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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________August 30, 2000   Issue # 1609__________

AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi enduring "deplorable" conditions, party says 
NLD: "Food and water supply is running short"

Reuters: British Conservatives want tougher line on Myanmar
AP: Suu Kyi gets more world support in clash with military rulers 
Asian Age: India & Burma Will Meet Again
AFP: Nepal denounces Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi standoff
United Nations: Sec Gen's Expression of Concern for well being of 
Aung San Suu Kyi

Washington Post: In a Field in Burma
LA Times: Myanmar: A Test Case for U.S. Principles
The Statesman (India): Why? Why? Why?

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi enduring "deplorable" conditions, party says 

YANGON, Aug 30 (AFP) - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is being 
subjected to "deplorable" conditions during her roadside test of 
wills with Myanmar's military, her party said Wednesday. 

 Aung San Suu Kyi and a dozen supporters have spent a week camped in 
their vehicles in countryside outside Yangon after being stopped 
Thursday as they tried to reach a meeting of the party's youth wing. 

 "The place is full of mud and slush and is infested with poisonous 
animals and insects and totally unprotected from the vagaries of 
weather," the National League for Democracy (NLD) said in a 

 "We condemn this unlawful action and urge that Aung San Suu Kyi and 
her companions be allowed to go on their legitimate business." 

 Myanmar's generals are coming under mounting pressure to resolve the 
week-long standoff, and 
are showing signs of becoming increasingly irritated at the affair. 

 United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan Tuesday urged the junta 
to find a swift and peaceful resolution. 

 The situation "underlines the necessity for national reconciliation" 
and the two sides must "engage as soon as possible in a substantive 
political dialogue," he said through a spokesman. 

 The NLD said that no matter how bad the situation became, their 
leader was committed to forcing the junta to lift its ban on her 
travelling outside the capital. 

 Apart from their cars, the group has only a collection of tarpaulins 
and umbrellas to shelter them from the monsoon rains and there were 
complaints over the weekend that they were running out of food and 

 The opposition has said Aung San Suu Kyi would refuse medical help 
offered by the authorities, and US officials said they had learned 
she was refused access to her own physician. 

 The 55-year-old Nobel laureate's last attempt to test the military's 
restrictions, in August 1998, ended after 13 days when she became ill 
and dehydrated. 

 Myanmar's government had been warned by the international community 
that it would be held accountable for her safety during the stand-off 
on the outskirts of Dallah township. 

 But diplomatic observers said that while conditions were extremely 
uncomfortable, the situation was more relaxed than during the August 
1998 confrontation on a bridge outside Yangon, and that could mean a 
lengthy confrontation is in the offing. 

 The group is able to move around Dallah and take deliveries of food 
and water, and are so far all 
in good health. Aung San Suu Kyi has been seen leaving the car for 
short walks. 

 "The more the status quo remains, the more it will work in favour of 
Aung San Suu Kyi as this will mean more supportive reaction from 
outside," one diplomat told AFP. 

 Witnesses who reached the area where the group's two vehicles are 
parked under military guard said that the encampment had been 
improved and bamboo struts were used to turn tarpaulins into 
makeshift tents. 

 The government insists the group was stopped for its own safety in 
an area where it faced attack by "armed insurgent groups" -- a claim 
that has been dismissed by foreign governments and the NLD. 

 The junta has also unleashed a barrage of criticism at the 
opposition leader, accusing her of sabotaging the nation's economy 
and harming ordinary workers. 

 Thailand's Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said the Myanmar 
government's latest row with Aung San Suu Kyi would damage confidence 
in Southeast Asia as a whole if it was not resolved quickly. 

 Myanmar exile students living in a refugee camp outside Bangkok said 
they would go on a hunger strike as a gesture of support for Aung San 
Suu Kyi's battle. 

 "Fifty of us will go on hunger strike and more than 200 will sit 
outside the administration buildings today to show our solidarity 
with Aung San Suu Kyi," spokesman Then Oo told AFP. 

