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The BurmaNet News November 27, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies" 

The BurmaNet News: November 27, 1996
Issue #578


November 24, 1996

     UNITED NATIONS -- Washington will ask the UN General Assembly to call
for democratic change in Myanmar, the US envoy to the United Nations said on
Thursday in a speech listing rights violations in a number of countries.

     "Many governments continue to rely for their authority not on popular
consent but on coercion. Burma is one example," Ms Madeleine Albright said
in an address to a UN General Assembly committee that deals with human rights.

     "Today, there is in Burma a kind of rolling repression that ebbs and
flows. Each little opening is succeeded by a crackdown," she said. Burma is
the old name for Myanmar.

     She said the US administration "will urge the General Assembly this
year to express its strongest support for democracy and human rights" in

     "The Assembly should call for a genuine democratic dialogue, for free
assembly and free speech, for the release of political prisoners," she said.

     Besides Myanmar, she also spoke out against Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and
Sudan, and expressed concern for the situation in China, Cuba and Nigeria.

     She urged Iraq and Iran "to cease repressing their people, stop
supporting international terrorism, and move towards more open and free
societies", and said that human rights in Afghanistan "have been abused by
virtually every
party to the fighting". -- AFP.


November 26, 1996 by Juanita Williams  (abridged)

CHIANG MAI - Stressing that a country must look after its citizens, US First
Lady Hillary Clinton yesterday urged Burma's military regime to start a
serious dialogue with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a speech at Chiang Mai University, she said the situation in Burma was
having detrimental effects on the region as well as its citizens.

She commended Thailand, Washington's strongest ally in Southeast Asia, in a
speech at Chiang Mai University for its "tolerance and compassion" by
offering a sanctuary for refugees from neighbouring countries.
"You provide a safe haven for students and minority groups
fleeing repression in Burma. We all hope the Burmese refugees
will be able to cross back to their homeland soon, but such an
outcome depends on real political dialogue in that country. That
dialogue must be serious and must commence between Aung San Suu
Kyi and the military regime in Burma."

The first lady said a government must look after its citizens and
to fail to do so will lead to its own demise.

"We have seen the cost to individuals and to society of our
failure to invest in our greatest resource - our people," she said.

She stressed the importance of education as a tool to combat the
social problems that face the world today.

Although it was good for countries to progress economically, they
must not ignore social development.

"No country can move forward into the 21st century if half of its
population is left on the margins," she said.

As the spokesperson for women and children, Hillary Clinton
emphasised education as a means of ensuring that these groups are
not forgotten when the economy of a nation booms.

She said worldwide investments in "people, especially women and
children, are not luxuries, they are the key to sustaining our
progress economically and socially."


November 26, 1996

BANGKOK, Thailand, Nov. 26 (UPI) _ President Clinton Tuesday accused Burma
of being the No. 1 producer of opium and heroin, and he added it is also
making methamphetamines.

He made the remarks in an address at Chulalongkorn University, where he
praised the growth of democracy and cooperation in other Asian countries,
particularly Thailand.

``We know we must do more to fight illegal drugs at the source,'' Clinton
said. ``Burma has long been the world's number one producer of opium and
heroin and now is also making methamphetamines.

``The role of drugs in Burma's economic and political life and the regime's
refusal to honor its own pledge to move to multi-party democracy are really
two sides of the same coin, for both represent the absence of the rule of
law,'' he added.

``Every nation has an interest in promoting true political dialogue in Burma
a dialogue that will lead to a real fight against crime, corruption and
narcotics and a government more acceptable to its people, '' he said.

Clinton said that the extensive cooperation between the United States and
Thailand in the area of law enforcement is ``clearly paying off.''

``In 1994,'' he recalled, ``Operation Tiger Trap dealt a crippling blow to a
major trafficking network in Burma, enabling the arrest of 14 kingpins, two
of who have now been extradited to the United States.''

He told the university audience Thailand ``is sending a clear signal to drug
lords: We will fight you. We are determined to stop you.

