NMSP’S LATE PRESIDENT NAI NONLAR REMEMBERED
QUEEN SHIN SAWBU HONOURED BY MON WOMEN
FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR MON STUDY CENTER IN THE
HEART OF THE KINGDOM
MYPO CALLS FOR DIALOGUE
MYANMAR RESHUFFLES MILITARY COMMANDERS AND
BE WARY AND WISE: BY KANBAWZA WIN
HEAVY RAINS CLOSE SCHOOLS, DISPLACE POOR FARMERS
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FACE TOUGH REGULATION
THREE PAGODAS PASS REOPENS: FUEL TRANSPORT TO
KNU BRINGS GOOD GOVERNANCE TO MERGUI-TAVOY
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PRESIDENT NAI NONLAR 8888
PRESIDENT NAI NONLAR REMEMBERED
August 12, 2005)
sixteenth anniversary of the passing of New Mon State Party leader Nai
Nonlar, Mon communities held a ceremony in his honour during the annual
remembrance of the 8-8-88 uprising.
commemoration ceremony was held at Waengka village along the Thai-Burma
border and was organized by family members of the late president on August
8, 2005. NMSP and MYPO (Mon Youth Progressive Organization) members
attended the memorial service together with the local community at the Mon
a similar commemoration ceremony was organized by the Mon Canadian Society
in Calgary on Sunday, August 7, 2005. Young people from the Mon community
listened to speeches by community leaders and a biographical ballad written
by Nai Khaing Waeng.
community in Norway also organized a ceremony on August 7 offering food to
Buddhist monks and holding talks about the story of the Mon national leader.
Nai Nonlar (aka) Nai
Seiknoh was a native of Hnee Padaw village near Thanbyu Zayat and joined the
Mon People’s Front at its founding. He was a member of the Central
Committee of the MPF at the time it surrendered to U Nu’s parliamentary
government in 1958 in exchange for a promise of democratic reform. When
General Ne Win seized power in 1962, he was imprisoned together with MPF
leader Nai Aung Tun. When he was released in 1974, he rejoined the armed
resistance of the Mon people, by then known as the NMSP.
Nai Nonlar played a major role in Mon
national politics for forty years and was well respected by Mons both in
Burma and Thailand. During this time he served the NMSP as Secretary
General and was later elected President when the NMSP split into two
factions after a conflict at the Party Congress in 1981. When the two
factions were reunited in 1987, he served as Vice President, working
tirelessly until he passed away of heart failure while giving a speech to
pro-democracy students and supporters at the Three Pagodas Pass border town
on the first anniversary of the 8-8-88 general uprising in Burma.
QUEEN SHIN SAWBU HONOURED BY MON WOMEN
(Kaowao: August 11, 2005)
Bangkok -- In order to raise awareness on the role of Mon
women, portraits of Queen Shin Sawbu were distributed by Mon Unity League in
According to MUL leader from Bangkok, the Mon
Women Organization in Mon State promoted a Mon Women's Day by publishing a
portrait of a famous Mon queen, Mi Jaobu (Shin Sawbu), the posters are now
available by contacting the Mon Unity League in Bangkok.
Beginning May 2005, on the closing ceremony
of Summer Mon Literacy Training Program in Mon State, Burma, the picture of
Queen Shin Sawbu along with a brief history in Mon and English were
distributed to the students. The picture was found in the magazine "Arts of
Asia, 1992, Vol. 22, No.5, pp.75ff". A terracotta image, thought to be made
in the 15th century, with an inscription on it. Shin Sawbu's original crown
is now displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in England.
Shin Sawbu was the only ruling queen in the
history of Burma. According to The History of Rangoon, by B.R. Pearn,
published in Rangoon 1939, who observed that, "Two claims to fame are hers:
one that she ruled the country well, no fair thing to say of Queen Victoria
than to call her Shinsawbu reincarnate, and the other: that she embellished
the Shwe Dagon Pagoda."
In the previous two years, Mon Women’s Organization of USA
and Mon Women’s Organization (Canada) celebrated Mon Women’s Day in March
(12th day of 12th Mon lunar calendar) choosing the day to honour the birth
date of Mon Queen Shin Sawbu, the only woman to be queen in her own right in
the history of Burma. She ruled Hongsawaddy kingdom in the 15th century A.D.
During her rule, the glory of the Monland was peaceful and prosperous.
On Mon Women’s Day, exiled Mon organizations
call on the international community to urge the Burmese regime to cease
their military operations in the ethnic regions of the country and all forms
of human rights violations, especially rape which is being used as a weapon
of war against the ethnic nationalities of Burma.
To order a portrait of Queen Shin Sawbu, please contact;
FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR MON STUDY CENTER
IN THE HEART OF THE KINGDOM
(Mon Unity League: August 9, 2005)
Bangkok -- A foundation
stone was laid today for a Study Centre in the compound of the Mon temple
near Kaosarn Road in Banglumphu in the heart of the Thai kingdom.
The ceremony was led by the abbot of Wat
Chana-Songkram, Somded Phra Mahar Thirajarn, Police General Chidchai
Wanasathit, along with Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister.
