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AP: Racism & Xenophobia Familiar To
- Subject: AP: Racism & Xenophobia Familiar To
- From: ktint@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 14:35:00
Subject: AP: Racism & Xenophobia Familiar To SLORC
RACISM & XENOPHOBIA FAMILIAR TO SLORC
By AYE AYE WIN
Associated Press Writer
RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- The military government stepped up its propaganda
campaign against Burma's pro-democracy movement Thursday, staging a
pro-regime rally in the country's second-biggest city and vilifying
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the official press.
A series of pro-government rallies have been orchestrated this week to
counter perceptions of growing open support for Suu Kyi, who drew 10,000
cheering people braving arrest to listen to a weekend speech at her home.
She delivered the speech on the opening day of an opposition conference
organized to challenge the regime's legitimacy.
The rally Thursday in Mandalay, 435 miles north of the capital, Rangoon,
was the main item on state television news Thursday night, as were similar
rallies elsewhere earlier this week. Video footage has shown thousands of
glum-looking people chanting slogans on command.
State-run newspapers, meanwhile, denounced Suu Kyi as a "stooge" of
The English-language daily The New Light of Myanmar accused her of
"ignoring the national well-being and dancing to the tune of the
Suu Kyi defied the regime by going ahead with the congress this week
even after authorities tried to block it by arresting 262 of her
supporters. The meeting was held on the sixth anniversary of annulled
elections that candidates from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy
Only three of the arrested pro-democracy activists have been released,
according to Suu Kyi's supporters.
One of Thursday's newspaper articles referred to Suu Kyi as "the
daughter-in-law of the white face," and described her as a "popular public
figure very useful in the scheme to indirectly enslave the country."
Racism and xenophobia are familiar themes in the propaganda the military
circulates in the official press and anonymous leaflets.
They contain constant reminders that Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burmese
independence hero Aung San, is married to a British academic, Michael Aris.
The implication is that her loyalties lie with England, the country's
colonial master until 1948.
The newspaper also took the Western media to task, saying that radio
stations such as the Voice of America and the BBC "have of late been
continuously broadcasting fabricated news and articles, taking the Myanmar
people to be snotty children and nincompoops."
Myanmar is the official name the junta has given the country.
A separate article entitled "Let's Tell the Truth" said Western nations
were trying to interfere in Burma's affairs by using the media,
communications systems and "all types of foreign correspondents and
congressmen and U.N. representatives and ambassadors of either sex."
The article in The New Light of Myanmar also repeated its call to the
government to stop Suu Kyi's weekend speeches. In what was clearly meant as
a threat, the author cited two specific ordinances under which the
gatherings could be declared illegal.