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BurmaNet News: Campaign Recap

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Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 16:03:30 -0800

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: November 8, 1995

(the summaries presented here were compiled by the Free Burma Coalition
and abridged by the editor of BurmaNet)


Editor's Note: This summary of campus and city events on the 27th is
far from exhaustive. Demonstrations and other events held in over 70 
locations. Nevertheless, the summaries presented here reflect the wide 
range of events that were held and the interest that they generated.  Any 
information which people want to post in BurmaNet about events that 
were held in other locations would be welcomed



We held a rally at noon on the 27th.  We had slightly over 200 people
attend.  We had speakers from Amnesty International at Virginia Tech, 
the Asian American Students Union, and the chair of the Political Science 
department.  The rally lasted about one hour, culminating in a short march to 
the front of the President of the university's office.  We all grabbed a Pepsi can 
from the recycling bin and crushed it and handed it to him (via his secretary.)
As far as media coverage, the New River Free Press is running an
article with pictures, the Collegiate Times ran an article with two
pictures, the Roanoke Times ran an article, and the college television
station covered it.
Plans?  Everyone involved in the campaign is dropping off a crushed
can to the President on a daily basis. Now we are making a move on the 
university administration and we have about 3000 signatures on our petitions.
We should have a web page up soon that will allow people to e-mail a
letter to various administrators that have some power in the situation.
We are also planning a petition signing day on the 8th and 9th.  we
have 5 booths at strategic locations on campus from 10 in the morning till 4
in the afternoon.  We are looking into selective contracting laws now, for the
university and the city of Blacksburg.
         We have made stickers and posters (with the help of an ally in the
media department) and we are plastering campus with them.  we also made
Boycott Pepsi t-shirts.  They are red with 'boycott pepsi' on the front with
'free the burmese people' and 'slavery is not the choice of our generation.'
They are really great.  We are selling them for 10.00.  mail or email to
Paul Michels, 205 Kent St., Blacksburg, Va, 24060-7411. (solidarity@xxxxxx).


Folks in DC demonstrated at the Myanmar Embassy.  VOA covered the event 
and was planning to broadcast my remarks about the Oct. 27 day of action to 
millions of people in Burma.  Embassy officials were thoughtful enough to video 
the entire hour demonstration.'' (From Michael at mbeer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)

Demorcatic Burmese Students Organization, Free Burma activists at
Montgomery College, and the Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma
are participating Free Burma groups.


The event at Georgetown Law went off well.  About 15 people showed
up and ten are interested in working on a Burma campaign at
Georgetown.  We showed the Nightline interview with Daw Suu, and Ohmar
spoke.  VOA covered it and the campus paper will have an article in the
Nov. 14 issue.

The other thing that is come out of this is an idea to set up a
Democracy Support Center to provide legal services to the democracy
movement on a pro-bono basis.  If there are other law students who are
interested in this, please contact Douglas Steele.


The events for the day of action here at the university of Guelph (in
Canada) were as follows:
-Information table set up in the university centre the Monday and
Tuesday of that week.  About 4 or 5 Pepsi boycott petitions were filled
and the day of action was publicized. There is a higher level of concern 
here about Burma than I had previously perceived.

-Thursday (the 26th) a half hour radio show was aired on the campus/community 
station (CFRU FM) to publicize the event for the next day.  It consisted of a 
discussion on the political situation in Burma, the day of action, and the 
situation on the Thai border (a member of our group visited several border camps
in '93).

-On the 27th:  Myint Shwe (who was a political prisoner in Insein Prison 
1975-1980, and took part in 8-8-88, among a long list of other free Burma 
activities) spoke to a full room of 30-40 students.  I am hopeful for greater 
attendance at future events.  I have received positive feedback from several 
audience members so far.


In addition to national outreach, CFOB and OPIRG-Carleton passed out 
leaflet/form letters addressed to the Pizza Hut manager at Carleton University. 
Carleton authorities are inquiring about PepsiCo and forced labour.

