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BurmaNet News:October 14, 1996..

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 14, 1996
Issue #541


October 13, 1996

Maung Aye, SLORC VC visited and inspected Tanessarim Division. He visited
Tavoy stadium where there will be the All Burma students sports festival in
December, his next destination was Tavoy harbour where there will be
deep-sea harbour construction, then to MaungMaGan beach. 

S1 visited Prome. He visited a 200 bed hospital and Nurse Training
School. He visited the Construction of the bridge across the Irrawaddy river
and later attended a ceremony at a monestry where 4004 rice sacks and
700,000 kyats was donated by army commands and light infantry divisions to
monks in the Prome area        

Mya Thin, the Interior Minister attended the Police Officers Refresher
Training Graduation ceremony at Phaung Gyi, Rangoon.

October 14, 1996

A new aircraft was purchased and flown from France by a Burmese pilot to
Rangoon.  It will be used to fly between RGN-KawThaung-Mergue-Pagan-Nyaung
Oo, starting from October 16, 1996.

Lt General Min Thein and Deputy Minister Thein Tun visited Heavy Industry
Corporation factories at ThaHtone, Karen state.

Than Shwe visited Kyeik Khauk pagoda at Syrium in Rangoon.

S1 visited Buddha's Tooth Pagoda in Rangoon.

Ministers visited state primary, middle and high schools in Dagon
satellite town in Rangoon.

S2 attended new street opening ceremonies in Rangoon. (These streets
were developed through contributed labour from local people.)

A Good-will Dinner was attended by a variety of religious leaders 
and also attended by Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.


October 13, 1996 (Mainichi Daily News)

"Pay as You Go"

Letter from Burma (No. 45) by Aung San Suu Kyi

On my release from house arrest last year, people gathered outside the
gates of my home to greet me and to demonstrate their support for the
movement for democracy.  It was the monsoon season and the crowds would
stand and wait in the dripping rain until I went out to speak to them.  This
continued day after day for more than a month; then I negotiated with our
supporters an arrangement which was more convenient for all concerned:  We
would meet regularly at four o'clock on Saturdays and Sundays.  Thus were
born the public rallies that have been taking place outside my house every
A few months after the weekend rallies had become established as a regular
political feature, I invited the audience to write to me about matters they
would like me to discuss.  The response was immediate and enthusiastic.
Letters on a wide range of subjects, political, economic, social and
religious, were put into the mailbox we hung outside the gate for that
purpose.  A recurring theme in these letters, which continue to come in, is
the widespread corruption among civil servants, in particular in the sectors
of health and education.
In Burma, health care is ostensibly provided free of charge by the state.
But in recent years, the contributions expected from the community have
risen to such an extent that it is no longer possible to think of health
care as "free."  By "contributions" I do not mean just monetary donations
made by the public toward health care projects, although such donations are
not inconsiderable.  I am referring to the fact that government health care
facilities now provide merely services while patients have to provide almost
everything else: medicines, cotton wool, surgical spirits, bandages and even
equipment necessary for surgery.
Patients not only have to make their own arrangements for getting the
necessary medical supplies, they also have to bribe the hospital staff in
order to receive satisfactory service.
It is not just doctors and nurses who have to be sweetened with gifts;
hospital orderlies also have to be paid if one's time as an invalid is to be
passably comfortable.  Apparently it is a common practice for orderlies to
neglect their cleaning duties unless they are duly compensated.
And they are also said to give patients who have to be wheeled from one
part of the hospital to another a rough ride until a requisite sum of money
has changed hands.  Then there are the door keepers and other administrative
staff whose hands have to be greased to smooth the path of family members
who need to go in and out at all hours to delivery necessary supplies.
While nothing can excuse callousness in those who should be giving succor
to the ill and dying, it cannot be ignored that the deterioration in state
health care is largely the result of maladministration.  High motivation
cannot be expected of grossly underpaid staff working with poorly maintained
equipment and dilapidated, unhygienic surroundings.
In recent years, the emergence of a private sector has made health care at
expensive clinics and nursing homes available to those who are well off.
There are indications that among those who cannot afford private health
care, that is to say, the large majority of the population, there is an
increasing tendency to rely on folk or traditional medicine rather than
place themselves at the mercy of the state health care system.
Even more than letters about the unsavory conditions in our hospitals, I
receive letters about the disgraceful state of our education system.
Education, like health care, is ostensibly free in Burma but again, as with
health care, the contribution exacted from the community is getting higher
by the day.
Inadequate school funds are supplemented by "donations" collected for
various purposes: sports day, new buildings, school furniture,
teacher-parent association funds, religious festivals.  Underpaid teachers
supplement their incomes by giving tuition outside school hours.  The fees
range from 1,000 kyats to 10,000 kyats for each pupil, depending on the
grade in which they are studying and the number of subjects in which they
are coached.  The poor quality of teaching in the school forces all parents
who can afford the fees to send their children to such tuition classes.
Examinations provide teachers as well as employees of the education
department with opportunities for lucrative business.  Examination
questions, advance information on grades achieved and the marking up of low
grades can all be obtained for price.

