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အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Archive for September 2nd, 2008

Commentary: Burma must stand on its own two feet

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Zin Linn

Sep 2, 2008 (DVB)–

The Burmese opposition and pro-democracy forces have lost faith in the good offices of the United Nations after Gambari’s latest futile mission and its exploitation by the military regime.

Burma’s key opposition party, the National League for Democracy, spoke out against UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, stating that his mission to Burma has failed to accomplish anything. People will not rely on the UN as a trustworthy body if they become too accustomed to hearing nothing but rhetoric.

On 29 August, the NLD released a statement criticising the six-day mission of Gambari to Burma from 18 to 23 August. The party states that Gambari has a mandate to realise the resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly between 1994 and 2007, namely “the implementation of the 1990 election results, the establishment of a democratic Burma, the inauguration of meaningful political dialogue and the release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”. The statement also says that the recent mission of the UN special envoy has not brought about any tangible political improvement.

It is clear that Gambari’s recent mission to resolve the political impasse between the military junta and detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi seems to be slowing to a complete standstill. His efforts to create reconciliation talks between the junta and the opposition have fallen apart.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the key stakeholder in the Burma issue, refused to see Gambari during his six-day trip, although he met her on his previous visits. However, the special envoy also failed to meet the senior general or vice-senior general of the country’s ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council. Gambari’s total failure to accomplish anything at all during this fourth visit now raises grave uncertainties about the future of his mission and about the UN’s arbitration efforts in Burma as a whole.

It is not clear that why Gambari, as a special envoy of the UN, did not follow his own agenda during his fourth trip. It was shameful to see how he danced to the SPDC’s tune – meeting scores of people chosen by the junta to converse with him – but could not persuade the regime to grant him meetings with any of the regime’s decision makers. Senior General Than Shwe – who hides entrenched in the new capital Naypyidaw some 400 kilometers north of Rangoon – has been using Gambari as a pawn in his time-buying game.

Than Shwe has continued to be too pigheaded to accept the dialogue process and refuses to meet anyone who raises the issue of reconciliation talks with the Lady, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Although Gambari sought a meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, he was unable to fulfil his mission as a result of following the junta’s schedule. Instead he met only with puppet ministers who have no authoritative power and dishonest pro-junta agents who have no real role in politics.

The UN envoy originally planned to meet the Lady at the State Guesthouse in a meeting organised by the junta for 20 August, but she did not show up. Obviously, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi did not want Mr Gambari to overplay the impression that his mission was gradually improving. Many people also take the Lady’s refusal to meet the special envoy as a signal to the nation not to depend too much on international intervention. It was a call to fellow citizens to stand up in unity on their own feet.

However, the junta’s mouthpiece The New Light of Myanmar exploited the event in its coverage, claiming that the UN special envoy had voiced his support for the junta’s seven-step roadmap and urged the Burmese regime to ensure free and fair elections in 2010.

According to some analysts, the Nobel laureate refused to see the UN envoy before he had seen the man who calls the shots in the SPDC. She may perhaps be of the opinion that meeting with Gambari in any other circumstances would be futile as he would have no assurances from the senior general of any intention to commence a reconciliation process.

Burma has been under military rule since 1962. The regime has earned the shameful reputation of being one of the world’s worst human rights violators. It brutally suppressed pro-democracy movements in 1988, on 30 May 2003 in the Depayin conspiracy and during the Saffron Revolution in September 2007. There have been many more intermittent crackdowns. The junta has arrested over two thousand political dissidents including the Nobel laureate of Burma, who has been confined to her residence for 13 of the last 19 years. Furthermore, the junta has been intensifying its crackdown on democracy supporters to protect its undemocratic 2010 elections.

Amid the disaster wrought by Cyclone Nargis, the regime held a referendum at gunpoint on 10 and 24 May this year and unilaterally declared a popular mandate for the charter which makes the military the final arbiter of the destiny of the Burmese people. The new elections planned for 2010 will legalise military rule. Needless to say, the processes will not be free and fair any more than the referendum held at gunpoint.

The socio-economic situation is deteriorating fast, and the junta is not able to cope. It will soon come face to face with a depressing future if it continues to reject the national reconciliation process being urged by the opposition National League for Democracy and United Nationalities Alliance.

