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help! (r)

Dear Lisa:

Your questions are very practical and your concerns is highly appreciated. 
I realize that it is very difficult for many Americans to understand why
such a narzi-like oppressive government still active in the country like
Burma where Buddhist way of loving kindness is preached in daily reality.
I sometimes face this kind of questions when I make speeches in classes
here at Indiana University.  Many people who mostly are unfamilier with
such a political system as Burma wonder why and how a brutal oppressive
regime like SLORC still control over Burmese people. Why don't people
change it? In fact, Burmese people civilizely expressed their opinion by
voting for the democratic party, the National League for Democracy Party,
in 1990 election.  This is very strong and clear messages from Burmese
people that they truly want democratic government.  SLORC has been
refusing to transfer the power to elected government. Moreover, SLORC
continue its brutal oppression over political activists, rural populace
and many ethnic people.  The Burmese Army under SLORC has brought the
tradition of rape, torture, forced labor, and killing against its own
people.  Should we exploit all possible profits from this kind of tragic
situation in "Myanmar"?  My comment is as follow: 

On Date: 27 Feb 1996 09:51:41

Lisa Booth Brooten <lb252689@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> asks comment on:

>"...After hearing of the horrors of displaced people, burnt villages, 
>torn-down hillsides and the like, I was very moved.  When assessing the 
>damage, both natural and human, one asks oneself, "What are the solutions 
>to these problems?"  

The solution to these problems is to begin talk between real legitimate
opposition and SLORC. The opposition led by National League for Democracy
has been appealing SLORC to begin national reconciliation since Gandhi
Hall Declaration in July, 1990.  But SLORC recently replied that they
"have no time to talk."  Yet SLORC has enormous amount of time to burn
villages, to force people to work for their comfort, to shake hand with
drug criminals, and to have Champaign party with those international drug
criminals.  They saved criminals instead of the country.  This is how they
love "Myanmar." 

>Is there really anything people outside of the country can do which would
>make a difference?  In the case of Burma, I have come to the conclusion
>that little can be done that would make a dramatic impact.  From the
>outside world that is.  

There are many things that outside world can do to help Burma to get into
change.  There is no doubt if all businesses that are directly supporting
SLORC's mechanism withdraw from SLORC's country, there will be immediate
change.  Some might claims that it will hurt local people.  There is
nothing which is supporting local people's lives in Burma under current
investments from foreign companies. Local people's lives become even worse
than before multinational corporations come to Burma;  they are forced to
work for infrastructure for those companies; they are tortured if they
refuse to work;  their environment is destroyed; their houses are
relocated without compensations.  Because of demoralizing modern-human
culture under money oriented market system, the greedy businessmen
committed crime against their future by shaking hand with such a
dictatorship as SLORC.  They are now trying to justify their unjust
actions.  We are telling them that it is not appropriate and ethical to
make money without thinking about humanity. 

>I will continue to support the opposition to the cruel and horrible things
>done by the Burmese government to its own people, but other than that I
>believe that change must come from the inside.  Economic sanctions are not
>the answer.  Burma can make enough money to keep itself going through
>illegal trade in timber, animals and people with countries like Thailand
>and China.  Investment in Burma will continue, such as that of the large
>oil companies, regardless of the political and social situation within the

Don't forget that SLORC released Aung San Suu Kyi in last July because of
the postponement of Japanese ODA aids, the possible Sanction from United
States and the possible strike organized by remaining students inside
Burma.  The messages from United States is always strong and it is still
powerful at least to pressure SLORC to begin talk with democratic forces
led by NLD.  We have to have all possible forces to overthrow a
dictatorship like SLORC.  You are right that economic sanction is not the
answer to entire change in Burma but  the sanction is crucial to
change the character of SLORC as well as the character of greedy

>The solution, I believe is for Burma to free itself from the inside.  
>Figures like ASSK are examples of the type of support which Burma must 
>give itself.  Outside groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights 
>Watch Asia, and Burma interest groups are crucial in giving them a voice 
>and backing them as well, but for significant change to take place Burma 
>must work out its problems among its own people.  Lasting change never 
>comes easily or quickly, but with strong people like the students of 
>Burma and those in the NLD I still have hope for a "Free Burma" in the 

The significant change could be done on the table between SLORC and NLD-
led opposition.  But SLORC is refusing to solve the problems. 

I hope my comment helps you clear your confusion.

Tun Myint