[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
MEDIA REPORTS ON INDIANA CAMPAIGN F
- Subject: MEDIA REPORTS ON INDIANA CAMPAIGN F
- From: dhorne@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 02 Feb 1996 17:41:00
Subject: MEDIA REPORTS ON INDIANA CAMPAIGN FOR FREE BURMA
Friends of Burma,
Here are some selected articles concerning the IU Alumni Association's
trip this month.
First from the Indiana Daily Student (IU's official news publication that
reaches approximately 45,000 students and 30,000 non-students.)
INDIANA DAILY STUDENT
Monday edition January 29, 1996.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION PLANS TRIP TO BURMA DESPITE PROTESTS
By: Jennifer Emily
Travel brochures depict a different view of Burma than some Burmese
refugees would have you believe.
Travel brochures portray cruise ships, smiling faces and beautiful
But citizens speak of torture, slave labor and violation of human rights.
That leaves one question: Which picture is the real Burma? IU's Alumni
Association leaves Feb. 11 for an 18-day educational trip to Southeast
Asia, including a stop in Burma amidst a protest by the Burmese Student
Association. The BSA claims IU's sponsorship of the trip indirectly
supports the "brutal and oppressive regime," the State Law and Order
Restoration Council, which rules Burma.
Tun Myint, a former Burmese citizen who is now president of IU's BSA, said
IU's participation in the tour "means they are supporting the Burmese
Myint has been granted political asylum by the U.S. government because he
cannot return to Burma. While living in Burma, he was a member of the
Alliance for Solidarity Union of Burma, an underground student
organization against the oppressive dictatorship government of Burma.
"The government has the names of the members," Myint said. "If I return,
at the very least I will be arrested and sentenced to jail. But at most I
have no idea what could happen."
The BSA is protesting the trip, but the Alumni Association has no plans to
cancel or alter the trip. said IU Alumni Association Travel Director Joan
Curts said the purpose of the trip is to educate alumni and let them see
what Burma is like for themselves.
"The IU Alumni Association provides opportunities for people to see the
world and make judgements for themselves. It's not about making political
statements. It's about openness; it always has been," she said.
Curts downplays the effect the trip would have on the Burmese economy and
the role the stop has within the trip.
"It's only one half day of an 18-day tour," she said. "But visiting
places like Burma expands our knowledge and understanding of other places
and cultures. We were the first alumni association to visit China 15
years ago. We also traveled to the former U.S.S.R. when the iron curtain
By spending little time in Burma, the travelers will not leave Burma
educated about the country, Myint said.
"That makes the purpose of their trip less educational," he said. "By not
spending a lot of time in Burma, they don't meet the ordinary people.
They will only see what the government wants them to see--an illusion."
Myint said among the human rights violations practiced by the Burmese
government are forced labor, torture, rape, and the denial of civil
liberties to Burmese citizens.
"The IU Alumni Association will be furnishing SLORC with hard cash with
which to continue persecuting the Burmese people. With this money SLORC
can purchase assault rifle bullets from mainland China, bullets which can
and will be used to shoot and kill, the ethnic villagers the SLORC has
made war on for the past seven years," Myint said.
Myint realizes people in the United States might have a difficult time
understanding what is happening in Burma because of the way American
society and government is structured.
"This may seem far fetched," Myint said. "But the SLORC is a military
dictatorship. It is starved for hard currency on military weapons and
University alumni associations have visited Burma as part of their trips
abroad. None of the trips were canceled but the University of Southern
California and Northwestern University withdrew their official sponsorship
of the trip.
The Burmese Student Association is holding a protest at 12:30pm. today
against the IU Alumni's Association trip at the Sample Gates by Franklin
INDIANA DAILY STUDENT
Monday, January 29, 1996
*IDS* WHAT WE THINK *BURMA*
ALUMNI SHOULD CANCEL TRIP
In Burma, journalists are killed for far less than editorials such as
Renamed Myanmar by the military regime that has held power forcefully in
Burma since 1964--The State Law and Order Restoration Council(SLORC)--has
been one of the worst human rights violators of the last 30 years.
Burma is also the vacation destination for about 25 IU alumni next month.
After the bloody popular revolt in 1988, when more than 3,000 students
were slaughtered for peacefully demonstrating against the government, some
of the refugees lucky enough to get out came to study at IU. For Tun
Myint, president of IU's Burmese Student Association and a Burmese refugee
himself, the freedom to speak out against the institution was not
Since arriving two years ago, Myint has been able to publish articles and
give speeches at rallies to denounce the dictatorship in Burma.