The foundation stone ceremony was featured
during an event to raise funds for the renovation of Wat Chana-Songkram as
well as the building of the new Mon Study Center.
During the event, volumes of the newly
published Mon-Thai Dictionary were distributed to those who donated money to
build the new centre. The 300-page dictionary was compiled by Mon and Thai
scholars using as a base work previously carried out by a Thai Mon, Nai
Wat Chana-Songkram was one of the most
important monasteries in the early Ratanakosin (Bangkok) period. Before the
Ayuthaya period, it was known as Wat Klangna -- monastery in the middle of
rice field -- then it was called Phae Tongpu by the Mon people.
During the 1780s, Crown Prince
Mahasurasinhanat, the younger brother of King Rama the First, mobilized the
Mon people throughout Thailand to fight against the enemies of the kingdom.
When Thailand was invaded by a neighboring country, the Mon people bravely
assisted in the struggle against the enemy. After Songkram kao-tharp – the
9 battalion war -- the Crown Prince renovated Wat Klangnar to reward the Mon
soldiers who had played their part in winning the war. The royal family
donated the Wat to the Mon Buddhist monks and community and it was renamed
Wat Chanasongkram meaning War Victory Temple.
The Mon civilization flourished before the
period of Dwarawaddy. The Mons are pioneers of civilization in the South
East Asia region and many cultures and traditions in the region came from
the Mon (Matichon Newspaper, 02 August, 2005).
MYPO CALLS FOR DIALOGUE
(Kaowao: August 8, 2005)
Sangkhalaburi -- On the 17th anniversary of
the 8-8-88 uprising the Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO) joined
with other exiled pro-democracy groups in a new call for a national
political dialogue in Burma.
The MYPO was the only Mon group to sign a
statement in honor of the nation-wide uprising of 8-8-88 in Burma. Along
with other pro-democracy groups, the MYPO statement demanded the release of
all political prisoners in the country including democratic leader Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi and Shan leader Khun Tun Oo. The Mon youth also demanded a halt
to military operations by the Burmese Army in southern Mon State and an end
to the sexual attacks against Mon women in the area. They also called for
tripartite negotiations inclusive of the military regime, pro-democratic
parties and non-Burman ethnic groups.
In August of 1988, the 8-8-88 uprising broke
out in Burma sparking a nation-wide general strike that was joined by people
from all walks of life. The present military regime, however, seized state
power in September of that year, killing many unarmed protesters including
Buddhist monks and students.
The MYPO was formed at a gathering of Mon
youth and students in Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, in November, 2001. It
aims at forging solidarity among Mon youth in co-operation with the youth of
other ethnic communities, as well as other democratic groups and the
international community. Some of its leaders resettled in other countries
after the MYPO office was raided by Thai authorities.
MYANMAR RESHUFFLES MILITARY COMMANDERS AND
August 11, 2005)
Myanmar's ruling junta has reshuffled powerful military leaders for the
second time in less than three months, a source close to the military said,
with government ministers also changing posts.
In the most
significant shift, Lieutenant General Ye Myint, one of four special
operations commanders and a member of the ruling State Peace and Development
Council, moved back to active military service, the source told AFP.
traded posts with Lieutenant General Kyaw Win, chief of armed forces
training. Analysts said this was the first time an official had left the
SPDC to return to the military mainstream.
described the swap as a "strange and quite unprecedented" reshuffle that
could affect future important military appointments.
usually receive the title of special operations commander when they are
headed for retirement, analysts said.
General Maung Maung Swe, head of the northern military command in Myitkyina
in Kachin state, and Major General Ohn Myint of the Coastal Command have
also swapped posts, the source said.
reshuffle came less than three months after a May 29 shake-up, as the
military continues to reorganize and promote its staunchest loyalists after
Prime Minister Khin Nyunt was ousted last October in a sweeping purge.
received a 44-year suspended sentence last month after being convicted on
eight charges including bribery and corruption.
Thursday also reported four other changes in government.
minister Than Aung was sacked and replaced by Chan Nyein who was previously
deputy minister at the ministry of science and technology, official media
had been considered close to Senior General Than Shwe, the country's supreme
attached to the prime minister's office -- minister without portfolio
Brigadier General Pyi Sone and Than Shwe, who has the same name as the
senior general -- were also "permitted to retire," state media reported. No
replacements were announced.
Thurein Zaw, a new appointee tapped from the military, was named deputy
minister at the ministry of national planning and economic development.
orders were signed by the SPDC's first secretary, Lieutenant General Thein
Sein, effective August 10. They were published in the state press Thursday.
were given for the changes. Analysts said the cabinet changes were not as
significant as the military reshuffle but they expected more to follow.
Commentary: Advisory piece
BE WARY AND WISE
(By Kanbawza Win)
It would be a fool if one
remains jubilant at the Junta's giving up its chairmanship and witnessing
the uncomfortable Li
Zhaoxing, China's Foreign Minister
chastising the Junta's bulldog, General Than Shwe. Geopolitics dictates that
Burma is just a small cactus among the mammoth viz the dragon, the
elephant, with the flying eagle under the scorching sun. All of them are out
and out to outshine each other driven by self-interests, priorities and
concerns. But the most important aspect is that the Junta is still in the
driver seat and is heading at full speed for its power in perpetuity.
