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BurmaNet News: Septmeber 2, 1994 #2

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Subject: BurmaNet News: Septmeber 2, 1994 #268

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The BurmaNet News: September 2, 1995
Issue #268

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November 3, 1995
(posted by brelief@xxxxxxx)

(Letters to the Editor can be sent to Letters Department, Asiaweek, 
Citicorp Center 34F Causeway Bay, Hong Kong 
fax: (852) 27515384, or e - mail editors@xxxxxxxxxxxx 
(include writers, name, address and telephone number)

Myanmar's Way

The Generals Must Work for National Reconciliation

Then Myanmar's military rulers released its most famous
political prisoner four months ago, hopes sprang worldwide
that a reconciliation would enable the troubled nation to make
progress on different fronts.  So far, though, there has been no
dialogue between the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Having
reaped the publicity benefits of freeing the Nobel peace
laureate, the junta seems bent on marginalizing her.  The
opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) recently
reinstated her as its secretary general, but authorities last week
nullified the move.  Yangon's ambassador to Thailand, mean-
while, says that a dialogue with her is unnecessary.  In fact,
Daw Sun Kyi may feel she is little better off than she was dur-
ing six years of house arrest.

If so, she won't be the only one losing out.  The nation will also
suffer - as will SLORC itself.  For by trying to leave Daw Suu
Kyi out in the cold, the generals will not only retard the
nation's economic and political progress but also put at risk
some real gains made so far.  One is the international goodwill
generated by her release.  Despite Daw Sun Kyi's expressed
reservations, Japan has resumed limited humanitarian aid to
Myanmar.  Oil giants Texaco, Total and Unocal have commit-
ted themselves to billion - dollar energy projects in the resource
rich country.  And ASEAN, which has long pursued a policy
of "constructive engagement" with Yangon, recently accepted
it as a signatory to the grouping's treaty of amity and
cooperation - a precursor to full membership.  Indeed, SLORC
has put some life into a moribund economy, passing business-friendly 
laws and building many roads, reservoirs, railways and bridges.

The generals need to do more.  The $3 billion in foreign
investment that SLORC so proudly touts is but a fraction of
what the country needs for sustained economic growth.  Those
whose money is needed to help spark a real take - off have not
weighed in.  They include the big international lending agen-
cies, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development
Bank, as well as major global investors, most of them from the
developed countries.  They would feel more relaxed about
committing funds if Yangon is seen to be pursuing a course of
political liberalization - and reconciliation with Daw Sun Kyi.

By barring her from politics, the authorities also encourage the
world to view Myanmar's affairs in black and white with
SLORC, of course, depicted in the darkest shades.  So long as
Daw Suu Kyi is cast as a symbol of the generals' repression,
she can do no wrong - and they nothing right.  Allow her and
the NLD to play a meaningful role in national affairs, and
Burmese and foreigners alike will be able to assess their
strengths and weaknesses more dispassionately and accurately.

Such a course of action will likely focus minds on the myriad
practical problems facing the country -- and away from the
struggle or contribution of any one person.  It will not only
benefit Myanmar but also ease the pressure on SLORC.

For her part, Daw Suu Kyi has indicated that she wants to help
rebuild her country by working with her former jailers rather
than remain on any martyr's pedestal.  On her release, she
urged the junta and the opposition to work together, placing as
high a priority on economic progress as democratic reform. 
And since her release, she has taken pains not to engage in
high - profile political activity that would provoke SLORC. 
Such hard - headed pragmatism provides a solid basis for

The generals have a golden opportunity to begin the process of
reconciliation.   They have set up a National Convention,
which is drafting a constitution as a prelude to elections. 
Postponed several times already, the next session is now set for
late November.  SLORC should invite as participants not only
the political opposition, but also long - rebellious ethnic
leaders with whom it recently signed peace accords.  Such a
move would help ease enduring antagonisms among the
country's warring forces.  It would also boost the credibility
and the moral authority of any charter that emerges.

Daw Suu Kyi's own military associations should facilitate a
dialogue.  Some of her senior colleagues in the NLD were top
commanders in the armed forces.  They include Mr. Tin U and
Mr. Kyi Maung, both of whom were recently nominated for
key NLD posts.  And Daw Suu Kyi herself, of course, is the
daughter of General Aung San, the independence hero and
founder of the Burma Army.  At the least, such links ensure
that the two sides will have a common language in which to

How can fruitful cooperation be achieved? A key issue is the
role of the armed forces.  In a country where they pervade
almost every aspect of life, they must necessarily retain a key
function.  No attempt to exclude them from politics is practical
- a reality both Daw Suu Kyi and her supporters appreciate. 
The goal should be a plan that would have the military share
power with civilian politicians.  To persuade SLORC to do so,
the NLD should agree to an amnesty for generals and soldiers
who participated in the army's bloody 1988 crackdown against
pro-democracy demonstrators.  Without such a pardon, the fear
of retribution will make many in the military dig their heels in
against political reform.

The amnesty must work both ways, though: it should apply
also to those who opposed the generals and their actions at the
time.  The move would then be doubly beneficial, as it would
attract back to Myanmar some of those who fled after 1988 for
fear of persecution by the authorities.  They include not only
Suu Kyi supporters but also a large part of the nation's
intelligentsia.  During their time abroad, the latter have been
honing their professional skills, especially in the West.  Many
would like to return home, but only when the political mood is
more relaxed and they need not fear reprisal.  Without their
contributions, Myanmar simply will not be able to modernize. 

