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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: June 19, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

June 19, 2000

Issue # 1558

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:


"Like my own people in neighbouring Tibet, you suffer under an 
oppressive regime beyond the reach of international relief...We also 
share your conviction that we can only achieve a lasting resolution 
of our struggle by employing non-violent means. That does not make it 
easier. It requires immense determination, for non-violent protest by 
its nature depends on patience."

The Dalai Lama in a message to Aung San Suu Kyi.  (See BURMA CAMPAIGN 

*Inside Burma














__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________


YANGON, June 19 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government said on 
Monday it was trying to build democracy, but it would never be a 
``democracy under foreign influence.'' 

 Official newspapers carried a speech by Myanmar's powerful 
intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt, pledging movement 
to democracy but rejecting the meddling of Western nations who wanted 
to impose their own democratic models on the country. 

 ``Being a member of (the) world community, Myanmar is also making 
every endeavour to follow the correct path of democratic system which 
is being practised by most countries in the world,'' the newspapers 
quoted the Secretary One of the State Peace and Development Council 
(SPDC) as saying. 

 ``But the nation will not become a democratic one under the 
influence of others forcibly shaped by some Western nations,'' he 
told a meeting of service personnel in Myingyan Township, about 400 
miles (640 km) north of Yangon, on Sunday. 

 He said Myanmar's democracy should be in conformity with the history 
of the nation and the people, its customs and character, national 
norms based on religion and the solidarity of races living in the 
 He said some unnamed big Western nations were interfering in the 
internal affairs of Myanmar through various means while ``internal 
destructive elements had been ``undermining'' the development process 
of the country for more than 10 years. 

 He did not elaborate on the kind of democracy he wanted. 

 Myanmar's ruling generals held a democratic election in 1990, which 
was won by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) of 
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. 

 But the military authorities have never allowed the NLD to govern 
and have arrested many of those elected at the polls. 

 The military says Myanmar is not ready for democracy and spent some 
years organising discussions on a new constitution, under which it 
would have held 25 percent of the seats in parliament. 

 That plan was rejected by the NLD and other opposition groups and a 
normal session of a National Convention to prepare a constitution has 
not been held since March 1996. 




BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Women play a crucial role in Myanmar's 
struggle for democracy, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in a 
videotape released Monday. 
 Suu Kyi spoke in a special message released on the occasion of her 
birthday, which is celebrated as ``Women of Burma Day'' by groups 
opposed to the country's military regime. Myanmar is also known as 

 ``To have peace and unity in our country, women need to lead the 
way,'' said Suu Kyi in the tape, which contained messages in both 
English and Burmese and was released by a Thai-based opposition 
solidarity group on her 55th birthday.
 ``Women should not underestimate their strength and power,'' she 

 Suu Kyi heads the National League for Democracy, the main legal 
opposition group. The league won a landslide victory in a 1990 
general election, but the ruling military did not allow parliament to 
convene and continues its authoritarian rule. 

 Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel peace prize, was under house arrest 
from 1989-95, and hundreds of her fellow party members have been 
imprisoned as the party operates under harsh repression. 

 ``Women suffer more when there is no peace and security, and when 
there is no health and education development,'' Suu Kyi said. ``It is 
the women who have to tend to their children. 

 ``Hence, women should understand that politics and family matters or 
survival cannot be separated from each other.'' 

 Suu Kyi said women sometimes have a better understanding of the 
struggle for democracy because they strip away all the political 
jargon and get down to basic facts. 
 ``What women want is a safer, better life for their children, for 
their families. On the surface, this seems narrow and this seems 
selfish but it's not like that... If you probe deeper, you find that 
there are wells of understanding and empathy. 

 ``Women can empathize with the fate of mothers whose children are in 
prison, of wives who have lost their husbands, of women who are 
struggling to feed families, of the housewife who goes to the bazaar 
daily with her heart pounding in case prices have gone up again. 

