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BurmaNet News: October 18, 2000
- Subject: BurmaNet News: October 18, 2000
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 11:54:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
_________October 18, 2000 Issue # 1643__________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AFP : Myanmar releases six political prisoners on UN request
*KNU: Forced Labour Continues on Bongti-Tavoy Road Construction
*AFP: British diplomats in Myanmar still awaiting news on Mawdsley
*AFP : 2,000 MPs call on Myanmar to lift Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest
*Intl Herald Tribune: ASEAN Argues Over Burma Strategy
*AFP : Myanmar - the eternal outcast of Asia-Europe relations
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Dissidents examine South African model
*AP: Myanmar rebel group says rival ready to flood Thailand with speed
*The Hindu (New Delhi): Plea to intensify trade on Myanmarese border
*Mizzima: Junta's Developmental Programs hurt the people in Kachin State
*Czech Press: Lessons for Burma from Yugoslav Uprising
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP : Myanmar releases six political prisoners on UN request
YANGON, Oct 18 (AFP) - Myanmar's military junta has released six
elderly political prisoners after a special request by UN special envoy
Razali Ismail, official sources said Wednesday.
The six prisoners were released late Tuesday from jails in Yangon,
Mandalay and the south of the country, they said.
All except one are members of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National
League for Democracy (NLD). The prisoners were serving sentences of
between two to
The six, whose ages ranged from 53 to 77, had been jailed for
threatening the security of the state, a sentence commonly used against
members of the NLD.
The Yangon junta has said it holds no political prisoners and anyone
arrested for threatening the security of the state had committed a crime
that had no relation to his or her political leaning.
UN envoy Razali made an appeal for these older prisoners to be
released during his visit to Myanmar last week, when he met with junta
heads Than Shwe and Khin Nyunt, the sources said.
But the six released prisoners had to sign a statement saying if they
ever threatened the security of the state again, they would be returned
to jail to serve out the remainder of their sentences.
When he was in Myanmar, Razali also met Aung San Suu Kyi, who
presented him a list of 67 NLD members who were imprisoned.
Analysts in Yangon last week said Razali's meeting with Aung San Suu
Kyi, along with the red carpet treatment accorded to him on his arrival
in Yangon, indicated the junta had not immediately dismissed his visit.
KNU: Forced Labour Continues on Bongti-Tavoy Road Construction
Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department
Karen National Union
18 October, 2000
Since from the beginning of September 2000, Burma Army's No.8
Operational Commanding Headquarter had ordered No.2 Tactical Command
under its control to examine the damages of Bongti-Tavoy road cause by
erosion during the rainy season.
According to the field information the damages between Tavoy and Myitta
village are minor and there are at least 15 damages between Myitta and
Sinbyudaing (Kasawwah) villages. In some parts the soil were sliding
away and left only rocks. It needs to blast it of to create roadway
through those rocks. The damages were reported back in detail by No.2
Tactical Command to No.8 OC HQ in the mid of September and No.2 TC was
ordered to take responsible to repair the damages.
To finish its task, No.2 Tactical Command had summoned villages from the
eastern part of Tavoy township such as Myitta, May Kan Baw, Taung
Thonlon, Heinda, Hpaungdaw, Bawagon and Pa Kayi village tracts to send
labors at least 100 persons per 7 days terms started from 1st October
through its frontline headquarter.
The mentioned village tracts have to work on that road every year after
rainy season where the road was damaged due to heavy rain. The villagers
earn nothing by working under the order of the responsible troops and
instead they have to bring along with them their own tools, food,
cooking utensil, medicine (for in case of sickness by working under the
summer sun in malaria infested terrain). In the last year (1999) about
10 villagers have died by sickness on the work site. The military had
not provided on health care at those times. Those who unable to go and
work on their term had to hire a person on behalf of himself which cost
5000 Kyats (About US$ 12.5) for 7 days term. (Note: 1 US$ = 400-420 Kyat
at cross border trade rate. Minimum wag for a day = 200-500 Kyat.
Minimum wage for civil servant for one month = 1500 Kyat.)