Besides broadening the participation at the upcoming
constitutional parley, SLORC must ensure that it is actually
convened as scheduled. In the past, the generals have found all
manner of excuses to delay it -- and postpone political reform.
After the charter is completed, the junta must hold new polls as
promised. It needs to ensure that  they are credible and, above
all, it must respect the results. Any repeat of the generals'
rejection of voters' choices, as happened after the 1990
election, will be catastrophic for the nation.  Indeed, with an
accord in place that ensures the army as well as the politicians
and ethnic minorities proper roles in national affairs, there
should be no reason for such action.

Five decades ago, Aung San told a gathering of leading figures
in the independence struggle: "Let me remind you of an old
way of ours, the classic way of getting things done - namely,
the people's way of self-help and mutual cooperation. We must
resurrect this way and inspire the people to work together in
the building of a New Burma." Today, his heirs in the armed
forces would do well to take his words to heart in their search
for national success. 

Nov. 3, 1995

Aung San Suu Kyi, 50, pro -democracy leader in Myanmar
who was released nearly four months ago after six years under
house arrest in Yangon; as the new head of the National
League for Democracy, a party she inspired to a sweeping
electoral victory in 1990; by the Election Commission of the
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); in
Yangon recently.  Suu Kyi was reinstated in early October as
secretary general of the NLD along with two others who were
named vice chairmen of the party.  The NLD has said it isn't
bound to comply with SLORC's ruling on whether Suu Kyi
can lead the party.


November 1, 1995

Steve Weinman of the BBC Worldwide recently spoke with
l991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who was
released from house arrest in July.

I know all the hostages said the same thing but the BBC World
Service really was a lifeline." However much we appreciate radio,
few of us will ever understand what it means to be a captive
audience. Terry Waite and Nelson Mandela know. And for Aung San
Suu Kyi the memory remains fresh.

After six years under house arrest Burma's opposition leader is
free to talk about the past but, most importantly, hopes to
engage in talks about the future with the military junta which
imprisoned her, the State Law and Order Restoration Council

With her unexpected release in July, Daw Suu was catapulted from
a lifestyle of total predictability into a turmoil of interview
and invitation, speech and visit, diplomatic luncheon and reunion.

She remains in the lakeside house in Rangoon with its ragged
garden; freedom means that her guards are now young supporters
rather than soldiers. Outside her gates intelligence officers
observe the comings and goings and the Burmese still avoid using
her name: they refer to her as "the lady", partly from respect,
partly because it is safer.

Slorc had long said she was free to leave the house if she also
left the country, but knowing that readmission was unlikely she
had rejected the offer. Nothing has changed.

This strange brand of freedom is on one level a cause for mild
regret. "I suppose by nature I am quite a disciplined person so I
took to the routine and I rather miss my regular hours of
listening to the BBC and doing everything just so." She smiles.
"I find that I cannot listen to the BBC programmes regularly now
because I am meeting people."

She needs some sense of order: "I try to arrange it so that we
have regular office hours and do everything systematically." She
indicates the large reception room, empty of furniture except for
a window seat, table laid with tea, two fans and a recording
deck. She had been forced to sell many of he possessions while
she was interned to buy food. As you can see," she says, "we have
hid to put everything together in a hurry. It has been a bit

Michael Aris has written how his wife's early letters to him
indicated her sense of destiny, but when she returned to Rangoon
in 1988 it was to be with her dying mother, the widow of Burma's
national hero Aung San. He had been killed by a political rival
in 1947 when his daughter was just two and on the eve of the
independence he had struggles against both the British and
Japanese to win.

In 1962, Aung San's former colleague Gen Ne Win seized power from
a civilian government unable to cope with economic problems and
ethnic and communist insurgency in outlying parts of the country.
Burma is unusually rich in resources _ minerals, timber, rice _
but under Ne win's superstitious dictatorship its wealth had been
channelled towards the armed forces.

As Southeast Asian neighbours prospered, Burma slid deeper into
the ranks of the world's poorest nations. Aung San Suu Kyi's
return coincided with an upsurge of unrest for which, as her
father's daughter, she became a focal point.

She took to the campaign trail, advocating a return to democracy
as the first step to finding a solution to the country's
problems. But, not for the first time in Burma's history, student
demonstrations erupted into violence when the army opened fire in
the streets. Official statements admitted to several hundred
deaths in the space of a year.

Daw Suu, who had herself faced gun-wielding troops, was placed
under house arrest in 1989. The junta went ahead with ' elections
the following year, confident that ' her National League for
Democracy and other opposition groups were too fragmented, their
activists exiled or imprisoned, to pose any threat.

The NLD won more than four-fifths of the vote but the generals
refused to relinquish power. Five years on they are still working
on a new constitution under which she would presumably be
ineligible for office. "It seems so, but I've said e before that
no constitution should be framed with one person in mind _ that
is to undermine the whole idea of a constitution."

With Ne Win taking a back seat the junta, under Gen Than Shwe and
intelligence chief Khin Nyunt, has pursued a policy of energetic
suppression of internal opposition and stimulation of external

Burma is predominantly Buddhist, and intrinsic to the Burmese
outlook is an element of resignation to whatever life might dish
out, of "making the best of it". As Daw Suu says: "You can always
get good out of any situation if you are able to go about it in
the right way."

