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Burma holiday perpetuates misery.


CAMERON Forbes's report, "Burma's War of Nerves" (FOCUS, The Weekend
Australian, 2-3/11), should hit a nerve with most Australians.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burma's rightful leader, is
appealing to the world for support.

It appears there is little room for manoeuvre as the State Law and Order
Restoration Council plays its deadly game, using blocking tactics to thwart
the push for reform by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

Suu Kyi's moves are bold and calculating. As the world watches, clearly the
NLD's intention, she taunts the military, calling on it to engage in
dialogue aimed at returning Burma to a democracy.

Forbes suggested the SLORC may have written off the west, nothing its
increasing relationships with its Asian neighbours. Certainly its military
purchases from China, to be used against Burma's pathetically
under-resourced people, in particular the Karen, are evidence of this.

However, the SLORC needs the West. It is banking much on a sucessful "Visit
Myanmar Year" in 1996 as it hopes to lure weathy Western tourists to Burma.
Accommodation will be in new hotels, built by "slave" labour. Recreation
will be to restricted tourist destinations made over for Western eyes.

Off limits will be visits with political prisoners; trips into restricted
rural areas, where many are finding it difficult to observe progress on the
southern gas pipeline, where death is an everyday occurrence.

Suu Kyi has called for a halt to foreign aid and investment in Burma until
democracy is restored. Australia has partly responded, resolving not to
recommence aid until Australia's recommendations regarding human rights and
democratic pursuits are adopted.

Those considering making Burma a holiday destination in 1996 should think
again. YOU will only help to perpetuate the human face of misery in Burma.
Little gets through to the citizens in the street and certainly nothing
dribbles down to help those in rural areas.

DON'T GO. Further, WRITE to the Burmese government and TELL them Why you
will be staying away from Myanmar in 1996.

Warragul, Vic

(Letter to the editor, The Australian, 5.12.95).