Bongti-Tavoy road project will connect Tavoy in Burma and Kanchanaburi
in Thailand. The project recently deal by Burma's Kyaw Lynn Naing
Company and Thailand's Kanchanaburi Tavoy Development Company. Their
plan is to develop transportation, eco-tourism, and agriculture
development between Burma and Thailand. Because of the lack of security,
the project is on delay. Right now Burma Army's troop are using as their
military transportation route.
In 1997, Burma Army launched a major offensive against Karen National
Union’s Mergui¡ Tavoy District and occupied the area for this road.
During the offensive, all Karen villages in Tenasserim Riverside were
destroyed and some were relocated by Burma Army to their controlled
area. Most of analysis found that the offensive is to secure the Yadana
gas pipeline and Bongti-Tavoy highway project as well.
AFP: British diplomats in Myanmar still awaiting news on Mawdsley
BANGKOK, Oct 18 (AFP) - British diplomats in Myanmar were still
waiting Wednesday to hear from the ruling military junta when jailed
human rights activist James Mawdsley would be set free.
"We still haven't been told anything," a British diplomat in Yangon
told AFP in Bangkok.
"We think that he could be brought to Yangon today or possibly
tomorrow. But we expect the junta only to give us an hour's warning,"
the diplomat said, adding that Mawdsley would probably take the first
flight out of the country.
His mother, Diana Mawdsley, is waiting in Yangon for her son's
arrival from Keng Tung prison, some 630 kilometres (390 miles) north of
Yangon, where he
is being held.
The junta has not made any public comment on Mawdsley's release.
Myanmar's ambassador in London, Kyaw Win, told Britain's junior foreign
minister, John Battle, on Monday that Mawdsley, 27, would be freed and
Mawdsley, who holds both Australian and British nationality, was
jailed for 17 years in September 1999 after being arrested in the town
of Tachilek, on
the border with Thailand, for distributing pro-democracy leaflets in the
Mawdsley had already been deported twice from Myanmar in the two
The announcement of Mawdsley's release came amid mounting
international pressure on the junta.
Last week, UN special envoy Razali Ismail spent four days trying to
break the deadlock between the junta and the opposition National League
for Democracy (NLD) party.
On Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako
Ogata, met senior junta leaders to discuss the issue of Myanmar refugees
and displaced persons.
And a delegation from the International Labour Organization (ILO) is
due to arrive in Myanmar Friday.
The ILO has given the junta until the end of November to act to stamp
out forced labour or face sanctions.
Mawdsley's 17-year sentence included five years for violating the
country's immigration law and seven years for contravening the printing
act by distributing anti-government leaflets.
His prison term also included five years from a previous sentence
when he served only 3 months for his second illegal entry before being
deported. Mawdsley lost an appeal against his sentence and had
planned to take his case to the supreme court where he hoped to have
his conviction overturned "on the basis of a technicality," according to
his lawyer quoted in a local newspaper.
Last week the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
declared Mawdsley was being held in prison illegally.
Mawdsley, at the end of September, said he had been beaten by his
guards for several days in a row after he complained about being kept
in solitary confinement, which he has had to endure since being jailed.
His accusations sparked a diplomatic row between Myanmar and Britain.
In a report Monday United Nations special rapporteur Rajsoomer Lallah
said that torture of political detainees and ethnic minorities was
widespread and systematic in Myanmar.
AFP : 2,000 MPs call on Myanmar to lift Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest
2,000 MPs call on Myanmar to lift Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest
JAKARTA, Oct 18 (AFP) - Nearly 2,000 legislators from 85 countries
have signed a petition calling on the Myanmar junta to release
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, an exiled Myanmar
activist said here Wednesday.
The "International Declaration of Solidarity With the Democratically
Elected Members of Burma," was unveiled here by the country's
self-styled prime minister-in-exile, Sein Win, on the sidelines of the
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference here.
The MPs called for the "unequivocal release of Aung San Suu Kyi from
house arrest" and for the authorities in Myanmar to allow her "to move
freely about the country," Sein Win said in the document.
They also called for the release of 55 elected MPs in detention in
Myanmar, as well as hundreds of imprisoned members and supporters of
Aung San Suu
Kyi's National League for Democracy.
The declaration had been circulated for signatures since the previous
IPU conference in Amman in August.
Sein Win said the document was intended to remind the world of "an
underlying intent of the military regime to eliminate NLD as a
legitimate force in Burma."