She sustained body and soul during her internment with a strict
regime of diet, exercise and meditation, along with her books,
piano and, for five or six hours a day, the radio.

The Burmese are early to rise and her day dawned at 4.30 am local
time with an hour of meditation, "part of my spiritual
strengthening process. I am very grateful to the Slorc that I was
allowed this period in which to practise my meditation," she
says, laughing.

Her "working day" commenced with two hours of radio: World
Service News in English, followed by the Burmese services of the
BBC and those of Voice of America and DVB, broadcasting from

"Then I had a period of exercise and a bath and once again
listened to the World Service News at 8.30 am. So by the time I
had breakfast quite late at 9 am, I was almost fully aware of
what was going on in the outside world, thanks to the BBC."

She tuned in to World Service for an hour or more at lunchtime.
"In the evening I would have another chunk of listening to the
BBC news at 7.30 pm and go on to the BBC Burmese programme".

Literature had always been important to her. "I liked Meridian,
especially the books programme. That kept me in touch with what
was coming out."

The readings in Off The Shelf were a highlight, except for those
she found "rather unhappy. When you're alone you don't like
listening about books like that!"

One new world she had found 'inspiring was Nelson Mandela's Long
Walk To Freedom. Did she expect to meet its author? "Oh, I hope
so. I think that lots of people hope to meet Nelson Mandela one
day and I am just one of that vast mass of admirers."

The BBC's correspondent Fergal Keane had interviewed the South
African leader on his release, as he had Aung San Suu Kyi, a
meeting he described in last month's BBC Worldwide.

"I listened to Fergal Keane's reports on South Africa and I
thought to myself he must come to Burma," she says. "I never
really expected him to come, though I knew he had been
transferred. So I thought it was a very auspicious omen that
Fergal Keane was the first BBC correspondent to get to Rangoon. "

Daw Suu's six years of detention covered a period of momentous
developments: the fall of communism, the democratization of South
Africa, the conflict in Europe.

"I have often said that I think of South Africa and Yugoslavia as
examples of two ways: the way of negotiation and the way of
violence. Obviously, South Africa went in for dialogue and
Yugoslavia went in for violence, so I followed both."

The transitional government in South Africa must have struck her
as a model for Burma but she will not be drawn. "However you
define democracy, in the end it has to reflect the will of the
people if it is going to be a genuine democracy. So while
whatever we think may be possible, we must first find out how the
people view our proposal, or somebody else's proposal.

"The first step is to achieve democracy and then one must
reconstruct Burma to be a really united and prosperous nation. To
give a chance to all the people of Burma_ or as many as possible,
to develop their talents. There is a vast reservoir of energy and
talent waiting to be tapped under the right circumstances."

Early in her detention she had gone on a hunger strike until
assured that her associates would not be ill-treated. At least
500 political prisoners are still believed to be held and she has
called for their release as a priority. But only recently the
International Committee of the Red Cross announced its withdrawal
from Burma because of restricted access to prisoners.

I ask how far the thought of her father had stiffened her
resolve. She looks to where Aung San's picture hangs, as it hangs
on so many walls in Burma. "There were times when I would look at
his photograph and say to him: 'Well, it's just you and me _ but
we'll make it.' I felt that I always had his spiritual support."

The people's regard of her father is, she believes, "perhaps even
stronger than ever". But like him she has become the focus of a
personality cult. Does that worry her?

"A little, but I think the Burmese people are canny enough and if
I do the wrong thing they will boot me out. Good for them, and good 
for me, too. They are not fools, they are very shrewd and very loving.

"If they love somebody like my father or myself they really take
that person to their hearts and they will forgive a lot as long
as they are convinced that we are sincere and we have their good
in mind. But there is a limit to their forgiveness and that's a
good thing."

Had detention changed her? "I would like to think I have changed.
Otherwise, it would be a waste of six years. There are some who
pride themselves on never changing but I am not sure that's
anything to be proud of.

"I hope I've matured. I feel spiritually stronger; in a sense
I've been tested and that has strengthened me. And I think that I
have learned to put a much greater value on compassion. I think
compassion is very important in this world."

Has the Slorc changed? It is ostentatious now in its religious
devotion; barely a day goes by without reports on state TV or
press (both of which failed to report Daw Suu's release) of
generals dedicating pagodas around the county. "I hope that they
will pay more attention to the essence of Buddhism, that would
help a lot."

But does she regard such piety as politically expedient? As ever,
her words come readily, yet are carefully chosen. "1 would not
like to judge other people's religious activities or attitudes
and all I would say is that if there is real respect for the
teachings of Bud&ism on the part of the authorities, it is all to
the good of the nation. "

The junta's zealotry extends, according to some reports, to
desecrating the temples and burial grounds of religious
minorities like the Muslims and Christians. "If that is so then
it's a great pity because Buddhism after all teaches tolerance
and loving kindness _ myitta _ so it would be against the essence
of Buddhism to persecute anyone, whether on religious, political
or any other grounds."

Was she concerned that her freedom denoted a measure of
confidence on the part of the generals? "If they are confident,
all the better, because I think it is often easier to deal with
people who are confident in themselves than with those who have
no confidence in themselves. So that doesn't worry me unduly."

