[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News: October 18, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________October 18, 2000   Issue # 1643__________

*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
14 years.

   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 
previous  years.

   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 
and publishing 
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.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

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 
briefing here.

   The NLD, headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide 
victory in parliamentary elections 10 years ago but Myanmar's military 
junta anulled
the results.

   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 
counter-insurgency strategy
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 
embarrassment in 
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."  
Some passages: 

* 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 
state-controlled media.

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 
democratic government. 

    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 
military Generals. 

    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 
finally succeeded!  

    The successful result of the Yugoslav uprising depended on the able 
leaders who could organize the people in the capital and in several 
large towns. 

    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. 



The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive 
coverage of news and opinion on Burma  (Myanmar) from around the world.  
If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our attention by 
emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx

For a subscription to Burma's only free daily newspaper, write to: 

You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:

Voice mail or fax (US) +1(202) 318-1261
You will be prompted to press 1 for a voice message or 2 to send a fax.  
If you do neither, a fax tone will begin automatically.

Fax (Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143


T O P I C A  The Email You Want. http://www.topica.com/t/16
Newsletters, Tips and Discussions on Your Favorite Topics