"That is to crush the NLD, to crush the democratic aspiration of the
people of Burma," Sein Win told journalists and foreign MPs at a
The NLD, headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide
victory in parliamentary elections 10 years ago but Myanmar's military
It has since refused to hand over power and has placed Aung San Suu
Kyi under house arrest and incarcerated hundreds of NLD followers.
Accompanied by former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and
former South Korean MP Kim Sang-woo, Win said "about 200 (Myanmar) MPs
are incarcerated" by the junta.
About 55 of them were charged and given long prison terms while the
rest were held in "guesthouses" under conditions similar to those of a
"minimum security prison," said Win.
In a taped message shown at the briefing, Aung San Suu Kyi called on
the international community to define "firm policies with regard to how
they handle the situation in Burma (Myanmar)."
"They have to have clear-cut objectives which will help them to speed
up the democratization process" in Myanmar, she said.
UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, Rajsoomer Lallah, in his report
released Monday said torture of political detainees and ethnic
minorities was widespread and systematic in Myanmar.
In particular, Lallah said murder, rape, torture and forcible
relocation of ethnic tribespeople were part of the government's
in areas bordering Thailand.
Intl Herald Tribune: ASEAN Argues Over Burma Strategy
Paris, Tuesday, October 17, 2000
Compiled by Our Staff From Dispatches
HANOI - The Vietnamese foreign minister began an
official visit to Burma on Monday as Southeast Asian nations wrestled
over how to deal with the political deadlock in Rangoon.
The Foreign Ministry said that Nguyen Dy Nien's
visit would last two days but gave no details of his agenda. Vietnam is
the current chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations.
Members of ASEAN are split over whether to mediate
in Burma, where the military government has held Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a
Nobel Peace laureate, and other leaders of her opposition National
League for Democracy under house arrest for weeks.
ASEAN agreed in July to form a ''troika'' of three
members to try to help resolve political and security disputes, but its
secretary-general, Rodolfo Severino, said in Hanoi last week that there
was ''no question of mediation'' in this case.
This was despite a report in a Bangkok newspaper
last month quoting diplomats as saying that the United Nations secretary
general, Kofi Annan, had suggested the troika help in Burma.
Vietnam said earlier this month that ''relevant''
ASEAN members had rejected the idea on the grounds that it would be
interference in Rangoon's internal affairs. But ministers responsible
for information from all 10 ASEAN countries remained silent at a news
briefing after a conference in Hanoi last week when asked whether they
were united in a policy not to mediate.
Supatra Masdit, a minister in the Thai prime
minister's office, said separately that she supported mediation and
that this should be discussed at Foreign Ministry level.
Concerns have been raised that the Burma issue could
derail a long-delayed meeting of ASEAN and European Union foreign
ministers that Laos is due to host in December. Laos has said that the
meeting would not be affected.
AFP : Myanmar - the eternal outcast of Asia-Europe relations
by Philippe Agret
BANGKOK, 18 oct (AFP) - Even though Myanmar is absent from this
week's ASEM summit in Seoul, the pariah state still remains a regional
relations between Asia and Europe.
Myanmar joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in
July 1997, but is not a member of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and
has not put itself forward as a candidate for the third summit that
opens on Thursday in Seoul.
Ostracised by the West due to violations of human rights, Myanmar
relies on the solidarity of its Asian neighbours to break its diplomatic
isolation. "Myanmar will never become an obstacle or hindrance to
ASEAN... The future of Myanmar and ASEAN cannot be separated... An
ASEAN without Myanmar will not be ASEAN in its true sense," the first
secretary of the ruling junta, General Khin Nyunt, recently said in
"Membership to ASEM is not an issue and Myanmar is not rushing into
it," a junta spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.
Two years ago the Asian economic crisis completely eclipsed the
political problems of the second ASEM summit, held in London.
ASEM groups 15 European Union members, seven of ASEAN's ten members
-- Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines Singapore, Thailand,
Vietnam -- as well as China, Japan and South Korea.
The most recent members of ASEAN, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are not
expected to join ASEM for at least a couple of years.
States participate individually in ASEM and not as part of a regional
bloc, as they do in ASEAN-EU relations.
Consequently the impact Myanmar may have in Seoul will probably be on
an "informal" level, one Bangkok analyst forecast.