But with the scaling down of those internal hostilities, which
had kept government forces occupied for decades, had her position
not been undermined? "No, not at all. The ceasefires are just
ceasefires, and everybody recognizes. They do not mean that these
ethnic groups have achieved permanent peace. So we hope to go further."

At the same time, when asked whether the generals had done
anything to redeem themselves in her eyes, she cites the
ceasefires. "At least there is some reduction in human suffering
if they stop fighting."

Daw Suu's central message before her arrest was that democracy
would prevail if the Burmese people maintained unity and
discipline. She is convinced that her strictures were heeded. "I
know there were a lot of riots and undesirable cases in 1988 but
that sort of thing is bound to happen when the whole county is in
chaos. I do not think it was people from our democratic movements
who were responsible for the more extreme acts.

"When I went on campaign through the country, I never once came
across an undisciplined crowd. Sometimes there would be hundreds
of thousands but they were all beautifully disciplined, not a
murmur anywhere and no pushing or shoving, everybody was very
considerate of the next person".

She has found the same since her release, addressing those who
brave the monsoon rains and the Slorc cameras to gather outside
her gates. "The ones in the front automatically fold their
umbrellas so that those at the back have a better view That is a
sign not just of discipline but of consideration.

"I am not worried about extremism on our side because I think we
can control that but of course I cannot speak for extremism on
the side of those opposed to democracy."

For 40 minutes she has answered questions in good humour, showing
no sign to strain or fatigue and, as Fergal Keane accurately
observed, looking 20 years younger. The overwhelming impression
is of poise and naturalness.

She would undergo her experience all~ over again if necessary,
but better equipped: "I would get more books that I wanted to
read and a better short-wave radio than the little one I started
out with.

"I am prepared for everything. My father once said at a press
conference: 'I hope for the best and prepare for the worst' and I
think that every politician should keep that hung above his bed." 
Daw Suu seemed buoyant: how would she describe her mood? "I am
optimistic by nature and my experiences over the past six or
seven years have taught me caution. I think I will probably go on
being cautiously optimistic for the rest of my life."


1 November 1995

Starving soldiers from the beleaguered Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army, 
a splinter group of Gen Bo Mya's Karen National Union, have turned to 
banditry and abducted villagers along the Thai-Burmese border in Tak and
Mae Hong Son provinces for ransom, a senior official of the KNU said.

The official said their course of action stemmed from a need for money 
following Rangoon cutting their food and other logistic supplies, including 
weapons, since July.

The official warned that the situation could get worse without joint cooperation 
between Burmese soldiers, the KNU and Thai authorities to persuade the DKBA 
to return to the KNU fold.

The KNU official told The Nation that around 400 DKBA soldiers stationed 
in Manerplaw, opposite Ban Mae Sam Lap in Thailand's Mae Hong Son 
province, have set up a blockade on the Salween River at Sop Mei, demanding 
protection money from Thai and Burmese commuters.

He said DKBA soldiers stationed at the Mawpokei Camp, opposite Tak province,
reoprtedly crossed over to Thailand and looted villager's houses. They reportedly 
began to abduct villagers for ransom between 20,000 and 30,000 Kyat (between 
Bt83,400 and Bt125,100 at the Burmese official rate). (TN)


November 1, 1995

RANGOON _ The Board of Investment has placed Burma second on its
list of most favoured trading nations behind Laos.

A Bol source said after considering the competitive advantages
Thai investors hold over other foreign investors, Burma should
top Vietnam, Cambodia, Southern China, the Philippines and
Indonesia on the list of countries to be promoted.

" Vietnam, for example, is a tough market. It is too competitive
for Thais to succeed," said the source.

At a seminar sponsored by the Thai Embassy in Rangoon last
Saturday, the Bol's Director of International Affairs Dr Atchaka
Brimble, told about l 00 Thai businessmen that Burma is a country
full of opportunities for Thai investors.

Dr Atchaka will head a Bol fact-finding mission to Burma between
Oct 27 and Nov 2. Tn addition to Rangoon, the mission will visit
cities in the south and fly to the far north to observe border
trade between China and Burma.

The Bol director, however, said that Bol laws did not allow the
investment board to grant tax exemptions for profit earned on
overseas investment projects.

This might be an obstacle for Thai investment in Burma, which
grants corporate tax exemptions to foreign projects for a period
of only three years.

The Bol originally set out to promote investment in Thailand but
the Anand government changed the agency's man X date to include
promotion of Thai overseas investment.

Suthep Tangkachavana, general manager of ICI Paints (Thailand)
Ltd, told The Nation that because Thailand shares a border with
Burma it has a competitive advantage over other countries in
terms of trade and investment _ especially if the government
develops more roads connecting the two nations.

Suthep suggested the Thai government help . Burma construct a
road from Mydwaddi to Rangoon. The 200 kilometre road would
connect Rangoon to Thai land's Tak province.

If the proposed road was constructed, it would facilitate the transport of 
Thai goods to Burma, helping Thai companies compete with the Singapore 
companies which currently dominate the Burmese market, he said.

The Board of Trade of Thailand' Executive Director Prayoon
Talerngsr said Thailand has so far not been able t ultilize its
proximity to Burma in the battle against the Singaporean

Prayoon also recommended a review of Thai-Burmese border trade
regulations to make them more systematic and streamlined.