Stocks have to be taken and the Burmese
opposition in Diaspora should meticulously plan out what the next objective
should be in their endeavour to their cherished goal. Now that several
battles such as the ASEAN chairmanship, President Bush signing the law and
very lately the WFP James Morris report that genuinely reflect the real
situation of the country to the international community has been won, we
should prepare for the coup de grace. But still our war of
liberations face many hazards and is still far from over and we have to work
Since the fateful announcement of
relinquishing the post of a chairman, Burma has become a fair lady, where
every eligible bachelor tries to woo. Of course the first person happens to
be our neighbour, the pigtail Pauk Paw who is very worried
that the neighbouring damsel might elope with another person and came
rushing over the fence shouting "Wor I Nee" bringing 400 trucks.
The second one is a conglomerate of our
family members better known as ASEAN, who altogether vividly sees the
writings on the wall of the Pauk Paw's influence over Burma came
rushing towards Burma, all eager to help the country on her road to
democracy. How come when all these years of one and half decades they have
not lifted a finger to help Burma in the prevalence of democracy and human
rights are now suddenly all eager to help? If the ASEAN had chosen to coax
the Junta to have some semblance of democracy as releasing Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi or good governance or a genuine National Convention earlier, then Burma
would have taken up this prestigious chairmanship without anybody objecting
and to everybody's delight. The centre of their hypocrisy is
ASEAN self interest. The economic exploitation of the Burmese under the
smokescreen of Constructive Engagement has carried them too far and in their
endeavour to counter weigh China with the help of Uncle Sam has now back-
fired. "Oh darling you came late"
Soon more dignities from
ASEAN, Japan and other countries may follow suit and so
it is no wonder that Thailand’s Deputy Prime minister Surakiart Sathirathai
had made a one-day visit to Rangoon, on the 25th ultimo, which
will soon be followed up by Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhonon
by the end of this month. Both of them are endeavoring to put some sense and
logic on the conservative, obstinate Burmese supreme. Than Shwe, whose
obsession to become the Burmese emperor has drives him a little crazy and
dragging not only his country and people down the drain but also pulling
ASEAN on its descent.
The third person is of course
the smelly, greasy Ka lar who came in from back door of the
kitchen to make his presence felt to the Burmese lassie with infrastructure,
economic incentives such as the gas pipe line and suppressing the Burmese
ethnic and democratic forces and so on. Shaking his head he seems to say, "Thum
Ko Hum Pyar Hae" Obviously the Junta will play off one with another
as long as that suitor can guarantee the Junta in power. How do we react to
this and follow up our goals is food for thought? The Junta has many choices
and will carefully choose the one that will guarantee the best. What card do
we play is to be carefully considered.
To understand some of the nature of what is
going in around us and beyond, we must understand the nature of the hegemony
game in the world. We should remember that Burma is such a small country, is
merely a pawn in the game of international political chess, which can be
sacrificed easily to achieve a greater goal by one of the two components
particularly the dragon and the flying eagle. Obviously, the flying eagle's
nourishing meal is a snake, as according to the Burmese myth, a Galon bird
likes the taste of the dragon flesh, which indicates that finally the eagle
The Sino American relations
became very crucial for ASEAN's survival and longevity and Burma is the
black sheep that is spoiling all these relations. The Deputy Secretary of
Sate Robert B. Zoellick
visits to China after
the ARF meeting on 2nd August indicates that the two countries
are trying to normalize their bilateral relations. Earlier in July,
Condeelezza Rice had visited Beijing. The fact that China is supporting the
Burmese Junta and US is enforcing the punitive actions reveals that the
Burmese regime is one of the major thorns, in the bilateral relations of the
two mammoths. Burma
hosts China's only military base on the Indian Ocean that can monitor the
American base in Diego Garcia, and also plays a crucial part in the growing
rivalry between India and China. It has big reserves of natural gas, which
it already sells to Thailand and plans to pipe it to Kunming.
Another meeting between US
and China is schedule before Christmas in Washington. Hitherto, unheard of
the regular meeting between the two countries disclose that the relations of
the two are not going well and both sides are desirous to level it. We
should also note that since Dr. Rice took over Collin Powell's place, as
Secretary of State, the bilateral relations of the two giants has run into
road blocks. The publication of the former Chinese Foreign Minister Chang Xi
Ching's article accusing America of trying to be the sole mega power in
perpetuity, in the People's Daily clearly indicates that a sort of a small
under the table Cold War is going on between the two. It seems that even
though China regards America as a co-worker is not satisfy over its hegemony
while the US eyes China as a competitor that eventually one day would
challenge him. It is already outline in
Civilizations" after the Muslim came the Chinese. But it is a fact that
China is growing
stronger day by day and Uncle Sam is getting nervous, and is bent on
preventing it by any means and the classic example is the episode of the
purchase of the Unocal oil company by CNOOC.