The NLD and the UNA both point out that the “ratification” of the constitution staged by the junta was invalid. Both assert that it was carried out against the will of the people and with no regard for international norms for referendums. The junta has also ignored the presidential statement of the UN Security Council issued on 11 October 2007.

The regime has turned a deaf ear to successive resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly calling for a return to democracy in Burma through a tripartite dialogue between the junta led by Senior General Than Shwe, democratic forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and representatives of ethnic nationalities. From the turn of events so far it is clear that the junta has no plans to heed the UN call or to release political prisoners, a precondition to facilitate a tripartite dialogue.

Many a pro-democracy citizen in Burma no longer trusts the UN envoy or his facilitation process. Quite a lot of Burmese democrats believe that the Lady’s latest political stance may effectively encourage Gambari to find a way of seeing Than Shwe. It seems to be a pragmatic approach by the Lady to show her annoyance at the protocol of the generals who had arranged a meeting with her for the UN envoy while he was only allowed to see non-authoritative, low-ranking members of the regime.

More to the point, the junta put on a show of Gambari’s meeting with the infamous Union Solidarity and Development Association – a bunch of hooligans similar to Hitler’s “Brown Shirts” who carried out an assassination attempt on Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on 30 May 2003 and during the course of that premeditated attack slaughtered scores of NLD supporters.

The worst is that when Gambari met with NLD members, he tried to encourage them by suggesting measures to ensure that the 2010 elections would be free and fair. But when asked about the 1990 elections he would not give an opinion. Furthermore, he did not even focus on resuming political dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the generals.

Burmese people inside and outside the country are beginning to infer that the United Nations and its special envoy Ibrahim Gambari are preparing to support the 2010 elections, with or without the participation of key political parties such as the National League for Democracy, Shan National League for Democracy and other important ethnic parties. Such an act by the UN would mean effectively approving the seven-step roadmap strategy of the military regime.

Consequently, a question has been emerging for the world body: Will the UN recognise the 2008 military-dominated constitution unilaterally approved by the junta and its consequences?

http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=1696

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Right and wrong and ridiculous

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Bangkok Post, 2 September 2008

COMMENTARY

Right and wrong and ridiculous

SARITDET MARUKATAT

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej made two serious mistakes last week.

The first has already become a hot topic. Last Tuesday he urged the media to make a decision between staying with the government side, or with the People’s Alliance for Democracy camp.

For him the answer to his call might appear simple, given what the PAD was doing – occupying Government House for eight days now. The prime minister on Sunday questioned the media about the principle of balanced reporting, which he said should not apply to street gangsters like the PAD.

But the press, like many people on the streets, will be very uncomfortable when it comes to picking either one: the elected government or the PAD. Mr Samak has said time and again that his work is supported by a mandate from voters who selected the People Power party as their No. 1 choice in the Dec 23 elections. The government is a legitimate body running the country. So why does he have to listen to the voices of those PAD members shouting for his resignation?

The prime minister is right. The government has come about through the democratic process. But this does not mean he can do anything at will. The mandate should be used to serve the public interest. But the faces in his cabinet clearly show that public benefit comes after his own survival, as he has to keep all factions in the PPP happy by rewarding them with cabinet portfolios.

What the PAD has been doing is also disappointing. It is ridiculous to consider the seizure of Government House as showing the “progress of democracy”. PAD members would also be happy to see army generals intervene by staging another coup, so long as it is aimed at kicking Mr Samak out of office.

So far, the anti-government group cannot supply a rationale for its decision to keep the rally going – even though its demands, particularly the one for the government to step back from any attempt to kill the charter, have been met. The PAD is showing that it is good at making both friends and foes. Those siding with the PAD are praised for their courage and fighting spirit. Anybody complaining about the PAD rally – from students fed up with noisy campaigns, to drivers tired of traffic jams – are branded as immature because they lack the spirit of democracy.

Another mistake of PM Samak is his idea for restoring democracy in Burma. He told visiting UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari on Aug 25, that Aung San Suu Kyi should be put aside if other countries want to see a return of democracy to Burma. “Aung San Suu Kyi is one thing. The international community should talk about how to bring about democracy in Burma and focus on the constitution and the elections,” he said.