 The NLD claimed victory in 1990 elections but was denied power by 
the military which has controlled the country in one guise or another 
for the past four decades. 


NLD: "Food and water supply is running short"

National League for Democracy
No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

Statement 137 (8/00) (translation)

1. The NLD Deputy Chairman U Tin Oo, General Secretary Daw Aung San 
Suu Kyi, 
and Rangoon Division Organizing Committee Chairman U Soe Myint 
continue to 
be illegally impeded and blockaded under orders of the military 
anashins on 
the Twante Road just outside Dala.  Food and water supply is running 

2.  We request the Dala NLD members, the townspeople and residents of 
neighboring villages to take food and water to these honorable 
persons in 
their hour of need.

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy

25 August 200

National League for Democracy
No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

Statement 138 (8/00) (translation)

Letter number 057/see (chan)/00 dated 25 August 2000 from the 
Chairman of 
the NLD to the Chairman of the SPDC is published for the information 
of the 

Start    "  Subject -  An emphatatic declaration disapproving the 
unjust blockade
                                forced on NLD Deputy Chairman U Tin 
General Secretary Daw
                                Aung San Suu Kyi, Rangoon Division 
Organizing Committee
                                Chairman U Soe Myint, and members of 
youth wing.

1.  The honorable persons mentioned in the subject left Dala (on the 
shore from Rangoon) at about 1900 hours in the morning of the 24 
August 2000 
to conduct organizational matters in the townships of Kungyangon and  
(Rangoon Division).  There was nothing on the agenda to adversely 
affect the 
peace and tranquility of the region.

2. (a)  The National League for Democracy (NLD) exists as a legally 
constituted political party and has the legal right to discharge its 
duties and activities.

(b) Members of the NLD are members of the public and have the same 
rights as every member of the public to use the public highways and 

(c) The NLD is only exercising its legal right to perform its legal 
tasks of 
organizing its members and for this purpose exercised the right to 
use a 
highway open to the general public.

3.  However, in the process of exercising and performing its legal 
the persons holding the highest positions with the highest 
have now been illegally stopped and blockaded at a point known as 
ward, preventing them to proceed from Dala to Twante

This in itself is a criminally actionable wrong. To make it more 
food and water for them brought by the community is prohibited.  It 
obvious that the purpose for this treatment is to starve them out to 
diminish their strength and threaten their lives. The tyres of the 
they were using have been deliberately deflated and all tyre-pumping 
have been prohibited from giving them any service we have been 
Ther attitude and behaviour of those authorities is so degrading that 
puts to shame the Burmese Buddhist culture.

4.  The right thing to do is for the immediate removal of the 
which has been done under orders of the military anashins and to give 
assistance to the leaders of the NLD to proceed with their mission.

5.  We strenuously ask you, Mr. Chairman, to attend to this matter 
immediately.  Should the lives of these dignitaries be at risk, the 
responsibility will be totally that of those performing the blockade 
operation and of those under whose instructions they are acting..

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy

25 August 2000

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL____________________

Reuters: British Conservatives want tougher line on Myanmar

 Wednesday August 30

 LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Britain's opposition Conservative Party 
urged the government on Thursday to press Myanmar's rulers to release 
British-Australian activist James Mawdsley, jailed exactly a year ago 
for distributing anti-government leaflets. 

 ``Today marks the first anniversary of James Mawdsley's arrest in 
Burma. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison for a crime no more 
heinous than handing out pro-democracy leaflets,'' Conservative 
Foreign Affairs spokesman Francis Maude said. 

 Maude said he had written to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, urging 
him to step up pressure on Myanmar. 