Meanwhile, the Social Justice Club at Merivale High School used our giant
PepsiCo / forced labour banner.   "Our protest was very...noticeable and it
seems we have received quite a bit of attention for our cause, your cause.
I support you completely, and it's honourable that there still ARE people
who DO care... I am in the process of writing to Beaver foods who own
several Pepsi machines in our school.   I also intend to make complaints to
many Pepsi-owned franchises."


With posters stapled about the town, proclaiming INTERNATIONAL FREE 
BURMA ACTION DAY, the protest began.  During the three-hour protest in 
front of the local Pepsi plant at least 50 supporters came to voice their 
disapproval of the American company's involvement with a military dictatorship
in Burma.  The protest gained local press coverage with a color photo in the next 
day's city paper.  The participants used the event to educate as well.  With flyers 
and newspaper articles they armed the passerbys with the truth. The response was
overwhelmingly positive.  Many drivers who were just passing through the busy 
intersection wanted to know more. Even a few of the Pepsi truck drivers gave 
some thumbs up to protestors.  We also passed around and signed a letter to the 
PepsiCo CEO to be sent out according to the goals of the Action Day. 


Harvard, Brandeis, Tufts, Massachusetts Campaign for a Free Burma, Boston
College, and other Boston area colleges and universities did Free Burma
events at their localties.  The Harvard Free Burma Grouporganized Pepsi dump 
at Cambridge.  He will send us press coverage soon.

Simon Billenness from Coalition for Corporate Withdrawal was interviewed
for the BBC Radio show "East Asia Today."  This is broadcast in the
Asia-Pacific region and is listened to mostly by business people.


Northwestern group held rally in frnt of Kellogg School of Management,
where Unocal Dean Donald Jacobs's office is located.  They presented to the
business school a model of pipeline (Unocal-Toal-Slorc-Thai government
natural gas project in Burma) with blood stains on it as a symbolic protest
against Northwestern Dean's involvement in human rights abuses. Arnold
Weber, Chancellor of NW, himself is on the board of directors at PepsiCo.
And his involvement hasbeen made know to the university community there.
The rally got rained out but Chicago area Burma activists joined the rally
despite the rain.  The group also marched to Northwestern Alumni
Association House, Taco Hell {and Pizza Yuk (?)}.

On Oct. 28, Free Burma folks from Wisconsin, Chicago, and Canada conducted
a human rights workshop on Burma at the mid-west regional conference held
on Northwestern U. campus by Amnesty International Mid-west Office.

At 8 pm, an impromptu  candle light vigil was held in front of Kellogg
Business school.   The vigil was attended by about 50 AI activists from the
mid-west region and Meagan Faux who is the Burma coordinator at the 
Conference.  Prior to the vigil, a BBC documentary was shown in the 
Business School building.

University of Illinois (Chicago and Urbana-Champagne campuses)also 
held Free Burma events.


At 12:00 Noon on 27 October 1995 at UCLA's Westwood Plaza, a rock band
started a concert.  At approximately 12:30 David Wolfberg took over the 
microphone and made introductory remarks about the International Free Burma 
Campaign and why we are protesting Unocal/Texaco/Total natural gas pipeline 
project in Burma. Students held placards decrying actions of UNOCAL.
There were half a dozen Burmese exiles up front collecting signatures,
passing out literature, talking to various interested parties.  Three
media reps: UCLA Daily Bruin, LaOpinion (Spanish language newspaper)
and The Outlook (a Copley paper), took pictures and interviewed organizers
and attendees.  UCLA's Environmental Coalition (Yuki Kidokoro and
colleagues) were most visible and helpful.

David then introduced U Kyaw Win to the audience.  He spoke
about the current situation in Burma--slave labor, destruction to the
environment, relocation of citizens, rape, torture, murder, arson,
political prisoners, etc etc. and urged people to stay away from Burma
as it promotes tourism and also to write to legislators to encourage
passage of the Mitch McConnell bill.

Afterwards, about 45 of us marched to the Unocal station closest to
UCLA bearing a huge banner, placards, and chanting slogans "Unocal, out
of Burma, etc." etc.  We demonstrated on the sidewalk in front of the
Unocal station for a little over an hour before dispersing.


We are really ready to begin serious work on a selective
purchasing policy here at Stanford. 