 A Myanmar exile opposition group in India meanwhile reported that 
several women's organizations celebrated Women of Burma Day on Monday 
in New Delhi. 

 The Mizzima News Group said 100 Myanmar activists held an hour-long 
rally at which several exile women's groups issued a joint statement 
urging Myanmar's military government to release all political 
prisoners and enter into a dialogue with Suu Kyi to break the 
political deadlock in the country. 

 The statement described Suu Kyi as ``the symbol of inspiration and 
hope for the Burmese people who have been struggling for democracy 
and human rights in the country.'' 

___________________________ REGIONAL ___________________________


MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2000

Over resolution on Burma

Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan has defended Thailand's decision to 
withhold support for an International Labour Organisation resolution 
on forced labour in Burma. 

Thailand abstained because the resolution would have put too much 
pressure on Burma, and more information was needed to clarify the 
issue, he said. 

"The resolution placed pressure on members to act upon it. "Thailand 
considers all parties should do some fact-finding,'' the minister 

The ILO resolution called for governments, workers and employers 
to "review their links with Burma and take appropriate measures to 
ensure Burma cannot take advantage of such relations to perpetuate or 
extend the system of forced or compulsory labour." 

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam 
voted against the proposal. 
Thailand would await the outcome of a thorough examination of the 
accusations against Burma, expected in four months, Mr Surin said. 

A total of 31 ILO members abstained from the vote on Wednesday, while 
257 were for and 41 against the motion. 

The ILO governing body compromised by postponing deliberation of the 
resolution until they meet again in November to review whether Burma 
is making serious efforts to stamp out forced labour. 

Foreign Ministry officials viewed the resolution as being drafted in 
favour of the United States and other western nations. 

They said it was too harsh on Burma.

One official acknowledged that the Asean version did not truly 
reflect the serious situation in Burma. 

A similar resolution by the ILO on Burma last year was largely 
ignored by Rangoon. 
The Burmese junta has argued that the labour situation was improving. 

__________________ INTERNATIONAL __________________



June 19, 2000

by LAURIE ASSEO Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday made it harder for 
states to  refuse to buy from companies that do business in nations 
known for  human-rights abuses.

The unanimous decision essentially said that states have no business  
engaging in foreign policy. The court threw out a Massachusetts law 
that  limits state purchases from companies doing business with 
Myanmar, also  known as Burma.

The law is pre-empted by the federal government's own sanctions 
against  Myanmar, the justices said.

''The state act is at odds with the president's intended authority to 
speak  for the United States among the world's nations in developing 
a  comprehensive, multilateral strategy to bring democracy to and 
improve  human rights practices and the quality of life in Burma,'' 
Justice David H.  Souter wrote for the court.

The Massachusetts law is similar to the boycotts of South Africa by 
many  states and cities during the apartheid era.

However, Souter wrote, ''Since we never ruled on whether state and 
local  sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s were pre-empted or 
otherwise  invalid, arguable parallels between the two sets of 
federal and state acts  do not tell us much about the validity of the 

The decision upholds a federal appeals court decision that 
invalidated the  Massachusetts law.

A number of state and local governments, including New York City and 
Los  Angeles, restrict their purchases from companies doing business 
in  countries such as Myanmar, Northern Ireland and China.

During the 1980s, many states and cities protested racial apartheid 
in  South Africa by boycotting companies that sold goods to that 

Massachusetts -- home of the 1773 Boston Tea Party in which 
colonists  dumped tea in Boston Harbor rather than pay taxes to 
England -- argued that  it had a right to apply a ''moral standard'' 
to its spending decisions. 

But the law was challenged by a group that represents companies 
involved in  foreign trade. Foreign policy must be exclusively 
controlled by the federal  government, the National Foreign Trade 
Council said, because allowing  states and cities to have a variety 
of foreign-trade policies would harm  trade overall.