``And,'' he said, ``Anerica has a clear signal to Thailand: We will stand
with you all the way.''

Singling out Burma for its repressive government was a twist for the
president, who on his journey to Australia, the Philippines and Thailand has
praised the growth and economic development, as well as progress toward
democracy in those countries.

Most of Clinton's remarks in his address dealt with the U.S. policy in the
Pacific Rim nations and determination to remain a power in the region.


November 24, 1996 (abridged)

Asia: U.S. is part of consortium building gas pipeline. Critics, however,
question partnership with brutal regime.

DAMINSEIK, Myanmar--It is Saturday morning and a crowd of children is
giggling over the televised antics of Tom and Jerry, courtesy of the
foreign energy companies that have promised this impoverished fishing
village a fast track to the 21st century.

        But France's Total and El Segundo, Calif.-based Unocal have
brought not only Hollywood cartoons, a new schoolhouse, a medical clinic
and a shrimp farm to this isolated outpost, a weathered collection of
wooden buildings on stilts on the thin sliver of Myanmar that hugs
Thailand. They have also attracted the  international scorn of critics
opposed to a  $1-billion energy project that could bring political
legitimacy and, eventually, badly needed foreign currency to Myanmar's
brutal military regime.

        The outcome is important not just for Myanmar and the energy
companies but also as a possible model for other companies seeking to
develop new markets in regions where unstable, and often authoritarian,
governments are the rule rather than the exception.

        The members of the pipeline consortium argue, as natural-resource
companies always have, that they must steer clear of politics to
survive, because their success lies in following the wealth, regardless
of who controls the land above it.

        "What you're asking us to determine is the legitimacy of a
government," said David Garcia, a UNOCAL spokesman. "That is not our
job. That is the job of professional diplomats."

        UNOCAL is particularly eager to stay in the good graces of Asia's
ruling elite because it recently announced plans to sell its West Coast
oil reserves, refineries and "76"-brand service stations and bet its
future on the  other side of the Pacific.

        Texaco Inc. also recently announced plans to participate in an
international consortium developing a gas field off the coast of  Myanmar.

Ethics Questions:

        But many factors--a global shift from military to economic
diplomacy, changing public attitudes about corporate ethics at home and
abroad, increased environmentalism, and communications links that have
spotlighted remote regions of the world--have combined to raise the
ethics bar for U.S. companies operating overseas.

        The Clinton administration is under pressure to take tougher action
against Myanmar's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council, known
as SLORC, following this month's attack by rock-wielding hoodlums on a
car carrying Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

        Last weekend, the U.S. State Department, issued a warning to
Myanmar's rulers, who were  accused of orchestrating the attack, that
they face severe repercussions if the popular opposition leader is

        UNOCAL and its foreign partners are trying to make their case in the
public debate. This month they took the unusual step of inviting a small
group of foreign journalists to visit the heavily guarded Yadana project
and "see for themselves" that accusations of forced relocation of
villagers,  environmental degradation and conscripted labor are untrue.

        In the companies' view, the choice is clear. Economic development
and political openness go hand in hand: The Yadana pipeline will not
only provide profits for them but also help boost Myanmar's struggling

        The Yadana pipeline, Myanmar's largest foreign investment project,
will carry natural gas from a rich offshore field across the country and
into Thailand, which is buying most of the energy. Nearly a quarter of
the production, however, has been promised to energy-starved Myanmar for
a fertilizer plant and power facility.

        "My company is a firm believer that constructive engagement is the
more correct way to bring a country along to economic  growth and put it
on the road to democracy," said Carol Scott, a UNOCAL spokeswoman.

	Compared with other bustling Asian cities, the streets of the
capital, Yangon--formerly Rangoon--are not jammed with  foreign cars and
motorbikes. One eye-pleasing benefit of delayed development is the
preservation of the British colonial architecture, the lush greenery and
the absence of skyscrapers, even in Yangon.

