry
the supplies. So they go into villages and round up all the
males strong enough to carry 4 rounds of big shells or rice of
the same weight. many of the people who are forced to go never
come back. The porters are underfed, mistreated and never
paid. The towns and villages near the border are hit hard. My
village is one of them."

I refused to believe him. "Hey, hey. Don't give me shit. I
know there are many rumours about the people being taken as
porters but I know they are not true. No! No! Let me finish.
Last year, during the December holiday, I went home. One night
we were on our way home after a movie, when I saw people come
running in our direction, shouting "soldiers are catching
porters, soldiers are catching porters." Without fully
realising what was happening we all ran towards the water
melon fields. On hearing the word 'porter' the people who were
guarding the water melons ran away. No soldiers came. So we
all nicked as much as we could and came home, eating and
laughing all the way. It was great fun. It must have been a
practical joke. But I can assure you that there is no such
thing as forced porterage."

At this point Mon San Hlaing couldn't keep out of the argument
any longer, "But it is true, Ko Luu. I am surprised that you
don't know anything about it. We have the same problem in my
village. Once you are taken, you'll probably end up half dead
in the jungle; only if you are rich enough, can you buy
yourself out of it. You have to pay 2000 or 3000 K for that."

I was angry. "Bullshit! if you haven't done anything wrong,
why should you have to pay for it? Bullshit! Go tell the Inya
Lake. It is a fairy tale. No one would believe you. And the
money! It's more than an upper clerk earns in half a year. We
all know that the government is no good. But at least it's a
free country. No one can take the law into his own hands. The
Army has no right to take people away by force."

"It is true, Ko Luu, Saw Gyadoe broke in as he had become
frustrated with my denials. "The Army is the Law in Karen
States. That's why it is safer for us to stay here in Rangoon.
Many families I know sends their sons to Rangoon to be safe.
There are many of them in Insein without decent jobs."

"No. No. Cut the crap", said I, glaring at little Bogyoke who
tried to snatch a piece of meat from the plate of titbits.

Saw Htoo tried to say something, but changed his mind, got up
and left in frustration. Saw Gyadoe left too. Only Mon San
Hlaing, me and Kyaw Maung remained with the bottle waiting to
be emptied.

"They are upset, Ko Luu. You shouldn't be so rude. What they
were telling you is true. Open your eyes. You should apologise
to them."

"I don't give a damn about it. I am not a fool. I don't
believe such nonsense. Nobody will believe you".

Mon San Hlaing did not show up for about a month after that
conversation. Saw Gyadoe and Saw Htoo avoided me. We did not
even say hello to each other for two or three months. Five
months later, Bogyoke's father was released, I did not bother
to ask why he had been arrested. I overheard somebody saying
that he might be detained again if the government was not
satisfied with his behaviour. It was none of my business. I
had my own problems to deal with.

Two years later my life changed drastically when the country
rose up against 26 years of one party military rule. We became
locked in a struggle for freedom. Along with my friends I
organised demonstrations in my home towns.

Two weeks before the coup my friends from Pegu came to see me
at the Strike Centre in my home town. They said they were
heading for the jungle. "We are going to join the Karen
rebels", they told me. "They Army is going to take over, you
know. We've got to be ready when it happens", they said. I had
a feeling that something was going to happen. I was just a
question of what and when. Was it just a premonition? I did
not know. But "I'll wait and see" was my answer. They left
saying they would send me a Htamein (woman's sarong) to wear,
which literally meant I was a coward.

But before I knew it, three weeks after the military coup on
September 18th, I found myself registering at the camp
committee office in Thay Baw Boe camp on the Thai-Burma
border. On the way to the border, I heard many stories about
forced porterage, plunder and military atrocities. I remember
a Karen Major from the Karen Liberation Army called Gaba Sein.
When we identified ourselves at the checkpoint he commanded,
he explained us how a mountain that we were about to climb had
come to be known as "Makyeinat Taung", which means "Mountain
of Vengeance", because many innocent Karen villagers were
ruthlessly murdered there by the military. What appalled me
most at the time was the story of the Karen girl raped by the
commander of a military column who, in the act, ripped up the
abdomen of the helpless girl to see how far his sex had
reached inside her.

The repeated stories of violations began to open my eyes.
However, the plight of ethnic minorities was not mine. They
lived in another world. My vengeance was only directed against
the Army. I was committed to fighting for my own freedom and
for democracy. I envisioned a new  Burma of my own version.

After seven years of living on the border, I have often had
time to reflect on the endless stories of escaped porters,
defectors and of villagers running away from forced labour; on
a myriad of interviews with villagers whose villages were
burnt down, their properties stolen, crops looted or
destroyed, families tortured, relatives killed before their
eyes, girls gang-raped by the soldiers. There is no end to
human suffering. These facts have become part of my daily live
on the border. 

This truth which I so adamantly denied ten years ago has today
irreversibly altered my perceptions of forced porterage and
the struggle to which ethnic nationalities have dedicated
their life for almost half a century. I can now see clearly
that their suffering is simply another face of the evil which
I had seen in the streets of Rangoon during the uprising.
Although the problems which people in my country face may
appear to differ - they are fundamentally the same. There is
but one problem - the Army. If we are ever to overcome this
nightmare all the people of Burma must struggle as one.

