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NYT Letters to Ed 2/28/96


To the Editor:

Your Feb. 23 Mae Le Journal, "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide: a Lost People
Is Adrift in Thailand," on the ethinic forces fighting the military
dictatorship in Myanmar, seems to suggest the battle is lost.  This is not
the case.

The sprit of freedom in the former Burma, exemplified by the Nobel Prize
winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and here millions of followers, can never be
extinguished, even by the most ruthless of despots.  As one young leader of
the ethnic forces told us during a visit to the United States, "Once you've
tasted freedom, you can never step back."

Americans can help the BUrmese struggle for human rights.  THe petroleum
giants Unocal and Total must be confronted again about the billion-dollar
pipeline they are financing in Myanmar, which is being built with slave
labor.  The money goes into the pockets of the dictatorship.

Tourist dollars must be diverted from tours of  "exotic Buma" that are
becoming popular with museums and alumni associations.  These tours delude
the traveler with a rosy view of an "unspoiled" country that doesn't exist.
 This is no the time to give up on Myanmar but to intensify the battle.

Khin Maung She
Democratic Burmese Students Organization
Santa Monica, Calif. Feb 26, 1996
Letters to the Editor page A16