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Posts Tagged ‘Independence

US: Statement on Burma’s Independence Day

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02 January 2009

Statement on Burma’s Independence Day

U.S. looks forward to when Burma’s citizens can enjoy freedom and democracy

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
January 2, 2009

Statement by Sean McCormack, Spokesman

Burma’s Independence Day

Sunday, January 4, 2009 marks the 61st anniversary of Burma’s independence from British rule.  We wish to express our warmest wishes to the people of Burma on this occasion.  As we reflect on Burma’s independence struggle, led by General Aung San, we are reminded of our own history.

We support the peaceful efforts of people everywhere to exercise freely their universal human rights.  We stand with the Burmese people today in honoring Aung San’s vision for an independent, peaceful, and democratic Burma and look forward to the day when Burma’s citizens will be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy.  We earnestly hope that day will come soon.

(end text)

http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2009/January/20090102121307ptellivremos0.9808313.html

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 4, 2009 at 1:39 am

Burmese Democracy Elusive as Country Marks Independence

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http://www.america.gov/

02 January 2009

Burmese Democracy Elusive as Country Marks Independence

State Department honors General Aung San’s vision, calls for more freedom

General Aung San (AP Images)

Burmese independence leader General Aung San, shown here in 1946, envisioned an independent, peaceful and democratic country.

Washington — As Burma’s people prepare to mark the 61st anniversary of their country’s independence from British rule on January 4, the Bush administration expressed its support for universal human rights guarantees and its hope that the Burmese soon “will be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy.”

In a January 2 statement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack expressed “warmest wishes” to the Burmese people as they mark their independence, adding: “As we reflect on Burma’s independence struggle, led by General Aung San, we are reminded of our own history.”

The United States stands with the Burmese “in honoring Aung San’s vision for an independent, peaceful and democratic Burma,” and looks forward to the day the Burmese will be able to exercise their human rights, the statement said.

Acting deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters January 2 that the United States “fought a revolution in order to ensure representative government and the freedoms that we hold very dear,” such as those enshrined in the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.

“We believe that the Burmese people 61 years ago did the same thing,” Duguid said. “Unfortunately, although independent, they have not enjoyed that freedom for much of their history.”

He said that after obtaining independence, Burma “started out as one of the leading nations in Asia,” but “that has not been the case recently” after decades of rule by the military regime. “They now lag in almost all indicators of societal development.”

According to press reports, nine pro-democracy activists were arrested in Rangoon on December 30, 2008, after using a silent march to call for the release of General Aung San’s daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi earned the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Her National League for Democracy party won Burma’s national elections in 1990, but was prevented by the military junta from taking office. She has spent more than 12 of the past 18 years in detention.

In remarks to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2008, first lady Laura Bush praised Suu Kyi as well as other Burmese women who have shown courage by dissenting from the military government and promoting greater freedom in the country. (See “Burmese Cyclone Victims to Get Additional $5 Million in U.S. Aid.”)

The full text of McCormack’s statement on Burma is available on America.gov.

http://www.america.gov/st/democracy-english/2009/January/20090102141459esnamfuak0.5827448.html?CP.rss=true

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 4, 2009 at 1:35 am

World focus on Burma (4 January 2009)

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4, 1948, Burma ended 60 years of colonial rule when it officially declared independence from Britain. In June 1945, Burmese soldiers fought with the British …

Opposition: No hope for future of Myanmar
The Associated Press –
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s pro-democracy party marked the 61st anniversary of the country’s independence from Great Britain on Sunday, …

Burma Blacklists US Artist
自由亚洲电视, Washington DC –
An American academic couple abandons a visit to Burma because one of them is blacklisted. BANGKOK—A prominent American professor and human rights advocate …

Three ‘small boys’
Manila Times, Philippines –
In the Burmese-Thai border, Johnny and Luther Htoo, 12-year-old twins, impressively command “God’s Army” of Karen rebels fighting Burma’s despotic military …

Today in History
Boston Globe, United States –
In 1948, Burma (now called Myanmar) became independent of British rule. In 1951, during the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces recaptured …

Myanmar marks 61-year independence
Radio Netherlands, Netherlands –
Myanmar, the former Burma, has marked the 61st anniversary of its independence with a ceremony and military parade attended by 3000 senior officials. …