The Clinton administration supported the group, citing the federal  
government's ''preeminent role in acting for the United States in 
the  international arena.''


Respond to Supreme Court Decision on   Massachusetts "Burma Law"

June 20, 2000

Free Burma activists in Massachusetts and many cities including New 
York City, Minneapolis, and San Francisco will launch a new round of 
legislative efforts to use the purchasing power of  state and local 
government to discourage companies from doing business with  the 
brutal military regime in Burma.  The state of Massachusetts and 
twenty three cities had passed laws that sought to avoid doing 
business with companies that indirectly supported the Burmese 
generals by providing the cash-starved junta with foreign exchange 
and profits.

In response to the Supreme Court's decision striking down 
Massachusetts' "selective purchasing law" state Representative Byron 
Rushing, announced his intent to introduce legislation that replaces 
the existing law and complies with the Supreme Court's ruling.  "It 
is a shame that the Supreme Court has ruled against the strategy that 
helped end Apartheid in South Africa," said Rushing, "But the Court's 
decision leaves room for state and local governments to heed moral 
concerns in the way they do business in the global economy.  I want 
all advocates for human rights and democracy, especially in Burma, to 
be assured that the campaign for human rights and democracy is 
redirected, not blocked." 

According to the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and 
international human rights organizations, the military government of 
Burma continues to engage in flagrant human rights violations.  These 
include use of forced labor, systematic rape and extrajudicial 
killings, forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of minority 
citizens, torture and imprisonment of pro-democracy advocates 
including elected members of Parliament. The Massachusetts Burma law 
was modeled after anti-Apartheid "selective purchasing" laws  adopted 
by 25 states and 164 local governments in the 1980s. 

Across the nation, local legislators and members of the Free Burma 
Coalition announced a campaign to enact a new generation of Burma 
laws.  According to Dr. Zar Ni of the Free Burma Coalition, "The 
Court's decision will not abate our efforts to stop foreign 
investment from flowing to the military junta in Burma.  Our message 
to multinational corporations is clear:  We will fight, by all 
nonviolent means, any corporation that tacitly condones human rights 
violations abroad through their business ties with thugs and 
illegitimate  rulers, be they in Burma or elsewhere."

The Free Burma Coalition is circulating a four-part model for local 
advocates to draw from in composing legislation to replace their 
existing Burma laws.  These options include: 

     Selective purchasing   Avoid companies that benefit from human 
rights violations.  While the      Court's decision would limit such 
a purchasing standard regarding business in Burma, the Court      
leaves open this possibility with respect to business in all other 

Disclosure -- Disclose business in Burma before a company may bid on 
procurement.      Accountability    Pension funds vote for 
shareholder resolutions on corporate accountability.      

Divestment - Public investors simply sell their shares to avoid the 
moral taint of ownership.      Petition to Congress   Ask Congress to 
authorize selective purchasing.      

Representatives of the pro-democracy movement in Burma expressed 
their continued support for state and local advocacy in the United 
States.  "Renewal of local Burma laws can continue to highlight the 
economic links between trade and repression in my country," said Dr. 
Sein Win, Prime Minister for the National Coalition Government of the 
Union of Burma (NCGUB), who represents the elected government that 
was deposed by the Burmese military junta. He added, "As recently as 
February, Aung San Suu Kyi (the Nobel Laureate and leader of the 
democracy movement in Burma) reminded us that, 'By investing now, 
business is supporting the military regime.  The real benefits of 
investment now go to the military regime and their connections.'"

The Supreme Court ruled against the Massachusetts law on preemption 
grounds alone.  First, the Court concluded that the Massachusetts law 
was an obstacle to the congressional delegation of power to the 
President to control economic sanctions against Burma.  Second, the 
Court concluded that the state law interfered with the limited range 
of sanctions authorized by Congress.  Third, the Court concluded that 
the state law was at odds with the President's delegated authority to 
speak for the United States in order to develop a comprehensive, 
multilateral strategy to promote democracy in Burma. 