There was a time when civil servants in our country were seen as an elite
corps: well educated, well-trained and well-paid, capable of giving good
service to the community.  Now they are generally regarded with fear and
revulsion, or with pity.  State employees who have not become part of the
syndrome of daily corruption, either from a matter of principle or from lack
of opportunity, are unable to maintain a standard of living appropriate to
their functions.  They are the nouveau poor of Burma.

(This article is one of yearlong series of letters.  The Japanese translation
appears in the Mainichi Shimbun the same day, or the previous day in some


October 13, 1996

RANGOON, Oct 13 (Reuter) - For a second successive day, police on Sunday
barred access to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's residence to
prevent any public gatherings around her home, witnesses said.

Checkpoints were set up early on Saturday to bar access to University Avenue
in Rangoon along which the democracy leader's lakeside house is located.
During Saturday police at the checkpoints turned away several hundred people
who had come to see if Suu Kyi would be holding her traditional weekend
public gatherings from the gates of her house, witnesses said.

About 100 people were also removed from one of the checkpoints late on
Saturday by police vehicles and taken off by bus, they added. A relative of
one of those taken away from the area told Reuters on Sunday his family
member was freed after questioning.

Police and government officials were not available for comment on whether
there were any new detentions in this latest move against Suu Kyi by the
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Suu Kyi herself was
not available for comment as the telephone to her house appeared to be cut.

On Saturday, a government official said the road had been closed to prevent
Suu Kyi from holding weekend public gatherings which the ruling military
government feared could be used as an excuse by some people to create

The SLORC has declared Suu Kyi's weekend public meetings illegal
The official said he did not know when the checkpoints would be removed but
residents in the area believed they would go on Monday.
Access was also barred because Suu Kyi had planned to hold a meeting of some
party officials of her National League for Democracy (NLD) at her home early
on Saturday, the official said.

The SLORC last cut off the road to to Suu Kyi's house from September 26 to
October 8 to stop her holding a planned NLD party congress from September 27-29.

At the time, the SLORC also arrested 573 NLD party activists in a major
crackdown but later released all of them in stages.  


October 11, 1996

The following is a brief speech delivered by P'doh Thu Yeh at UC Berkeley
campus on October 8, 1996 at Free Burma Fast press conference.  As Karen
representative, he is currently here in the US to help launch litigation action
against UNOCAL.

All the American Student Activists:

Thank you very much.  I am a Karen representative from the Karen National
Union Mergui/Tavoy distirict, best known as the UNOCAL pipe line project
area. On behalf of the Karen people I would like to express our deepest
sincere and heart felt thanks for all your efforts in bringing about
democracy in Burma.

Without all of us working together hand in hand, democracy in Burma can
never be achieved.  Your help and support to advance the struggle and to help
liberate the oppressed people from the brutal military regime of Burma will
never be forgetten by the Karens or the entire people of Burma.

Since I've been to this country the situation has deterioated, the dry
season is upon us and the military operation has resume.  In the city they have
arrested more than 800 democracy activists including many NLD members.
Meantime the area where I came from is experiencing massive influx of
refugee.  Just within the past month there are more than 10,000 new refugees
and the story of whole village being massacred and burned are common.

The latest report which I have received has disturbed me greatly.  The
report of 200 innocent villagers being killed just in the past 3 weeks.  I
don't understand!!  As you all know we are in the midst of negotiating peace
with the SLORC.  How can they talk about peace and unity when innocent
people are still being killed.  

I want to assure you that your contribution and efforts which you have
shown is greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.

Thank you.

Saw Thu Yeh
Karen National Union, Mergui/Tavoy District


October 13, 1996

 For Immediate Release:

 To:             The Independent

 From:           The Triangle Burma Action Group

 Date:           October 9, 1996

 Re:             Carrboro Boycotts Burma

 Contact:        Margaret Howe: 542-5635

 The Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on October 8 to be the
 first in the state to  pass a resolution barring Carrboro from doing
 business with companies operating in the southeast Asian country of Burma
 and companies conducting business in  Burma.

 In calling for a motion on the resolution, Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said, "
 This is an extreme circumstance that calls for extreme action. "  The Board
 struck language from the ordinance that would allow the boycott to be
 disregarded when businesses are "necessary for the efficient operation of
 the town."   Gist stated that "This is one of those times..."  when
 efficiency should be put behind other issues.  The Triangle Burma Action
 Group brought the resolution before the Board this summer.