        But after a few days in this repressive country--where the
state-controlled New Light of Myanmar newspaper exhorts its readers to
"crush all internal and external destructive elements as the common
enemy"--it becomes clear that only a piece of this story can be found in
the companies' statistics and a guided tour.

Ambitious Program:

        Herve Madeo, the charismatic French engineer who is president of
Total Myanmar Exploration and Production, has less than six months to
finish laying 2,700 steel pipes across mountainous terrain. After that,
torrential rains will turn this remote countryside into an impenetrable
mass of sodden underbrush and water.

        The price of failure, small or large, is costly. A one-day delay in
construction costs more than $100,000. If the consortium doesn't have
the pipeline up and running by 1998, it must pay a penalty fee to Thailand.

        But Madeo, who came here from Indonesia in 1992 to oversee the
Yadana project, is used to that sort of pressure. But as social worker
and community planner, he is in uncharted, and  uncomfortable, territory.

        In a poor country made even poorer by the government's decision to
spend more money on arms and less on education, this businessman finds
himself in charge of an ambitious development program that includes
helping villagers find new ways of making money and improving their health.

        The Total-led consortium has built or renovated eight schools,
established one shrimp farm and more than 100 pig, cattle, goat and
poultry farms, installed electricity in four villages and hired 12 full-time

        "We have changed from one era to the next," he said. "In the past,
oil companies worked in a country, just doing business, and we did not
care about the people. Now that is changing."

        By blurring the lines between "us" and "them," the pipeline's
foreign owners hope to build a sense of community and lessen the
resentment and fear that accompany any kind of massive change.

"If we want to integrate this project into the community, this must be their
pipeline," Madeo said.

Improving Lives:

        This effort has apparently begun to take root. U Hele, a 55-year-old
fisherman from  Daminseik, said his life has improved since the foreign
companies came to town.

        "We have a new school, a new clinic and a doctor," he said under the
watchful eyes of oil company and government officials. "Our village has

        But well-meaning efforts also have gone awry. When Total first set
up its base camp here, Madeo instructed the kitchen to buy all  its
products locally in an effort to support  the farmers. He stopped after
discovering that  his company's large purchases of eggs and vegetables
were driving up the local price of food astronomically.

        Similar considerations had to be made in setting wages and
determining compensation packages for people whose homes or farmland
were in the pipeline path. Too much would lead  to inflation and
exaggerate the gap between the haves and have-nots. Too little would
fuel resentment and prompt charges of exploitation.

        So far, the company has agreed to pay $1 million to reimburse
villagers for 525 acres of land. When it hires locals to work on the
project, it pays 200 kyat a day, or about $2 at the official exchange
rate. "If we give too much, we will destabilize this area," Madeo said.

        Total and its partners need the community's support, particularly in
light of  the territorial conflicts and ethnic rivalries that have plagued
this former British colony  before and after it gained its independence in 1948.

Support of Natives:

        That message was brought home last March, when a group of armed men
ambushed a pipeline convoy carrying fuel, employees and some SLORC
soldiers who had been guarding the company's equipment. Five Total
employees, all locals, were killed; 11 others were wounded. No one has
been arrested in the attack, although it could have been unhappy
villagers or any of several dozen insurgent groups.

        Total's base camp is now surrounded by a double perimeter fence
topped with rolls of barbed wire. Unarmed company guards man the gate and
patrol the facility.

        Total plots the whereabouts of all employees in the pipeline region
on a computer, using regular radio contact to track  their movements.
Travel outside the base camp  is done in armored vehicles and a helicopter.

        The Yadana project's greatest  vulnerability, and the area where
its  operators face the most passionate criticism,  is its security pact
with a military force that has been accused of widespread abuse by
groups that include Human Rights Watch/Asia and the U.S. State Department.

        Myanmar's troops are young, underpaid and untrained, a recipe for
disaster in a remote region where there is little risk of getting caught.