The Massachusetts Burma law was adopted in 1996, three months before 
Congress authorized federal sanctions against Burma.  Unlike the 
federal sanctions that ban private investment in Burma, the 
Massachusetts law only limits purchasing by the state government.  It 
provided a 10% preference for bids from companies that avoid doing 
business in Burma unless the preference would impair essential 
purchases or result in inadequate competition.  In addition to 
Massachusetts, there are 22 cities or counties whose local Burma laws 
could be affected by the Supreme Court's decision. 
     Within hours of the Supreme Court's decision, local advocates 
announced that they will seek new legislation in the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts, San Francisco and several Massachusetts cities.  (See 
contacts below.)  Other cities are expected to follow. 

"Over the next six months, we plan to introduce new Free-Burma laws 
in several key cities and states in New England.  Our message to 
corporations is clear:  If you do business in Burma, your business 
will suffer in New England," said Simon Billenness, coordinator of 
the New England Burma roundtable.



 Monday, June 19, 2000


Sann Aung will tomorrow marry a fellow native of Bassein, the centre 
of the watery delta region west of the Burmese capital, Rangoon. He 
only wishes his octogenarian parents where there to see it. 

"I have not seen them for 10 years. It is painful," said Mr Sann 
Aung. Nor does the labour minister in the National Coalition 
Government of the Union of Burma, an opposition exile group, expect 
to be reunited with his family soon. 

"I fear we will have to struggle for a while yet," Mr Sann Aung said. 
That meant the continuation of many miseries in his homeland, he 
said, not least the practice of forcing people, who are already 
fighting to make ends meet in a shattered economy, to undertake 
unpaid and often unpleasant work for the military Government. 

"I meet many, many people who have fled from the country. This is the 
thing that often breaks them, makes them flee. It's just too much."  
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN-affiliated body, 
last week voted 257 to 41 to impose, for the first time, sanctions 
against a member country to punish Burma's junta for its use of 
forced labour.  

The military regime hardly helped its cause by resolutely denying 
that forced labour still existed, while acknowledging it might have 
been practised sometimes in the past, said Mr Sann Aung. This 
contradicts the ILO's own damning 1998 investigation and two 
subsequent updates.  

The International Confederation of Free Trades Unions, which 
initiated the unprecedented ILO vote, estimates that 800,000 Burmese 
are daily victims of forced labour. 

"Just a few days ago I met a mother and daughter in a very bad 
emotional state. They had fled from the Shan State because demands 
for forced labour made it impossible for them to make enough to eat," 
Mr Sann Aung said. "They were very worried about the father, who had 
had to leave earlier because the army suspected that he might be a 
rebel. He wasn't, but the army has a suspicious and vengeful mind." 

Mr Sann Aung was a dentist working quietly in Bassein until 1988, 
when his interest in politics was ignited by nationwide protests 
against military rule. Although he is now a firm supporter of Aung 
San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, he stood as an 
independent in the 1990 election, which the league won by a 
landslide, a result the military has never accepted. 

His fear that nothing much will change soon stems from the knowledge 
that the generals are running a country where the national coffers 
are nearly exhausted and where they fear for their own personal 
futures under any non-military regime. 

"So, no change soon. But when things do start to happen I think it 
could come in a rush. We could surprise the world."



Copy of a letter sent to the Toronto Burma Roundtable:  June 6, 2000  

When the Embassy enquired about [attending] the [Toronto] Roundtable 
it was not meant for the Ambassador himself to attend, we just 
enquired whether your organization would invite a representative from 
the Embassy also, because we learnt that the representatives from 
Canada Embassy in Bangkok and the Department of Foreign Affairs and 
International Trade were also invited to some of the Roundtable 

As an Embassy representing the Government of the Union of Myanmar, we 
try to keep track and / or keep in touch with all Myanmar Communities 
and Organizations dedicated to the country.  Our enquiry was what 
kind of organization the Toronto Roundtable is, what kind of people 
attend to it and whether it is an open public forum. 

