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BurmaNet News: June 6, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
      An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           June 6, 2001 Issue # 1819
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Reuters: Myanmar military prepares veterans for politics
*BMA: A Cabinet Minister Detained in Burma
*DVB: Anyone caught with anti-junta books, items to receive heavy jail 
*Reuters: Myanmar Textbook Calls Thais Lazy, Pleasure Seeking
*Asian Human Rights Commission: State and Sangha in Burma

MONEY _______
*AFP: EU earmarks funds for Myanmar refugees in Thailand 

*The Assam Tribune: NKuki ultras form alliance to fight Naga, Meitei 

*Reuters: U.S. envoy calls for Myanmar talk results soon
*AP: Leading Myanmar historian unhappy with anti-Thai textbook 
*AP: Experts--Thailand as much to blame in war of words with Myanmar 
*Project Maje: Loss of a Veteran Free Burma Activist
*Mizzima: Burmese women visits Tibetan headquarters in Dharamsala

*Burma Media Association: Burma's new history text not the view of 
Burma's peoples
*Xinhua: Myanmar Calls For Enhanced Cooperation to Overcome 
Environmental Problems

*PD Burma: Burma events calendar

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Reuters: Myanmar military prepares veterans for politics

YANGON, June 6 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government has called on 
war veterans to take a greater role in politics amid signs the ruling 
generals may be preparing for some form of democracy and civilian 

 State-owned media on Wednesday quoted Myanmar leader Than Shwe calling 
for the Myanmar War Veterans Organisation (MWVO) to become a stronger 
political force. 
 ``You have to make efforts for the emergence of a strong organisation 
with dynamic efficiency in order to successfully carry out the...tasks 
of the War Veterans Organisation: national politics, state defence, 
security, economy, community service, social activities and welfare,'' 
Than Shwe told a MWVO conference on Tuesday. 
 Local political observers say military leaders may be setting the war 
veterans up as their political vehicle, together with the 
government-sponsored Union Solidarity and Development Association 
(USDA), for possible future national elections. 
 At the conference, Than Shwe told the war veterans to step up 
co-operation with the USDA. 

 ``The USDA, formed with 16 million new generation youths, is already 
discharging national political duties in the whole country as the 
leading national political association,'' he said. 

 The speech came a day after United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail 
wound up a visit to Myanmar by telling diplomats he expected a 
transition from military to civilian government in two to four years. 

 During his visit, Ismail met senior military leaders and pro-democracy 
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who have been in delicate talks 
since the end of last year. 
 The MWVO, founded in 1975, has a vast organisational network with some 
91,000 members. 

 The USDA was originally formed in 1993 as a social association, but it 
has since become a key pro-government organ, carrying out 
anti-opposition campaigns and mass rallies. 

 Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the last democratic 
elections in Myanmar by a landslide in 1990. 

 The party was never allowed to govern by the ruling State Peace and 
Development Council (SPDC) and Suu Kyi spent long periods in the 1990s 
under house arrest. 


BMA: A Cabinet Minister Detained in Burma

A Cabinet Minister Detained in Burma

By Tin Maung Htoo
Burma Media Association
June 6, 2001

In the past years the interest of business and its rapidly emerging 
conflict among Burmese military generals have been getting wider and 
looming clear as a minister of Telecommunications, Post and Telegraphs 
Brigadier General Win Tin is reportedly being detained in Burma, BMA 
observed based on reliable sources in Rangoon.

This is the second time to ruin its top ministers after the deputy 
minister of Economic and Planning Maj. Gen. Zaw Htun was ousted last 
year on charges of criticizing his government's incompetent economic 
plans, false statement of economic data and rampant corruption.  But 
this case is, according to sources, not related to political dissent or 
opposing against the ruling military.

Sources in Burma said Brig. General Win Tin has been in Yaykyiai 
detention center for one month and has been under investigation on his 
role over a business conflict between his son and Kyaw Ne Win, the son 
of Sanda Win. Both have the interest of conflict in illegal Burma's 
unstable currency market.

The BMA sources monitoring the development in Burma from neighboring 
countries Indian and Thailand confirmed about this news and suggested 
the business interest of conflict could be the matter of victimizing the 
minister Win Tin.

There have been some scandals reported in recent months regarding 
telecommunication sectors, which is under the supervision of the 
detained minister.  Particularly, Skylink, mobile phones company, which 
is owned by Sanda Win and her husband Aye Zaw Win, reported to sell to 
Wa ethnic could be another possible matter of the center of the 
conflict, suggested some other observers.