        The Myanmar armed forces are responsible for securing the pipeline
but have not done any work on the project or been paid "one cent" by the
pipeline operators, according to Madeo. But company officials concede
privately that they are not directly responsible for, and therefore cannot
control, the soldiers.

        Madeo says that in the few instances where Total has learned of
forced labor--such as when the military "borrowed" a villager's bullock
cart--he has compensated the aggrieved.

        But the Total executive says he is certain the military has not
committed widespread abuse in the pipeline region--including forced
labor--since the contract was signed in 1992.

        "There are a lot of people out there--I  don't know why--who are
telling lies," he  said. "It is a campaign of misinformation."

Allegations of Abuse:

        The picture is far different to the east in Kanchanaburi, Thailand,
a place best known as the home of the infamous Bridge over the River
Kwai. That bridge, now a major tourist attraction, was part of the
"Death Railway to Burma" that claimed the lives of thousands of Allied
POWs during its construction in World War II.

It is here that Katharine Redford, 28, and Tyler Giannini, 26, have
established one of the main conduits to the so-called campaign of

        In 1995, these University of Virginia Law School graduates formed
EarthRights International to provide legal help to indigenous people
battling major development projects such as dams and pipelines.

Their first target was the Yadana pipeline, which is opposed by the National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, the opposition government in
exile, as well as the leaders of the Karen and Mon ethnic minorities.

        Until these American lawyers entered the scene, most of the reports
of abuses in the pipeline area were anecdotal. Documenting the reports
was difficult because strangers,  particularly foreigners, could not
enter the  heavily guarded region without arousing suspicion.

        EarthRights' secret weapon is a young Karen man, Ka Hsaw Wa, a
student activist who fled Yangon after Myanmar's military leaders
launched its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

        Ka Hsaw Wa's six years in the jungle made him an ideal spy. The
boyish-looking 26-year-old was able to locate seven or eight people in
the pipeline region who were willing to secretly record testimony from
the villagers and pass the tapes and photos across the border. Redford
has trained Ka Hsaw Wa and his  sources to gather evidence that will
hold up in court, emphasizing the importance of recording the minutest
details and judging credibility and motive.

        They acknowledge that they cannot prove some of the most egregious
allegations, including the claim that the nearby Ye-Tavoy railroad line
is being built to benefit the pipeline project. The U.S. State Department
and others have reported "large-scale" use of forced labor on that railroad.
Total and UNOCAL deny that the pipeline project has any connection to the

        But Ka Hsaw Wa and his crew have gathered compelling testimony from
more than 100 villagers detailing numerous abuses by the troops guarding
the pipeline. They include villagers allegedly being forced to clear
land for the pipeline, provide supplies for the troops or serve as porters.

        One young girl, interviewed in a refugee camp in Thailand, told Ka
Hsaw Wa that soldiers forced her and other villagers to clear land for
the pipeline. She said two galawa, the Karen word for foreigner--presumably
pipeline employees--watched them work for two days and then paid them for it.

        The following day, after the foreigners had left the area, the
soldiers allegedly forced the villagers to work one more day for free.

        Three men from the village of Endayaza told Ka Hsaw Wa that a
government soldier came to their homes earlier this year and demanded  a
"voluntary donation" of 500 kyat per family. Fearful of retaliation, they
paid up.

        Much of this testimony has been included in lawsuits filed earlier
this year in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against the Total-UNOCAL
consortium and the government of Myanmar, alleging widespread violations
of international human rights treaties and U.S. law. The goal is to stop
the Yadana project  and to gain some compensation for those who have
allegedly lost their homes or their livelihood.

This is not simply anti-development politics at work, according to the
founders of  EarthRights International, which receives funding from
international financier George Soros and other environmental and human
rights groups.

They say they believe the Yadana project could succeed--bringing prosperity
to its operators and Myanmar's people--if its partner  were a democratic

        Until such a time, they echo the plea of opposition leader Suu
Kyi--whose party won an election in 1990 but was not allowed to take
power--that foreign companies register their vote for democracy by
withdrawing from  Myanmar.