 ``Mr Cook has often been critical of the regime in Burma (Myanmar), 
which is anti-democratic and therefore a blight to the world,'' Maude 

 ``However his rhetoric is not matched by his actions, as illustrated 
by his failure to put serious pressure on Burma to free James 

 Mawdsley was arrested with anti-government leaflets in Tachilek, a 
city on the Thai-Myanmar border, on August 31, 1999. 

 It was the third time he had been arrested and Myanmar officials 
have said there is little chance of clemency being shown him as he 
has already been pardoned twice after the earlier incidents. 

 A Foreign Office spokeswoman said British officials had frequently 
raised Mawdsley's case with Myanmar authorities. 

 Foreign Office Minister Baroness Scotland had twice called in the 
Myanmar ambassador to express Britain's concern and had continued to 
pursue the case through official notes and letters, the spokeswoman 

AP: Suu Kyi gets more world support in clash with military rulers 

August 30, 2000

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ The government on Wednesday accused opposition 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi of craving international attention as her six-
day-old roadside standoff with authorities received more support 
around the world. 

 Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel peace prize for her pro-democracy 
campaign in Myanmar, prepared to spend a seventh night in the open in 
the Yangon suburb of Dala where she was stopped by police Thursday 
while driving to the countryside for party work. 

 She has refused to go back to Yangon. She and 14 other party members 
have spent the past week in a makeshift camp set up in the muddy 
mosquito-infested area where their two vehicles were moved. 
Meanwhile, Myanmar's military government has come under criticism 
from around the world. 

 Neighbor Thailand warned that the standoff could hurt relations 
between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European 
Union, which imposes sanctions on Myanmar for its human rights 
record. Myanmar, or Burma, is a member of the 10-nation ASEAN. 

 ``Thailand has expressed concern over the situation. If it is 
prolonged it may have a negative impact on ASEAN's relationship with 
the EU,'' Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Don Pramudvinai told The 
Associated Press in Bangkok. 

 In Yangon, a government statement said that Suu Kyi's National 
League for Democracy party should cooperate in ``a responsible and 
meaningful way to (fulfill) national goals instead of flashing 
symbolic gestures designed merely to attract attention.'' 

 It said other countries should encourage the NLD ``to become a 
responsible and constructive force.'' 

 At an annual meeting of Nordic foreign ministers on Tuesday, 
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden said they ``condemn the 
Burmese government's infringement'' of Suu Kyi's democratic rights. 

 Also Tuesday, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Secretary-general 
Kofi Annan ``is increasingly concerned about the well-being'' of Suu 
Kyi, 55 and other NLD leaders accompanying her. 
 Eckhard noted that they ``have been denied freedom of movement.'' 

 Suu Kyi has been at odds with the government since she led a pro-
democracy uprising against the military in 1988. She was put under 
house arrest a year later and let out in 1995, but her movements 
remain severely restricted. 

 Thursday was the first time she had driven out of Yangon in two 
years. The last time was in August 1998, when her car was stopped and 
she stayed put in the vehicle for 13 days. 

 Hoping to portray Suu Kyi's actions as a publicity stunt, the 
government statement Wednesday said people ``seem indifferent to this 
incident and are carrying on with their daily life ... as usual.'' 
 A Myanmar government Web site has published daily pictures of Suu 
Kyi's party members washing themselves, buying food or exercising. 
The government statement has described them as taking rest in the 
``charming town'' of Dala. 

 But it also appeared that the government's patience with Suu Kyi's 
defiance is wearing thin. 
 It said late Tuesday said Suu Kyi and the others were blocked in 
order to ``protect them from being harmed by those who have sound 
reasons for resentment and indignation toward her.'' 
 The statement said people are angry with her for ``breaking their 
rice bowls'' by advocating anti-foreign investment and anti-tourism 
policies which have caused unemployment. 

 The NLD dismissed such reactions as stage-managed and propaganda. 

 ``We believe that the public love her and no harm can ever come to 
her from the ordinary public,'' a senior NLD leader, Nyunt Wai, told 
The Associated Press. 