According to sources, Sanda Win, the daughter of former dictator Ne Win, 
could be the main player of this arising sign of conflict as she 
effectively manipulates some influential generals in the current 
military government. She is supposed to be a closed friend and a leading 
collaborator of military leader Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt in lunching a 
counterrevolution against the 1988-democracy movement in Burma, thus it 
could a retroactive effect of her influence in today's Burma.


DVB: Anyone caught with anti-junta books, items to receive heavy jail 

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that announcements have been 
put up at the ward Peace and Development Council [PDC] offices in 
Rangoon that anyone caught with anti-SPDC [State Peace and Development 
Council] government books and tapes will be arrested. DVB correspondent 
Myint Maung Maung filed this report.

[Myint Maung Maung] These announcements signed by the district chairmen 
have been posted at the ward PDC offices in Rangoon since 1 June. The 
announcement stated that anyone caught with anti-government magazines, 
books, tapes, CDs, or videos in their possession will be arrested and 
sentenced to 5 to 10 years imprisonment while anyone caught renting, 
selling, or reproducing such items will be arrested and sentenced to 10 
to 20 years imprisonment. The announcement also stated that anyone 
caught publishing, producing, selling or renting any pamphlet, magazine, 
book, tape, CD, or video without the approval of the relevant government 
ministry or the regional administrative authorities will be regarded as 
an anti-government individual and will be punished accordingly. 

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 4 Jun 01 


Reuters: Myanmar Textbook Calls Thais Lazy, Pleasure Seeking

June 6, 2001 9:20 am EST 
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai-Myanmar relations soured further Wednesday with 
the distribution of a compulsory Myanmar school textbook which describes 
Thais as lazy, opportunistic and pleasure-seeking.  

"They have little desire to depend on themselves and very little 
interest in violence or hard work," a chapter on the Thai national 
character says.  

"Thai people are characterized by indulging in beauty and pleasure," it 
says. Myanmar's exiled democracy movement apologized for the textbook, 
while Thailand called it a "misunderstanding" that could harm already 
strained bilateral ties.  

Relations between the two Southeast Asian nations -- enemies for 
centuries -- have been deteriorating over the past few months following 
a series of clashes on their 2,400-km (1,490 mile) border. Thailand 
accuses Myanmar of fostering a booming cross-border drugs trade, while 
Myanmar says Thailand is encouraging unrest among its many ethnic 

The text book, which will be compulsory for students between the ages of 
nine and 14 years, particularly criticizes what it says is Thailand's 
"bend with the wind" foreign policy.  

One chapter, which focuses on the future of bilateral relations, says 
Thailand is a "bad neighbor" which has the wrong attitudes toward the 
Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said on Wednesday he had not 
taken any diplomatic action over the book but would raise the issue when 
he met Myanmar leaders. "Creating misunderstanding is not healthy for 
the relations of the people of both countries," he said. He said 
Thailand thought the textbook content was an incorrect interpretation of 
history, but that the issue was ultimately a domestic one.  
Myanmar's foreign minister Win Aung is scheduled to pay an official 
visit to Thailand during June. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra 
has also said he plans to visit Myanmar soon to improve bilateral ties.  

"We would like to apologize to the people of Thailand for the 
publication of the textbook," the Bangkok-based All Burma Students' 
Democratic Front said in a statement. "We deeply regret this and would 
like to state that this is not the view of the people of Burma 


Asian Human Rights Commission: State and Sangha in Burma

AHRC - Human Rights SOLIDARITY -
July 2000 Volume 10 No. 7 - State and Sangha in Burma


Gautama Buddha envisaged a role for the Buddhist clergy, the Sangha, as  
moral guardian of political life: "In the Aggana Sutta the sociogenesis 
of  political power is traced to a social contract. In his discourses to 
kings,  the Buddha indicated his preference for consensual government 
based on just  laws... Unleashing state terror against the people, the 
Buddha warned  rulers, would drive resentment underground. Violence 
would erupt again and  society would be caught in an unending spiral of 
violence and counter-violence." (Nalin Swaris, Magga: The Buddha's Way 
to Human  Liberation, 1997, p. 403.) Other discourses, such as the Satta 
Aparihaniya  Dhamma, offer rulers advice on ensuring their people's 

In Burma, the Buddhist clergy historically served as a counter-weight to 
 oppressive governance. For centuries, kings both sought the Sangha's  
approval and attempted to limit its power, as monks held a range of 
unique  social, political and economic sanctions with which to undermine 
 incompetent rulers. Later, under the colonial regime, their 
legitimising  influence was no longer sought and government agents 
merely viewed monks  with suspicion: "Nearly every, if not every, 
serious uprising against the  British Government was concocted in some 
form of monastery... It seems  strange that monasteries, rather than 
courts of justice or private  dwellings, were the favourite haunts of 
these scheming scoundrels." (WW  Cochrane, The Shans, Vol. 1, 1915, p. 
212.) Given that the Europeans had  comprehensively dismantled the 
social structures through which monks and  nuns derived authority and 
consistently desecrated Buddhist places of  worship, monastic opposition 
to their presence should perhaps have been  less surprising.

