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- From: brelief@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 30 Dec 1996 21:02:00
Letters to the Editor
The Flint Journal
December 30, 1996
Burma visits affront to many
As a Burmese on a Christmas vacation in Flint, I thank The Flint Journal =
for publishing the article on Burma ["Hard choices: Decision to visit =
Myanmar carries political baggae," Dec. 15, Travel, Page H1] To visit =
or not to visit Burma is a topic currently receiving a great deal of =
media interest in this part of the world. There seems to be a debate =
between two kinds of people, namely, those who see Burma simply as a =
newly opened up place to go or a business opportunity and those who are =
concerned about Burma's democracy movement.
As a refugee and a former political prisoner, one who has fled from the =
persectuion by Burma's terrible military regime, I would like to make a =
simple plea to the American public: Please don't go.
In need of hard currency, the current military government in Burma is =
looking at the easy money to be gained from rich tourists. Still, more =
than half of the national budget is spent by the military, even though =
the country has no external enemies. In reality this money is used =
simply to hold onto their illegitimate power.
Flint Journal readers may remember that the military regime held an =
election six years ago and heavily lost to the pro-democracy opposition =
party. Nevertheless, the military shamelessly clings to power and =
continues to enrich themselves by promoting fake development projects.
In the eight years since the suppression of the Burmese people's =
uprising in 1988, many Burmese generals have become milllionaires by =
world standards. They have sold off everything that could be bought by =
foreign customers at giveaway prices.
Not satisfied with the results of these gross violations of human =
decency, because of the resistence and rebuke by some of the =
international community, the generals are now seeking to fleece rich =
tourists by offering the country's sites at unreasonably high rates. =
The exorbitant rates for hotels and tours confirm this.
Recently, the Burmese people have risen again. The recent =
demonstrations have been shown on many newscasts in the United States =
during the last month.
In such a situation, visiting Burma can only further the generals' =
efforts to boost foreign currency earnings while ignoring the sufferings =
of the people. The sole legitimate leader of Burmese people, Aung San =
Suu Kyi, has explicitly advised the international community not to visit =
Burma until democracy and human rights are fully restored.
Visiting Burma now and throwing money into the pockets of the SLORC =
generals may be construed by the Burmese people as rubbing salt into =
North York, Ont.