Asian Age: India & Burma Will Meet Again

India, Burma to start 7th national meet from Monday 
The Asian Age, New Delhi, Aug. 26: 

The seventh national level meeting between India and Burma under the 
umbrella of the memorandum of understanding signed by the two 
countries in 1994 will be held at Rangoon from august 28 to August 
31. The MoU had been signed for maintaining peace and tranquillity 
all along the Indo Burma border. 

According to a home ministry spokesperson, the Indian side will be 
led by Union home secretary Kamal Pande while from Burma 
representatives will be led by Brigadier General Thura U. Myint Maung 
who is hte deputy minister of home affairs. He added, "The meeting 
will further cement economec, trade and cultural relations between 
two friendly neighbouring countreis. India and Burma have sset up an 
excellent tradition of conducting national meetings in a spirit of 
friendship, mutual trust and understanding through the institutional 
mechanism of home secretary level meetings." 

The prime issue in the agenda will be discussion on effective curbing 
of all illegal and negative activities such as trans-border mevement 
of insurgents and other nefarious activities. Another important thing 
that will be discussed will be hte MoU on border crossing between the 
two countries. 
In addition to this, issues like prevention of drug trafficking and 
smuggling will be taken up besides strengthening of infra-structure 
and security to facilitate border trade between India and Burma. 

The spokesperson further said that the other issues which will figure 
in the four-day talks include the bridge on river Tiau, Indo-Burma 
border issues, Kaladan river project and Tamanthi hydro-electric 

Hindustan Times (India): Suu Kyi's agitation casts shadow over Indo-
Myanmar talks

The Hindustan Times (New Delhi)
August 30, 2000

New Delhi, August 29: The Miming of the Indo-Myanmarese bilateral
meetings could not have been more inconvenient for India.

Home Secretary Kamal Pande today reached Yangon to hold talks with his
counterpart in the military junta at the same time as Nobel Peace 
wining pro-democracy activist Au San Suu Kyi's third Mahatma Gndhi 
satyagraha reaches its peak.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman R.S.  Jassal tried to explain the
necessity of the meeting in the context of its "usefulness as a
mechanism for peace" along the border of the two countries.

The spokesman said the bilateral talks are held annually under a
memorandum of understanding which dates back to 1997. "The objective 
these meetings is to maintain tranquility along the border and the
prevention of insurgency," he said.

Asked to comment on the ongoing political stand-off between the 
government and the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD), Mr
Jassal said that "the Government of India hopes there will be a 
solution". For the past five days, Ms Suu Kyi has been holding a sit-
against the junta in the Yangon suburb of Dala after the military
blocked her access to the countryside where she was planning to hold

This is the second time she has staged such a demonstration. In 1988,
she stayed in her car for two prolonged stints.

External Affairs Ministry sources say that New Delhi believes in a
policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Myanmar, even
though Ms Suu Kyi enjoys wide sympathy in the Indian government 

India is keen to do business with the military rulers of Myanmar and
during the Asean Regional Conference meeting in Bangkok last month, a
Gango-Mekong Swarnabhoomi project was conceived for development of
infrastructure projects.

Ms Suu Kyi, daughter of nationalist leader General Aung San, won 82 
cent of the vote in the country's national elections in 1990, despite
being under house arrest. But the regime did not relinquish power.

India, despite being one of the convenors of the Concert of 
established in Warsaw last month, finds it hard to justify its
appeasement of the military dictators in Yangon.

Not only does India recognise the military government, it also shares
plank with it in ASEAN and the recently formed BIMST forum.

Simultaneously, India continues to demand the restoration of the 
regime of deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry in Fiji. India has
also suspended the South Asia Association for Regional Co-operation on
the grounds of "political instability" in Pakistan following the 
1999 coup.

