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BurmaNet News: March 20, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: March 20, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 13:12:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
March 20, 2001 Issue # 1760
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Radio Netherlands: Broadway in Burma
*AP: Karenni refugees escape fighting into Thailand
*Bangkok Post: Rival troops killed in clash near border
*Bangkok Post: Surakiart won't react to criticisms: Bilateral relations
may be affected
*Bangkok Post: Bilateral withdrawal from disputed areas proposed
*AFP: Myanmar ethnic groups bid for inclusion in opposition-junta talks
*The Nation: Support for border commander
*Canada NewsWire: Ken Wiwa leads activists fighting for the release of
Burmese political prisoner
*The Nation: Chavalit Afflicted with Foot-in-mouth Disease
*Business Day (Thailand): Thaksin Should Be Careful Who He Listens to on
*The New Light of Myanmar: Foxes under the guise of lions - Part III
*DVB: Internship announcement
*KNU: New website announced
*UNESCO: Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2001--U Win Tin,
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Radio Netherlands: Broadway in Burma
by Walter van Opzeeland, 19 March 2001
You can hardly miss them when you walk down the street: enormous
colourful sheets of paper. Posters are used as advertisements, for film
and theatre and as a means of protest. But behind many of these
seemingly harmless pictures there is an untold story. Walter van
Opzeeland tells the story behind one of the many posters that he has
collected over the years. This week: Burma.
The chaos in the aftermath of the American presidential elections was a
godsend for stand-up comedians. Everything and everybody was made fun
of. But in Burma it doesn't quite work that way. For the past few
decades Myanmar, as the country is now officially called, has been ruled
by a military junta that is reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984.
Politicians never need to explain themselves, but comedians certainly
do, especially when their jokes go too far.
The Moustache Brothers perform their show every evening on the Broadway
of Mandalay, Burma's second largest city. ? Political satire' the
leaflet says. A-Nyeint, as stand-up comedy is called in Burma, is a mix
of traditional dance, music, opera and comedy sketches.
Bicycle-rickshaws shuttle spectators along a bumpy track to the small
theatre on 39th Street. Lu Maw, one of the Moustache Brothers,
personally greets his audience with tea and a green Burmese cigar. It's
characteristic of the country's hospitality. After the tea the audience
watches a typical Burmese show. Lu Maw's wife performs her traditional
dances, for which she has to twist her body into a series of seemingly
impossible knots. These dances are hard to understand for a foreign
audience. The expression on their faces is a strange mix of bewilderment
and pleasure. After all, they are here to see other cultures, the more
exotic the better. The dance-show is the warm-up for the real thing:
Artists put themselves at risk by doing stand-up comedy. Lu's brother,
the other half of the Moustache Brothers, has been sentenced to seven
years hard labour after speaking at a meeting of Aung San Suu Kyi's
democratic movement. "In the old days we called thieves thieves, now we
call them party members", he jokingly told the meeting. The junta didn't
see the joke. The prison is several days away to the north of Mandalay.
The brother is not allowed any visits there but he does receive the
occasional food parcel from his wife. But even she is not allowed to go
beyond the prison entrance, where she has to leave the parcel.
Lu now performs on his own, wearing the traditional Burmese comedian's
headscarf tied with a knot on the side of his head. He tells jokes that
would make even the unfunniest American stand-up comedian cringe. At the
same time he also plays the role of his partner. The absence of his
brother is painfully obvious: the show lacks edge. Lu Maw does his very
best to make his audience laugh. But it's no good. His western audience
is used to comedians who are free to say virtually anything. It makes me
Censorship undermines all forms of entertainment. It is no different in
the rest of Burma. Cinemas show harmless, Bollywood-type films.
Only after much insistence on my part does Lu give me an old poster
picturing both brothers. I am taken up to the bedroom on the first
floor. After locking the door Lu carefully folds the poster until it
fits in an airmail envelope. " If they find this poster, please tell
them you got it in Thailand" he says his voice full of fear. "Otherwise
this could have very unpleasant consequences for my brother. But do show
it to as many people as possible outside of Burma, so they know what is
going on here."
I was suddenly struck by how difficult the circumstances are in which
these artists have to work. Burmese comedy may not compare favourably to
its American and European counterparts, but it does take a lot more
courage in Burma for comedians ?to stand up'.
