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Dear Burma Activists:

I have sent the following letter of appeal to Indiana University Alumni 
Association. The cc; addresses in the following message are the email 
address of the president of IU, two Deans of International Programs, and 
the special assistant to Mr. Jerry Tardy.

Tun Myint

Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 00:54:40 -0500 (EST)
To: jtardy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: pres@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, omeara@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
    kenroger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, skirvinm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To: Mr. Jerry Tardy
Executive Director
Indiana University Alumni Association

Burmese Student Association                             December 7, 1995

Dear Mr. Tardy:

My name is Tun Myint. I am a Burmese student at Indiana University, and
the president of the Burmese Student Association. I am writing this letter
to express my concern about the IU Alumni Association's unanimous decision
to go ahead with its sponsorship of its trip to Burma. 

As you know, Burma is ruled by a brutal and oppressive regime called SLORC
(State Law and Order Restoration Council). SLORC is one the most serious
violators of human rights in Asia, something that has been documented by
the United States State Department , the United Nations, Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch (Asia) and other human rights monitoring
organizations. Among the human rights violations routinely practiced by
the government are forced labor, torture, rape and the complete denial of
civil rights and liberties to the citizens of Burma. 

As a Burmese political refugee who was forced to leave my country in order
to avoid arrest, torture, and likely death, but also as a future IU
Alumnus, I am greatly troubled by IU's participation in SLORC's "1996
Visit Myanmar Year" project. I understand that the trip is intended as an
educational field trip. But I think it would be a great mistake to
participate in this kind of an educational process. 

First, IU travelers are not going to see the true situation in Burma; they
will only see SLORC's distorted version of Burma. They will visit approved
sites and will talk only to officially approved people. 

Second, by participating in SLORC's tourist project, the IU Alumni
Association will be furnishing SLORC with hard cash with which to continue
persecuting the Burmese people. By my calculation, the 25 tourists will be
providing SLORC with US $7,500 (25 x $3 00). With this money SLORC can
purchase 62,500 assault rifle bullets from mainland China, bullets which
can and will be used to shoot, and kill, those ethnic villagers whom the
SLORC government has made war on for the past seven years. This may seen
far fetched, but SLORC is a military dictatorship, it is starved for hard
currency, and it does spend most of this currency on military weapons and

Third, by participating in SLORC's Tourist Project, IU Alumni Association
will be giving institutional support, and lending legitimacy, to an
illegitimate government, a government that has lost the support of its own
people and the support of the international community. SLORC has
consistently refused to recognize the legitimacy of democratic politics,
and it has invalidated an election, in 1990, in which democratic forces
were supported by the vast majority of the citizens of Burma. SLORC holds
political power in Burma for one reason--because it brutally wields
military power. On December 1, 1995, the White House issued a statement
deploring the current situation in Burma and calling on SLORC to transfer
power to the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the winner of
the Nobel Peace Prize. SLORC has consistently ignored such calls. By
participating in the Tourist Project, IU Alumni Association will be
lending SLORC's position credibility. 

Fourth, it has been well-documented that SLORC has been using forced labor
at the tourist sites and railway stations through which international
travelers will pass on their trip through Burma. Hundreds of men, women,
and children have been forcibly conscripted into SLORC's effort to
improve its international image. IU Alumni Association should not support
such a use of forced labor. 

As you know, the Alumni Associations of UCLA and Northwestern University
have decided for these reasons to cancel their trips to Burma. These are
major Alumni Associations of major American universities, and their
decisions were undertaken with seriousness and responsibility. As a
student of Indiana University I implore you to act with the same
seriousness and responsibility. Canceling the trip to Burma is the right
thing to do. Lending any kind of support or credibility to SLORC is the
wrong thing to do. Please do the right thing.

I would be happy to provide you and your colleagues with more information
about human rights abuses in Burma and about the use of forced labor in
the tourist projects. You can contact me by phone at 339-3888 or by e-mail
at tmyint@xxxxxxxxxxxx 

Thank you very much for your patience. 



Tun Myint

CC: President Myles Brand
    Dean Patrick O'Meara, International Programs 
    Dean Kenneth  A. Rogers, International Services
    Mr. Max Skirvinm, Special Assistant to Executive Director of Indiana 
                      University Alumni Association