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Asiaweek Letters

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>From ASIAWEEK Magazine
Nov. 17, 1995

(To reply, fax your letter to Letters Dept. (852) 25715384
or Internet: editors@xxxxxxxxxxxxx   

Letters and Comment

Suu Kyi's Allies

"The Sound of Silence" and the accompanying photograph
(THE NATIONS, Oct. 27) have exposed Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi's clay feet.  It was pathetic to see (Myanmar's)
"voice of freedom" Suu Kyi flanked b y two former senior
army officers who in the past had no love for democracy. 
Today elevated to top posts in the National League for
Democracy, these two born - again democrats -- Kyi Maung
and Tin U -- were once closely linked to the much - hated
Socialist dictatorship that had made life hell for ordinary
Burmese for 26 years.

For the record, Col. Kyi Maung was a member of the 17 -
man Revolutionary Council that overthrew the
democratically elected government of U Nu in March 1962. 
Four months later, the military - led Council ordered troops
to Rangoon University who opened fire on students
protesting campus regulations.  Scores were killed.  A year
later, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Col Kyi Maung
was purged and jailed following a power struggle.

Meanwhile, during the Socialist era, Gen. Tin U was head of
the army as well as minister of defense when troops again
shot and killed hundreds of students during the crisis over
U.N. Secretary - General U Thant's funeral in December

Two years later, in March 1976, Gen. Tin U was fired from
the army, ostensibly because his wife was involved in
corruption.  Pathetically, it was longtime rivalry between him
and Gen. San Yu, who were deemed most likely to succeed
dictator Gen. Ne Win, that led to his ouster. Six months
later, Gen. Tin U was jailed for seven years for "misprision"
of treason -- that is, having known of a coup plot but not
reporting it.

The leader of the abortive coup was a young captain, Ohn
Kyaw Myint, who was alter sentenced to death.  Three other
captains and a major were given long prison terms.  The
young officers had apparently been plotting a coup to alter
the country's Socialist course because of its economic
failures, and either to press for a sustained all - out offensive
against the insurgents or to try to come to terms with them. 
Sound familiar?

Suu Kyi and other purged military officers in the NLD are
under the delusion that the people voted for them in the 1990
elections.  The truth is that it was more a vote against
Socialism -- the dream of most nationalist leaders including
Gen. Aung San, U Nu and Gen. Ne Win.

Today the new military leaders of (Myanmar) -- led by
Young Turks -- have quietly abandoned an ideology that had
turned into a nightmare.  The era of nationalism is over.  The
young officers hold the old guard responsible for the
economic and political malaise, and are in no mood to share
power with them.

There is no doubt that an economic recovery will eventually
lead to a more responsible government.  Already laws against
nationalization of economic enterprises and demonetization
of banknotes -- the twin evil policies of the Socialist era
which pauperized the country -- have been enshrined in the
new draft constitution.  Most importantly, it will be a no -
coup charter.

Omar Farouk
Canberra Australia

And from Myint Thein
Dallas, Texas:

"The Sound of Silence" seems to indicate that SLORC thinks
time is on its side.  But this is not supported by hard
evidence.  It has been reported that Chinese military sales to
SLORC have been terminated; this was one of the conditions
for improving Sino - American relations.

The U.S. Congress recently passed legislation to fund
resistance activities against SLORC, and $2.8 million has
been funded to promote freedom and democracy in
(Myanmar).  Also, like Cuba, (Myanmar) is resorting to
tourism to earn hard currency and this has led to increasing
prostitution and division in the army over tourism.