The Europeans could take advantage of ASEM to address the Myanmar
stalemate during bilateral discussions with some of their Asian
counterparts. Beyond ASEM, EU-ASEAN relations are tainted by the
human rights situation in Myanmar and "political dialogue" between the
two regional blocks has stalled since 1997.
The two groups have agreed to meet for the first time in more than
three years at ministerial level in Laos from 11-12 December, but the
ongoing crackdown on the opposition in Myanmar could still derail the
meeting. The EU strongly condemned the military junta's decision to
place senior National League for Democracy (NLD) members under de facto
house arrest. The restrictions on NLD senior members were imposed on
September 22 after Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi attempted
to travel by train to the northern town of Mandalay in defiance of the
junta's ban on travelling outside Yangon.
"All restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom to move about, to
communicate abroad and to receive visitors should be lifted
immediately," the EU said last month.
EU members also reiterated their call for a dialogue between Myanmar
authorities and the democratic opposition, including the NLD. "Only
this dialogue will allow Myanmar to step onto the road to democracy and
national reconciliation," the EU stressed.
In October 1996, the EU adopted economic sanctions as a protest
against Myanmar's reported human rights abuses.
The EU has also barred its member nations from giving visas to
high-level officials of the Yangon military regime.
The EU has frequently criticized Myanmar for alleged human rights
abuses including the use of forced labor, repression of ethnic
minorities and iron control over media outlets.
On the other hand, the EU has not ruled out dialogue with Myanmar,
and has shown willingness to keep the channel open to humanitarian aide
to the people there.
ASEAN however has said it hopes "that the EU will not allow the
developments in Myanmar to keep ASEAN-EU ties hostage."
ASEAN also remains hopeful its policy of engaging Myanmar, instead of
isolating it, will bear the desired democratic reforms.
The EU, and even more so ASEAN, are openly concerned at the lack of
ministerial contact hindering economic and political relations in recent
Shan Herald Agency for News: Dissidents examine South African model
13 October 2000
A 2-day workshop was held in Bangkok by a Burmese exile organization on
Wednesday, according to our correspondent.
Workshop on Transition in South Africa, organized by the National
Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) an umbrella organization of
pro-democratic and state rights groups, and sponsored by the Royal
Norwegian Embassy, was held 11-12 October. It was attended by 32
representatives from various organizations among whom were
* Teddy Buri, President, Member of Parliament Union;
* Mg Mg Latt, Secretary, MPU;
* Soe Aung, Foreign Affairs Committee, NCUB
* Dr. Sann Aung, National Coalition Government (NCGUB);
* Dr. Naing Aung, NCUB;
* Doh Say, Karenni National Progress Party;
* Khin Maung Win, Burma Lawyers Council;
* Sai Win Pay, MPU; and
* Sai Htoon, Vice President, Shan Democratic Union.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Peter Vale and Dr. Jeremy Sarkin
from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, who led the
discussions on the following topics:
* 3 stages of change in South Africa;
* International situation that influenced changes in South Africa; *
Identifying future scenarios;
* Institutions and Constitution;
* Non-governmental institutions and Civil Society; and
* Transitional Justice.
Professor Vale told his audience that everything said by him and
Professor. Sarkin was not meant to be "prescriptive," but rather as a
stimulant for creative thinking. "South Africa's not the only model," he
"15 years ago, South Africa was a basket case. People said these people
would never negotiate. So don't lock yourself into a corner (with your
long-held notions). "
Sarkin agreed. "That way, you'll be stuck outside and they (the junta)
will be stuck inside. And there'll be no change."
They however conceded that "this is your show. You have to run it the
way you want to run it."
* We have the highest number of women in the cabinet---- 8 among 30.
One-third of the parliamentarians are also women. (Vale) * In 10 years
time, the 1990 election results will be 20 years old. What are you going
to do then? (Vale) * Sanctions are blunt instruments. They may bring
change as in South Africa. But they also hurt the peopleà.. One that
made all the difference was the financial sanction imposed not by
governments but by banksà (Vale) * Bringing Burma to the internet is one
of the finest achievements. (Vale) * Even children participated in the
constitutional process by issuing joint statements of demands. (Sarkin)
* Keep on struggling and struggle together (Norwegian Embassy official)
AP: Myanmar rebel group says rival ready to flood Thailand with speed
Oct 18, 2000
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ The largest ethnic rebel group in Myanmar
claimed Wednesday that a rival group notorious for drug trafficking is
waiting for an opportune moment to flood Thailand with more than 300
million methamphetamine tablets.