China being a dictatorial
communist regime is not shy in encouraging the dictators of the world,
whether they are communist or otherwise and this was demonstrated when the
Chinese Foreign Minister Li
was chastising Than Shwe for its diplomatic set back, in not taking Burma's
rightful chair, Beijing is laying out the red carpet welcome to Robert
Mugabe of Zimbabwe, another equally pugnacious dictator of Africa. So in
this impending new Cold War, Burma became crucial, when the West has already
made known that democracy and human rights as its hall mark. Beijing will do
anything to counter the Western move on democracy as it not only encourage
Mugabe and Than Shwe but also
Uzbekistan dictator, Islam
Karimov who imitate the Burmese uprising of 8888 and shoot into the crowd of
peaceful demonstrators. It was in this scenario that we would have to make a
move. But how, is a strictly confidential policy paper, which cannot be
We should note that the resolution of the
chairmanship problem, have unwittingly remove a campaigning target from
Burma's more vociferous critics and we in Diaspora are now back to square
one. Hence the unwritten contest of "statesmanship" is between the
Junta and the Diaspora with the backing of the NLD. The Junta's decision
reveals a very shrewd awareness of where their real interests lie and when,
as a regime which is almost totally impervious to external pressures, can
give away gracefully when the benefits of so doing far outweigh the
disadvantages. Are we prepared for that kind of compromise taking into
consideration the internal and international affairs? Careful strategies
have to be laid out.
India’s emergence as an
important player on the Asian theatre was a fact and recognized by the
nearly hundred leaders from Asia and Africa during the 50th anniversary of
the Bandung summit in Jakarta when in a rare gesture, China, Japan and the
host country Indonesia stepped aside to let Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
lead Asia, at the anniversary celebrations. Again Manmohan Singh is about to
add more global feathers in India’s cap with its impending admission to the
East Asian Summit (EAS), and his historic visit to Washington at the
invitation of President Bush. But India’s recognition as a global power by
the US came after Condoleeza Rice took over as the Secretary of State from
Colin Powell, who was known for his pro-Pakistan tilt. Administration
officials disclosed that Rice during her recent Indian visit, had presented
a policy outline to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on helping India become a
major world power. Condoleeza Rice when she came to India. She held out
similar assurances to Natwar Singh and at a joint press conference on April
16 saying that US wants to be supportive of ‘positive trends in India’s
China seems to be worried
that the United States with the help of Japan, is wooing India which is an
emerging economic power next only to China to stem Beijing’s influence ‘
both its military and economic clout. China is, therefore, trying to
counter-balance the moves of these two countries through such overtures to
India as the `guiding principles’ to resolve the border dispute, which were
signed during Wen Jiabao’s visit to India, and the formal recognition of
Sikkim as part of India.
The US concern is China’s military
modernization and its need to create strong alliances in the region that
will contain the growing aspirations of China. The foreign policy honks, at
the State Department have openly cautioned that the ‘Red sun rising has to
be managed by being active in making certain that our alliances in the
region are as strong as possible.’ The message of Dr. Rice to New Delhi was
to convey that America was forging alliances to contain the emerging China.
Will the Indian elephant ready for an alliance with the American flying
eagle against the rising dragon is still to be seen.
If India has remains true to its conviction
as the biggest democracy in the world and continues encouraging the
democratic forces, there is some hope for the Burmese resistance. At first
we thought that because the BJP was in power, there was a slight change in
the Burma policy, but as of now the Congress Party in power, so far no
improvement has been detected. It is hope that the Indian leaders will soon
remember that the founding fathers of both India (Pandit Nehru) and Burma (Bogyoke
Aung San) has fought shoulder to shoulder in their country's independence.
Whether India, which has a long record of
historical relations with the Burmese struggle, is ready to help the Burmese
cause or parley with the Junta in their effort to contain China will be
known soon. A proper approach must be made on a give and take basis instead
of solely on moral grounds have to be figure it out. If there is any
possibility of the American and India joining together then what the average
man in Burma dreams can come true. Their thinking is if America has invaded
Iraq why hasn't it invaded Burma are the only questions, which the people of
Burma are asking. A Buddhist monk, a taxi driver, a student, all shyly and
secretly ask this crucial question of whether America might not be prevailed
upon to topple their dictatorial regime next. The country is stuck in such a
rut that the prospect of a foreign invasion is a fond hope, not a fear. Can
we reach that level with what we are doing now?
The Junta have no intentions of handing over
power or preparing the way for a civilian government, Burma’s military
rulers are digging in and doggedly eliminating all potential opposition,
including within the army as the fate of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt
particularize. It has not only centralized its power among the top hand
picked Generals but also moving the capital to Pyinmana demonstrates that
they are prepared for the worst. However the most disturbing aspect is the
vitriolic attacks on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, when government-sponsored women’s
groups demanded that she be expelled from the country in what is clearly a
concerted and coordinated campaign that clearly specifies a hardening of
policy. It also clearly demonstrates that all political parties except those
sponsored by the Burmese army will have no future, to play after the new
constitution, which is worst than the 1977 Burmese Socialist Constitution.