Mr Samak will try to sell this idea to the United Nations this month, when he takes the podium at the UN General Assembly in New York. And as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to what extent will his idea shape the direction of the regional grouping, remains to be seen.

Thinking about what the prime minister plans to do with this idea is already scary and should be good news for the Burmese military generals. The reality is that it is not logical to separate the Nobel peace prize laureate from democracy in Burma, just like it does not make sense trying to separate ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from the PPP. Mrs Suu Kyi is the symbol of democracy in Burma. She led the National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in the 1990 elections. But 18 years later, she is still under arrest.

As long as she is not included in talks about democracy in Burma, the problem will never end.

In fact, it is very surprising to see Mr Samak think the way he does. The prime minister should have more understanding and should sympathise with Mrs Suu Kyi, instead of alienating her from the political picture in Burma.

Mr Samak complains about the threat from outside parliament against his government, which was elected under the democratic process. Mrs Suu Kyi was also democratically elected, but the Burmese generals intentionally ignored the poll results.

Saritdet Marukatat is News Editor, Bangkok Post.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/020908_News/02Sep2008_news25.php

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 2, 2008 at 6:29 am

Day 8 of Anti-government protest, Thai PM on Bangkok Emergency

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Can the Army really play the role of peacemaker Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Thailand travel warning amid turmoil Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand –

Thai army chief balks at protest crackdown Swissinfo, Switzerland –

Post’s Comments by Pattnapong Chantranontwong, Editor Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Thailand’s political impasse clings on after state of emergency Xinhua, China –

Bangkok Remains Under State of Emergency Following Violent TransWorldNews (press release), GA –

RI hopes Thai govt to hold dialogs with protesters Antara, Indonesia –

No solutions seen as Bangkok clashes recall Bloody May 1992 Manila Times, Philippines –

Warning over Thailand travel TeleText, UK –

One dead and 44 injured – who’s to blame? France24, France –

6TH LD: Emergency imposed in Bangkok after clashes kill 1, injure 45 Yahoo, Thailand –

PM: Surrounding Govt House is the solution Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Vote-buying claim deepens Thai crisis The Age, Australia –

Protests in Thailand spread after riot Mizzima.com, India –

Calls for Thailand’s ruling party to be dissolved euronews, France – (video included)

(Video) Thai PM declares emergency in Bangkok AssociatedPress

Pro-government supporters clashed with anti-government protesters during a demonstration on Tuesday morning outside Government House in Bangkok.

Thailand in crisis as ruling party faces fraud claims

CNN International –
BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) — Thailand’s election commission ruled Tuesday that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s party committed electoral fraud in the December elections and should be dissolved, state media reported.

Thai Army Chief Renounces Force New York Times, United States –

Thailand teeters on the brink Asia Times Online –

China calls for political stability in Thailand Xinhua, China –

Update: Thai PM Places Bangkok Under State Of Calamity AHN –

British holidaymakers warned to avoid trouble-hit Thailand after … Daily Mail, UK –

Senators protest against use of Emergency Decree to control situation Thaindian.com, Thailand –

Timeline: Political upheaval in Thailand guardian.co.uk, UK –

How the Thai crisis could play out Aljazeera.net, Qatar –

Rally may end within two days: Sondhi Bangkok Post, Thailand –

FocusPolitical turmoil to shake Thai economy ICIS (subscription), UK –

Thai instability rocks market First Post, UK –

Thai stocks and baht slide after emergency decree Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –

Thai Airways union plans tough measures The Standard, Hong Kong –

Tokyo Gains Limited, Thailand Totters, On Instability Forbes, NY –

Thai army takes to streets Los Angeles Times, CA

We’ll die for King, say protesters NEWS.com.au, Australia

British holidaym…
Daily Mail

How the Thai cri…
Aljazeera.net

Army chief vows …
Al-Arabiya

Thailand declar…
Monsters and Cri…

How the Thai cri…
Aljazeera.net

Thailand’s prime…
InTheNews.co.uk

PM declares stat…
Welt Online

THAILAND‘S PR…
Pattaya Daily News

Timeline: Thail…
Aljazeera.net

Thai PM annou…
Thaindian.com

….