The Sangha's traditional relationship to the government underwent 
renewal  in more recent times. Both the post-independence
government and successive military regimes have desired the clergy's  
sanction, yet have attempted to diminish its influence to a passive 
non-threatening level. The current regime has taken both to new  
lengths. In the absence of another governing ideology it
has developed a role for itself, in mimicry of ancient monarchs, as  
religious patron. Almost daily generals queue to offer donations and  
oversee openings of new religious institutions (see official media at  
www.myanmar.com/nlm). Simultaneously, the government exercises control  
through a central committee of senior monks and a programme for  
"purification" of the Sangha, amounting to the systematic eradication of 
 anti-military elements within its ranks. Years of infiltration and  
intimidation have seemingly weakened resistance, yet monks and nuns both 
 prominent and obscure continue to defy government edicts.

Recent reports indicate a new public rift between State and Sangha. It 
said  to have begun when two popular abbots, Pegu
Kyahkhatwine Sayadaw and Maha Gandhayon Sayadaw, admonished both the 
armed  forces and democratic opposition for the ongoing political 
stalemate in the  country, ten years since results of the last election 
were rejected by the  military. In response, the army began imposing 
restrictions on the abbots  and lay-followers. The conflict grew and 
soon, according to exiled monks in  Thailand, plans were afoot for a 
march on Rangoon. Official media sources  reported that police met with 
select senior monks and told them "to be on  guard against the insidious 
danger of some members of the Sangha". About  one hundred monks arrived 
individually in Rangoon from Mandalay, in spite  of restrictions imposed 
on travel, but authorities were aware of their  presence. In the 
capital, the deadline for protests passed apparently  without incident. 
Independent radio stations reported on disturbances in  Mandalay, and 
Mergui in the south, however these appear to have been  stifled by an 
intimidating military and police presence.

That nothing much seems to have happened is not surprising. Almost 
without  exception, mass uprisings in Burma have occurred
spontaneously. Proclamations for change have met with vigilance from  
authorities and corresponding muteness from the populace. But nor should 
 the absence of open confrontation be taken as a lack of activism on the 
 part of either clergy or lay-people. Numerous examples testify to the 
stand  by monks and nuns in Burma against militarization, such as when 
Aung San  Suu Kyi was welcomed by the famous Thamanyar Sayadaw after her 
release from  house arrest in 1995. Photographs of the meeting were 
widely circulated and  this simple act by the old abbot was enough to 
send military minds reeling.  And while the actions of

important persons attract widespread attention, courageous acts of  
less-prominent religious figures have also become the stuff of legend. 
In the east of the country, a local militia commander in a civil  war 
area informed an abbot that his soldiers were going to burn down a 
nearby church. The Sayadaw replied, "When you have finished,  come back 
and burn down my monastery too" and spoke to the officer on the  virtue 
of all religions, averting the arson. The devotees of an abbot in  the 
north were forced to labour on a road rather than attend a religious  
festival, so the monk came to the construction site. The villagers laid  
down their tools while the abbot preached that suffering occurs in  
countries with rulers who have breached the moral laws laid out by 
Buddha  in the Cakkavatta Sihanda Sutta. In Burma to make such criticism 
of the  military, however obtuse, is nothing less than a 
life-threatening act. 

No doubt the last decade has left Burma's Sangha worse for wear. The  
intimidation, arrests and subjugation of "destructive

elements" within its ranks have been thorough and relentless. However,  
reports suggesting it has been weakened to the point of

ineffectuality are ultimately unconvincing, as recent events serve to  
demonstrate. They tell us more of the media's weaknesses

than those of the clergy. Currents of resistance often run deep, not 
easily  recognised by the casual observer. Regardless of

headlines, the Sangha will doubtless continue the struggle to fulfill  
Gautama's mandate in quiet day-to-day defence of human rights and 
dignity  in Burma.