Defiant Burmese junta marks independence day
Radio Australia News, Australia –
About 3 thousand ministers, government employees and senior officials attended the ceremony and the formal military parade in the remote capital of …

Colonial-era hotel a reminder of romantic past in neglected Myanmar
Asbury Park Press, NJ –
Before World War II, the Strand was reserved for “whites only,” but during the Japanese occupation of Burma — as Myanmar was formerly known — it became an …

THIS DATE IN HISTORY
Newsday, NY –
1948: Burma (now called Myanmar) became independent of British rule. 1951: During the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces recaptured Seoul …

Myanmar junta condemns ‘neocolonialist’ threat to independence
Earthtimes (press release), UK –

Than Shwe said all Burmese people were duty-bound to safeguard the country’s independence and sovereignty. The military junta is an international pariah for …

Burma Junta marks independence day
Independent Online, South Africa –
Yangon – Myanmar/Burma marked the 61st anniversary of its independence on Sunday with pomp and defiance, as the military junta called on citizens to support …

Human Rights Abuse in Myanmar?
코리아타임즈, South Korea –

… have breached and will continue to breach a number of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises related to their activities in Burma (Myanmar). .

Marking Burma’s Independence Day
Voice of America –
Sunday, January 4, 2009 marks the 61st anniversary of Burma’s independence from British rule. Yet for most of the years since then, the aspirations of …

US expresses support in Burma anniversary message
Radio Australia News, Australia –
The United States has highlighted its support for efforts to establish democracy in military-run Burma, in a statement marking Burma’s 61st anniversary of …

Every day is special – 04.01.2009
Sunday’s Zaman, Turkey –
Today is Independence Day in Myanmar (Burma). On Jan. 4, 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as …

Don’t be fooled by the ‘little’ woman
guardian.co.uk, UK –
The Burmese dissenter Aung San Suu Kyi could well have been assassinated by now if she were a man. Delicate, slight and fetching, she makes the perfect …

Huge Year for Natural Disasters
Democrat Newspaper, St. Kitts and Nevis –

Cyclone Nargis in Burma killed an estimated 130000 people and devastated much of the low-lying Irrawaddy Delta region, while the earthquake which struck …

Politics still reign over principles at UN, critics say
FinalCall.com, IL –
… France and Britain have continued to protect Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan while Russia and China continue to shield Zimbabwe, Sudan and Burma (Myanmar) …

State Department Honors General Aung San’s Vision, Calls for More …
NewsBlaze, CA –
By Stephen Kaufman As Burma’s people prepare to mark the 61st anniversary of their country’s independence from British rule on January 4, …

Rats Causing Famine in Myanmar
Christian News Wire (press release), DC –

… plant’s natural growing cycle has caused parts of the region to be overrun with rats, which has caused a famine in the small country of Myanmar (Burma). …

Just one more year of the dreaded Oh-Ohs
Kamloops This Week,  Canada –
In 2008, a cyclone in Burma killed 78000, while a Chinese earthquake killed 50000, but those disasters were pushed from many minds when financial chaos …



Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 4, 2009 at 1:25 am

World focus on Burma (3 January 2009)

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Most important story of ’08 may have been overlooked
Bucyrus Telegraph Forum,  United States –
Rather incredibly, the story of Cyclone Nargis, the tropical storm that hit Burma, did not crack the Top Ten. More than 84000 people were killed in that …

:. India, a serious threat to Pakistan
Kashmir Watch, Pakistan –
… own India may be able to make significant headway with the Junta and obtain a greater stake in the development of Burma’s oil and natural gas fields, …

Zarganar, Hold on, We Know You Are Alive: Comedian of Burma Jailed ...
The Moderate Voice –
More than 100 activists who rose to prod the government and to deliver mercy to the Burmese, have been sentenced over the past 8 weeks in what amounts to a …

Jeffrey Hellman
Change.org, CA –
US Campaign for Burma, International Campaign for Freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma, World Dharma’s Burma Project International, Coalition Against …

Fancy felines know their way to San Jose cat show
The Argus, CA –
… from Russia and the gentle Birmans, which are believed to have originated in Burma, now called Myanmar, where the species was considered sacred. …


By David Gollust The United States Friday expressed hope for an early transition to democracy in Burma, also called Myanmar, marks the 61st anniversary of …

Bush to host UN chief before leaving White House
Xinhua, China –
… a United Nations “that can act effectively to promote freedom, democratic governance, human rights, and a world free from terror,” the spokesman added.