Person Dies in Thai Protests

New York Times –
By SETH MYDANS and THOMAS FULLER BANGKOK – Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej imposed a state of emergency Tuesday on Bangkok after groups of demonstrators clashed on the street, but he called it “the most gentle way to bring the country back to peace” …

Life Goes On As Usual In Bangkok Bernama, Malaysia –

PPP mulls idea of referendum on who stays and who goes Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Emergency declared in Thai capital after clashes

AFP –
The activists accuse Samak of acting on behalf of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who now lives in exile in Britain after the same protest group ..

Thai PM announces emergency rule in Bangkok

Thaindian.com, Thailand –
by Bupha Ravirot Prime Minister of Thailand, Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok on Tuesday morning, after a fight on …

State Of Emergency In Bangkok Sky News, UK –

Thai PM on Bangkok emergency BBC News, UK –

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In pictures: Bangkok clashes BBC News, UK –

Jetstar’s Thailand rescue mission costs $600k New Zealand Herald, New Zealand –

Thai emergency hits baht and shares, but bonds rise Reuters UK, UK –

Thailand Declares State of Emergency, Clashes Kill 1 (Update3) Bloomberg

Thai baht falls to 12-month low The Standard, Hong Kong –

State of emergency in Thailand: What it means PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria –

Business leaders call for restraint Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Confrontation may be winding down Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Disunity of the unions Bangkok Post, Thailand –

PAD shrugs off UDD deadline Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Diplomats find the impasse alarming Bangkok Post, Thailand –

PAD defies emergency orders to end protest Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Three Thai wounded were shot The Standard, Hong Kong –

3 killed, 20 injured in Bangkok clashes People’s Daily Online, China –

Samak to lose power…and water Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Death on the street Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Several hurt in Thailand clashes Aljazeera.net, Qatar –

Pro-government Thai mob marches toward rivals International Herald Tribune, France –

PAD denies responsibility for bombing police box Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

Thai PM announ…
Thaindian.com

Thai PM says St…
Thai News Agen…

MiniVDO: Russia…
Thailand Nation…

Thai PM declare…
The Associated Press

Thai premier dec…
PR-Inside.com (…

Thai PM impose…
Malaysia Star

State of emerge…
China Internet In…

Thai PM Puts B…
Voice of America

Thai PM says em…
PR-Inside.com (…

Thailand: PM De…
Sin Chew Jit Poh

Thai PM declare…
Aljazeera.net

British holidaym…
Daily Mail

State of emerge…
Radio Australia

World focus on Burma (2 September 2008)

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Simon Tisdall
While uncertainty surrounds Suu Kyi’s plight, there is nothing at all ambiguous about Burma’s political, social and human rights situation one year after …

‘The greatest single truth to declare itself in the wake of 1989 …
London Review of Books (subscription), UK –
What better prophylactic against it than to embrace a staunch Muslim democracy within the EU, functioning as both beacon of a liberal order to a region in …

Security tightened in Bago ahead of protest anniversary
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
… up around the country as a precaution against commemorative protests one year after mass public demonstrations were brutally crushed by the military regime.

Rice farmers struggling with lack of fertiliser
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Sep 2, 2008 (DVB)–Farmers in the Irrawaddy delta who have been facing various difficulties since Cyclone Nargis are in danger of losing their young rice …

286 activists arrested so far in 2008
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Sep 2, 2008 (DVB)–At least 39 human rights and pro-democracy activists were arrested during August this year and 21 were given prison sentences, …

Township police stations told not to release crime information
Mizzima.com, India –
Rangoon – Burmese junta authorities in former capital Rangoon have stopped township police stations from disseminating information on crimes since the end …

Burmese crisis remains static: ICG
Mizzima.com, India –
… of the 8-8-88 nationwide uprising and the much maligned visits of the United Nations Special Envoy to Burma and Human Rights Rapporteur to the country, …

Old problems to revisit new gas pipeline
Mizzima.com, India –
The pipeline will transport natural gas from the newly discovered gas project in M-9 block in Mattaban Gulf of Burma to Thailand. …

Natural gas favours regime, not national interest
Mizzima.com, India –
While Burma’s economy is largely pushed forward by the sale of its natural gas reserves, the military regime has failed to develop gas related industries …

