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Burmese junta's anti-Suu Kyi rallie

Subject: Burmese junta's anti-Suu Kyi rallies can lead to deportation

Editorial & Opinion 

      Burmese junta's anti-Suu
      Kyi rallies can lead to

      The rallies stage-managed by the Burmese
      junta has serious significance. They are
      part of the agenda leading to Suu Kyi's
      deportation, writes Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe.

      MONTREAL -- The Burmese junta has
      embarked on a 'mass campaign' to
      denounce Aung San Suu Kyi. The mass
      rallies held throughout the country can be
      judged as geared toward achieving several
      objectives. The most obvious aim is to
      convince the outside world that the people
      have turned against the popular daughter of
      Aung San, a man widely regarded as the
      ''father'' of both Burma's independence and
      the armed forces, the tatmadaw. 

      The 'mass' rallies serve another more
      important purpose, however. They are
      meant to convince undecided or wavering
      elements within the military that sticking
      with the junta is their best bet on the ground
      that the junta is supported by the mass of
      the people, or obversely, that the 'masses'
      has deserted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. 

      The ruling generals are reportedly very
      nervous about rumours that the majority of
      officers below the rank of major are in
      favour of transferring power to a civilian
      government headed by Daw Suu Kyi, or
      that they secretly sympathise with her. 

      The anti-Suu Kyi rallies are orchestrated
      mainly by the military-sponsored
      quasi-political body, the Usda (Union
      Solidarity and Development Association).
      The 'grand patron' of the Usda is reported
      to be a man who earned the nickname, the
      'Butcher of Rangoon', Sein Lwin, who was
      also appointed the country's President by
      Ne Win in late July 1988 (and was forced to
      resign due to continuing protest rallies in
      early August. Sein Lwin's hlon-htein or riot
      squad was responsible for the brutal
      crushing of students demonstrators in

      The core cadres of the Usda comprises of
      thuggish elements indoctrinated with a
      racist-like variety of Burman
      ultranationalism, one based on the myth
      that the Burmans are a superior conquering
      race. Informed sources in Rangoon say that
      Sein Lwin is also the mentor of, and
      personally close to General Maung Aye,
      regarded as head of the hardline faction
      and rival of, tentatively, the current
      'strongman' (more or less), General Khin

      The rallies are well-planned. Before each
      rallies, the military designates several
      people as supporting speakers. These
      persons are given speeches to memorise
      and practice. Rehearsals supervised by
      local Usda bosses and cadres are held
      prior to the actual rallies. Usda cadres and
      local military officers are jointly responsible
      for bringing people out to the rallies on the
      appointed date and time. 

      All local government servants, school
      teachers, their family members, school
      children, and villagers from surrounding
      areas are commanded to attend, or else.
      People comply because being pushed
      around by the military has become a way of
      life. Besides, for many villagers attending
      rallies is less arduous than ''hewing wood
      and carrying water'' for soldiers, a chore
      which they are coerced into on a regular
      basis. Most people do not attach any
      significance to these rallies having been
      forced to participate in countless
      meaningless rallies during the rule of the
      pre-1988 military-socialist regime. 

      The theme running through these rallies,
      calling for the deportation, by force if
      necessary, of Daw Suu Kyi, has very much
      worried leaders of the democratic
      opposition, based on the Thai-Burma
      border and in Burmese communities

      They fear that once she is evicted from the
      country, the people inside will be so
      demoralised that the flame of resistance
      and hope will be extinguished. Her
      presence inside the country is seen as vital.
      Many foreign experts on politics in Burma
      also agree that her removal from the
      country would strengthen the military's
      position immeasurably, and would in all
      likelihood also boost Khin Nyunt's position
      and his chance of becoming the second Ne

      However, although the forcible deportation
      of Daw Suu Kyi is viewed by the ruling
      generals as desirable, and might well be
      most advantageous, sources close to the
      military report that the generals are nervous
      about manhandling 'The Lady' on board an
      outbound flight. 

      Firstly, they fear international complications
      that could arise from such a blatant use of
      force. Secondly, they are not sure of how
      younger officers would react to her forcible
      deportation. It might be the last straw that
      breaks the camel's back. 

      From the perspective therefore of
      intra-military politics, the stage-managed
      rallies must be seen as the attempt by the
      junta to convince officers below the rank of
      major that the deportation of Daw Suu Kyi,
      by force if necessary, is a measure forced
      upon the junta by the people. 

      The rallies are therefore not meaningless
      as rallies during the pre-1988
      military-socialist years were. They are very
      significant in the sense that they are geared
      to a specific end: the deportation of Daw
      Suu Kyi, by force if necessary. 

      The forcible eviction of Daw Suu Kyi from
      Burma would appreciably strengthen the
      hand of the military junta, but whether this
      will come to pass will very much depends
      on how convinced elements within the
      military, especially younger officers, are that
      this is the wish of the people. 

      The Nation