        "As long as they [Total] deal with SLORC, there is no way they can
do this better," Ka  Hsaw Wa said. "The company should know what kind of
partner it has."


November 26, 1996

Exiled Burmese students and the Mon ethnic minority yesterday
urged visiting US -President Bill Clinton to prod  Thailand and
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to shun Burma
until democracy is restored in the country.

In separate statements four Burmese student groups the All Burma
Students Democratic Front (ABSDF), All Burma Basic Education
Students Union (ABBESU), Overseas National Students Organisation of Burma
(ONSOB), Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB) and the Mon Unity
League (MUL)called on  President Clinton to demand the ruling junta to
improve human rights record and apply  pressure on Slorc to move towards a
dialogue of national reconciliation with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Slorc is the acronym for State Law and Order Restoration Council,
the ruling military regime in Rangoon.

In its statement ABSDF said it hopes Mr Clinton would "clarify
the policy of the United States towards the Burmese dictatorship
and will ex-press his recognition of the struggle of the people of Burma 
and human rights under the leadership of Daw  Aung San Suu Kyi".           

The ABSDF also urged the US President  to convince "the 
governments  of Burma's neighbours" to protect human rights and
take steps to stop drugs production and  trafficking to  bring
democracy, peace and development  to the region.

In a letter to the US embassy yesterday the Burmese student
group called on Mr. Clinton to impress upon Thailand and other
Southeast Asian countries to "postpone their  cooperation" with
the Burmese military regime.

Washington should suspend US investment in Burma until a
democratic government is established there and  at the same time
put "double  pressure on Slorc to open a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nai Sunthorn, on behalf of the Mon Unity League, called on the US
president to "do all that is within your power" to "discourage"
ASEAN nations from admitting Burma as a member state until "there
is a well established foundation of national reconciliation and
basic human rights inside the country."

ASEAN's "constructive engagement" policy towards Burma has been "a dismal
failure" for it has allowed Slorc to continue oppression of Mon ethnic
minority, he said.

Last year the ethnic Mons reached a cease-fire agreement with Slorc but it
led to forced labour forced relocation, rape and illegal taxation.


November 26, 1996
Subin Khuenkaew, Chiang Rai

Former drug warlord Khun Sa and his three Shan associates have adopted
Burmese names, according to a source.

The Burmese name of Khun Sa, the former Shan leader, whose Mong Tai Army
capitulated to the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) last
January, in Htet Aung, while his uncle, Chang Binying, has been named U Soe;
his son Chang Weikang has been named Soe Aung; and his close aide Chang
Usuchuan has been given the name Thet Naung, the source said.

The name change, said the source, was designed to facilitate business deals
with foreign firms. Khun Sa is interested in jewelry trade, export,
transportation, tourism, and mine business.

Initially the former warlord wanted to run his business in Rangoon under the
name of Khun Sa & Group Co, but Burmese authorities asked him to change the
name of his company.

There was a distinct possibility he may run his business under the name Htet
Aung & Group Co, said the source. It's not the first time that Khun Sa,
whose original name was Chang Shi-fu, has had his name changed. In 1978 he
entered a business deal with a Thai using the name Sirichai Jangtrakoon. 


June 1, 1996

A translated transcript of the Sunday People's Forum on June 1, 1996.  Aung
San Suu Kyi, U Kyi Maung, and U Tin Oo spoke for 20 minutes each.  For the
past 2 months, the SLORC has prevented the People's Forums by blockading the
road in front of Aung San Suu Kyi's house.  She still tries to reach
supporters outside the blockades in order to give them a brief message and
thank them for their support.  Both U Kyi Maung and U Tin Oo, senior members
of the NLD, are excellent speakers and their talks are greatly enjoyed by
the people.


What is the problem? The main problem is the forgetfulness of the SLORC. 