The Royal Thai Embassy in Burma organized the seminar despite
some recent political turmoil between Thailand and Burma. Burma
recently closed its border points with Thailand virtually cutting
off cross-border trade that equalled almost Bt10 billion in 1994.
With about 100 participants, the seminar was the largest ever
gathering of Thai businessmen in Burma.

A Thai official in Rangoon confirmed at there have recently been
some anti-Thai products leaflets distributed in the country.
"This led to higher prices for Thai goods. In my view it was a
positive sign because it showed that Thai goods are anted by the
Burmese people," he said.

The Federation of Thai Industries' executive Director Dr Viphandh
Roengithaya praised the Thai Embassy's initiative as a
breakthrough move by the Foreign Ministry which, in his view,
should show more interest in overseas business promotion.

'Only 18 countries in the world have annual gross domestic
product growth of over five per cent and 17 of them, including
Burma, are in the Asia-Pacific region," said Dr Viphandh. Viphandh 
headed a delegation of 30-FTI members attending the seminar.

Narry Tsz Wai Chan, general manager of Cedar Myanmar
Manufacturing Ltd, said the group was reducing garment production
capacity in Samut Prakan and in China and increasing it in Burma
which has lower production costs.

Cedar began production at its Rangoon knitting factory only a few
months ago with an initial investment of US$4 million. Within the
next six months, a second factory will be completed, increasing
the company's Rangoon workforce to 3,100, he said.

"Production costs here are one-tenth of costs in Thailand," said
Wai Chan, the son of David Chan, vice chairman and a major
shareholder of Thailand-based Cedar Group.

Tanatip Jotikasthira, country manager of Loxley Myanmar Ltd,
noted that after; almost two years in Burma, he considered it
time for Loxley to begin investing in manufacturing projects in
the country. The businesses being considered by Loxley include
construction material and consumer goods firms.

Loxley is already contracted to install 1,000 GSM digital
telephone lines in the city of Mandalay. It is also tipped to win
another contract to supply switching systems for 10,000 fixed
telephone lines and plans to bid for a contract to install a
digital telephone system in Rangoon next year.

Tossatis Rodprasert, assistant vice president and chief
representative at Bangkok Bank's Rangoon office, said it was
easier to invest in export-oriented projects than domestic
projects in Burma because a company can avoid becoming involved
in the country's currency problems. Burma has two different
exchange rates - an official and a market rate and the official rate is 
six Kyats for US$1, while the market rate is 110 Kyats per dollar.

Poksak Nilubol, the Thai Ambassador to Burma, said he would like
to see Thai businesses present a united front when they invest
overseas to help keep up with the competition. According to the
ambassador, Thai investment projects in Burma ranked fifth after
British, French, Singaporean and United States efforts in 1994,
with a total investment of $264 million.

Dr Atchaka also noted that the Thai public sector does not offer
a united front when dealing with foreign entities. "One of the
reasons we cannot fully support Thai investment abroad is that
many people in government do not understand why the country 
should invest overseas when internal investment is still required."


31 October 1995

>From Anna Allott, Sorbrook Mill, Bodicote, Banbury, Oxon OX15 4AU
Phone 01295 720 142 Fax 01295 721 664


It has just come to my notice that a group of six Burmese seamen are at
present stranded penniless in the port of ROUEN in northern France. 
This has come about because the vessel, MT Stainless Glory, on which
they form part of the crew, was put under arrest by the ITF
(International Transport Federation) for failure to pay the crew's wages
since March of this year.  The boat has been tied up in Rouen since 21
May.  The ship's owners, ADRIATIC TANKERS, a Greek owned company, 
have not paid the crew for eight months.  Apparently this company is
notorious for being badly run and for late payment of its crews in this
way.  It is very likely that the company will soon collapse entirely and
cease to be able to operate. 

What has happened so far is roughly as follows: When the ship docked at
Rouen in May, the crew refused to unload the cargo as they had received
no wages since boarding.  The French consignee was anxious to unload the
valuable chemical cargo and finally agreed, after some delay, to pay a
sum in advance to the master of the ship to cover part of the crew's
wages, and the cargo was unloaded.  Most of the Korean crew returned
home, but a skeleton crew of 6 Burmese, 3 Russians and the Korean master
(and his wife) remain on board.  The money thus raised from the
consignee by unloading the cargo has been used by the captain to pay
the crew enough to be able to buy food for themselves until now.  The
quantity of food they are able to buy with the money given to the by the
captain keeps them from starving but is far from adequate.  They are now
living on rice and sardines. 

The skeleton crew must continue to live on board the vessel in order to
maintain their claim against the company for their outstanding wages. 
However the boat is not able to start up its engines and so has no
electric power, and thus they have no lighting, heating, hot water, or
possibility of watching TV. 

The crew have been advised by the ITF to stay on board for as long as
possible in the hope of extracting the money owed to them by the
company. If the Adriatic Tankers company finally collapses, its assets,
i.e. its vessels, will have to be sold to repay the mortgagor bank.  In
this case, the crew would receive their back pay and money for
repatriation.  But this may take many more months. 

By the end of November it will be very cold on the boat.  I have been
told that at the moment they have enough warm clothing (given to them by
the local seamens' centre) but their diet is inadequate and they are
worried for their families back in Burma who will be experiencing
hardship as the expected regular remittances of money have not been
arriving for the last six months. (I know that at least one of the
sailors has three young children). 

