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

No Subject Given

Letters to the Editor
The Flint Journal
December 30, 1996

"Your Views"

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 =
their wounds.

Myint Shwe
North York, Ont.
Via e-mail