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CDB president's speech on 9th anniv

Subject: CDB president's speech on 9th anniversary of 27.5.1990

CDB President's speech on the 29 May 99

Honoured Guests, Fellow Activists for Democracy in Burma, Sympathisers and
Supporters --- Thank
you for joining the Committee for Democracy in Burma in this annual function
to commemorate the
landslide victory of the National League for Democracy in the 1990 general
elections. This historical
victory could not be implemented because of obstacles and barriers created by
the generals who
control Burma. Generals who have made Burma into one monstrous prison where
everyday life of
every single man, woman and child is controlled; where there is no freedom, no
law, no justice.

As you all know, last year Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave notice and declared that
the NLD would
convene Parliament in accordance with the wishes of the people. Ever since
that day an operation
with military precision has been put into place 

     to remove the elected representatives of the people by incarceration;

     to remove their strong supporters by threats and incarceration;

     to brain wash the electorate with threats and lies;

     to hoodwink the international community with lies and many more lies;

     to slander the leader of the opposition and to cause her as much physical
discomfort as
     possible ;

     to orchestrate sham demonstrations against the party that won the

Who are they fooling? You can fool some of the people some of the time, but
you cannot fool all the
people all of the time. We say to the generals, "You are fooling yourselves". 

You proclaim that the "rule of law" will prevail. You break the laws you make.
You tell the world that
there are no political prisoners in Burma. Does anyone believe you? You say
that there are no human
rights violations in Burma? You have lost all sense of what is right and

The International Labour Organisation's Commission of Inquiry has accused you
of condoning
crimes against humanity by resorting on a massive scale to forced labour in
the running of the
country's economy. It found you "guilty of an international crime that is
also, if committed in a

widespread or systematic manner, a crime against humanity". Amnesty
International has
documented the practice of forced labour in Burma for over ten years and
observed that it has
increased dramatically during the last seven years, involving hundreds and
thousands of civilians,
including criminal and political prisoners.

President Clinton has extended sanctions by one year and he stated that "As
long as the generals
continue its policies of committing large-scale repression of the democratic
opposition in Burma, this
situation continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the
national security and foreign
policy of the United States."

PERSIST, PERSEVERE AND PRESS ON - This is the message printed on the dinner
tickets to night.
This is the message for all our fellow activists. Rotten things can happen to
good people but our
strength lies in HOPE, which permits us to endure and win. The refugees, the
political prisoners,
those who have lost loved ones in the battle for Democracy - why have they not
caved in? It is
because they have 

     Hope in the international community, 
     Hope in countries that profess democracy, 
     Hope in countries where leaders fearlessly do what is right, 
     Hope in organisations of loyal expatriates who remember their mother

It is our duty 

     to denounce injustice, 

     to denounce the lies and deceits, 

     to have the moral courage to never quit the cause. 

To those friends who give of their time and labour for Burma's cause - on
behalf of the Burmese
community - I entreat you to please keep on going on and do not quit. Do not
ask others to quit also.
Let us use their strengths and be grateful for everything they have done for
us. Every individual,
every group, every letter, every expression of support counts and we need
every bit. Let us PRESS
ON for Democracy, which we know, will come to Burma soon.

Can anyone swim against the tide of events in Asia and the international
arena? Can anyone turn
back the clock? If the people who hold power in Burma now do not take steps to
diffuse the political
crisis that has lasted for over a decade, someone else will do it for them. As
a first step political
prisoners should be released and the generals should indicate their own
willingness to change. If
they are not blind, they will see the writing on the wall. Their own
astrologers will have told them that
the time has come for change. 

     The fall of Suharto, 

     the Asian financial crisis, 

     China's decision to disengage the army from direct involvement in

     the increasing internationalisation of legal procedures and 

     the increasing relevance of the internet 

are factors that have changed the political climate outside of Burma.

Violators of human rights are facing the application of international laws.
The message is loud and
clear. Wake up- you generals. Your days are numbered. See what has happened to
General Pinochet.
You all could well be in the same position. Before Burma becomes the
'Yugoslavia of Asia' take stock
and work for national harmony and reconciliation. You think you can develop

Burma and modernise
it by suppression and subjugation. Hitler couldn't. The Emperor of Japan
couldn't. Stalin couldn't.
Mao Tse Tung couldn't. Before we go into the thirtieth century, be brave
enough to show the world
that you truly love your country and that MIGHT IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT 



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