AP: Karenni refugees escape fighting into Thailand
MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) _ More than 100 members of Myanmar's Karenni
ethnic minority fled into Thailand on Tuesday after Myanmar troops
attacked a stronghold of the Karenni National Progressive Party, Thai
provincial officials said.
Myanmar troops attacked the KNPP rebel camp at Doi Ta Khe, opposite
Thailand's Mae Hong Son province, Thai district chief Kasem Chemchoi
Hong Son is 650 kilometers (400) miles northwest of the Thai capital,
``We can hear the noise of heavy guns but it is about 3-5 kilometers
(2-3 miles) from the border. Now the concerned authorities are on duty
to protect residents of Thailand,'' he said.
Kasem said that more than 100 villagers fled to Thailand's border area.
The military government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has in the
past decade reached cease-fires with most of the ethnic minority groups
which long sought autonomy from the central government
The KNPP reached a cease-fire with the government in 1995 but took up
arms again a few months later in a dispute over the army's occupation of
rebel areas rich in teak and key for smuggling.
An official of the KNPP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 500
Myanmar troops were involved in Tuesday's assault.
He said one Karenni guerrilla died and four were wounded, and six were
wounded on the the government side.
Bangkok Post: Rival troops killed in clash near border
March 20, 2001
Chiang Mai - Two Shan rebels and one pro-Rangoon guerrilla were killed
in a clash close to Doi Kor Wan opposite Chiang Rai's Mae Fah Luang
district, a Shan State Army officer said yesterday.
Lt-Col Korn Zuan of the SSA said the United Wa State Army fired hundreds
of anti-aircraft rounds at the SSA stronghold, killing two Shan
The fighting between the pro-Rangoon Wa troops and Shan rebels resumed
on Sunday afternoon, he said.
Some 1,500 Burmese soldiers were deployed at Doi Kor Wan and some 300 Wa
troops at Tachilek-Mong Yawn road.
A source said the SSA has cancelled its planned Army Day celebrations on
Bangkok Post: Surakiart won't react to criticisms: Bilateral relations
may be affected
March 20, 2001
Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai will not react to the latest
verbal attacks from Burma to avoid damaging already fragile ties.
Mr Surakiart insisted reports of Rangoon's criticisms could not be
verified and said the two neighbours could only improve relations
through co-operation, not finger pointing.
After a two-hour meeting with Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, Mr
Surakiart said it was agreed to hold talks every month for better
The minister said bilateral relations might be affected if an official
statement was issued before the news report was verified.
In an official information sheet, the Burmese junta apparently condemned
Thailand as a bad neighbour for shifting the blame onto Burma to hide
its failure to solve the drug crisis. The government would try find ways
to reach agreements with Burma on drug suppression, fisheries, trade and
tourism, the foreign minister said.
With a 2,400km common border, the two nations were bound to run into
problems, Mr Surakiart said.
They must tackle those disputes through the Township Border Committee
and Regional Border Committee.
Gen Chavalit was confident the Regional Border Committee meeting on
April 2-4 in Keng Tung would resolve fundamental problems.
Mr Surakiart said there were good opportunities for himself and Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to meet Burmese leaders and bring relations
back to normal.
Mr Surakiart also said Thailand's position on international issues was
weakening due to a lack of co-ordination among government agencies.
Gen Chavalit and Mr Surakiart promised to send officials to meetings
with foreign ambassadors and guests, especially on security issues.
Bangkok Post: Bilateral withdrawal from disputed areas proposed
March 20, 2001
Thai and Burmese military will hold their Regional Border Committee
(RBC) meeting in Burma's Keng Tung during April 2-4, with a planned
proposal from the Thai side to designate as no-man's-land disputed areas
in the North.
Lt-Gen Watanachai Chaimuenwong, the Third Army commander who will head a
30-man delegation to the meeting, yesterday said he would propose a
bilateral military withdrawal from Phuteng Nayong area in Mae Sai
district of Chiang Rai and Doi Lang mountain in Mae Ai district of
Chiang Mai, pending negotiations on demarcation.