Now almost ten years after the argument with my Karen and Mon
friends I know that I owe Saw Htoo an apology. I have to
confess to Saw Gyadoe that I was wrong and that he was right.
And I have to ask Mon San Hlaing to forgive me for my
ignorance, arrogance and for trusting a system that is so
corrupt and inhuman. Perhaps, they will understand me. And
perhaps, they will forgive me now that I have seen the light.

[Naing Luu Aung]


Interview with an escapee from forced labor
[Brief biography of escapee]

Name-            Ko Tin Sein
Sex-             male
Age-             35
Father's name-   U Maung Tin
Occupation-      Farmer
Address-         Hnan Kyal village, Yay Phu township,
Tenasserim                    Division
Martial status- Married with Ma Hla Yin
Children-        Two boys and a girl
Nationality-     Burmese
Religion-        Buddhist
Date of interview- September 10, 1995.

Q: Ko Tin Sein, when did you leave Hnah Kyal village?
A: I left Hnan Kyal on September 9, 1995.

Q: Why did you leave your village?
A: When I came back from railroad construction site on
September 8, 1995 after my turn of forced labor working and I
have seen that my family hardly facing their daily survival. I
can do nothing for my family because I didn't get any payment
for my work in railroad construction. First, the camp
authorities have promised that they would pay labor charges to
us, but, finally they didn't and besides, they ordered us to
work in terms of our absence during the raining days. Then,
after we completed all those works, they have allowed us went
back home. So, if I continue to stay in my village, surely I
will be faced next term forced laboring again and I left for
border and to work in Thailand to save money for my family.

Q: You've worked in 30 mile camp, right? And, have you seen
the Slorc's soldiers beating forced labors?
A: Yes, I've seen. Mostly, camp authorities always punish the
forced labors who couldn't finish their quota of works.

Q: Which Battalion taking security in 30 mile camp?
A: It is Light Infantry Battalion (406).

Q: Do you think that camp authorities are civil servants?
A: No. officers from LIB (406) are camp authorities. They
arrange work hours and daily quota of work for forced labors.

Q: How the camp authorities manage daily quota of work for
forced labors?
A: Every forced labor has to dig a hole wide 10 square ft x 1
ft in the ground.

Q: Did they pay labor charges to forced labors?
A: No. never.

Q: We have heard that Myanmar railway corporation under
Minister of railway has paid labor charges to local forced
labors regularly ?
A: I have heard about it like that. But, we never received
that. The prisoners are being used for the work of breaking
rocks and stones by the management of camp authorities.

Q: Are there prisoners in 30 mile camp?
A: Yes. 

Q: Do you think how many prisoners there?
A: I think, about 200 prisoners.

Q: Their legs are chained?
A: Sure.

Q: When you were in 30 mile camp, any local forced labor died
for something?
A: Yes. One forced labor was killed by the security guard from
LIB (406).

Q: So, Where does he live?
A: He lives in same village of mine.

Q: What's his name? Do you know his age and parents' name?
A: His name is Ko Pe San, 30 and his father is U Thee Pe.

Q: Has he a wife and children?
A: Yes. he has. His wife name is Ma Htar and he has 3

Q: How did he died? Can you explain me?
A: Yes. the camp authorities ordered Ko Pe San and another guy
from same village to cut trees for sleepers which will be laid
under the iron rails on September 6, 1995. Then they went to
the hill east part of camp and later Sergeant Tin Win and his
unit from LIB (406) have followed them. Not very soon, we have
heard some gun shots. Then, Sergeant Tin Win came back and
ordered us to carry the corpse of KO Tin Win and we knew he
was shot and dead.

Q: So, What's Sergeant Tin Win's reason?
A: He ordered forced labors to assemble and said that who did
let him went east part of camp where is the limited area of
army. Therefore, he said ,"we don't have any kind of
responsibility for his death, because he brakes the rule".

Q: Did you report to his wife?
A: Yes. we did on the same day, September 6, 1995. After
received the bad news, Ma Htar and some (Slorc) village law
and order restoration council members came to 30 mile camp.
Then, Sergeant Tin Win told them to take the dead body back to
the village and not to try to charge them at the court.
Because, he has broken the rule. Ma Htar replied she would not
and it was enough for her to have her husband body. Then, Ma
Htar and Slorc members carried the dead body to the village. 

Q: Ko Toe who accompanied with Ko Pe San, didn't he explain
the camp authorities?
A: Yes. he did. But camp authorities denied that they did not
order them to cut trees in east part of camp.

Q: Ko Tin Sein, what do you think about the Slorc military
A: Since the period of so-called BSPP (Burmese Socialist
Program Party) and the present Slorc military regime, our
people can not imagine what is wrong and right. Because,
sometimes authorities said that it was true, but next time
they said, it was not true and they forgot what they mentioned
before. I can say two period under the BSPP and Slorc didn't
lead us to the right things.

Q: Of course--- and thank you very much for your explanation,
very patiently.
A: I also thank you very much because we have a chance to open
our heart that what we have been suffering since long time.



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