They can be written to c/o

The International Seafarers Centre
MT 'Stainless Glory'
Rue Duguay Trouin
7600 Rouen, France

or phoned on Wednesdays and Sundays when they are at the centre (Ask for
2nd Engineer Kyaw Win).  Tel 35 70 02 94 Fax 35 07 12 65

The English Port Chaplain at the seamans club in Rouen, Reverend Andrew
Marks, who has been of great help to them, can be contacted on his
direct line 35 70 51 63. 

They may in a short while be obliged to ask for financial help just to
get back home.  But at the moment, the best help you can give them would
be to find a friendly English-speaking lawyer in Rouen or Paris who
would be able to ensure that they do not leave the boat without lodging
a correct claim for all the money due to them.  the services of a French
lawyer could/would be expensive. Also, donations of money, or even
Burmese food, would be welcome and encouraging. 

Please contact me for further information.  I am in touch with officials
at the ITF HQ in London who are fully aware of the situation and very
helpful. Worldwide publicity in the Far East and South East Asia to warn
all seamen to avoid service on this shipping line is needed. 

Anna Allott


  Strider adds,
There is a Seaman's union for Burmese merchant sailors.  The 
Seaman's union is a part of the Federation of Trade Unions-Burma and 
can offer some protection and help to seaman who get in trouble 
abroad.  It is limited in what it can do because trade unions are 
banned and actively suppressed by the SLORC, but as it operates outside 
the country, it has more freedom of action than any other underground 
union.  On the off chance that any Burmese seamen are on the net and 
want information about the FTUB, please contact them.  I'll also 
forward Anna Allott's request for help to them.



 October 31, 1995    From FTUB (West Burma)

The military government  had been forcibly recruiting new soldiers at Hkam Ti, 
Homelin, Leshi, Lahe and Namyum township by order of Lt. Col. Maung Oo, 
the strategy-commander of Hkamti cantonment. In recruiting, some operation 
officers used to go to village and the OCs of township.
On 30.9.95, the party including operation officer of 347 IB and the OCs arrived 
at Sumra village and claimed recruits for army from Leshi township. Moreover 
villagers were ordered to send recruits to a Kuki village on 6th October of 1995. 
If they didn't send, the armymen told choice two ways; (1) not to stay in 
village and (2) village will be blazed when villagers were still staying.
The villagers of Leshi township were claimed to pay recruits following by numbers.
(1) Sumra village               10 persons
(2) Poun Ta Yek village 4   persons
(3) Leyon village               3   persons
(4)Pansup village               10 persons
(5) Ngacham village     10 persons
(6) Koung Kailou village        7   persons
(7) Namee Yupee village 5   persons
(8) Yehtaung village    1   persons
(9) Kuki village                10 persons
The following youths of the Sumra villagers were forcibly taken,
(1) Maung Yan Soe       (18)yrs s/o U Yar Htaung
(2) Maung Athwin pot    (24)yrs s/o U Yar Pot
(3) Maung Ye San        (20)yrs s/o U Yar Pot
(4) Maung Kan Phore     (17)yrs s/o U Htan Po
Moreover, Maung Saw Htin (23)yrs, s/o U Ye Pan was also arrested for a 
recruit who is a villager of  Surma and coming back from Leshi.
Source : ABSDF (Western Burma) 



As of September 25, 1995, there were 419 subscribers to burmanet-l
and 72 subscribers to burmanews-l.  If you know the names of the
countries represented by the question marks, please send a note to
christin@xxxxxxxxxx    Thank you.


country	        abbreviation               total
USA		 - 		256	
Thailand		th		 50
Australia	au		 41
United Kingdom    uk		 12
Japan		 jp		 10
Canada		ca		 10
Norway		no		  8
France		fr		  4
Singapore	sg		  3
India		in		  3
Netherlands	nl		  3
Germany		de		  3
Denmark	dk		  3
? 		my		  3
New Zealand	nz		  2
Belgium		be		  1
Finland		fi		  1
? (zaire)		za		  1
?		si		  1
? (switz)		ch		  1
?      		se		  1
?		at		  1
?		is		  1
			       total: 419


country	        abbreviation               total
USA		 - 		 45	
Thailand		th		  3
Australia	au		  8
United Kingdom    uk		  1
Japan		 jp		  3
Canada		ca		  4
France		fr		  1
Netherlands	nl		  1
Germany		de		  1
Denmark	dk		  1
New Zealand	nz		  1
Hong Kong	hk		  1
?		at		  1
? (croatia)	cr		  1
			    Total:  72


OF BURMESE PEOPLE    (the local student run paper in Bloomington, IN)
October 30, 1995   By Harumi Maeda

The voice gained strength as the afternoon sun came out.  "Pepsi, get out
of Burma," protesters exclaimed.

About 50 Bloomington residents and students gathered Friday afternoon
outside of Pepsi-Cola Bottlers of Bloomington, 214 W. 17th.  St., Friday
afternoon.  They held posters high protesting PepsiCo's investment in
Burma, a Southeast Asian nation ruled by military dictatorship.

The demonstration was a beginning of a worldwide campaign for a free
Burma, said Tun Myint, 25, an IU student and Burmese political refugee.
Burmese and human rights activists organized the campaign in cities all
around the world to protest the State Law and Order Restoration Council,
Burma's military dictatorship.