He will not discuss the withdrawal of troops from Tachilek-Mae Sai
Lt-Gen Watanachai's counterpart at the meeting will be Maj-Gen Than
Sein, commander of the Burmese regional force adjacent to Thailand's
Lt-Gen Watanachai is expected to retain his post at the Third Army
Region in an upcoming reshuffle, commander-in-chief Surayud Chulanont
Gen Surayud said the RBC meeting would focus on disputed areas claimed
by both sides, though he was not sure whether the matter could be
settled at these talks, as part of the issue would need to be discussed
at a higher level.
Asked to comment on Rangoon's remark that Thailand was "a bad neighbour"
for shifting the narcotics blame onto Rangoon to cover up its own
failure in fighting drugs, Gen Surayud said Thai authorities should heed
the remark to improve certain weaknesses which would prove beneficial.
However, army spokesman Col Somkuan Saengpataranet gave a different
reaction in an army radio programme yesterday. He said Thailand was a
good neighbour to all nations and it was Burma that had failed to
co-operate with Thailand in drug suppression.
Burma also closed its border passes at will without consulting Thailand,
Wassana Nanuam and Theerawat Khamthita
AFP: Myanmar ethnic groups bid for inclusion in opposition-junta talks
BANGKOK, March 20 (AFP) - A Myanmar dissident alliance called Tuesday
for the nation's ethnic minority leaders to be included in landmark
talks between the junta and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Pro-democracy activists and ethnic leaders from 53 organizations and 28
countries met in Thailand for three days ending Monday to evaluate the
talks and demand firmer action by the regime as a show of good faith.
"They are happy with the talks, but concerned that problems are still
ongoing (and that) there is not a genuine tripartite dialogue," said a
spokeswoman for the Alternative
Asean Network on Burma (ALTSEAN).
The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has won a
reprieve from economic and diplomatic pressure by the international
community as a reward for the talks, but little progress has been made,
she said, speaking on behalf of the "International Strategy Meeting"
"All the participants were concerned that the SPDC was granted a
honeymoon. The talks were overdue, they welcomed the talks, but want
them transformed into a genuine dialogue, with the SPDC, the NLD and
A statement released after the meeting demanded the junta show its
sincerity by releasing political prisoners, allowing political parties
to function freely, and ceasing all military hostilities and forced
The group also asked the international community to stand firm against
the military regime until the talks yield change for the people of
"There's been a lot of hype over the talks but they haven't really
produced much. But they've given the SPDC a six-month holiday. They
should deliver results," the spokeswoman said.
The calls follow a statement released earlier this month in which seven
armed ethnic minority groups which have signed ceasefire agreements with
the junta asked to participate in the talks.
"The talks are not productive unless there are positive results, and at
the moment we don't see positive results for the people of Burma,"
In October last year, National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung
San Suu Kyi and military intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Khin
Nyunt began historic talks aimed at setting up the first official
dialogue since 1994.
The substance of their discussions has been kept tightly under wraps by
both sides, irritating the exiled dissident community and minority
leaders who have called on the junta to reveal what progress has been
The Nation: Support for border commander
March 20, 2001
ARMY chief General Surayudh Chulanont maintained yesterday he had no
intention of transferring the outspoken commander of the Third Army
Region and suggested any attempt to do so would constitute interference
by "a higher authority".
The names of all Army officers to be transferred had already been
submitted to the Office of the Supreme Command, and did not include any
from the Third Army Region, Surayudh said.
"General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, deputy prime minister and minister of
defence, has said transfers of Army officers were to be left up to
myself and the supreme commander. If General Chavalit really wants to
transfer somebody, he must first have a thorough discussion with us to
see whether such a decision would be appropriate," Surayudh said.
Surayudh's statement yesterday was his strongest attempt yet to dismiss
growing concerns that Lt-General Wattanachai Chaimuanwong, commander of
the Third Army, would be transferred to an inactive post because of his
outspoken criticism of Burmese generals amid high tensions along the
border over the past month.
Chavalit has been evasive about whether he would endorse Surayudh's
proposed transfer list.
Speaking to reporters yesterday after a meeting with Foreign Minister
Surakiart Sathirathai, Chavalit expressed confidence that the upcoming
meeting of the Regional Border Committee, to be co-chaired by
Wattanachai and his Burmese counterpart, Brig-General Thein Sein, would
solve the "fundamental problems" between the two countries.