AFP: Nepal denounces Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi standoff

   KATHMANDU, Aug 30 (AFP) - The ruling Nepali Congress Central 
Working Committee (NCCWC) Wednesday strongly denounced the Myamnar 
government over a week-long standoff with opposition leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi.    At an NCCWC meeting, chaired by Premier Girija Prasad 
Koirala, members flayed the suppression of Myanmar opposition leader 
Aung San Suu Kyi and deplored the violation of human rights in Yangon.

   "The NCCWC meeting has adopted a resolution which strongly 
denounced the Myanmar government for violating Suu Kyi's human rights 
by stopping her to move about to another part of her own country," 
party spokesman Narhari Acharya said.
   The committee with request a lifting of restrictions imposed 
against Suu Kyi, Acharya added.

United Nations: Sec Gen's Expression of Concern for well being of 
Aung San Suu Kyi
29 August 2000
Press Release


The following statement was issued today by the Office of the 
for Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The Secretary-General is increasingly concerned about the well-being 
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for 
(NLD), who have been denied freedom of movement near a small town on 
outskirts of Yangon since last Thursday. The Secretary-General is
monitoring the situation closely, and calls on the Government of 
Myanmar to
take the necessary steps to quickly resolve the current stand-off in a
peaceful manner.

The Secretary-General believes that the latest situation underlines 
necessity for national reconciliation and urges the two sides to 
engage, as
soon as possible, in a substantive political dialogue, as called for 
by a
series of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the 
Commission on
Human Rights.


Washington Post: In a Field in Burma

Tuesday , August 29, 2000 ; A16

IN RETROSPECT, acts of courage on behalf of democracy and justice that
become the stuff of legend can seem like clear moments on a 
path. The African American woman who refuses to move to the back of 
bus, the Polish shipyard worker who lays down his tools in protest: 
No one
now can doubt their bravery or even their tactical good sense. But how
many people recognized the significance or rightness of those acts as 
were occurring? How many of us can identify similar acts when they 

At the moment, Aung San Suu Kyi is trapped on a soggy, mosquito-ridden
rice field halfway around the world. Aung San Suu Kyi, 55, is the 
leader of Burma, a Southeast Asian nation of 48 million people blessed
with beauty and natural resources and cursed with a corrupt and 
military regime. The National League for Democracy, a political party 
Aung San Suu Kyi heads, won a landslide victory in 1990 but has never 
permitted to rule. The military regime has jailed hundreds of party
members and forced thousands more to renounce their allegiance to the
party. Aung San Suu Kyi herself was kept under house arrest until 
1995 and
under virtual house arrest ever since.

Last Friday she set out from her home in the capital of Rangoon with 
driver and a few supporters to attend a party meeting south of the 
The regime, apparently as fearful as ever of her popularity, sent 
goons to
force her off the road and deflate the tires of her vehicle. "To 
leaders of a democratic political party from moving around the 
country is
a denial of fundamental human and political rights," said British 
Minister Robin Cook.

Burma's rulers explain that they have blocked Aung San Suu Kyi to 
her from unrest and terrorism south of Rangoon, an interesting excuse
given their usual boasts of having brought peace with their 
methods. With their usual, almost laughable inability to understand 
the world perceives their thuggery, they also claim the democratic 
is "taking rest" at Dala, "a small but charming and scenic town." They
boast of having provided her with beach umbrellas and "a new mobile
bathroom to ensure her maximum comfort and well-being."

We can only imagine how Aung San Suu Kyi would respond. The regime 
everything it can to restrict her communication with the outside 
When she does manage to smuggle out an interview or essay, her 
message is
consistent: She will fight nonviolently, for however long it takes, 
democracy and the rule of law. If she someday prevails, the 
discomfort and
perhaps danger she is now experiencing will be seen as one more 
step in her struggle. And those who are so faint in their support--the
governments of Japan and Burma's Southeast Asian neighbors, the 
such as Unocal that merrily do business with the regime--will no doubt
claim to have been on her side all along.   

