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9999 Burma Conference!
- Subject: 9999 Burma Conference!
- From: hag2@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 20:28:00
Burmese Activists make the words their weapon during pro democracy conference
By Kevin Harlin
ITHACA-The internet and the rapid communication and exchange of ideas that
it allows are the weapons that will topple the military junta in
Mymmar,pro-democracy activists said Friday at the conference at Women '
Community Building." But the students, monks and others at forum-speaking
in heavily accented English or through a Burmese translator-said freedom
fighters in southeast Asia country formerly known as Burmese still need the
support of the international community.
"The people do not have weapons. All they have is ideas,
commitment and honesty,'' said Khaymarsara, a monk who had come from a
region near Thai border, speaking through a translator. Like many in the
country, he use only one name. About 30 Burmese activists from Burma, The
United States and abroad are in Ithaca this weekend attending the
conference to plan strategies for marches and rallies inside Burma against
the current government. A few Ithacans wandered into Friday's meeting,
which was open to the public. Today'ssession are open only to invited
Burmese activists. The group is seeking financial and political support
outside the country. ''Some people say we are requesting, requesting,
requesting. No we are not only requesting, but also fighting'' said Tun
Oo, a representative from the opposition National League for Democracy,
speaking in halting English.
Thursday marked the ninth anniversary of the last free election held in
Burma when the National League for Democracy won more than 80 percent of
the Parliamentary seats. But the military junta did not recognize those
According to an U.S. State Department report, the regime has since rounded
up and detained more than 900 of the party officials and supporter. That
number includes 200 members-elect of Parliament, but again, the junta did
not recognize those elections. Speakers at the conference said the people
of Burma continue to live under a highly repressive authoritarian military
regime. They said the military government continues to detain opposition
leaders and some Buddhist monks. And the government closed universities,
which have been traditional hotbeds of opposition.'' My dear friends, Burma
is sleeping into the dark ages'' said Cornell University employee Htun Aung
Gyaw, a president of the Civil Society for Burma and organizer of the
weekend's conference. "Without educated people, its future is unclear.