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call for unity
[The Australian Tuesday 28 November 1995]
BURMA'S HEROES OF OLD CALL FOR UNITY.
Rangoon: Old heroes of Burma's independence struggle have urged the
country's military regime to begina dialogue with democracy movement
leader Ms Aung San Suu Kyi for the sake of a peaceful and united
Word of the appeal is spreading in the capital on the eve of a
national convention that will; be a test of wills between Ms Suu Kyi
A well-placed delegate to the convention told The Australia that Ms
Suu Kyi's credibility was on the line following her cticism of the
convention and rejection of the constitution it is designed to
produce - one that would guarantee SLORC permanent and substantial
I she and her National League for Democracy went along with
convention proceedings on SLORC's terms. she would be "down the
This session of the convention will deal with the key issues of the
roles of the executive, the legislature ans the judiciary.
ALORC also raised the stakes yesterday with a bitter attack on Ms Suu
Kyi, saying that speeches at her rallies almost amounted tp a ca;;
"Rise up, peasants", and suggesting the movement should be held
responsible if there riots in the country.
The delegate who did not want to be named... warned that unless all
sides worled together, there as no way out. Asked if Ms SDuu Kyi's
support among the people was holding, he said,"It is mire, more now".
But he added, pretending to pull a trigger, the army has the gun and
she has the people".
The call for dialogue was signed by 23 people who described
themselves as having taken part inh various stages of the
independence struggle against the Japanese and the British. They
included 86 year old Mr Bohmu Ang, one of the 6 survivors of the
legendary 30 Comrades who were the founders of free Burma. Ms Suu
Kyi's father, Aung San was a member of the elite group.
The call was presented to SLORC on Friday afternoon. That night all
23 were informed that they would be taken in for a "briefing" the
next day. The "briefing" led by the Home Minister, Mr Tin Hlaing and
involving police and intelligence chiefs lasted from late morning to
Sources say that one of the "briefers" became very angry and accused
the signatories of being an " offshoot of the axe handle of the
imperialists", a reference to Ms Suu Kyi. They were asked which
imperilaist had asked them to write the letter.
Mr Bohmu Ang replied that they had written the letter because they
really believed that dialogue should happen.
In the Rangoon hothouse, conspiracy theories are flourishing. On is
that SLORC itself instigated the letter to give it a face saving
avenue towards talks with Ms Suu Kji.
Another is that Burma's 84 year old former dictator, General Ne Win
was behind it. General Ne Win, so the argument goes is still a force
in the shadows. He wants to be resurrected as the benefactor of the
people and is encouraging a dialogue for peace.
A call for dialogue has also been made by the Shan National League
for Democracy, which has the second largest partyn representation at
the convention dominated by SLORC-controlled delegates.