In his homeland, Myint would have been killed for these actions. The
SLORC has made a practice of silencing any and all voices of dissidence,
no matter how peaceful, within its borders.
Now Myint is a lone voice calling out to the IU Alumni Association.
"By going to Burma, IU is saying, 'Burmese government is doing a great
job,' "Myint said.
But the Alumni Board of Managers doesn't think the trip will show support
for the dictatorship in power. While they offer their sympathy, they
insist the point of the trip is educational, not political.
"Our Alumni can choose from a wide array of travel offerings, and visiting
a county does not mean endorsing the policies of its government," said
Jerry F. Tardy, IU Alumni Association executive director, in a December
We beg to differ.
With each tourist that crosses the border into Burma, the SLORC relieves
$300 to support the clear-cutting of some of the worlds last teak forests.
That is $300 to sponsor the forced enslavement of members of the native
Karen and Mon tribes.
In 1984, the United Nations signed the declaration of human rights.
In January, we celebrate the annual International Human Rights Day, just
as we recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
But proclaiming sympathy for the plight of political prisoners is evolving
into a classic line of rhetoric designed to take the place of action.
The IU Alumni Association can sit back in their Fountain Square offices
and ponder the ramifications of this trip all they like. As students, it
is our responsibility to take action.
***From noon to 1:30p.m. today, a protest, led by Tun Myint, will gather at
the Sample Gates to denounce the IU Alumni Associations planned trip.
***[In Bold]*The IU Alumni Association should cancel its trip to Burma.
If alumni want to see Burma, let them do so on their own conscience, not
under the Banner of our University./*/
David De Camp--Editor in Chief*JR Ross--Managing Editor*Jeremy
Reid Cox James Stevens Grant Williams
Daniel Fleming Moira Stone Ellen Wu
Victor Katz George Sullivan Linda Yung
INDIANA DAILY STUDENT
January 30,1996, Tuesday edition
BURMESE TRIP FACES STUDENT OPPOSITION
By: Dawn Wilkerson
For members of the Burmese Student Association, Monday's Sample Gate
protest was their last chance to reach out to students and urge them to
join the fight against the upcoming IU Alumni Association's Burma Trip.
After failed attempts to win a concession from the association, BSA
President Tun Myint and the BSA are now taking their fight to the
This time we are asking all students to call him (Jerry Tardy, IU Alumni
Association executive director) directly and e-mail him to say we don't
want IU Alumni to go to Burma," said Myint, a junior.
Myint a Burmese refugee met with Tardy in November 1995 to discuss
canceling the Burma trip. Myint also Presented Tardy with a petition
signed by 700 students who stood against Tardy's decision to go ahead with
Tardy denied the cancellation proposal and has held his ground ever since,
even with the alumni associations of UCLA and Northwestern University
canceling their own Burma trips because of the human rights abuse in
Senior Amber Gallup came to the protest in order to show her support for
the movement. Gallup said she became involved in the fight when she heard
of the actions of State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) were
enforcing upon the Burmese people.
The SLORC regime has been documented by Amnesty International as well as
other organizations for practicing forced labor, torture, rape and denial
of civil rights to Burmese citizens.
"There are two Burmese refugees here (at IU) and hearing their story and
what they went through, and of course seeing the pictures of the Burmese
people getting tortured, moved me enough to join the movement," Gallup
The BSA is primarily concerned with the appearance that IU Alumni is
giving SLORC credibility, which some might assume if the alumni
association participates in SLORC's tourist activities, Myint said. The
SLORC uses tourist trips such as the IU Alumni Association's to obtain
money that will be used to purchase military weapons and supplies from
other countries, Myint said.
"Personally I'm hoping IU Alumni Association will still cancel the trip,
but there may not be enough time for that because it's so soon," said
graduate student Tanaka Tomoyuki.
The alumni are scheduled to leave for an educational trip to Burma Feb. 9
and arrive there Feb. 11. The BSA has stated that the visit will only
involve officially approved people and sites that most likely will not
reflect the actual situation in Burma.
Tomoyuki said if the trip is not canceled, there are things the alumni
association can do to dissociate themselves with their accepting
appearance of SLORC, one of which is to issue a statement saying they
condemn the human rights abuse in Burma.