Once the two countries began talking to each other on the basis of
friendship and peace, the border tensions and the harsh rhetorical
exchanges would cease, Chavalit said. His remarks came on the heels of
Rangoon's latest salvo accusing Thailand of "breaching the principle of
Since the clashes, official Burmese mouthpieces have churned out
vitriolic articles and statements slamming Thailand, especially in the
wake of the recent drug meeting chaired by Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra in Chiang Rai.
Wattanachai, who responded swiftly to what he called Rangoon's "gross
violation of Thailand's territorial integrity" after a battalion of
Burmese soldiers took over a Thai Ranger outpost last month, also
accused the Burmese generals of taking kickbacks from their ally, the
United Wa State Army (UWSA).
The UWSA, headquartered in Panghsang on the Chinese border, operates
independently from Rangoon in parts of Burma's Shan State. The group is
reportedly one of the world's largest armed drug-trafficking
organisations and is said to operate a number of drug labs near the Thai
Thai and Burmese troops engaged in a day-long cross-border exchange of
shelling and gunfire in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai last month, just as
Bangkok underwent a change of government. Senior government officials
accused Rangoon of taking advantage of the political situation in
Bangkok, believing Thailand would not be able to respond firmly given
the recent change of administration.
But the Army, working in tandem with the Foreign Ministry, responded
swiftly, mobilising troops to the area, closing the border and summoning
the Burmese Ambassador to Bangkok to receive a protest letter condemning
Wattanachai, a graduate of class 12 of the Chulachomklao Military
Academy, is a classmate of Surayudh. His military experience includes
commanding a task force along the country's eastern border with Cambodia
at a time when the area saw a heavy concentration of Vietnamese troops.
He has received praise from the public for his firm stand against the
Canada NewsWire: : Ken Wiwa leads activists fighting for the release of
Burmese political prisoner
MONTREAL, March 19 /CNW/ - Nigerian writer Ken Wiwa is joining
at Ottawa University on March 21, calling for the immediate release of
political prisoner Min Ko Naing of Burma.
A leader of the student pro-democracy movement, Min Ko Naing is
the 12th year of a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the uprising
With the help of Rights & Democracy, students have organized a
campaign calling for the release of Min Ko Naing. Mr. Wiwa will lead the
students in delivering the cards to the Burmese Embassy on Range Road.
The event gets underway at noon at the Agora lounge of the
Centre at the University of Ottawa, 85, University Avenue.
For further information: Mary Durran, Rights & Democracy, (514) 283-6073
or cell: (514) 898-4157; Corinne Baumgarten, Canadian Friends of Burma,
_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________
The Nation: Chavalit Afflicted with Foot-in-mouth Disease
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
Deputy Prime Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who is also defence
minister, has created quite a stir since day one of joining the Thaksin
government. His penchant for uttering silly comments has made him a
target of ridicule. Now, with the next military reshuffle in the
pipeline, Chavalit is making the newspaper headlines once again, but for
all the wrong reasons.
This time around it concerns the fate of Lt-General Wattanachai
Chaimuaenwong, commander of Third Army Region. This popular general, who
is responsible for security along the 2,401-kilometre Thai-Burmese
border, has been at loggerheads with his boss, Chavalit. The current
army chief, General Surayudh Julanonda, has praised Wattanachai on a
number of occasions for his courage and well-planned strategies in
dealing with the security threat emanating from Burma. His troops are
also very loyal to him and regard him with fondness.
Since he has been responsible for border security, Wattanachai has
cooperated closely with other ministries and agencies, much to the
chagrin of the Burmese leaders, who had become cocky from outmanoeuvring
previous Thai military leaders. But Wattanachai calls a spade a spade,
and he has not been hesitant about naming Burma and the United Wa Army
as the main source of methamphetamines (yaa-baa, "crazy drug") and other
drugs flooding Thailand. Rumours are sweeping through the corridors of
the Defence Ministry that the commander will be removed to another post.
The speculation is that his departure is being linked to the upcoming
border talks with Burma. It is an open secret that the Burmese junta
leaders are not happy with Wattanachai's straightforward manner and have
indicated they want somebody else to head the Thai delegation to the
Regional Border Committee meeting in Ketong, Burma, early next month.