The Roundtable meetings we are interested in are the ones where the 
representatives from the Deparrment of Foreign Affairs and 
International Trade and represntatives from Canada Embassy in Bangkok 
attend, and the regular Toronto Roundtable monthly meetings. 

Yin Yin Oo, First Secretary, Embassy of the Union of Myanmar ------



June 18, 2000 

I suppose the only way to begin this birthday message is with a big 
thank you. Thank you for organizing this event and thank you for 
organizing 55 candles if that is what you have organized. It makes me 
feel very old but at the same time I think it's marvelous to have 
lots and lots of candles because it means lots and lots of light. 
Which brings me to what I really want to say. Thank you for all that 
you have done to help the cause of democracy in Burma and for using 
this event to further the cause to bring light to our people who are 
struggling in the darkness of authoritarian rule.  

In Burma, of the 53 years of independence, we have had about 40 years 
of authoritarian rule. That is too much. Our years of maturity have 
been taken away from us. For this reason we have to work doubly hard 
that we may be able to hold our heads within the international 
community. And we would like to thank all of you, all of the world 
who are helping us to be able to achieve this, who are helping us to 
become mature and effective members of the international community. 
So I would like to thank you once again. And to say that I hope on my 
56th birthday, we will be celebrating not just one more year of my 
life but the achievement of democracy in Burma.  
Thank you.

The Prime Minister Tony Blair

I join you tonight in wishing Happy Birthday to a truly remarkable 
figure, one of the icons of our age. Despite huge personal sacrifice, 
Aung San Suu Kyi remains undaunted in her struggle for the rule of 
law and democracy in Burma. She is an inspiration, not only to her 
fellow Burmese but to millions across the globe. 

Ten years ago, the Burmese military set aside the people's verdict. 
Burma cannot expect to be welcomed into the international fold until 
that injustice is put right. We stand with Aung San Suu Kyi in 
demanding an end to tyranny and human rights abuse. 

Madeleine K Albright

Dear Suu Kyi,

Today we join together across oceans and continents to celebrate the 
day of your birth and to anticipate Burma's rebirth as a democratic 
society. We celebrate your bravery and sacrifice, and that of your 
many Burmese allies. We celebrate your struggle for change and your 
faith that the Burmese people will, one day soon, celebrate their 
liberty in a free Burma. 

Although that day has not yet come, the ruling junta in Burma has 
failed to destroy its inevitability. The regime has arrested hundreds 
of innocent Burmese citizens and launched personal attacks against 
you and your colleagues; and yet the democracy movement carries on. 
The regime has used such tactics to intimidate the Burmese people, 
but the effect has been to demonstrate its own weakness and 
insecurity. It has tried to discredit you and the NLD, yet virtually 
the entire world recognizes you as the legitimate voice of the 
Burmese people. 

The Burmese people have a modest objective: a government that they 
have chosen and that is accountable to them. We and our partners from 
Asia to Europe support to struggle to achieve this objective. We join 
you in seeking a peaceful transition to democracy and the rule of law 
in Burma. This cause is a matter of urgent concern for the United 
Nations. It will be pursued at our meetings with the Association of 
South East Asian Nations this July. The international consensus is 
clear: the Burmese government will not be reconciled with the world 
until it is reconciled with its own people. 

Your courageous and steadfast commitment to that goal inspires us and 
gives us confidence that it will be achieved. We will be with you 
every step of the way. 

I extend my fondest wishes for a happy birthday and for happier days 
to come. 

His Holiness's The Dalai Lama

On the occasion of her fifty-fifth birthday, I wish Aung San Suu Kyi 
and all the people of Burma peace, happiness and a long life.  