More than 50 institutions in the United States joined the protest and
called for the withdrawl of PepsiCo, Texaco, and Unocal, who remain in
Burma where some businesses have already left.

"I really hope that Pepsi will begin to talk with campaign groups in the
world," Myint said.

But so far, PepsiCo has refused to withdraw from Burma because it says it
is not doing business with the government, Myint said.

A company spokeswoman said the company is refusing to comment about
Friday's protest.

MBA student Peter Cheng joined the protest from a businessman's
point of view.  He said he disagrees with Pepsi's strategy to invest in
Burma because the government uses slave labor to build the infrastructure
of Pepsi.

"It's not ethical," Cheng said.  "You can't just care about money."

He also said Pepsi would be forced from Burma if democratic leader Aung
San Suu Kyi returned to power.


But Burma is a long way from restoring democracy.  The Associated Press
reported Oct. 23 that the Burmese government ruled that the reappointment
of Aung San Suu Kyi's to a leadership role in her political party was

"We must finish our own problem through dialogue," Myint said.  "But the
military government proved that they will go their own way.  They won't
give up."

Myint said he was hoping that the campaign would put pressure on the
Burmese government as well as educate the Bloomington community and IU
students about the situation in Burma.

Myint has been eager to talk about his country with people in the
community since he came to IU in 1993.  Jennifer Bass, 41, got to know
Myint personally, and that's how she and her 7- and 11-year-old daughters
came to join the protest.

"We've heard his stories," Bass said.  "My children know what happened to
Tun and why he had to leave his country."

Back in Burma, where the arrest and persecution without reason by the
military government is common, Myint participated in the 1988 student
pro-democracy demonstrations.  The government resoponded to it with power,
and he fled to neighboring Thailand.

"It's important for children to know that the people live like that in
another part of the world and to appreciate the freedom that we have
here,"  Bass said.


At the intersection near PepsiCo, Paola Voci, a Chinese major graduate
student, approached a car waiting at a traffic light.  When she explained
Pepsi's business in Burma, a driver replied, "You know, we're Americans.
We have the right to do business wherever we want."

"We are here not as much to make people think," Voci said, "at least just
to get their attention."  She said she hoped people would think the
meaning of the protest when they read fliers or articles later on.

"Buying Pepsi is not just buying soda," Voci said.  "Just remind people
that Pepsi is a large company, and you can boycott Pepsi products and make
a change in a country like Burma."

In a parking lot in front of PepsiCo, another female protestor talked to a
Pepsi employee getting out of a car.
        "Do you know Pepsi does business in Burma?"
        "I don't want to," a man replied.
        "People are being killed because of forced labor."
        "They kill themselves.  That's their problem," the man said.
        "Pepsi kills, Pepsi kills," two other protestors joined her.

Director of IU International Services Kenneth A. Rogers, who has supported
two Burmese students at IU, said there could be more productive approaches
than boycott.

"I am not opposed to the boycott," Rogers said.  "But historically boycott
has never had much effect.  My suggestion is making approach to these
companies to see if we can persuade them to give money for scholarships to
Burmese students or exiles."

Indiana Campaign for a Free Burma, a committee of Burmese activists and IU
Amnesty International, also will urge the IU Alumni Association to cancel
its visit to Burma next February. The trip is promoted through the "1996
Visit Myanmar(Burma) Year," a military government's camaign to attract

"The military leaders presently order citizens to work as forced laborers
to prepare the country for tourism and foreign investments," the committee
states in a petition.

Joan Curts, director of IU Alumni travel, said IU Alumni Association
hadn't talked with students yet, but said that she doubted that there
would be any changes in plans to visit.

"We've never canceled trips for that reason," Curts said.  The 17-day trip
will visit five Southeast Asia countries and features a seven- nights
cruise on M.S. Song for Flower, Curtis said.

"We're not making any political statement here," Curts said.  "I think
that openness is always good as opposed to secrecy.  Secrecy is an enemy
of democracy."

Indiana Campaign for a Free Burma plans to meet with the IU Alumni
Association next week.

{Bloomington residents Jeff Melton and Sarah Brault protest Friday
outside the Pepsi plant on West 17th Street.}


October 30, 1995

28/29 November 1995, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague , The
With speakers from Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Filipines, Belgium,
FR-Germany, The UK and The Netherlands.

It is going very well with Southeast-Asia. The economic-growth-and
-profit figures are higher than anywhere else and the future prosepctives
seem brilliant. Such is the image painted by companies, politicians and
media. They warn us: if we do not act now, the Asian Tigers will not only
by-pass us economically, but they will als eat us alive.

That this is a very one-sided look on things, is the subject of a two-day
study-conference 'Paper Tigers' on tuesday 28th and wednesday 29 th of
November 1995 in the Institute of Social Studies, Kortenaerkade 12, The
Hague, The Netherlands. The conference is organised by the Burma Centrum
Nederland (BCN), Filipijnen Informatie- en Documentatiecentrum (FIDOC),
Komitee IndonesiEB en Transnational Institute (TNI), in close cooperation
with other organisations and with financial support from HIVOS, NCO and

Questions that will be posed are: What are the conditions, chances and
constraints (limits to?) of economic growth in Southeast-Asia and what are
the social and ecological costs. Does economic growth create possibilities
for pacification of social and political conflicts or does "polarised
development" result in intenser conflicts? Is there a new economic,
political and military superpower (powerblock) forming around ASEAN and what
does this mean for Europe? What are the alternative strategies for
development that are promoted by social movements and NGO's in the region,

how can these be supported from Europe?