But the unmistakable message is that the regime will not negotiate with the
ethnic groups and the word Federalism is as anathema as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
is. If possible would like to exterminate all the un Burmanized ethnic
groups in their quest to have one nation (Burma), one language (Bama) and
one religion Buddhist better known as 3 Bs. Releasing of the few hundred
political prisoners it has endeavor to repair its image an also by the sham
trial of Khin Nyunt, the Junta wants to manifest to the international
community that it is moving to national reconciliation in lieu with the
National Convention. So from these events it is predictable that the
National Convention in November year will be just a brief short sessions and
discussion will not be allowed and every body must be a chameleon nodding
their heads, if they did not want their heads to be chopped off.
Anybody desirous to make a move both in the
national and international front needs to have the people's mandate.
Countless articles have been written that the NLD, which have the people's
mandate could not move a bit as not only its head Daw Suu is under lock and
key but also its body, the NLD central committee was scrutinized every move.
Hence the historical duty fell on the shoulder of the Burmese Diaspora. But
the Burmese Diaspora was not homogeneous lot there are the ethnic group
under the umbrella of EN and the Burman group under the umbrella of the UB
and LA groups. No doubt Burmese dissidents in exile together with their
supporters around the world have transformed what had been an obscure
democratic struggle in Burma into one of the largest human rights campaigns
in the world. Almost in every country, Burmese dissidents and their
supporters have successfully used of the Internet to form coalitions and
share strategies and highlighted the Burmese cause in their efforts to
weaken the grip of the military rulers of Burma. But now it seems that they
have come to a full stop and is endeavoring to find the next move.
After one and half decades of struggle,
whether one likes it or not the mantle has fallen on the EN group to make a
move and approach the various Burman groups to form a central authority. If
not, we will be in the doldrums for another half a century and the various
groups and strata will also be surviving on the dole out of the NGOs. Even
though the EN has clearly realize that they are unable to face the Junta
without the support of the Burman group, yet we have not notice any move in
that directions. They are now in the position to visualize that if they
don't unite the country and people will continue to suffer as according to
the Burmese rhyme Sit Bo, Taik Hsauk, SitTthar, Gyaing Htauk and Pyi
Thu, Baik Hmauk literally interpreted means the generals will
continue to prosper constructing new houses, while a private soldier will be
on the crutches having fought so many battles and the people have nothing to
eat will have to sleep on their stomach to ease the pain of hunger. It is
high time that the EN should prove to the Burman that they are not racist
but one of them and at the same time take the initiative and educate their
brethren especially the Wa and the Kachin and entirely stop letting the
Junta to swindling the ethnic nationalities.
Credit should be given to where credit is
due, the FTUB should be given the credit because it has thoroughly done its
homework and the Junta is now thinking of withdrawing from the ILO, but if
the FTUB is of any relation with the NCUB they should advice them to stop
quarrelling with the NCGUB and come up as a united UB front in approaching
the EN group. On the other hand is the historical task for the EN to play
the role of the peacemaker, if they want to be the children of God.
The ethnic minorities who make up more than
half of Burma's population that dominate the country's peripheral regions,
have fought against the central government on and off since independence but
the Junta has slyly managed to arrange uneasy ceasefires with 17 of them.
Now, the Junta is forcing the ceasefire groups be disarm, and pursue their
goals through the political process outlined in the road map. The architect
of the truces, Khin Nyunt, was long gone and even though representatives of
the ethnic militias are still participating in the National Convention, the
Junta has completely ignored most of their suggestions. Indeed, the Junta
had recently signal its intransigence by arresting the leader of one
ceasefire group the (SSNA), along with various other politicians from
Burma's biggest ethnic minority, the Shan drawing the conclusion that most
of the ceasefire will not dare to go back to war. Most of these cease- fire
groups knew this as a trap and so far only one small group has surrendered
its weapons. Others, especially the United Wa State Army and the Kachin are
still well armed. The SSNA has shows its example by merging with another
fighting Shan group and continue to resist. In face of such a scenario it is
up to the dexterity of the EN groups to organize the formidable Wa and the
Kachin, to drive home the point that their tribes would soon be extinct in
the near future if they go along with the Junta and would soon be in the
annals book of history books because the top brass is determined to press on
with its plans, even in the face of fierce resistance.
It would be not much of a problem for the EN
to organize these two groups as after the National Convention, they have
realize the true intention of the Burmese brass. Besides, the younger
generation of these two groups who are going to be potential leaders are
more educated then their ageing leaders. The triumph card is held by EN, if
they can weed out the pro Burman leaders in time. But the EN groups should
also realize that they must think in terms of the whole country, if they
want to have the support of the entire people of Burma other than their own
tribe or race. They must think for the salvation of the entire country, if
they are desirous to get the peoples' support. They cannot afford to ignore
the pro democracy groups who are the majority, even though they may be
splinter hopelessly. So among the Burma groups they should invite those who
are willing to cooperate and work with them for the Democratic Federal
Pyidaungsu and by passed the extremist Burman groups who are
vociferous and refused to participate. This will be the very first step and
after recruiting the academics, and the intelligentsia, they will get the
mandate and began to move both in the international and national circle.