Like my own people in neighbouring Tibet, you suffer under an 
oppressive regime beyond the reach of international relief. Tibetans 
too know what it is to exchange freedom and contentment for longing 
and fear. We also share your conviction that we can only achieve a 
lasting resolution of our struggle by employing non-violent means. 
That does not make it easier. It requires immense determination, for 
non-violent protest by its nature depends on patience.  

Aung San Suu Kyi, your inspiring leadership is crucial. By your own 
determined passive resistance you encourage the finding of a 
peaceful, non-violent way for the forces of freedom, truth and 
democracy to emerge from the current atmosphere of unjust repression.
Therefore, once again, I offer my prayers for the freedom and well-
being of all the Burmese people, for you and the members of your 
family. And I also pray that your efforts may contribute to lasting 
world peace, for the practice of genuine non-violence is something of 
an experiment on this planet. Its pursuit is sacred. If the 
experiment ultimately succeeds in places like Burma, it will surely 
open the way to a far more peaceful world in the future. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu 
Very dear friends gathered here tonight, 

I welcome you so very warmly to this wonderful occasion, organised by 
The Burma Campaign UK, to celebrate the fifty-fifth birthday of a 
remarkable person: Aung Sun Suu Kyi. 

I wish so very much that I could be with you physically, as I am with 
you in spirit, as we all wish that Aung Sun Suu Kyi herself would 
have been able to be present with you on this occasion. 

But we know that the scared men of the military junta, armed to the 
teeth, are frightened of this petite, attractive person Aung Sun Suu 
Kyi, and would not let her travel unless she was willing not to 
return to Burma. 

And you know how mean-spirited they were in not even allowing her 
dying husband to pay her a last visit, for him to come and say 
goodbye to her. 

But I know that we will carry her in our hearts as we celebrate 
tonight, and look forward to the day when Burma will be free, when 
democracy will be born in that land, and then we will be able to 
celebrate together on that occasion. 

You know, dear friends, there were very many moments in our struggle 
against apartheid when it appeared as if the forces of evil were on 
the rampage, as if evil and lies and injustice and oppression would 
have the last word. 

Wonderfully, exhilaratingly we have won a spectacular victory over 
the awfulness of apartheid, and today South Africa is free and 

We were supported by the world. People such as yourselves supported 
our cause for sanctions. Thank you for that support. And we want to 
call on the world: "For goodness sake you can do something, you can 
impose stringent economic sanctions on the military regime of Burma 
and they too can, as the apartheid rulers, bite the dust." 

My dear sister, Aung Sun Suu Kyi, your very beautiful picture that 
you sent me hangs in my office in Cape Town. And when I come into the 
office of The Truth and Reconcilliation Commission you don't know 
just how much inspiration and strength many of us have drawn from 
your courageous witness. 

You have suffered grieviously, and yet you have remained so serene 
and beautiful. You are able to smile in the face of ghastly 
awfulness. Let this be the last birthday you celebrate as someone 

And you, friends, who are here tonight, thank you for coming. And I 
am sure that all of you will have been inspired by the witness and 
the courage of this attractive person. And that this will make you 
commit yourself to wanting to work for the end of the injustice in 

As you go away from here take in your heart that inspiration, and 
make sure that you are going to help make a difference. You see, the 
sea is made up of drops of water, the contribution of each one of us 
here, and of people in other parts of the world, is not something 
that is going to be lost and disappear into the ether. It goes to 
impregnate the ether. For this is a moral universe. Good and wrong 
matter, lies and truth matter, and there is no way in which evil and 
injustice and oppression and lies can ever ultimately prevail. 

I know that one day we will celebrate a free, a democratic Burma. 

God bless you

Leader of the opposition Conservative Party - The Rt Hon William 
Hague MP I am delighted to send my support and best wishes to Aung 
San Suu Kyi and everyone attending her 55th birthday celebrations. 