[This article first appeared in the Religious Groups for Human Rights  
e-newsletter of June 7,


AFP: EU earmarks funds for Myanmar refugees in Thailand 

BRUSSELS, June 6 (AFP) - The European Commission said Wednesday it has 
allocated 4.5 million euros (3.84 million dollars) in humanitarian aid 
to help Myanmar refugees in frontier areas of Thailand. 

 In a statement, the European Union's executive branch said the funds 
would be channelled by its humanitarian aid office ECHO "through 
partners working in the field" which it did not identify. 

 "The aid allocated for 2001 will be used for basic food aid, including 
the provision of drinking water, and health care, including community 
health programs and education in health and sanitary issues," it said. 

 It added that ECHO was also engaged in efforts to prevent the forced 
repatriation of refugees. 

 Some 90,000 refugees in four different camps are covered by Wednesday's 
announcement, the statement said. 

 ECHO has been operating refugee camps on the Thai border since 1995, it 
said. Total funding for 1999 and 2000 amounted to nine million euros. 


The Assam Tribune: NKuki ultras form alliance to fight Naga, Meitei 

Guwahati, Saturday, June 2, 2001

AIZAWL, June 1 ?? Four tribal militant groups of Manipur and one of 
Myanmar recently formed an umbrella organisation to fight unitedly 
against Naga and Meitei insurgents, highly placed police sources said 
here on Friday, reports PTI. Indigenous People??s Revolutionary Alliance 
(IPRA) consisted of Zomi Revolutionary Organisation (ZRD), Kiki National 
Front (P), Kuki National Front (MC), Hmar People??s Convention ?? 
Democratic (HPC-D) and Myanmar??s Kuki National Army, the sources said. 
Formation of IPRA came close on the heels of cessation of ethnic clashes 
between the Kukis and the Paites/Zomis in Manipur who wanted to protect 
the Zo ethnic groups against NSCN-IM and Meitei groups like UNLF, PLA 
and PREPAK. Zro President Thanlianpau is the chairman of IPRA, former 
general secretary of KNF (P) and KNA??s ??army chief?? Vipin Haokip are 
the vice chairman and general secretary respectively, the sources said. 
Zro and its armed wing ZRA procured arms from Myanmar, they said.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Reuters: U.S. envoy calls for Myanmar talk results soon

By Nopporn Wong-Anan 
 BANGKOK, June 6 (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official called on Wednesday 
for progress in historic talks between the Myanmar military and 
pro-democracy opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi, following reports that 
the dialogue may have stalled. 
 ``We hope the dialogue, which has been going on for eight months, would 
produce a result in the near future,'' Ralph Boyce, the State 
Department's deputy assistant secretary for East Asia, told reporters 
after meeting Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai. 
 Boyce's trip to Southeast Asia follows a four-day visit to Myanmar by 
veteran Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail, the U.N. special envoy to 
Yangon. Razali's trip ended on Monday. 

 Razali is reported to have said he hoped civilian rule would emerge in 
the decade-long military-ruled Myanmar within four years and urged the 
opposition to have confidence in historic peace talks with the military 
 But Boyce, speaking in Thai, urged ``Myanmar-interested nations'' to 
wait for the outcome of the dialogue before they gave any extra 
assistance to Myanmar. 
 The United States has long been one of the sternest critics of 
Myanmar's ruling military and its suppression of Suu Kyi and the 
pro-democracy opposition. 
 Washington has imposed sanctions against Myanmar including the 
suspension of assistance programmes, a ban on sales of military items, 
suspension of Myanmar's access to favourable tariff rates and opposition 
to multilateral lending. 
 The United States has also banned new U.S. investment in the country 
and visas for senior Myanmar officials. 


 But Japan said in April it would grant Myanmar a 3.5 billion yen ($29 
million) aid package to reward the military government for entering 
talks with Suu Kyi. 
 The grant, for developing a hydroelectric power plant in eastern 
Myanmar, was the largest Japanese aid package for Myanmar since 1988, 
when many countries ceased assistance to Myanmar after the current 
military government took power. 

 Leading members of the military have been holding regular meetings with 
Suu Kyi since October, raising hopes that the political statemate that 
has gripped Myanmar for more than a decade could finally be broken. 

 Both sides agreed to keep the content of the talks confidential and 
even senior members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), 
which won elections by a landslide in 1990 but has never been allowed to 
govern, say they have no information on what progress has been made. 

 Foreign diplomats in Yangon say they believe the dialogue has been 
stalled in recent months, amid talk of a heightened power struggle 
between senior members of the government. 

 Boyce said he was still not happy with the human rights situation in 
Myanmar where many political prisoners have been jailed. 