 Burma is ruled by a military dictatorship and their human rights abuses,
 including slave labor, forced relocation, torture, arrests of activists,
 and  rape, have been documented by the US State Department and the U.N., as
 well as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  Recent weeks have
 seen increased oppression of  democracy activists with over 800 people put
 in jail.  Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, has had her
 phone lines cut and her street blocked, restricting her movement.  She has
 called for a complete economic boycott of her country.  Due to this
 increased oppression of the democracy movement, Carrboro moved the vote up
 from November to their October meeting.

 Carrboro has led the way in North Carolina in taking action on this
 important  issue.


October 12, 1996

      The National Labor Committee today announced highly  
      significant new developments in its campaign in               
      support of production workers for the Walt Disney          
      company.  Campaign for Labor Rights urges you to         
      read this alert and then to contact the NLC (see               
      below) to find out how to support this campaign in          
      your community.

NOTE:  For more information, contact the National Labor
Committee's new grassroots outreach coordinator, Maggie Poe: 
phone (212) 242-3002  fax (212) 242-3821  275 7th Avenue, New
York, NY 10001.

The National Labor Committee has expanded the geographic focus of
its Disney campaign.  There are at least two good reason for this
     * Like many other transnational corporations, Disney
     exploits workers in a multitude of countries.  To focus
     solely on one country where Disney produces lets the company
     off the hook elsewhere.  The single-country approach does
     not do justice to workers who are exploited in other
     countries where Disney produces.
     * By focusing solely on Disney operations in Haiti, NLC ran
     the considerable risk that Disney management would be
     tempted to cut-and-run from Haiti.  The decision to expand
     the focus of the Disney campaign adds a measure of safety to
     Disney's Haitian workers.  Disney management should now
     understand that Disney cannot escape the heat by pulling out
     of Haiti.
[NOTE:  The military dictatorship of Burma, SLORC, claims to have
renamed the country "Myanmar" -- in an attempt to escape
international condemnation.  Most clothing labels from Burma list
the country of origin as "Myanmar."]
The Walt Disney company produces clothing in Burma.  Human rights
activists in Burma, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San
Suu Kyi, have called for an international boycott of Burma.  The
National Labor Committee supports this boycott.  NLC calls for
Disney and other U.S.-based apparel companies to pull all of
their operations out of Burma.
The National Labor Committee has pointed out that the
announcement of its call for a Disney pullout from Burma takes
place during:
     a Fast for Burma, now happening in at least 60
     universities and high schools across the U.S.
The Disney/Burma campaign joins a number of long-standing
campaigns calling for U.S.-based businesses to withdraw their
operations from Burma, most notably:
     The Unocal campaign.  In cooperation with the military
     government of Burma, Unocal is engaged in a massive
     construction project -- relying in part on forced labor! --
     to build a pipeline across Burma.  For more information on
     this campaign, contact:  Pam Wellner  pwellner@xxxxxxxxxxx
     The Pepsi campaign.  Public pressure has forced Pepsi
     to withdraw some of its operations from Burma but the
     company continues to profit from marketing Pepsi
     products there, in flagrant disregard of calls for a
     complete withdrawal.  For more information on this
     campaign, contact:  Grace Baek  baek@xxxxxxxxxx
     AS A FIRST SOURCE OF INFORMATION on the Unocal or Pepsi
     campaign or on other Burma boycott campaigns, please go to
     the Burma action web site:  http://freeburma.org
Burma is a human rights disaster.  Labor rights issues include: 
use of forced (slave) labor and violent repression of all union
activities by the military government.  The human rights situation 
in Burma is so horrific that the only hope for labor rights in that 
country is an end to the military dictatorship.  Hence, the 
worldwide call for an economic boycott of Burma.
The National Labor Committee cites evidence that Disney makes
extensive use of child labor in Thailand in the production of
Disney clothing.  NLC is not calling for Disney to pull out of
Thailand.  They are calling for Disney to clean up their act.
The National Labor Committee announced "Disney Week, an
International Week of Action" -- from December 7th through
December 14 -- which will include demonstrations and other
actions across the U.S., Canada and Europe.  Contact the National
Labor Committee's new grassroots outreach coordinator, Maggie
Poe, to receive an action packet and to find out how you can
organize events in your community:  phone (212) 242-3002
fax (212) 242-3821  275 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001.
This alert was written and posted by Campaign for Labor Rights. 
CLR is a bridge between local activists and a number of
organizations which initiate struggles in support of the rights
of working people around the world and here at home.  Members
receive our newsletter and information on action packets.  For
more information contact clr@xxxxxxxxxxx  (541) 344-5410.  Web
site:  http://www.compugraph.com/clr
CLR is looking for pointpeople to help us support the campaigns
of each of our partner organizations.  If you have a special
interest in helping us to build a base of support for the
National Labor Committee's Disney campaign, we would like to hear
from you.  The job of the pointperson would include:  staying in
regular contact with NLC, helping us write alerts as new
developments occur in the campaign and keeping the CLR base up to
date on the Disney campaign.  HELP US HELP OUR PARTNER