I am confident that this celebration will go some way in fulfilling 
the aim of The Burma Campaign UK and help highlight Aung San Suu 
Kyi's courageous struggle for a free and democratic Burma. 
have an enjoyable evening.

Glenys Kinnock MEP

"Do not think lightly of good, that nothing will come of it. A whole 
water pot will fill up from dripping drops of water" - This was said 
by the Buddha, and it speaks loudly to me about the potential you and 
I have for supporting the pursuit of freedom in Burma. But I am more 
ambitious, I believe we can become an ocean.  

An epic struggle is currently taking place in Burma. A struggle which 
has gone unnoticed for too long. But as always the world's attention 
slowly shifts. And as it shifts we can see, coming into sharp focus, 
a group of men sitting nervously in their green uniforms, medals and 
braid. Across the city of Rangoon, where they reside, sits a friend 
of mine, who without malice let alone uniforms, tanks or guns, 
embodies the determination of a people to be free - her name is Aung 
San Suu Kyi. One night after meeting Suu I found a scrap of paper on 
my pillow in my hotel bedroom in Rangoon. It was inscribed with her 
name - nothing more. That simple act took infinite courage. Aung San 
Suu Kyi's people want freedom from a regime as tyrannical and 
secretive as any the modern era has seen - a regime engaged in 
killings, rape, genocide and the perpetration of relentless misery. I 
have seen these tragic realities for myself and I remain convinced 
that we must respond to this terrible human suffering. We have a duty 
and a responsibility to call for political action. 

In Burma each and every day thousands are risking their lives for 
freedom, thousands are suffering in prisons for freedom, while their 
brothers and sisters beyond Burma's borders work hard for the day 
they can return home, to a free land. All refuse to give up until 
this struggle is won. And it will be won, have no doubt of that - it 
is a matter of when, not if. This is where we have a role. The 
architects of Burma's freedom are hard at work and we can provide 
their building blocks.  

Sometimes dictators do stand down, sometimes elections are honoured, 
sometimes people eventually gain their freedom - but this usually 
happens when all of us, at some point, fight for it.  

Fergal Keane

For Suu - A Personal Tribute

Aung San Suu Kyi is a figure of extraordinary stature both within and 
outside Burma. Yet she has the grace and humility of one who might 
appear to have no power at all. That is the secret of her 
extraordinary power. Grace, humility and of course the courage of the 
truly heroic. We live in an age when it is fashionable for 
politicians to throw heroic shapes; invariably they do so backed up 
by mighty armies, from the safety of peaceful cities. The Lady of 
Rangoon has no army or guns. She has never threatened violence, 
indeed she abhors it with an intensity that only those who have met 
her can appreciate. Yet this woman of no weapons frightens the most 
ruthless military regime in the world. 

Why? I think it is because she embodies the power of a simple idea: 
central to our human survival must be the belief that we have the 
right to live free from fear. That is why we have human rights laws 
and democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi understands that these are not 
abstracts. In a country like Burma where this idea is daily trampled 
into the ground, it takes extraordinary spirit to keep going, to keep 
fighting the fight. (Five minutes in her company and you recognise 
the deep well spring of determination inside.) 

Burma is not like apartheid South Africa. It is much, much worse. 
People sometimes say to me: why doesn't she urge people to rise up 
against the government? Why don't they launch an armed struggle? Such 
questions ignore two fundamental points: firstly, any such action 
would result in a bloodbath of a kind that would make the South 
African police response at Sharpeville look moderate. Burma has an 
ongoing bloodbath in which its' minorities are savagely targeted, the 
military has already shown its willingness to shoot down unarmed pro 
democracy demonstrators. Secondly, when you are the leader of a 
peaceful 'spiritual' revolution taking a gun to your enemies negates 
the entire premise on which you fight. Aung San Suu Kyi should be 
praised for not launching an armed struggle which would see her 
people brutalised yet further. 