The United Wa State Army, which is believed to be the biggest drug
producer in the region, accelerated its methamphetamine production
recently with the aim of smuggling the stimulant tablets into Thailand,
Nerdah, a spokesman of the Karen National Union, told The Associated
Nerdah, who is based on the Thai side of the border with Myanmar, did
not say how he obtained the information. The KNU has been fighting
Myanmar's central government since 1949 and is the biggest ethnic rebel
group still holding out against Yangon, which has signed peace deals
with several other groups, including the Wa insurgent group.
Chartchai Suthikrom of Thailand's Narcotics Control Board said Thai
authorities are aware of the possibility of large-scale methamphetamine
smuggling, but have not been able to confirm the amount of tablets that
are believed hidden somewhere in Myanmar.
He said there are 55 methamphetamine laboratories on the rugged
Thai-Myanmar border belonging to several rebel ethnic groups. These labs
have the capacity to produce hundreds of millions of methamphetamine
pills a year, he said.
Since signing its peace deal, the United Wa State Army has turned to
drug production and trafficking to fund its rule in a border area where
it has virtual autonomy. It is building a modern city in the area,
opposite Thailand's Chiang Mai province, which is 580 kilometers (360
miles) north of Bangkok.
The group denies that it is involved in the drug business, but
observers attach little credibility to the claim.
Chartchai, the narcotics official, said that during the first nine
months of this year, about 40 million methamphetamine tablets were
seized in Thailand, compared to 53 million in the whole of last year.
The amount seized is only 10 percent of total number smuggled into
Thailand, he said.
_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________
The Hindu (New Delhi): Plea to intensify trade on Myanmarese border
October 18, 2000
MOREH (MANIPUR), OCT. 17. The Manipur Government has urged the Centre to
intensify trading between India and Myanmar by opening more gates
through this border town in Chandel district, official sources said
A high-level team led by the Chief Secretary, Mr. Rakesh, reviewed the
Indo-Myanmar trade here last week and stressed the need to intensify
trading through more border gates.
The trading, which started about five years ago, was being carried out
through other border gates. If other gates were also opened for
business, government could earn a lot, the sources said.
The team also reviewed the progress of various Central projects here for
boosting border trade. Construction of a trade centre here was complete
while a food testing laboratory, a æYatri NiwasÆ, a shopping complex and
a food and civil supply godown were under construction - PTI
Mizzima: Junta's Developmental Programs hurt the people in Kachin State
October 17, 2000
By: Shagawng Brang from Myitkyina (Kachin State)
October 17, 2000: Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
Developmental programs of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
supposed to be aiming for the development of people in Kachin State of
Burma are hurting the local populace as the government is implementing
them mainly on the forced free labour of the people.
Since after establishing ôtruceö between the present military junta
(SPDC) and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in February 1993,
there have been a few developmental programs in the State. Repairing
motor roads in major townships began after the truce but forced labor
became visible in Kachin State particularly after 1997 when the ôbigö
development projects such as construction of high ways and bridges
started. The people are called for contributing labour and ôfineö has to
be given to the concerned authorities if they are absent for the ôdutyö.
The worst is people have to come to the construction sites with their
own means and expenses. No medical care is provided for the laborers.
When Sumpra Bum highway and Lido highway were constructed in 1998,
people from Myitkyina town had to do digging, breaking the stones and
cobbling etc. for two miles long on the Sumpra Bum road and one mile
long on Lido. They had to work under intense heat, sometimes up to ten
oÆclock at night with candle and battery light. Though how much the
public worked, the roads are yet to complete.
In Wai Maw town, forced labor is still going on. Bala Min Thin Bridge
connecting Wai Maw and Myitkyina crossing the Irrawaddy River was
constructed and the bridge opening ceremony was held in October last
year. The students and people from Wai Maw and Myitkyina towns were
asked as compulsory to participate in the opening ceremony. On that day,
there was car accidence on the way to bridge opening ceremony. Three
persons died and many got injured in the accident.