 In February, the U.S. State Department strongly criticised the military 
government in its annual report on human rights, saying the people of 
Myanmar were denied the most basic social and political freedoms. 



AP: Leading Myanmar historian unhappy with anti-Thai textbook 

June 6, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ A well-known Myanmar historian expressed 
unhappiness Thursday at a new fourth-grade history textbook that 
portrays Thais as lazy and servile. 
 ``We are not happy about it. Neither side should indulge in hatred and 
continue it,'' said Than Tun, one of Asia's leading historians. 

 ``As Buddhists, enmity should not be responded by enmity. The matter 
should be dealt with diplomatically,'' he told The Associated Press. 

 Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said Wednesday that the 
textbook would worsen Thai-Myanmar relations, which are already at their 
lowest point in years. He, however, ruled out lodging a diplomatic 

 The 12-page supplemental history book, introduced Monday in government 
schools, also blames former Thai kings of being war mongers. 

 ``Wars between the two countries in the past were conflicts between the 
feudal kings and not between the people of two nations,'' said Than Tun, 

 Than Tun, who got his Ph.d from London University in 1952, worked in 
various capacities at the Yangon and Mandalay universities until 1982. 
He later worked as professor in charge of Myanmar language branch at the 
Tokyo university and visiting professor at the Michigan University in 
the United States. He won the Fukuoka Asian Academic prize of Japan last 

 The textbook says Thai people are given to ``fun and appreciation of 
beauty. They are disinclined to self-reliance and hard work.'' 

 ``In order to keep their thrones, Thai kings often yield to the West 
European nations,'' says the Myanmar-language books, in an apparent 
reference to the fact that unlike other Southeast Asian countries 
Thailand was never colonized by a Western power. 

 Another Myanmar historian, who declined to be identified for fear of 
retribution by the ruling military junta, said the textbook could 
instill hatred against the Thais in young minds. 

 He said the book was apparently introduced in the curriculum to counter 
anti-Myanmar Thai textbooks that portray Myanmar kings as thieves and 
 Many Thai analysts also said Wednesday that Thailand is equally guilty 
of distorting history concerning its neighbors. 

 Myanmar history expert Sunait Chutintranon said Thai history textbooks 
talk about neighbors as enemies. 

 Thai-Myanmar relations have soured over Thai accusations that the junta 
does little to stop the production of drugs in its border areas where an 
ethnic armed group, the United Wa State Army, has virtual control. The 
drugs, largely methamphetamines, land in Thailand in huge quantities. 

 Myanmar says it is doing everything it can to stop the trafficking and 
says Thailand should crackdown on corrupt officials who are also 
involved in the trafficking.


AP: Experts--Thailand as much to blame in war of words with Myanmar 

June 6, 2001

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand is equally guilty of distorting 
history concerning its neighbors, analysts said Wednesday after Myanmar 
released a new fourth grade textbook that portrayed Thais as lazy and 

 Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, apparently hoping to prevent a new 
war of words with Myanmar, or Burma, declined to comment on the book and 
urged both sides to stop trading angry words. 

 ``Myanmar is very sensitive to news report from Thailand, so the best 
thing for both sides it to stop trading accusations and let the leaders 
settle matters,'' Thaksin told reporters. 

 The Education Ministry in Myanmar, or Burma, introduced the 12-page 
history textbook supplement for the 2001-2002 academic year in state-run 
schools that reopened Monday. One section of the book says: ``Thai 
people are given to fun and appreciation of beauty. They are disinclined 
to self-reliance and hard work.'' 
 The textbook was released as Thai-Myanmar relations are at their lowest 
level in years, principally over Thailand's accusations that Myanmar's 
ruling military junta aids drug traffickers. 

 Myanmar denies the charge and accuses Thailand of supporting 
anti-government rebels. Their arguments have sparked frequent border 
skirmishes since January. 
 Myanmar history expert Sunait Chutintranon warned that the textbook 
will have a lasting impact on bilateral relations if young Burmese were 
``taught to hate the Thais.'' 
 But Sunait and other experts agreed that Thailand must also set its own 
house in order and stop portraying its neighbors in a negative light in 
its textbooks and movies. 
 ``In Thai history textbooks, we talk about our neighbors as our 
enemies. We only tell stories of wars that we won and made people of 
neighboring countries our slaves. From now on we should put other 
aspects in our textbooks,'' Sunait told ITV television network. 
 Thai textbooks portray medieval Myanmar kings as thieves who only 
wanted to loot Siam, as Thailand was formerly called. 
 ``In a way, the Myanmar textbook is a quid pro quo,'' said Sulak 
Sivaraksa, a leading Thai social critic. 
 He said the textbook may be a Myanmar government effort to deflect 
attention from its own troubles -- a weak economy, accusations of human 
rights abuses and international pressure to allow a return of civilian 
 ``The (Myanmar) government is very weak right now and they need to find 
a common enemy. I feel sorry for them,'' Sulak said. 

