[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Rangoon comes to Sarejevo to show s

Subject: Rangoon comes to Sarejevo to show solidarity

Rangoon comes to Sarejevo to show solidarity

      By Peter Bale 

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Reuter) - Two bloody struggles from
opposite ends of the world came together Saturday when Burmese dissidents
arrived in a snowy Sarajevo to promote their cause in Bosnia. 

    ``What I see in Sarajevo is hope for the future,'' exiled Burmese
academic-turned-actor U Aung Ko told a news conference in the bullet-pocked
building of Sarajevo's arts university. 

    ``Free thought, freedom from fear,'' said Aung Ko, who stars in the film
``Beyond Rangoon'' by British director John Boorman. 

    Aung Ko was in Sarajevo under the auspices of the Soros Foundation of
Hungarian-born international financier George Soros which is sponsoring
programs in Bosnia and in Burma. 

    Soros has provided water supplies, newsprint, technology and this month a
film festival for besieged Sarajevo. 

    In Burma the Soros foundation works to infiltrate independent radio
communications and pro-democracy literature to combat the ruling military

    ``Beyond Rangoon'' is a centerpiece of the Sarajevo festival along with
less polemical contemporary classics like Quentin Tarantino's bloodthirsty
``Pulp Fiction'' and ``Reservoir Dogs'' -- oddly popular in a city where
bloodshed is a daily event. 

    ``Why are we here? Insanity, same as you,'' joked Soros Foundation Burma
Project director Maureen Aung-Thwin. 

    She said the Soros Foundation was determined through festivals and other
projects to bring some kind of intellectual and cultural normality to the
once-thriving city of Sarajevo. 

    Bringing it a taste of Burma's struggle is part of that. 

    The new Boorman film is a drama loosely based on the 1988 student
uprisings in Rangoon against the military committee which has run the
Southeast Asian country since 1962. 

    In real life, Aung Ko is a Paris-based academic who runs a Burmese
pressure group named after Nobel Peace Prize-winning Burmese opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, recently released from house arrest by the military

    For Soros Foundation director in Sarajevo Zdravko Grebo, the promotion of
the Burmese democratic cause is an important chance for Sarajevans to be
exposed to crises beyond their own. 

    The world's reluctance to intervene in the Bosnian conflict and its
reluctance to combat the military junta in Burma, he suggested, showed the
same ``shameful, disgraceful betrayal of all the principles of the
international community.'' 

    At the same time, he said, there was a need for Sarajevans to look beyond
their own misery. Soros has organized fund raisings or events in the Bosnian
capital for crises in Rwanda, Chechnya and now the democratic struggle in

    Meanwhile in the hills not far from where the festival is being held,
soldiers manned snow-covered frontlines. 

Reut14:42 11-04-95