Putao airport at the end of Northern Burma has been extended since 1994.
One person from each family in the whole town has to work for the
airport extension program with their own ration in rotation system.
Families with the children are left at home. As the majority in the town
are farmers, they face hardship not being able to concentrate on their
farming work. But no news on the people;s suffering come out in the
In Hpakant, which is famous for its precious jade mines, each family had
to contribute one person for free labor for constructing motor roads in
the town even on Sunday in 1997 summer.
Whenever the government announces a development program to be
implemented in the state, the people are worried knowing that they will
be called for ôcontributingö labour soon. For many people, contributing
labour for the governmentÆs development projects has become a routine
and normal duty. They even think that this kind of forced labour exists
in other countries as well.
Czech Press: Lessons for Burma from Yugoslav Uprising
18 October 2000
By: Maxmilian Wechsler
Bangkok, Czech Press
The popular uprising in Yugoslavia watched minute by minute by the
whole world on the live television definitely made the Burmese
opposition leaders inside and outside Burma jealous and wondering why
the same couldnÆt be achieved in their country.
It was the ôpeople powerö revolution in the Philippines during1986
followed by the collapse of eastern European communist regimes and
finally the overthrow of Suharto in Indonesia attributed to the popular
uprising, when the people managed to topple their oppressive governments
without the use of weapons.
The opposition leaders in all liberated Asian and eastern European
countries guided millions of people who participated. The peopleÆs power
succeeded to overthrow the dictator, destroy the regime and install a
Burma remain today the last country in the long line of oppressive
regimes which collapsed.
One must wonder if the opposition leadership is up to the task.
Excuses for the inability to polarize and organize the popular uprising
cannot overthrow the SPDC.
Many Burmese opposition leaders inside and outside of Burma are
afraid to criticize the NLD leadership in fear of being labeled by their
compatriots as the SPDC collaborators and sympathizers.
Everyone understand that the conditions for the popular uprising in
Burma are different from other countries. Due to the policies of the
SPDC regime, the level of education of the Burmese people and their
political awareness canÆt be compared to the people of Europe. A lack of
communication facilities contribute to the tougher task for the
Some Burmese dissidents believe that the only chance at this moment
to get rid of the SPDC is a coup conducted by some unsatisfied Burmese
In most case the oppressive regimes in Asia and eastern Europe were
overthrown by well organized opposition capable of mobilizing the
people, especially in their capitals.
Experiencing from many countries, the security services attacked
demonstrators at the outset of the protests, but joined later on with
the crowds after realizing the overwhelming odds against them.
It is not always easy to organize a successful peopleÆs revolution.
Several Yugoslav opposition leaders failed in many attempts to topple
President Slobodan Milosevic because they insisted on the peaceful
demonstrations without the use of violence. But Vojislav Kostunica and
other opposition leaders this time planned to seize the government TV
stations, radio transmitters, police stations and most importantly the
Yugoslav Parliament. This tactic surprised the Yugoslav security
apparatus and before they could mobilize their forces the opposition was
totally in the control.
Even Mr. Kostunica himself and his aides were surprised how fast the
regime crumbled. After 10 years of trying the Yugoslav opposition
The successful result of the Yugoslav uprising depended on the able
leaders who could organize the people in the capital and in several
Very similar events as we saw in Yugoslavia occurred during the
ôVelvet Revolutionö in Czechoslovakia. Hundreds of thousands of people
converged on the main square in the middle of Prague and remained there
for several days until the regime gave up and resigned. At first the
police attempted to break up the demonstration using armed personnel
carriers, but after being surrounded by the people, they gave up.
In the comparison between Burma and the former communist
Czechoslovakia there are many similarities between the two regimes: No
freedom of speech, movement, gathering, constant surveillance by a vast
network of the secret police and the military backing. However, the
Czech opposition could find the way to outsmart the regime and to
instigate the uprising which took the communists by surprise. The regime
crumbled within few days.
Some countries which support the Burmese opposition are doing it in
very limited way, especially financially. The amount of aid given to the
opposition is totally inadequate. Some world powers spend billions of
dollars all over the world but give the Burmese opposition what could be
described as a pitiful amounts.
Whatever problems there are, the Burmese opposition shouldnÆt feel
discourage and must continue to fight for free Burma.
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