 He said he did not believe the Myanmar people would be influenced by 
the textbooks issued by their ``oppressive government.'' 

 ``It's very simple. In Burma nobody takes the government texts 
seriously. The Burmese people are a lovely people and on the whole they 
like the Thais,'' he told The Associated Press. 

 In addition to the border skirmishes, Thai-Myanmar relations have been 
strained by Myanmar newspaper articles criticizing the monarchy and a 
recent Thai movie, Bang Rajan, about an 18th century Thai-Myanmar war. 

 The movie, a box office hit, is about a group of Thai villagers led by 
a young man who rides a buffalo to valiantly but unsuccessfully defend 
his land against invading Myanmar troops before they sacked the ancient 
Siamese capital of Ayuthaya. 

 ``Thailand and Myanmar should be more open to each other in terms of 
culture and academic knowledge exchange,'' said Kraisak Choonhavan, a 
senator and a proponent of better relations with Myanmar. 

 ``We cannot change history, but we can make it based on truth,'' he 
told the AP


Mizzima: Burmese women visits Tibetan headquarters in Dharamsala

Dharamsala, June 6, 2001 
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

For the first time, exiled Burmese women activists visited the 
headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile at Dharamsala in 
Himachel Pradesh of India and exchanged experiences with the Tibetan 
women activists. At the invitation of the Tibetan Women?s Association 
(TWA), six leaders of India-based Women Rights and Welfare Association 
of Burma (WRWAB) visited the Tibetan establishments in Dharamsala from 
June 4-6.  
During the three-day visit, the Burmese women visited the various places 
of the Tibetans? headquarters including the Reception Center for newly 
arrived Tibetan refugees, Tibetan Children?s Villages (TCV), Tibetan 
Institute for Performing Arts, Tibetan Museum, Tibetan Medical & 
Astrological Institute and Stitches of Tibet.  
?We are very glad to host the Burmese women delegates. Through these 
exchange visits, we hope to strengthen the friendship between Tibetan 
and Burmese sisters and hope to promote extending support and solidarity 
each other?, said Mrs. Dolkar Lhamo, president of Tibetan Women?s 

TWA was originally founded in Tibet on March 12, 1959, a day after the 
national uprising of March 10, 1959 against the Chinese occupation of 
Tibet. The organization was reinstated in 1984 by Tibetan women in exile 
with the main objective of raising public awareness about the abuses 
faced by Tibetan women in Chinese-occupied Tibet. The central office 
being situated in Dharamsala, it has now 40 branches all over the world 
with more than ten thousands members. It also places great priority on 
the contributions of Tibetan women towards the preservation and 
promotion of the distinct religion, culture, and identity of the Tibetan 
people. ?Women in Tibet are double oppressed. First they are oppressed 
being Tibetans and secondly they are oppressed being women? added Mrs. 
Dolkar Lhamo.  

During the visit, the Burmese women delegates also met the Tibetan women 
Members of Parliament and visited the Tibetan parliament in session. 
?Out of 46 members in the Assembly of Tibetan Peoples? Deputies in 
exile, there are at present ten women parliamentarians, with more than 
20% of the parliamentarian seats held by women?, explained Mrs. Dolkar 
Lhamo, a Member of Parliament herself.  
?It was a great opportunity for all of us as we learnt many things from 
the vast experiences of Tibetan women activists. In the three-days, we 
also explained about the situation of Burmese women, our activities and 
Burma?s democratic movement to the Tibetan friends and sisters. They 
support our movement as well?, said Daw Molly, president of WRWAB at the 
end of the visit.  

Following the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1949, His Holiness the 
Dalai Lama escaped to India and formed the government in exile to carry 
out the struggle of Tibetan people against the Chinese occupation. Due 
to the continued Chinese occupation and human rights abuses in their 
homeland, about two hundred Tibetans continue to escape to India every 
month through Nepal. There are estimated one lakh and thirty thousands 
Tibetans living as refugees in various parts of India.  