On the 29th September 1988, the SLORC Senior Generals declared to the
country  that for a nation to stand, it needed the appropriate structures.
That only a small group of  them were taking on the responsibility of
dealing with the international community and sharing other duties. Only a
few taking on responsible duties shows that there is no intention of
clinging onto power for a long period. I really believe that (wryly said,
much laughter) I and my colleagues, the General continued, and the
Tatmadaw, have no desire to hang onto power for a long time. This I vow to
you, all monks and people of the country, most respectfully.

(To which U Kyi Maung in a serious tone calls out the traditional religious
call for the sharing of merit when someone does a good deed - "SA-DHU, SA-DHU"
But it is suppose to be called out three times and he significantly stops
after the second call making a mockery of the deed.)

On January 1st 1990, the Chief of Staff of the Defense Services declared
that they had repeatedly spoken of things concerning the Power of the
country. After elections you can form your governments according to the law,
take the power, that's it. We have to hold the elections for you so that the
government can emerge. This is your responsibility. When a new government is
established after the elections according to the law, then it will no longer
be the Tat-ma-daw's responsibility. May I declare this candidly and clearly.
Flip-Flops will mean a breach of promise and that will lead to suspicion and
mistrust and this is something the Tat-ma-daw cannot and will not allow! 

In fact, the Tatmadaw has to be loyal to the country. A government, after
all is elected by the wishes of the majority of the people and represents
the people. The Tat-ma-daw must always be subservient to the government.
(U Kyi Maung calls out...SA-DHU... SA-DHU...  - laughter and applause)

The General continued... There is no need to be talking about this...we
understand all this perfectly. We (the Tatmadaw) are not an organization
which is not going to hang onto power for any length of time. 
(U Kyi Maung pauses for effect and got the desired response from the crowd
in a hearty, mocking SA-DHU SA-DHU from the crowd amid laughter and wild

On the 45th anniversary of the Armed Forces Day (27/3/90), The Sr. Gen.
proclaimed to the troops... which ever party comes to power; whichever
government takes over the reins of power, we as soldiers are bound to
loyally serve the government that comes to power to for the benefit and
prosperity of the country. We are an institution that has sworn to loyally
serve under the government. We do not chop and change. We do not lie or
deceive the people.
(lots of applause)

I only speak from the heart so it was like adding insult to injury when the
104 Press Conference held on the 18th September, the Sec.1 declared...That
we have successfully held the free Multi Party Elections as we promised is
proof that the SLORC desires to hand over power. (laughter and whistles)

These pledges made by high ranking officials are not the same as those made
by ordinary people. They are a covenant with the people. They are pledges
made by people representing organizations of power.  At least that is what I
thought. I don't know whose fault it is, theirs or ours. (laughter)

Here's an extra piece. On July, the 3rd, 1990, regarding who was to draw up
the State Constitution, it was stated.... The next task after the elections
is for a State Constitution to be drawn up. We have already declared on July
5th. 1989, that the SLORC is not going to do that. The State Constitution
concerns everybody. We are not going to do it. We can't afford to become the
scapegoat. (cheering, laughter) Quite decent and obliging of him (chuckle)

1990, May 10th, at a meeting with the Tat-ma-daw Commanders, it was
stated... Draw up a new one if wished or adapt the old one if so desired.

Now that he has been so obliging, why are these power crazy NLD people
taking the bull by the horns...All of you well know ... (laughter, and
people shouting "We do...")

We have done so much and nothing is done as said, that is why we have to
have so many rallies denouncing things... All across the country. (cheering
and whistling)

Then in connection to taking a short-cut to power... On the 1st of
September 1990, the Sr. Gen. declared...There is no other way than by
elections to gain the reins of power in this country. Then there will be the
true will of the people. It would be a government democratically elected by
the majority. They say!! (laughter and applause)

In a speech at the Kyunn-chang Fertilizer Plant, the Sec.1 spoke about the
convening of a Hluttaw. He said...it is the responsibility of the elected
representatives. The SLORC will only provide whatever support was necessary

And today we are called axe-handles. I have not fabricated any of this. I
have given you dates which can be checked. Please do so.