NOTE: This article appeared on the front page with a large color photo of
our protesters standing in front of the gates to IU. The caption reads
"Graduate Student Ikuku Hoshi joins other protesters Monday afternoon at
the Sample Gates by holding a banner intended to discourage the planned IU
Alumni Association visit to Burma.
THE HERALD-TIME, Regional Section
HT January 30, 1996
STUDENTS PROTEST BURMA TRIP
Critics say visit by IU alumni should be canceled while military
By: Lisa Sorg
If Tun Myint organized a protest against a university in his native Burma,
he would be imprisoned for seven years.
Myint, and Indiana University junior and Burmese political refugee, lead
about 20 protesters at the Sample Gates Monday, appealing to the Indiana
University Alumni Association to withdraw its support from a tourist trip
to Southeast Asia on humanitarian grounds.
Battling wind gusts, the activists handed out fliers and clutched banners
that read: "IU Alumni don't visit Burma until democracy does," and "IU
Alumni Association trip would support torture in Burma."
A military dictatorship, Burma--or Myanmar, as the military has renamed
it--launched a brutal crack-down on dissidents in 1988, when Myint was
driven from the country.
It is estimated that more than 3,000 people died in those attacks in
Rangoon, the capital.
About 25 IU alumni are scheduled to leave Feb. 9 for an 18-day trip to
Southeast Asia, including a half-day stopover in Burma. Booked through the
Intrav travel company of St. Louis, the trip costs between $6,000 and
$8,000 per person.
The military government, known as the State Law and Restoration Council or
SLORC, has declared 1996 "Visit Myanmar Year" and is courting
international tourists to visit the country.
"The message is that IU is approving the Burmese government," said
Tanaka Tomoyuki, a computer science graduate student from Japan. "As a
student at IU, I don't want the university to make that kind of
Instead, Tomoyuki wants IU to publicly state that "even though alumni are
going to Burma, it condemns the human rights violations."
In a press statement released Monday, executive director of the alumni
association, Jerry F. Tardy said "We support the Burmese Student
Association's efforts to publicize the regrettable political climate that
prevails in Burma. At the same time, we don't agree that making Burma a
stop on our itinerary means endorsing its government or its policies."
Tom Bartlett, a lecturer on board the Norwegian cruise ship Song of
Flower, will inform travelers of the political situation in Burma, said
Joan B. Curts, alumni travel director, in the press release.
"Bartlett has undertaken assignments in Southeast Asia and for the State
Department. He's not a propagandist but an international consultant,"
But Myint said the lecture won't overshadow the government propaganda that
will greet the travelers in Burma. And, said Myint, tourists won't see
the labor camps and the human rights violations that the U.S. State
Department has condemned.
"The trip to Burma is not educational at all," Myint said. "They will not
see the true situation in Burma."
With two weeks left to sway the IU Alumni Association, Myint realizes the
trip likely will depart as scheduled, but he hopes that IU will drop it's
official sponsorship. "It should not be under the banner of IU," he said.
"The individuals can decide if they want to go."
Although alumni tourists will spend only 12 hours in Burma, Myint said
that limited experience will mislead them and actually will do more harm
"If they stayed on or two weeks, they would have a greater opportunity to
find out about ordinary citizens," said Myint. "Nothing good will come
from this trip. "They're not going to get any true information."
A member of Campaign for a Free Burma and Amnesty International, Paola
Voci said while the protest may not stop this alumni trip, the Italy
native hopes raising awareness will prevent future tours to Burma. "We
cannot stop them," said Voci, a graduate student in Chinese. "But maybe
we can prevent it from happening again."
NOTE: A large color photo similar to that of the IDS one also appeared
with this article. It's caption reads "STUDENTS ANGRY OVER TRIP Amber
Gallup, 21, an Indiana University senior, prepares a protest poster at the
Sample Gates Monday for a demonstration against an IU Alumni
Association-sponsored trip that will include a visit to Burma. In the
background, Shinobu Nishida, left, and Hideki Watanabe attend to another
NOTE: WFIU public radio station of Indiana University also aired about the
protest on Monday, January 29. The radio news included the interview with
Tun Myint and Joan Curts, the director of Travel Plan for IU Alumni. The
public radio aired two times, one before National Public Radio news on
Monday in the evening news and the second on Tuesday in the morning news.