LA Times: Myanmar: A Test Case for U.S. Principles 



 WASHINGTON--Myanmar may seem like a faraway place, yet it serves as 
the best indicator in the world today of the role of values and 
principles in U.S. foreign policy. 

And it raises questions of considerable importance to the 
presidential campaign: How might a new Bush-Cheney dministration, 
with close ties to the U.S. oil industry, reconcile the conflict 
between commercial interests and democratic ideals in a place like 
Over the last few days, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San SuuKyi has 
been trapped in a muddy field outside Myanmar's capital city of 
Yangon (Rangoon) because Myanmar's military junta refuses to let her 
travel around the country.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a disciple of nonviolence, is often referred to as 
the leader of Myanmar's opposition forces. But in a way that term is 
misleading, because by rights she should be considered the country's 
elected leader.  Her  party, the National League for Democracy, won 
Myanmar's only election in 1990  with an overwhelming 82% of the 
nationwide vote. But the military leaders  refused to give up power. 
Aung San Suu Kyi spent much of the last decade under
house arrest. 

She is now challenging the restrictions that have prohibited her from 
leaving Yangon. Last Thursday, she and 14 supporters left the capital 
to try to meet 
with party leaders in a town 30 miles away. Police vehicles blocked 
the road and forced them into a field, where they have remained for 
several days, sleeping in their vehicles or in tents.  Myanmar's 
military leaders say they want to keep Aung San Suu Kyi safe 
from "terrorists" or others who might want to harm her. Exactly who 
might want to hurt her? 

Perhaps the regime or its supporters, the government's own statements 
suggest. On Tuesday,  the government added a chilling Orwellian twist 
to its earlier rationalizations: Aung San Suu Kyi needs to be 
protected, it asserted, because there are "sound 
reasons for resentment and indignation toward her." It accused her of 
encouraging foreign governments to impose economic sanctions against 
The United States is among the countries that have imposed sanctions. 
However much the Clinton administration has wavered in its policies 
toward other countries, notably China, it has been consistent and 
relatively tough over the last eight years in dealing with Myanmar. 

A 1996 law supported by the Clinton administration prohibits new 
American investment in Myanmar. The United States also has blocked 
lending to Myanmar. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has 
repeatedly voiced strong personal support for Aung San Suu Kyi and 
for democracy in Myanmar. 

Privately, Clinton administration officials argue that Myanmar 
represents a classic example of where economic sanctions are 

The regime is unusually repressive, and the sanctions deny it 
legitimacy, administration officials say. American commercial 
interests in Myanmar are 
minuscule in comparison to China. And the U.S. sanctions serve to 
restrain other governments, like Japan, from moving too quickly to 
invest in Myanmar. 

This week, the Clinton administration issued a strong statement 
supporting Aung San Suu Kyi's right to travel freely. "Freedom of 
movement is a fundamental, internationally recognized human right," 
the State Department noted. 
Still, the administration's unusually firm stand against Myanmar  has 
been unpopular with the business community. The anti-boycott 
organization USA*Engage, set up and funded by U.S. corporations, has 
urged Congress to liftthe sanctions against Myanmar. Oil companies 
like Unocal, the leading Americaninvestor in Myanmar, have been eager 
to expand their operations there. 
What would a new Republican administration do? To what extent would 
it supportAung San Suu Kyi's movement for democracy?  Would it stick 
with the Clinton administration's policies of keeping economic 
pressure on the Myanmar junta? 

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the GOP presidential ticket, are 
former oil executives. Cheney, in particular, has been especially  
fervent in his opposition to the use of unilateral American 
sanctions. "They almost never work," he argued in a speech two years 

Those facts would seem to suggest that a new Bush administration 
would ease up on the existing Clinton-Gore policy toward Myanmar.    
And yet within the Republican Party, there are also currents in the 
opposite direction. During the middle to late 1980s, the Republicans 
developed a  strong tradition of support for democratic leaders and 
movements in  Asia. 
The Reagan administration pressed successfully for democratic changes 
in the Philippines and in South Korea. Some of the leading alumni of 
that administration, such as Richard L. Armitage and Paul  Wolfowitz, 
are now  serving as foreign policy advisors to Bush. 
Moreover, one of Aung San Suu Kyi's strongest supporters has been 
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has pushed to tighten, not loosen, 
the sanctions 
against Myanmar. 