The reshuffle, which will be effective in early April, will be in time
for the border meeting. Chavalit has made it known that he wants his own
man to fill Wattanachai's shoes in order to speed up the border
discussion. Yet both Surayudh and Supreme Commander General Samphao
Chusri have promised to retain him in his current role in the Third Army
Region because his mission to combat drugs is not finished yet.
It will be interesting to see how Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
reacts to the reshuffle. So far he has tolerated Chavalit's asinine
behaviour because he still wants the support of the New Aspiration Party
as a coalition partner. But Chavalit's comments and policies seem to be
diametrically opposed to those espoused by the Thaksin administration.
When the government was talking tough on drugs, Chavalit was conspicuous
by his absence. When Thaksin and Foreign Minister Surakiat Sathirathai
revealed that the prime minister's visit to Burma would be delayed, he
announced that he would be going there.
That kind of behaviour by Thai leaders could, in diplomatic speak, be
labelled a dual approach. But with a government that has barely had time
to warm its seat and the region throbbing with pressing issues, this is
hardly the time for double talk. Thailand needs to maintain credibility
in its policies concerning Burma, especially after three years of high
diplomatic standards. With the international community looking on with a
higher level of scrutiny, thanks to the nascent dialogue between the
junta and Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Development and the
burgeoning drug menace, Thailand cannot afford to send out any wrong
signals on the policy and diplomatic fronts.
Thaksin must sit down with Chavalit and the rest of the government to
map out credible strategies towards Burma. Yesterday Chavalit and
Surakiart had a meeting to develop steps for the coordination of the
efforts of civilian and military leaders. But it will need to be
followed up. The danger for Thaksin is that mistakes in diplomacy are a
one-step-forward, two-steps-back situation. In other words it's
difficult to regain lost ground when foreign policy wavers. Effective
diplomacy involving Thailand's near neighbours needs solid backup from
the defence and the security apparatus.
Business Day (Thailand): Thaksin Should Be Careful Who He Listens to on
March 20, 2001
At the height of Thai-Myanmar border conflict which began last month,
there was a small war of words between two former prime ministers about
the deteriorating relationship with our neighbour.
Moreover, former prime minister Chuan Leekpai and his Democrat
colleagues openly took prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his aides
to task, saying that the Thai Rak Thai-led government was over-reacting
and too open in its criticism of Myanmar.
Former deputy foreign minister Sukhumbhand Paribatra pointed out in
support of Chuan that his Democrat-led government had never blamed the
earlier government led by the New Aspiration Party for passing on the
burden of repairing fragile Thailand-Myanmar relationships. Sukhumbhand
also said that never had the Democrat-coalition government openly
accused Yangon of supporting the production of narcotics in the Wah
state, bordering Thailand's northern province of Chiang Rai. He said
that such criticism should never be uttered by any Thai leader, if
Thailand really hopes to solve long-standing differences with Myanmar.
Earlier, former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh criticised Chuan
for refusing to accept invitations from Myanmar's ruling junta to make a
state visit during his administration. This, said Chavalit, had created
ill-feeling with Myanmar's leaders, making it more difficult to solve
the problems that have arisen in the last three years.
Chuan responded that any visit to Myanmar during his tenure would not
have had any bearing on existing problems between the two countries. He
added that Chavalit's own visits to Myanmar had served his personal
interests more than anything else.
Despite loud applause for his energetic CEO-style attitude towards
handling the nation's numerous socioeconomic problems, Thaksin is still
badly in need of advisors, particularly in the field of foreign affairs.
He could be right in pinpointing the fact that the Wah state city of
Muangyon is a production hub for methamphetamines and other drugs, and
that the Wah economy depends very much on drug production and trade,
using Thai territory for trafficking the narcotics.
What has been said by the Prime Minister regarding the role of Wah drug
lords, and the flourishing development of Maungyon - built from selling
narcotics in Thailand - should not be taken back to please the junta.
The information that Thai military and national security units have
supplied to the PM is certainly not fabricated simply to discredit
Myanmar, or to encourage the prime minister to take action against Wah
narcotics producers and traders.