We should note that the
Diaspora works from the outside, and is not afraid to confront issues, he is
extremely familiar with western ways therefore makes him a valuable
commodity. He acts out his ideas to test probabilities and moves
accordingly. The other person is an ethnic nationality and although working
to a similar pattern, works from the inside, and on the battlefield,
therefore holds first hand knowledge of the situation on the ground. What we
now need is the nexus of these two. We must understand that both work for
the same goal even though they work independently of each other but,
inadvertently perhaps, are building the same wall, they simply started at
opposite ends? (Please read UK.org. Collective comment of the 15th
July issue) Of course there will be some differences in the combination of
bricks and perhaps the type of brick used, but in essence, the individual
skills held by each party is the key to a door which for too long, has kept
Burma imprisoned? The job requires two determined minds of different
categories, which can battle out solutions without holding back through fear
or criticism, even if at times, they lose their footing and are forced to
back peddle for a while. These two groups are most prominent figures to
emerge from what was decades of stagnation. For many years the same old
voices and loyalties to tradition, and the inaptness of those who have
dictated progress, or the lack of it, now finally it is time to meet. Both
have displayed their courage in different ways, but both have moved the goal
posts of Burma politics into focus. They have travel to the same
destination, but it is inexorable their routes will meet.
Once this central authority is formed then
the Burmese intelligentsia including our foreign advisors and donors will
flock to give advice and help to this authority of how to steer our noble
cause. Because of their critical reasoning skills, intellectuals are
obligated to raise questions of social and political importance. Because the
domain of the critical intellectual is to write and speak within the public
sphere, denouncing oppression and fighting for justice, human rights, and
other values so dear to our heart. Given the cruelly repressive nature of
the regime, the Burmese intellectuals inside the country is finding
extremely difficult to fulfill the role of the critical thinking. But this
critical thinking both inside and outside Burma, is crucial to finding a
solution of our country's troubles and would be very happy to corporate with
this central authority going all the way step by step. The nixies of the
domestic policy (Diaspora policy or rather the Home policy) with the foreign
policy are very crucial, if not, the key to the success of our cherished
We should bear in mind that
the NLD is willing to
be flexible if the generals would only agree to negotiate and there is talk
of ending the party's support for international sanctions and calling for
more foreign investment and tourism, including a prominent role for the army
in politics. This proposal if carried out, will surely sideline the ethnic
group as in the days of U Nu and so the EN must not missed this golden
opportunity to transform itself as a serious working group capable of
representing the whole country and people and a viable alternative other
than the Junta. This
seems to be the only solution for the moment.
It seem ridiculous to write confidential
policy papers in the Internet where access is public and should presented
restrictedly only to the central authority. But in the absence of the latter
there seems to have little choice. The top secret has become bottom open for
there is no platform to write such policy paper save through the Internet.
We hope and pray that the leaders of the Diaspora to be Wary and Wise,
and will not shrink their duty to take the initiative.
The views express here are solely the opinion
of the author. (Kaowao's Editor)
HEAVY RAINS CLOSE SCHOOLS
(Kaowao, August 5, 2005)
Heavy rains and flooding have closed down the
primary schools along the Jine River between Mon and Karen States, a primary
school teacher told a Kaowao reporter from the Three Pagodas Pass border
'The young students cannot wade through the
water to get to the school which is located just outside of the village,' he
said. 'The middle schools (junior high school) are open because the older
children can walk through the flooding water which remains at knee level
during the heavy downpours.'
Yesterday, heavy rains fell throughout the
whole day leading to the school closure. Local teachers do not expect to
open the school until the rains have let up.
'The motor road between Mon and Karen States
links to the Myawaddy border town (Braewatoi in Mon), which is at a lower
level, and is now mostly under water,' the teacher added. The flooding
during the raining season damaged the road making it impassable.
The primary and middle schools in this low
area usually close during the raining season in July and August, local
The parents are concerned for their children
who are vulnerable during the flooding season, says a Mon villager from the
southern Pha Ann township of Karen State, situated along the boundary.
'The children usually get sick, some get
malaria and the flu,' the woman said.
'The mountain water flows heavily and the
river water rises at this time, which leads to flooding,' says a senior Mon
community leader from the area speaking from experience.
There are over 30 villages; many are Mon,
situated along the river banks of the Jine River that flows into the Andaman
Sea near the capital of Mon State, Moulmein.
'The flooding may wipe out newly planted
paddy fields if it continues to rain like this,' he added.
The Mon farmers in the area take advantage by
fishing during the raining season. They travel by small boat to catch fish.
Some fish by sitting on the roofs of their houses. The low and medium tall
built houses in the area sink in the water when there is heavy raining
and flooding during this time.
The water level does not decrease for one
month and poor families have to relocate to higher ground. Their houses get
damaged because they remain under water for a long time.
Animals, such as cows and buffalos, die and
get sick for lack of grass to eat. 'The primary schools close during this
time, and it is up to the weather to when the schools reopen,' the school
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FACE
(Independent Mon News Agency: August 2, 2005)
Mon State authorities have set up new rules
for Moulmein University students who stay at the private owned hostels
according to students.