A country's leader is a politician and I can't understand why he says he
isn't a politician. One word from him and our lives would become topsy
turvy. That's why I have said, Power when it is held onto too long, can
destroy a man. A person in power must honor his pledges. The great man who,
very sternly, declared that vows made for the benefit of the country should
stand firm...There should be no deceit; if he is still alive today, ask him.

There are no eternal allies or foes in politics. Winston Churchill was
ousted after he led the victory of the second world war. Look at our own
country. The Chinese woman who was abusing us saying, "Ne Win-San Yu...Army
clique" once upon a time, remember? [ref. to Peking Radio when Revolutionary
Council took power in 1964] Day and night, the mud slinging and abuse. It
was deplorable. Now. The best of friends working for the common good, no less!

Why do I ask why the Americans or the West are hated so? Because of this
factor. There is no sign that we will have a democratic system here! We will
one day become one of the little tigers in the region! I dare to  bet
anyone! (cheers)
The little tigers cannot become tigers if trade with the West- the
Americans, the EU - has been blocked off, they'd only become puppy's not tigers.

Look to the future. Take the long view I say. There are no eternal foes and
no eternal allies.


Q. (a university student) Although the world is aware that Politics and
Economics cannot be seperated, why do foreign businesses come and do
business here knowing that there is oppression and that the international
community is denouncing the political system? 

A. It's not surprising that people interpret things in their own viewpoint.
Politically or Economically it is all interference. Actually we think that
it is out of date to call these things interference. (clapping) It is not
very commendable when it is said to be interference when other nations
condem injustices but a warm welcome is given when other nations want to do

Q. This question has come from quite a few people in different forms, the
essence of which is that there is a new disease in town - that of rounding
up people at mass rallies. They are trying to hoodwink the people and the
world. The enthusiasm of people who are forced to do something is not going
to last long. (loud cheering) Please tell the persons who force the people
to do what they themselves wish to do to stop (loud cheering)

A. As everyone knows any disease must be treated. I think the people should
let everyone know very nicely that they do not wish to participate. I hear
that people are being treated in many ways if they refuse. (calls of "yes")
A mass rally in support of the something should be a genuine wish of the
people themselves to support such a thing. [ASSK is interupted here by a
person in the crowd who shouts out, "like gathering here!" and she agrees
with a laugh]
When people are forced to support something when their hearts are not in it,
they get more dissatisfied. It would have a negative effect for them rather
than the desired one and that is why we are not too perturbed by these rallies.

Q. (a graduate from Yan-kinn township) A lot of people died in the recent
mining of a train. Is it the negligence of the people who say they are
safeguarding the country. (clapping) I think that it is the responsibility
of the authorities as we are not even allowed to set off firecrackers.

A. I would agree with that. The writers have used very strong language but I
have toned it down. The authorities always say that we are too
confrontational and critical and I wish to say here that I only read toned
down versions of what the people write. Were I to read uncensored versions,
it wouldn't be very good for them. I don't mean the letters are abusive.
Only that there is a deep bitterness. I have always said what needs to be
spoken out and I will continue to do so. The reason is merely a performance
of my duties.

Q. (a young monk from South Ok-ka-la-pa, a satellite town) A democratic
system stems from the fact that the leader and the masses are one. Could you
please explain the sense of that one-ness.

A. A first point would be for the leader to have no special privileges:
(loud clapping) Opportunities while the people were dealt with in a
different way. Whether we are one with the people or not is quite clear. If
we get wet we get wet together if we get arrested we get arrested together.
(roar of applause)

Q. (a person from Aung Lan - a small  town in central Burma) When the
Pyay-Aung Lan rail-line was opened, two people from each household were
invited to attend without fail and failure resulted in a 300 kyat fine. May
we know if this is  working towards the emergence of a democratic system or