It is probably better that Thaksin disregard the words that Chuan and
Chavalit have used against one another. What he should be more concerned
about is a recently reported request by Yangon to Defence Minister
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to remove Thailand's outspoken Third Army
commander, Watthanachai Chaimuenwong, in return for Yangon's cooperation
in border trade and narcotics suppression. Apparently the Myanmar junta
is unhappy with Watthanachai's hardline operations against Wah narcotics
producers and runners. If the reports are true, we can only hope that
our Prime Minister knows well what he must do with such an offer from
The New Light of Myanmar: Foxes under the guise of lions - Part III
Monday, 19 March, 2001)
(Continued from 18-3-2001)
I will now present some of the terrorist acts and killings committed by
the KNU and Shan drug smuggling insurgents who have taken refuge in
Thailand as special refugees for the so-called causes of democracy,
human rights and federal policy. The terrorist acts of the present
trouble-makers, the KNUs and fugitives, who are launching various kinds
of atrocities and engaging in opium trafficking, are endless. The
terrorists insurgents are the brash persons in seeking self-interest,
betraying the nation and the people, and committing terrorist acts,
looting and murders. As they are terrorist insurgents, they are
committing terrorist acts, causing unrest and violating all the laws.
What is strange to me is those who are accommodating and flattering-them
as democracy activists. Thailand should learn the bitter lessons of
receiving the crooks and robbers as guests of honour from the single
incident in which the armed group seized a civilian hospital in Rajburi.
It will continue to suf! fer the evil consequences of keeping venomous
persons within its own yard.
Committing armed insurgency and breaching laws is no politics. Such is
only the act of a hopeless gang of thugs. Committing murders and
robberies, planting mines and kidnapping people axe the lowest terrorist
acts. Whatever they are saying they are just robbers and murderers.
Although they are covering themselves under the democracy cloak, their
standard cannot be higher than the foxes under the guise of lions.
At 8.15 pm on 3 March 2001 BBC news report said that a Thai Airways
Boeing 747 exploded and caught fire on Bangkok International Airport
runway killing one crew member and injuring three others who were on
board the plane. The explosion came before Thai Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra, who was scheduled to fly to Chiangmai in northern Thailand,
and - passengers boarded the plane, BBC added.
The VOA evening news aired on 4 March 2001 reported that concerning the
bomb explosion on board the Thai Airways plane on Saturday just before
he boarded it, the Thai Prime Minister was quoted as saying that it was
an attempt to assassinate him. The news reports also quoted the Thai
police general as saying that it was a phosphorus bomb and that Mr
Thaksin was to be suspicious of a person who was presumed to be
In 5 March 2001 VOA evening news, Mr Thaksin was quoted as saying that
it should not be assumed that he was the target of the bomb attack. Some
of the Thai media said that it was the act of drug smugglers who were
-angry with the pledge made by the Thai Prime Minister to curb drug
trafficking especially from Myanmar. The 7 March 2001 issue of The
Bangkok Post daily reported under the title "Army points finger at
Junta" (Thai Army points finger at Myanmar military government). In
other words, the daily was making a slanderous accusation to drive in a
The news report quoted the Thai Army brass as' saying the bomb attack on
the plane could be a revenge made by the Myanmar Military. It added that
the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok denied the accusation (slander).
The western media and some Thai dailies in collaboration with some Thai
politicians launched injurious attacks on the new Thai Prime Minister
who was saying that he would maintain cordial relations with the
neighboring countries and would visit these countries for progress of
the national economy soon after he had assumed the premiership and the
new Defence Minister Chavalit Yong Chaiyud. The kind of the man they
want is not Mr Thaksin the person who will promote national interests
and good neighbourly relations. One can see this trend if he studies the
news reports. These media and politicians are repeatedly saying that
fugitives, drug smuggling robbers and insurgents at the border may not
be able to continue to enjoy an easy- live if Mr Thaksin becomes prime
minister. Thus, as soon as Mr Thaksin assumed the premiership, they used
Ywet Sit with the involvement of some officers of No 3 Thai Military
Command from behind the curtain in firing on Tachilek and trespassing on
Myanm! ar territory.