The Town Peace and Development Council (TPDC)
distributed the new rules for students and hostel owners last month. Each
hostel has to pay 800 Kyat per copy.
Every student had to fill out the “Personal
Form” and pay 200 Kyat. They were ordered to send copies of the form to the
police, the TPDC office, the TPDC chairman, the municipal office and the
hostel owner, according to students.
The new rules have 15 points including: (1)
Students must not be involved in any political party, and can not read, save
or possess publication or material against the state rule of law; (2) Female
students cannot go out after 8 p.m. and male students cannot go out after 10
p.m.; (3) Students have to sign out if they go out during weekends. If the
student does not follow the rules or acts against the rules he or she will
be expelled from the hostel.
For hostel owners, authorities set up 16
rules. If the owner does not follow the rules or acts against them, he or
she must stop running the hostel and face the law. Hostel owners must take
responsibility for the rules and sign them.
“It is very strict,” a second year university
student said. Students were also banned from entering the school after 9
p.m. The authorities order to appoint a student leader to monitor and take
responsibility for any problems, according to students.
“It is very strict if compared to our times,"
said a graduate who faced countrywide student demonstrations in 1996.
"Authorities should not set up the rule because students are staying in the
private hostels. They are not staying at the university hostel.
Each student has to fill out the form for
four months at a time. The TPDC chairman from the Myaing-thar-yar township
quarter signs the new rules.
More than 100,000 students attend Moulmein (Mawlamyine)
University, which was opened for more than five decades. Most students are
from southern Burma: Karen State, Mon State and Tenasserim division rely on
it for education.
THREE PAGODAS PASS REOPENS:
FUEL TRANSPORT TO BURMESE SIDE
(Kaowao: July 31, 2005)
The State Peace and Development Council
reopened the Three Pagodas Pass border town today, says a Mon national from
the border this morning.
“The border will open permanently from
today,” said a Mon businessman from Three Pagodas Pass. “Gasoline trucks
started to move across to the Burmese side,” reported a Thai citizen who
lives on the Thai side. “Motorcycles are now crossing,” he added.
However, TPP residents said that the local
SPDC commander requested to the Thai local authorities to allow the
transporting of gasoline to the Burmese side for one day, where the price of
fuel is over three Baht per litre higher than it is on the Thai side.
“Lieutenant Colonel Soe Htet, the commander
of Light Infantry Battalion No, 38, plans to sell the transported fuel from
the Thai side to Burmese side before he switches to another Battalion No
51,” a Mon businessman said.
He wasn’t lucky enough for doing personal
interest compared to previous commanders because his term was during the
border closure, the man said.
Some Mon and Burmese businessmen and women
gave him some presents or gifts yesterday in his farewell ceremony.
‘He got at least about fifty thousand Baht
during his farewell ceremony,’ the businessman said.
A Thai citizen said that the border most
likely would open and proceed under normal conditions.
Yesterday, Thai authorities met in
Kanchanaburi to discuss on reopening the border.
‘Only the (Thai) forest department did not
agree to reopen the border, which leads to transporting timber from Burma to
Thailand including furniture,’ said a Thai businessman.
The prices of goods, most from Thailand, have
skyrocketed in Mon and Karen state due to the Myawaddy border closure and
fake Thai currency has circulated on the border, sources from Mon and Karen
States said. However, a businessman from Mon State in Rangoon said that the
price increase is due to the FEC, the Foreign Exchange Currency which is
getting unstable in Rangoon. Some SPDC senior member families stole cash out
of the FEC and left the country.
“The price of goods in Mon state is getting
higher than the normal price,” a local Mon businesswoman said.
KNU BRINGS GOOD GOVERNANCE TO MERGUI-TAVOY
(By Maxmilian Wechsler,
In stark contrast to Burma's leading exiles
who often fly from one country to another, making speeches or migrating to
the west, the leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU) Mergui-Tavoy
District instead look after their people inside Burma, something rarely
publicized and little known to the outside world.
Saw Thaw Thi was appointed as the District
Secretary by the KNU's 13th Congress held last January. As the
second-in-charge of the district, he supervises around 130 KNU personnel and
oversees civilian affairs and functions such as education, culture, finance
and organization departments, food supplies and other matters.
"It is a big task which requires me travel a
lot, mainly in mountainous areas. I don't go around by car or motorcycle,
but only on foot, and I have to walk three to six days to and meet with our
front-line staff," Saw Thaw Thi said. He gave some details about the
district, which is located in what the ruling State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) calls Tenasserim Division, where over 1 million Burman,
Karen, Merguian, Mon, Salon (sea gipsy) and Tavoyan people live.
"The people in our district are animists,
Buddhists, Christians and Muslims who live together in harmony. Most of the
population survives on fishing, agriculture and mining - mainly tin. Of
course," Saw Thaw Thi continued, "we can't control the whole District but
only areas where the SPDC is not present, and this represents about 10
percent of the land with the population of around 80,000."
To a question on how the KNU finances its
operations, he answered: "We receive some supports from Burmese and Karen
businessmen who live in Burma and abroad. Despite our finance problems, we
have completely stopped cutting trees since 1997 because we want to preserve
our country for the future generations. Also, we don't collect taxes from
the people because they are very poor, but they can give our soldiers who
travel around some food and shelter."