Project Maje: Loss of a Veteran Free Burma Activist

Our dear friend and mentor, Don Erickson, has died, leaving a legacy of 
activists who know how to fight corporate power and stand up for 
freedom. A veteran of the terrible conflict of World War II, a respected 
teacher, a lifelong student of world history, Don poured his heart and 
soul into the stuggle for Burma's human rights. As a Synapses member he 
was well-experienced in fighting for global justice, and with the 1988 
democracy uprising in Burma he understood the fledgling Free Burma 
movement's strategic needs immediately. As an original participant in 
the campaign for corporate withdrawal from Burma, he showed us all what 
could be done and how to do it. Most importantly, he showed us that 
nothing is impossible in this struggle. He was determined to stop 
foreign investment from bankrolling the arms purchases of Burma's 
Don faced down the oil giant Amoco, sometimes with just him and Winston 
Khin holding each end of a banner in front of that company's enormous 
Chicago headquarters. Don initiated the first shareholder meeting 
actions on Burma, at Amoco, and arranged a face to face meeting with 
Amoco executives (after wearing them down with many a demo in the cold 
Chicago wind and snow.) Amoco pulled out of Burma, thanks to Don's 
determined efforts. Don showed everyone that it could be done -- a huge 
multinational petroleum company could be made to do the right thing.

Next, Don turned to the garment manufacturers going into Burma, 
commencing a campaign that continues to this day. He personally 
convinced national clothing firms Liz Claiborne and Oshkosh to pull out 
of Burma, with a combination of small, focused picketing, compelling 
letters, and meetings. As with Amoco, he literally showed the rest of us 
how to do it, using his decades of experience in the peace and justice 
movement. He endured corporate harassment, he relied on himself even if 
nobody else would show up, and he always outlasted the companies. His 
pressure on Unocal board member Dean Jacobs ceased only when Jacobs 
resigned from the board.  

A familiar face at many a Burma conference, Don quietly inspired us all. 
He initiated the first Burma contact with the Center for Constitutional 
Rights, which eventually led to the groundbreaking Unocal lawsuit, and 
networked with many other organizations for the Burma cause, bringing in 
university students, Catholic Workers, and many more. He contributed 
ceaselessly of his own time, money, and energy. A slight, spry figure, 
he always gave away a smile with a leaflet, and rarely raised his voice 
unless in a chant against corporate power. He was a stalwart opponent 
(often arrested) of the notorious School of the Americas training ground 
for tyranny, and an early foe of harmful globalization, decrying the WTO 
before most of us had ever heard of it. Staying fit through massage and 
folk dancing, Don had an ever-young appearance, and kept up with the 
teenaged marchers, with his daypack and blue jeans.  

His final campaign was again versus an immense foe, the Dutch bank ABN 
Amro, which owns Chicago's Lasalle Bank. Once again, with a textbook 
anti-corporate campaign, often utterly alone, Don prevailed over the 
powers that be, forcing the Dutch bank to announce termination of its 
Burma business. The fact that Burma's regime admitted dwindling foreign 
investment the day before Don's death is a tribute to our friend. He 
personally removed much of the US dollars that were pouring into the 
coffers of Burma's military in the 1990s. He prevented the SLORC/SPDC 
from becoming an ever stronger, richer military regime, through his 
actions, and his example. He lobbied, wrote letters to officials and 
executives, picketed, marched, chanted, vigil'd, and inspired us. He was 
vital to making the international Free Burma campaign the force it is 
I will miss Don terribly, personally. He literally was my guru in this 
struggle, as well as a true friend.. But even without his voice on the 
phone, we should let him continue to inspire us, in our campaigns for 
Sen. Harkin's export ban bill, in our pressure on the garment, teak, 
mining and petroleum companies which continue to prop up Burma's brutal 
junta. And one day -- before long -- when the brave people of Burma have 
their freedom at last, we will again remember our friend Don Erickson, 
in Moulmein and Mandalay and Myitkyina. 
-- Edith T. Mirante
   Project Maje

note email address for messages of condolence to Don's brother, below: 
Subject: Re: Don Erickson
(from Synapses)
Dear Friends,
	We're sorry to inform you that Don Erickson, our friend and brother in 
the  struggle for the people of Burma, passed away at 11:30pm on Sunday, 
June 3  of cancer.
	For many years, Don coordinated Synapses Project Burma with singular 
focus  and dogged persistence on behalf of the Burmese people and was 
amazingly  successful at driving exploitative companies out of Burma.  
The family will have a private funeral service and Don's friends and  
co-workers are planning a memorial service (details to be  announced).  
Messages may be sent to <synapses@xxxxxxx> or directly to  Don's 
brother, Bob, at <bevbob236@xxxxxxxxxxx>
	Please help pass this message on to others who knew Don. Peace,
Kryss Chupp