A. I didn't have the time to check this out. Was the Pyay-Aung Lan rail line
built with voluntary labour? Because if it was, it would be terrible to have
to donate voluntary labour and then be forced to attend the opening
ceremony. I don't know why they do these things. Perhaps it's a lack of
confidence and they want to see a whole lot of people supporting them. (loud

There are some of the opinion that the NLD is supported because of
individuals, especially. This may be true to a certain point, I'll admit.
However, if I left politics and went into business for betterment today, I
would lose all of this support tommorrow - of this I am positive! In fact,
the people are not supporting any individual or personality. There support
stems from there own convictions. The people support us because they trust
that we will sacrifice for their benefit. Their support would evaporate if
this trust were broken. The people would forgive us if we can't make much
headway sometimes - I do apologize for this - but the people would never
forgive us if we tried to deceive them and work for our own interests (cheering)


[Starts with the usual prayer for the well being of the people and adds on a
prayer for the protection of the people from force and coercion to attend
mass rallies drawing sustained applause and whistles]

Sometimes I've wondered if they've become crazy. Relying on qualities to
convince themselves and inflate their egos (loud cheering) My sympathies go
out to the intellectuals in the crowd - the lecturers, the artists, the
educated. To have to listen to and support  diatribe against axe-handles and
destructive elements, knowing full well about authoritarian and democratic
systems...I really feel for them. Actually judging from their expressions,
you can judge that they all really want a democratic system. (Roar of
cheering and whistles) I try to imagine what their own children and students
and subordinates must think of them. Poor chaps.

I really would like to have a go at one of these rallies with the democracy
loving masses! (loud applause) Then a clear contrast between a Forced rally
and a spontaneous one would be understood. (loud cheering) We would not call
for annihilation or eradication. Our call would be simple; "Democracy shall
prevail", "The people's cause shall prevail"

We tried to carry out our tasks as a political party and our people were
detained. Less than half have been released so far. They are trying to make
propaganda points on the TV by showing that the detainees were treated
decently - being served dinner and so on but they do not show how others are
kept in squalid conditions or are very roughly treated. The TV footage was
shot only just before their release.

We are happy to know there is so much support and concern for them and this
solidarity gives us great encouragement. We welcome your support and
solidarity of Democratically like-minded people within and without.

One of their (SLORC's) main slogans at the rallies is the emergence of the
State Constitution and that it is the duty of each and every citizen. The
NLD also has a right to draw up a State Constitution. It is the duty and
right of all citizens, so we must fulfill our duty. If you want to know why,
it is because, in 1990, the people overwhelmingly voted and gave the NLD the
duty to do so. (sustained cheering and shouts of encouragement)

The slogan about annihilating people who would endanger the Independence
and the Sovereignty of the country is a superb one. The first part concerns
our independence. Look at the country today. The right of the people to
speak freely, write freely and gather freely...all these basic human rights
are restricted. And who is restricting the people? (whistling) So I'd like
to caution them that the slogan actually boomerangs.

To continue.... "Crush enemies who endanger our sovereignty" Sovereignty
lies in the hands of the people and evolves from the people. Here too (they
are) totally ignoring the basic principle and should ponder who the enemy
endangering the sovereignty of the people really is.

Sovereignty is the right of the people to decide freely in matters national
or international without violation of the rights of nationals or other nations.

Therefore these people who are yelling for the annihilation of the enemies
who would endanger the sovereignty of the nation , should really think twice
about what they yell. I'd like to caution them that the slogan actually

It has been loudly and repeatedly claimed that the Tatmadaw never was, is
not and never will be a mercenary Armed Forces. In truth it should not be
that and neither should it be a bribe taking one.

The NLD's attitude is that the Tatmadaw is an essential entity for the
country. It should be an institution which will safeguard and support the
democratic principles in a dignified manner. The people wish the Tat-ma-daw
must honour the wishes of the people. There is a saying, "When the water is
high, the lotus bloom is elevated/elegant." If the conditions of the people
are good then the 
Tatmadaw, within the people will also be elegant. When the people are
suffering, the lotus bloom will be resting in the mud.