If she were here tonight, I am sure she would be embarrassed by the 
fuss. Privately happy of course but making a point of looking out for 
other people. (One of my warmest memories is of a lunch in Rangoon 
with Suu hovering around the table making sure the older members of 
the party were well taken care of.) I can think of many world leaders 
who have shown toughness and courage; I cannot think of any who could 
add to that list Aung San Suu Kyi's qualities of personal warmth and 
humility. Do I believe she will triumph in the end? Of course, of 
course. To quote an old slogan: nothing can stop an idea whose time 
has come. The idea is the simplest yet most hard won of all - 
freedom. Freedom. And the time is coming. Happy Birthday Suu. 

_____________________ OTHER  ______________________


 (subscription information at the bottom)

"THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN: Japan's Response To The Political Crisis 
Burma, 1988-1998," by Donald M. Seekins

Japan's response to the political crisis in Burma after the 
establishment of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) 
in September 1988 reflected the interests of powerful constituencies 
within the Japanese political system, especially business interests, 
to which were added other constituencies such as domestic supporters 
of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's struggle for democracy and those who wished 
to pursue 'Sun Diplomacy,' using positive incentives to encourage 
democratization and economic reform. Policymakers in Tokyo, however, 
approached the Burma crisis seeking to take minimal risks--a "maximin 
strategy"--which limited their effectiveness in influencing the 
junta. This was evident in the February 1989 "normalization" of 
Tokyo's ties with SLORC. During 1989-1998, Japanese business leaders 
pushed hard to promote economic engagement, but "Sun Diplomacy" made 
little progress in the face of the junta's increasing repression of 
the democratic opposition.

"POTTERY IN THE CHIN HILLS," by Charlotte Reith

During my research on contemporary pottery villages in Burma, I was 
the name of one such village, Lente, by a native now living in the 
States. Lente is located in the Chin Hills, a remote area of western 
difficult to access, inhabited by many tribes speaking a large number 
languages. Foreigners are rarely given permission to visit the Chin 
and although I obtained permission to travel to Lente, I was 
prevented by the authorities from going further than nearby Falam. I 
was nevertheless able to collect data from Lente in three ways: 
first, my guide Daw Moe Moe was able to visit Lente and take 
photographs of the potters there; secondly, Daw Moe Moe was able to 
return to Falam with a potter from Lente village and with enough of 
the proper kind of clay to facilitate a demonstration which I 
photographed and documented; and thirdly, I was given a copy of a 
videotape showing the potters working in Lente village. This tape was 
taken by a young man from Falam who is interested in recording local 
crafts processes. The tape allowed me to observe a process of making 
pots with which I was totally unacquainted, and which has otherwise 
escaped recent photographic or video documentation. This was a 
true "discovery" concerning the ways in which pots can be made, and 
still another indication of the imagination and ingenuity of 

"LANGUAGES IN CONTACT: The Case of English and Burmese," by Julian 
Wheatley, with San San Hnin Tun

This article deals with the nature and the effects of the long period 
of linguistic contact between Burmese and English. Part 1 deals with 
general issues of contact and borrowing; part 2 provides examples of 
English loanwords in Burmese, and considers the processes of 
phonological and semantic accommodation that they reflect.

Buddha's Chief Disciples at the Kaba Aye Pagoda," by Jack Daulton

In this article, the author reconstructs and documents the story of 
the relics of the Buddha's chief disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana, 
at the Kaba Aye Pagoda in Burma.  Using previously unpublished 
archival materials, including first-hand archaeological reports and 
internal museum documents, as well as contemporary newspaper 
accounts, the author details the discovery of the relics by British 
military officers in 19th-century
India, the subsequent removal of the relics to England where they 
were placed on museum exhibition, and their eventual reenshrinement 
in Burma and India 100 years later.

Purchase information:

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issues of the Bulletin of the Burma Studies Group. Add US$10 to 
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Burma Studies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb IL 60115, USA; 
Phone: (815)
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