Burma Media Association: Burma's new history text not the view of 
Burma's peoples

June 6, 2001

The new 4th graders' history textbook, which will be mandatory in all 
schools in Burma, is offensive to Thai people and goes against the views 
of the people of Burma. The ABSDF deeply regrets the revision of the 
history, which is inaccurate and racist.  
"We would like to apologise to the people of Thailand for the 
publication of the textbook. It seems like the only purpose it serves is 
to anger Thai people, worsen bilateral relations and create 
misunderstanding. There is a total censorship in Burma, anything that 
gets pass the censors represent the views of the ruling military 
establishment. We deeply regret this and would like to state that this 
is not the views of the people of Burma" comments ABSDF Chairperson Than 

The democracy movement has a long-term aim at progressive education, 
which teaches ideals of peace and respect. Schools in the liberated 
areas are teaching a different version of history which focuses on 
positive aspects of Thai - Burma relations. This includes ways to 
correct the mistakes of the past and aims to harbour good relations in 
the future. Good relations with Thailand are essential to the future of 
Burma and there is no reason why the two countries should not live in 

"History can be highly politicised. We can see how this is effecting 
Japanese - Korean relations over the representation of World War 2 
history. We hope Thai people will remember that Burma's ruling military 
junta does not represent the people of Burma. While the SPDC is in 
power, we will continue to teach peace and respect in history classes in 
the liberated areas. We need a new curriculum with positive values which 
can be used in a future democratic Burma" says Than Khe. 


Xinhua: Myanmar Calls For Enhanced Cooperation to Overcome Environmental 

YANGON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar leader Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt 
Wednesday called for enhanced international cooperation and efforts to 
overcome environmental problems that the world is facing. Khin Nyunt, 
first secretary of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council, made 
the call at a ceremony here marking the World Environment Day. Noting 
that all forms of life on earth are interlinked and intertwined in the 
form of web, he warned a collapse in one system will impact the other 
and eventually lead to the collapse of the entire ecosystem. The planet 
earth is very fragile with limited capacity to endure and tolerate 
environmentally detrimental human actions and pressures, the Myanmar 
leader said, adding that over-exploitation of earth's resources, huge 
generation of solid wastes, gaseous wastes and wastewater are damaging 
the ecosystems and posing serious threats to the environment. Khin Nyunt 
emphasized the key role of international cooperation in addressing the 
current environmental issues, and appreciated the efforts of the 
international organizations, particularly the U. N. Environment Program, 
and governments for successfully developing many important multilateral 
environmental conventions.

 He called on all nations, big or small, rich or poor, developed or 
developing, to work together to make the world a cleaner and safer place 
to live. In this respects, he stressed the need for strong support from 
the developed countries in terms of technical transfer and financial 
assistance to help the developing countries promote environmentally 
sound technologies and strengthen environmental institution for 
implementing environmental programs. With regard to Myanmar, he said the 
country, which is a developing nation, is doing its best to become a 
modern and developed state, paying due consideration to environmental 
factors. Myanmar is green with more than 50 percent of its land covered 
with forest. The land area of reserved and protected forest amounts to 
more than 104,000 square kilometers. At present, there are 30 
sanctuaries and 4 national parks in the country to protect the natural 
environment as well as to protect and preserve wildlife, fauna and 
flora. There are over 3,410 kinds of botanical plants in the country, of 
which trees take up 2,700 kinds, bamboo 96 kinds and cane 36 kinds. 
There are also more than 1,240 kinds of birds.


PD Burma: Burma events calendar

June 6, 2001

  &#63568; June   : Meeting in the Governing Body of the ILO 
&#63568; June   : Meeting of the Socialist International Council, Lisbon 

&#63568; June 8-10th  : Burma Desk during the Italian Forum for 
Responsible Tourism, Venice ? Italy 
 More info., contact r.brusadin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

&#63568; June 19th   : Aung San Suu Kyi birthday party and Burmese 
Women's Day 

&#63568; July   : Belgium takes over EU Presidency 

&#63568; July   : 8th RFA Ministerial Meeting, Hanoi 
&#63568; July   : 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post-Ministerial 

&#63568; July   : ASEAN Summit 

&#63568; Aug. 31st- Sep.7th  : World Conference against Racism and 
Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related 
 intolerance, South Africa 

&#63568; December 1st  : Worlds Aids Day 

&#63568; December 10th  : 10th Year Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize 
for Aung San Suu Kyi 
&#63568; February 2002  : The fourth Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka 
and Thailand-Economic Cooperation (BIMST- 
     EC) meeting, Colombo 


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