Planned are eight lectures, nine workshops, two panel discussions and a
musical perfomance. There are also lecturers, but they shall in this medium
remain unnamed. The theme of the first day is: "Economic growth, the forming
of regional blocks and conflict in Southeast-Asia". The theme of day two:
"NGO-alternatives in Southeast-Asia and futureperspectives for international
Theme's of the workshops are
A) the NIC-development model - conditions, chances and costs
B) Industrialisation and economic growth - position of women
C) Peace and arms race (armament) in SEA - initiatives and perspectives
D) IMF and WBank - experiences with international campaigns and lobby
E) The relation EU-ASEAN - more than just trade?
F) Marketeconomy - limits and alternatives
G) Regional selfdetermination (..) vs national development?
H) Democracy and Human Rights - Western vs Asian concepts?
I) Western investments and multinationals - conditions and rules of conduct

The conference will for a larger part be in English. Participation costs are
for individuals Dfl 50,00 for the whole conference (including Lunch, coffee
or and tea and a conference-handout) and Dfl 100,00 for Organisations.
Participants and more details about the programme can be gotten by writing

ASAP!!! a letter to:
Nolensweg 8
The Netherlands (Holland)
tel (31)(78)6185652
fax (31)(78)6185578
please include
and state whether you want to
- receive a detailed programm; and/or
- partake day 1 a/o
- partake lunch day 1 a/o
- prefer to partake workshop number ... on 28/11/95 a/o
- but if not partake workshop number ... on 28/11/95 a/o

- partake day 2 a/o
- partake lunch day 2 a/o
- prefer to partake workshop number ... on 29/11/95 a/o
- but if not partake workshop number ...on 29/11/95

BCN is onafhankelijke stichting. Doel: Nederlandse samenleving informeren
over Burma. Het initieert en co-ordineert aktiviteiten die democratisering
en duurzame ontwikkeling bevorderen. Het geeft een positieve bijdrage aan
een constructieve dialoog tussen de diverse groeperingen.
visit these sights:


October 30, 1995

The Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma

Mr. James Wolfensohn
President, The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433

Dear Mr. Wolfensohn,

I noted with interest a recent press report that Burmese General 
Win Tin of the military government of Burma provided you a briefing at 
the annual Board of Governors Meeting.  There are several significant 
omissions in his presentation which should be considered prior to making 
recommendations to loan money to the dictatorship in Rangoon.

When General Win Tin mentioned "the 1988 disturbances," he 
was referring to the Burma Army slaughter of thousands of innocent 
civilians who had been peacefully protesting against three decades of 
incompetent, corrupt, and cruel military rule.  General Win Tin did not 
mention the gang rapes of students by Burma Army soldiers, the beating to 
death of students, the throwing of wounded students into the crematorium 
behind the Burma Broadcasting Station, nor did he mention that the 
soldiers had been ordered to shoot and kill doctors and nurses attending 
wounded demonstrators.

General Win Tin failed to mention that the economic growth and 
foreign investments have only served to enrich the military junta leaders 
and their families and to pay off the debts for its acquisition of billions
of dollars in military equipment.  This national income has not been used for 
infrastructure.  Slave labor is used for its in-kind contributions for 
infrastructure projects.  Along with economic growth, there has been 
significant increases in infant mortality, malnutrition, AIDS and heroin 

Before you accept General Win Tin's assertion that the military 
dictatorship in Rangoon gives priority to environmental concerns, you 
may wish to seek the views of someone with some expertise in forestry 
and environmental protection.  What the General says and what others say 
(and have documented) are contradictory.

You should understand the Orwellian vocabulary used by the 
Generals in Rangoon.  General Win Tin's use of the term "national 
reconciliation" should not be understood to mean "national 
reconciliation".  What it really means is government sponsored genocide
against ethnic minorities, torture and imprisonment of political 
oppositions leaders, and policy which seek to divide the nation along 
religious and ethnic lines to prevent a democratic coalition from 

Another omission by General Win Tin was that his government, 
the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) is not the 
legitimate government of Burma.  Elections were held in May 1990.   The 
National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 
won an overwhelming victory.  Instead of transferring political power, the 
generals imprisoned party leaders (having placed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 
under house arrest months earlier) and increased its military campaign 
against pro-democracy groups throughout the country.  SLORC is an 
outlaw regime.  According to its own statements to the people, it obeys no 
laws since it is a military regime.

Most importantly, General Win Tin did not mention that Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the pro-democracy movement of Burma 
and General Secretary of the NLD, has stated that it is premature for major 
foreign investment in Burma.  Until there is a dialogue between the 
people, represented by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and the generals, no 
investment can be secure.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has made every effort to engage the 
military dictatorship in a dialogue to bring nonviolent democratic political 
reforms to our country.  For the prestigious World Bank to endorse 
oppression and tyranny by supporting the regime in Rangoon would be 
most inappropriate.  Democracies throughout the world would be 
embarrassed that their contributions were promoting the enslavement of a 


Tin Maung Thaw
Chairman, CRDB