Saw Thaw Thi said that the pro-government
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army or DKBA troops were not operating in that
area. "And there is no contact at this moment with two anti-Rangoon armed
groups based there - the Mon-led Hongsawatoi Restoration Party and the
ex-communist Mergui-Davoy United Front."
"Drugs are not a problem in our areas because
our people and soldiers don't consume or deal with it. We have very strict
laws against it. Anyone involved will be severely punished," the Secretary
Saw Thaw Thi also pointed that the violations
of human rights against his people by the SPDC had continued unabated and at
the same rate as before. "They burned down many villages, destroyed
plantations and caused problems to our people in re-location sites. There
are, in fact, very few villages actually left in our areas, as almost 300
"We don't have any contact with the SPDC as
it is the responsibility of the KNU's headquarters," the Secretary stated.
All military affairs in the District are
under command of Brigadier-General Dah Gyaw, who also was appointed the 13th
Congress. "We provide security for our people, helping them with various
development projects and also provide a safe environment for Internally
Displaced People (IDP) who lives in the District," said the General.
He admits that after the 1997 offensive by
the Burmese troops, the strength of the 4th brigade has been decreasing, as
it is difficult to find new recruits. "The discipline and trainings of our
troops are still good, but I am not happy with the fact that since 1997 we
have lost a lot of territory and soldiers. We are now in the most difficult
period ever. Our soldiers face many obstacles, and it is a big obligation
for our commanders and for myself personally to keep the morale of our
soldiers high. This is also one of our main objectives, equally with their
capabilities, but I can say truly that at this moment both are extremely
good. We can't obtain all necessities for the troops as well as weapons and
ammunition, but as a fighting organization we have to maintain our combat
"Our rule of engagement is not to attack the
SPDC first, but if they approach our territories for no reason and with
arms, we will face them and respond with arms as well. We have to protect
ourselves when attacked. Some clashes usually occur when the SPDC troops
attempt to enter areas where the IDP stay. We usually know about their plans
in advance and will try to warn them, and in some cases to move the people
to other locations," Dah Gyaw explained.
"The number of clashes with the SPDC troops
decreased dramatically after the cease-fire negotiations resumed in 2004,
and both sides made a verbal gentleman's agreement as a result. The scale
of hostilities is nothing like in 2003. This is the good news for us and for
our people but we (the KNU) don't want only a cease-fire but a genuine
lasting peace for the country," the commander declared.
"Our relations with the Thai army across the
border are good and whenever some difficulty arises, we will try to talk to
them," Dah Gyaw added.
Concerning the issue of land mines, the
commander said: "We will use this type of weapon only for our defense and in
limited numbers. This has been strictly enforced after the last round of
"The God's Army is finished - some of their
soldiers have joined with the 4th brigade. Now they behave themselves except
still smoke too many cigarettes. So do our soldiers. But these cigarettes,
that they make themselves, are also a repellent against blood-sucking
insects which are plentiful in the jungle," Dah Gyaw said.
Padu Thu Ye, who has been Chairman of the
Southern Committee for the IDP for five years, is in charge of looking after
"My duty is to protect them from 'search and
destroy' attacks by the SPDC troops, to minimize their sufferings and to
give them all necessities such as food, clothes, shelter and medicine. But
it is impossible – because of geographical and other unfavorable conditions
- to provide them with education and other services. We do not indoctrinate
or lecture the IDP about democracy and resistance, nor force them to join
with the KNU or with the KNLA. We educate them to work along with our
personnel to protect their sites. All 7,000 IDP - this figure fluctuates
upon the activity of the SPDC troops against them - don't want to stay at
re- location sites set up by the government, and at the same time they don't
want to cross the border to Thailand and enter the refugee camps. Now they
are living in shacks in the jungle, and they want to be free and go back
home when possible," Padu Thu Ye explained.
His team consists of 10 people who work
jointly with about 30 personnel of the KNU's health department.
The biggest problem of the IDP is diseases,
especially malaria, respiratory problems, intestine disease which cause
stomach ache. Most of them drink water from streams and rivers, which cause
disease, but where conditions permit they will boil it. Malnutrition is also
a big problem, suffered mainly by children.
To look after the IDP requires a lot for
money, Padu Thu Ye disclosed. His budget comes directly from the KNU
headquarters, which receives funds or supplies from international
organizations, foreign NGOs, churches and private citizens who care about
the IDP. He does not communicate with the donors directly.
Saw Kwe Htoo Win, Chairman of the of
Mergui-Tavoy District since 1991, said that the district is under control of
the KNU's Central Committee, and the 4th brigade of the KNLA is under
command of its headquarters.
"The main political objective of the KNU is
to have self-determination, equality for the Karen people. And to achieve
this we need to have a democratic federal union," he said.
"We will uphold the gentleman's agreement,
but if the SPDC attack us then we have to defend ourselves," Kwe Htoo
The New Era Journal - August 9, 2005 (www.khitpyaing.org)