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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 1995 09:33:01 GMT
To: jtardy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: dhorne@xxxxxxxxxxx, tmyint@xxxxxxxxxxx, zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: IU Alumni Trip Burma=20

Mr. Jerry Tardy
Director, IU Alumni
Suite 219
Fountain Square

Re: Indiana University Alumni's Decision.=20

cc: jtardy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
cc: iuburma@xxxxxxxxxxx
cc: Tun Myint  President Burmese Student Association

Dear  Mr. Tardy,

With all due respect, never did your name come to mean such significance
as now in the decision by the IU association to refuse the earnest and
historic request by human rights activists to withdraw its sponsorship of
the upcoming tour under IU colors.=20

Never before were the signals so clear and bright, and the need so dire,
in a time of darkness hanging over Burma. Perhaps there is still time to
shed some light on your fateful decision, as we are sure you interests are
good and your reasons obscured by conflict and interest.=20

The activists, including an IU student from Burma who fled his country's
bloody military crackdown in 1988, in which more than 3000 people were
massacred, tortured, raped and butchered. Survivors have come to you to
ask IU to withdraw its sponsorship on humanitarian grounds. But you have
snubbed them, and denigrated their request.=20

The association's seven-member board of managers voted unanimously in
favor of continuing the sponsorship. This is a grave insult to human
rights in Burma, the human rights movement in general around the world.
Unless of course, you too seek to carry a banner of Human Rights and
deliver it to officials there, from your personal non-political human
interests, as you need no political organization to stand up for human

You might even so wish to carry the United Nations Universal Declaration
of Human Rights of 1948 in your hand and give your tourist guests some
copies. "The purposes of the alumni tours are educational, not political,"
you declared, as executive director of the Alumni Association. Still, you
must surely know, that Burma officials care only about their brutal
politics, endorsing slave labor, rape and murder, and that for them,
tourism finances their military oppression.=20

"Our Alumni can choose from a wide array of Travel offerings and
visiting a country does not mean endorsing the policies of its
government," you said in a news release Friday. You even went so far
as to say that IU was one of the first universities to sponsor a trip
to China when travel restrictions were lifted in the late 1970s. One
has to wonder if you are proud of this adventure. "The university is
about communicating and exchanging ideas,"  said your news release.

"We know form experience that alumni who have visited a country are better
informed, ask more questions and help contribute to the free flow of ideas
that is essential both to democracy and the educational process." Better
done said then said. What are you going to tell your guests about =AB
democracy and the educational process =BB that they don=92t know already? A=
you going to help stop the killing, the rape of young children, the murder
of their fathers, or are you going to simply be a =AB nice complacent rich
smiling tourist =BB, duped and conned by the Asia warlords?  Is that the
image you wish to send their ignorant masters? Is that how you wish to
represent Americans on an educational mission?=20

To date, 25 IU alumni have made reservations on the 18-day tour which
includes visits to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong.  Visitors
will spend less than 24 hours in Burma. One day more of hell for the
Burmese. One more day of indifferent self-smugged tourism for you and your
trip. And at $6,000 to $8,000 a person, what a fine day for the Burmese
Mafia to take your easy money. We understand that Kenneth Beckley,
president of the 60,000-member Alumni Association, said that sponsorship
underscores the educational nature of the trip. "We are very sympathetic
to the concerns voiced by the representatives of the Free Burma movement,"
Beckley said. But we must ask, what is the nature of this strange =AB
sympathy =BB? Will you be sympathetic =BB when you see photos of dismembere=
men, women and children, or the living survivors who have had their lives
scarred forever.=20

The lecturer on the Burma part of the trip is an international management
consultant who has worked in Southeast Asia for the State Department and
the United Nations, Beckley said.  That consultant will inform travelers
of the political situation in Burma. Let us hope he speak of his
experience for human rights, or else he has no right to cite these
institutions on his professional resum=E9.=20

The U.S. State Department's 1994 report on human rights practices in Burma
said that despite "an appearance of greater normalcy fostered by increased
economic activity, in fact the Government's unacceptable record on human
rights changed little in 1994." Human rights activists are especially
concerned about the use of forced labor on several projects in Burma.
Under pressure from California based Burmese activists, the UCLA Alumni
Association withdrew sponsorship from the same alumni tour. Northwestern
also withdrew sponsorship of a similar trip to Burma.=20

Knowledge grows with experience. I graduated from Yale where I was taught
kindness, reciprocity, honesty and sound values and traditions that have
upheld American institutions throughout its history, travelled widely,
actively on human rights struggles for freedom and democracy, worked years
at the United Nations in the Department of Public Information, attended
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Studies in International Affairs, with
President Carter=92 Secretary of Defense Harold Brown and Paul itze,
senior Advisor to President Ronald Reagan.=20

I strongly encourage you to reconsider your decision, or at best cancel
your voyage to Burma. And in the worst case, if you must go there, to go
as an American who first and above all, brings a word of freedom to the
Burmese people, and not a signal of benevolence to its killing masters who
ignore re world opinion and outrage.=20

Christopher Dietrich=20
Free Burma Action Group France=20
Christopher Dietrich=20
Chief Editor=20
What is the world waiting for?
II bis rue du colisee , 75008 Paris, FRANCE=20
tel. (33 1) 43 29 27 18 ;=20
43 29 50 71