Suu Kyi supporters lambast Gambari and Samak
Mizzima.com, India –
Samak after meeting with UN special envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari on August 25, told reporters in Bangkok that European nations are using Aung San Suu Kyi …

Key world dates for the rest of 2008

Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom –

Burma – First anniversary of the Burmese junta’s crackdown against democracy demonstrations by students and monks in Rangoon. …

Commentary: Burma must stand on its own two feet

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

However, the junta’s mouthpiece The New Light of Myanmar exploited the event in its coverage, claiming that the UN special envoy had voiced his support for …

Canada Free Press, Canada –

The United Nations ranked Burma among the 20 poorest countries of the world and for the economic distress of the country, many including the UN blamed the …

League of Demagoguery

The National Interest Online, DC –

The same would be true today if a US-led coalition invaded Burma, for example. Having set out his dubious premises, Kagan breaks off short, without a single …

Shan State: Villagers Forced Into Local Militia
UNPO, Netherlands –
The Burma Army has been forcing villagers in Shan State to join pro-junta local militia forces, according to reliable sources. …

Taung Twin Gyi NLD chairman dies aged 70
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Sep 2, 2008 (DVB)–U Myat Saing, 70, chairman of the National League for Democracy in Magwe division’s Taung Twin Gyi township, passed away at his home in …

Obama vs. McCain
코리아타임즈, South Korea –
It stated, “We will stand up for oppressed people from Cuba to North Korea and from Burma to Zimbabwe and Sudan.” The Republican platform also mentioned …

Waking up from nightmares
Inquirer.net, Philippines –
We can’t. We don’t watch out, the winds of change will blow us in the direction of Burma. Maybe all the way to Zimbabwe. – Conrado de Quiros, Inquirer.

Literacy camp works on English basics
The Tennessean, TN –
Others fled their country, formerly referred to as Burma, as political refugees, escaping from the military dictatorship. The children, ages 5 to 9, …

Kudos to the Warrior Queens
Seattle Times, United States –
Take a look at the heroic Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner closeted for years in her home in Burma/Myanmar on orders from the evil junta. …

Center opens for immigrants
University of North Carolina The Daily Tar Heel, NC –
The majority of the students are civil war refugees from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Growing up at refugee camps in Thailand, many may have only had …

Marionettes enjoy revival
Myanmar Times, Burma –
But the first recorded mention of puppet theatre was found in an inscription at the Htupayan Pagoda in Sagaing, Upper Burma in 1444. …

Right and wrong and ridiculous
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
Another mistake of PM Samak is his idea for restoring democracy in Burma. He told visiting UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari on Aug 25, that Aung San Suu Kyi …

Schools prepare for more refugees
Utica Observer Dispatch, NY –
In just the past few years, refugees from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, have become one of the largest refugee groups that has relocated to the area …

Meet World’s 8th Most Powerful Woman
Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia –
They include US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, No 35; Burma’s Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, No 38; Philippine President Gloria …

Tuesday, September 9
PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
1988 – Burma’s former Prime Minister U Nu, toppled in a 1962 military coup, announces formation of a rival government. Burma is now known as Myanmar. …

India: From Bamboo huts to Class C drugs
Aid to the Church in Need (press release), Australia –
The warning, from Bishop Stephen Rotluanga of Aizawl, close to the border with Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladesh, comes amid statistics showing that up to one …

Raising heat in hope of a crack
The Canberra Times, Australia –
Recently, he expressed sympathy for the ”good Buddhists” who run the military dictatorship in Burma. The current situation in Bangkok should not, however, …

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer says she’s lost weight
San Diego Union Tribune, United States –
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been in a political deadlock since 1990, when Suu Kyi’s party overwhelmingly won general elections but was prevented from …

Our prime minister and the rest of the world: The odd couple
Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
During his first visit to Burma in March, he returned with much praise for the Burmese junta leader, General Than Shwe, saying he is a Buddhist who …

International media groups urge release of Burmese journalists
Mizzima.com, India –
“So whatever Zaw Thet Htwe and Zarganar were charged with are unlawful in the eyes of international laws and Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which …

ENC reiterates call for tripartite dialogue
Mizzima.com, India –
… Council (ENC) has said that a political dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, ethnic leaders and the military regime is crucial for Burma. …