So as Aung San Suu Kyi and the military junta continue their standoff 
in Myanmar, the question in Washington is what will happen to 
American policy there if the Republicans take the White House. 

Will Big Oil win out and gain an end to U.S. sanctions in Myanmar? Or 
will the Republicans support Aung San Suu Kyi in 2001, as they did 
the Philippines' 
Corazon Aquino in 1986? 
In short, what kind of foreign policy would we get in a new 
Republican administration? Maybe the candidates can tell us. 
*  Jim Mann's column appears in this space every Wednesday.

The Statesman (India): Why? Why? Why?
The Statesmen
Delhi, Calcutta, Siliguri
August 30, 2000

Why if the world ignoring Suu Kyi

Has the world forgotten about the brave and determined leader of the 
Myanmarese people, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for 
Democracy won a landslide election in 1990, fully ten years ago, but 
who has not been allowed by the military junta to assume power by 
brute force? For the past five days she is camped in the open off a 
road leading out of the city preventing from meeting her people and 
party members because say the junta they are concerned for her 
safety! Our collective foot! She and her small group are in a small 
field infested with mosquitoes and they expect appreciation and 
thanks for providing a new mobile bathroom and beach umbrella for her 
use while denying her necessary medical facilities. Their concern 
will only end when she leaves the country, something they have been 
trying to achieve for a long time. They live in hope. The thing to 
note about the military dictatorships and other oppressive regimes is 
that without a free press, their misdeeds, their hypocrisy and their 
corruption cannot be exposed, as it should be. The last time she 
attempted to leave Yangon was in 1998 when Suu Kyi was stopped and 
stayed in her car for 13 days before returning to her home on the 
insistence of her doctors. No doubt the junta hope to repeat this 
kind of bullying tactics and force the poor defenseless leader to go 
back home.

All Suu Kyi was trying to do was to go to Kuangyangon, some fifty 
kilometers south of Yangon for party organization work. That A 
routine exercise of the right of democratic citizens to move freely 
within their country should inspire such fear in the minds of the 
tyrants and the power of this frail woman and the influence she 
exercises over the hearts and minds of her countrymen.

The junta have tried everything to break her spirit, they prevented 
her from seeing her dying husband in London by simply refusing her 
permission to return, they regularly arrest her party men and every 
visitors from overseas or even from within the country except under 
observation. There is no speech or association, no freedom of the 
press, no activity other then what is specifically permitted, so that 
the junta can loot the country in peace. The sad part is that 
businessmen in other parts of the world who are only interested in 
contracts and exploitation of Myanmar's minerals and forest wealth 
are behind their governments to allow the loot to progress without 
let or hindrance; at regional meetings of heads of governments there 
are pious pronouncements about how Myanmar is progressing and how the 
hypothetical leaders of the so-called free world fool themselves that 
they are in the thick of persuading the corrupt junta to liberalize 
their regime because they all believe in democracy. Sections of 
Indian industry profess faith in competition, what they mean to ask 
for is in fact help to eliminate the competition. On a parity of 
reasoning the leaders of the world's democracies do not seem to mind 
if democracy itself becomes extinct in Myanmar so long as the 
country's wealth flows out to them baby arrangement with the junta. 
And if Suu Kyi's frail frame falls victim to the inhuman treatment 
she is receiving, they will airing their hands and award her another 
international recognition -- posthumously. 
Is there no moral sense left in the world? If there is, why are we 
not hearing its voice? Why? Why? Why?



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