We successfully held our rally on Oct 27.  About 40 people attended the
rally, and we chanted for Free Burma, and we demanded that the SLORC
negotiate with Aung San Suu Kyi. 



On October 27 we posted flyers with the design from the Web and some 
information on Burma.  We had our general meeting last night and I 
told the students what has been going on since Kevin Heppner came to the 
University of Notre Dame to speak to us.  The students were excited about 
helping with the Free Burma cause...


International Radio Stations: 

- Democratic Voice of Burma: did a campaign story 
- Voice of America: aired the Oct. 27 story (10 min) into Asia and specifically 
into Burma. (They covered several sites Cornell, Georgetown, Wisconsin, 
Chapel Hill, and Slorc embassy in Washington DC.) They did a pre-Oct. 27 
story before.

International/National press

- Pacific Rim News Wire Service
- Christian Science Monitor
- Sunday Telegraph (from London)
- The Nation (Bangkok)

* also dozens of regional/local newspapers, radio stations, and tv stations
covered the events


 - Free Burma Map and data base, documentary, suggestions

1: We will create a world's map on our **Free Burma Coalition** webpage as
well as on the **Free Burma** page created and managed by Glen Norris.   On
the map will be email addresses (and in some cases, phone numbers) of our
Free Burma contacts at corresponding area.  This is intended to promote
communication and co-operation among our groups as it will make easier to
track down who is active in a given Free Burma zone.    Our Free Burma
Coalition site address is:
Check out some of the camapign pictures.

2: The managers of the two web-pages and one other person are working
together for a Free Burma link-page.

3): We will create a Free Burma data base with university-investment figures 
to be used by all of us in the divestment campaign.

4)  High schools are beginning to be interested in our Burma campaign and
news media at various localities are still interested in writing about our

5)  We will put together a documentary of our campaign so far.  So please
send us photos, video and audio-tapes RE: Oct. 27 rallies or related
activities  ASAP.

6)  Virginia Tech group has created a Pepsi-boycott t-shirt and are selling
them $10.00 a piece.  Interested?? Contact Paul Michels, 205 Kent St.,
Blacksburg, Va, 24060-7411 or email him at paulgm@xxxxxxxxxxx or TEL (540)


1) Please gather data RE: your university's investment figures including
the breakdown of university's budget, list of corporations (esp. Pepsi,
Unocal, Texaco, ARCO) that your university invests in, its investment
policies and history, list of contact addresses of key investment
bureaucracts  and regents, and contracts between university and

2)  Hook up with other political organizations both on- and off-campus such
as labor, community coalition, New Party, women's rights, Free Tibet, East
Timor Action Network, etc.  If they are not too interested, please be
patient.  Potlucks, video and slide presentations, literature dropping,
articles in campus papers, radio and TV shows, briefing at their meetings,
contacts through friends, etc. are of crucial import in making people
interested in our Free Burma movement.

3) Free Burma Coalition here at Wisconsin is in the process of putting
together a comprehensive info packet specifically for the Wisconsin's Board
of Regents.  ( We met with Chancellor and we will be dealing with Board of 
Regents) We intend to include video documents and photos RE: human rights 
crimes by SLORC, relevant literature, a compilation of statements, articles, and 
remarks by high profile individuals such as Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi, 
Rigoberta Menchu, and so on.  If interested, please contact Free Burma Coalition.  
Or create one on your own.

Free Burma Coalition
c/oDepartment of
Curriculum and Instruction
225 North Mills Street.
University of Wisconsin,
Madison, WI 53706

Tel: 608-256-6572 (home)
Fax: 608-263-9992 (office)

 "Those who  profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate
agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground... Power
concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will."

Frederick Douglas -- Letter to an abolitionist associate, 1849

Free Burma Coalition
c/oDepartment of
Curriculum and Instruction
225 North Mills Street.
University of Wisconsin,
Madison, WI 53706

Tel: 608-256-6572 (home)
Fax: 608-263-9992 (office)

 "Those who  profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate
agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground... Power
concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will."

Frederick Douglas -- Letter to an abolitionist associate, 1849