The 4 March 2001 VOA news quoted the new Thai Prime Minister as saying
the bomb attack on the Thai aircraft was meant to assassinate him and
that there was a suspect. The next day VOA quoted the Prime Minister as
saying that he didn't believe that he was the target. The radio station
also quoted Thai dailies as saying that it was the act of drug
traffickers at the border who were disappointed with Mr Thaksin's drug
The No 3 Thai Military Command is none other than the army under the
charge of Watanachai who maintains close and cordial relations with drug
trafficking robbers like Ywet Sit in northern Thailand. The military
command is the one that gave supporting fire to Ywet Sit group which
fired on Tachilek with heavy weapons.
It is a well-known fact that the Myanmar Tatmadaw in accord with its
tradition is always giving priority to safeguarding of the sovereignty,
territorial integrity, non-disintegration of the Union and the national
interest mobilizing the internal forces for the cause. It is a well
known fact that Myanmar always strictly adheres to the norms of
international relations, the basic principles of her independent foreign
policy, the five principles of peaceful co-existence and the UN Charter.
It never trespasses on other's territory. It has no greed or evil desire
to do so. But it never yields to anyone who tries to intrude on her
Myanmar never commits mean acts such as terrorism, assassination,
kidnapping or planting mines in the military or political operations.
Myanmar always upholds her dignity which is always free from such
conspiracies. While accommodating- the atrocious drug smuggling armed
insurgents in a cordial manner, they (foreign media and some Thai
dailies, officials and politicians) are speaking and writing words of
accusations on others concerning the bomb attack on the Thai Airways
plane which in reality is their own internal problem. The ones that are
giving trouble to Thailand are the ones who are making these verbal and
written words of accusation.
However, I wish the new government of Mr Thaksin Shinawatra which has
the will to serve the interest of Thailand and its people, to develop
Thai economy and further strengthen relations with neighboring countries
overcome all instigation and obstacles and able to work for the benefit
of Thailand and the region.
Author : U Pyay Kyaw
DVB: Internship announcement
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) is seeking interested individuals to
apply for an internship that will be conducted in Oslo. DVB will be
applying for funding under the OSI internship program. The applicants
must have an interest in working
with DVB after the internship period is over, if she/he is appointed.
DVB has been distributing application forms to all Burmese organizations
and interested people based in Thailand through e-mail and fax since the
last week of February 2001. This announcement on the BurmaNet is aimed
to reach those who do not yet know about the program. The deadline to
apply is 31 March 2001. Please contact Ko Khin Maung Win by phone
(01-4089963) or e-mail <maung@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx DVB (Bangkok Bureau) for
more information and to receive the application form. The application
should then be returned to DVB (Bangkok Bureau) by fax (02-5132051) or
KNU: New website announced
The Karen National Union has launched a new website at www.tawmeipa.org
UNESCO: Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2001--U Win Tin,
World Press Freedom Prize
The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, instituted in 1997,
is intended to honour each year a person, organization or institution
that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or
promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if some
risk was involved. It was established on the initiative of UNESCO's
Executive Board and is formally conferred by the Director-General of the
Organization, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May. The
Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist
assassinated by the drug cartels on 17 December 1986, in front of the
offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotß. Guillermo Cano's
fate exemplifies the price paid by journalists and the media the world
over: Journalists are imprisoned and ill-treated on account of their
profession every day. The fact that these crimes for the most part go
unpunished is even more alarming.
The US $25,000 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize is awarded on the
recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals chaired
by Mia Doornaert, President of UNESCO's Advisory Group for Press
Freedom. Names are submitted by regional and international
non-governmental organizations working for press freedom and by UNESCO
This year's laureate, U Win Tin - former editor of the daily Hanthawati
newspaper in Myanmar, vice-chair of Myanmar's Writers' Association and a
founder of the National League for Democracy - was arrested in July
1989. Three months later, accused of being a member of the banned
Communist Party of Myanmar, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison and
transported to Insein jail in Rangoon. In 1996, U Win Tin was tried in
prison and sentenced to an additional five years for breaking prison
regulations prohibiting the possession of writing materials. Later that
year he was moved to Myingyan jail north of Rangoon, where his family
and friends could no longer visit him or send him food and medicine. In
early October 1997, he was transferred to Rangoon General Hospital,
where he remains and is reported to be seriously ill. His prison
sentence will only end in July 2008, unless he renounces all political
activities, which he refuses to do.
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