Bush and Ban to hold farewell lunch at WHouse: spokesman
AFP –
The pair “will discuss the future of the United Nations and the challenges that remain, such as UN reform, the Middle East, Burma, Somalia, and peacekeeping …

US backs democracy in Myanmar ahead of anniversary
AFP –
… to the people of Burma on this occasion,” McCormack said in a statement, referring to the country’s name before the junta changed it to Myanmar in 1989. …

CPJ’s 2008 prison census finds online journalists most likely to …
Bay Area Indymedia, CA –
Cuba, Burma, Eritrea, and Uzbekistan round out the top five jailers from among the 29 nations that imprison journalists. Each of the top five nations has …

Bush to host UN leader for a final time
International Herald Tribune, France –
Johndroe said the two leaders will discuss the future of the United Nations, the Middle East, Somalia, Darfur and Myanmar, also known as Burma. …

US notes Myanmar independence anniversary
International Herald Tribune, France –
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States wants “to express our warmest wishes to the people of Burma on this occasion. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 3, 2009 at 12:07 am

What is there to celebrate in Burma?

ANALYSIS / INDEPENDENCE DAY

Bangkok Post, 2008 Jan 7
Sixty years of ‘freedom’ finds a war-ravaged land, a weary people _ and a buoyant energy sector, thanks to complicit neighbours

By KYAW ZWA MOE

”Let us rejoice at the independence which has come to us today, the result of sacrifices undergone by us and those who preceded us in the years that have passed.” Those are the words of Burma’s first president, Sao Shwe Thaike, in his independence message on Jan 4, 1948 when the country gained its independence after nearly 100 years of British rule.

What has the 60th anniversary of Burma’s independence brought in 2008? Did it bring freedom, prosperity and happiness?

Sadly, little of that can be found in the country today. Instead, we find more oppression, poverty and misery.

On Independence Day, the then-prime minister U Nu also said: ”There is no room for disunity or discord _ racial, communal, political or personal _ and I now call upon all citizens of the Burma Union to unite and to labour without regard to self and in the interest of the country to which we all belong.”

In contrast, a few months after the country gained independence, civil war broke out between the government and communist and ethnic rebel groups. Since then, civil war has continued to rage across the country.

About 10 years after independence, a coup occurred that, in effect, cut off any real chance for freedom and prosperity.

From then on, the military has had a firm grip on the reins of power.

In the past 60 years, Burma had opportunities to create a democracy with a good economy, but failed. Instead, the country has devoted its energy to in-fighting and disagreement, based on differing political ideologies.

We have to speak honestly. Burma today has few things we Burmese can be proud of.

Politics is a disgrace. Economics is a tragedy. Society itself is exhausted. Seemingly, everyone in the world knows something about Burma, but it’s mostly negative.

What will 2008 bring? Sadly again, the future looks like the past.

Politically, the current military regime won’t soften its political stand against opposition groups. The detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will likely celebrate her 63rd birthday party on June 19 alone in custody in her home in Rangoon. Under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years, she will continue to be recognised as the only Nobel laureate in detention.

The junta will blindly continue down its self-created, seven-step road map to what it calls ”democracy”, with its hand-picked delegates. No astrologer can prophesise when this charade will end. The ”first step” National Convention just concluded and took 14 years.

The junta’s notorious prisons will continue to be the home of many of the finest people in the country. Currently more than 1,000 people are unjustly held as political prisoners. Dissidents who fled the country long ago will continue to be denied the right to return home.

The simmering fire in the heart of the Burmese people against the military government won’t be extinguished and is likely to flare up again in another uprising like that led by monks in September 2007.

Internationally, more political pressure and targeted economic sanctions are likely to be imposed by the US and the EU. But don’t expect the pressure to change the stubborn mindset of the generals, to jump start a genuine political reconciliation for the sake of the people.

Likewise, China and the Asean countries can be expected to hold fast to their infamous non-interference stance, in effect offering the generals protection.

We can expect UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to make more trips to Burma in his role as mediator between the junta and Mrs Suu Kyi. His trips, however, will sometimes be turned down or postponed by the junta. He is unlikely to return with any tangible results. But he might leave Burma with upbeat comments like ”we are turning a new page”.

Economically, where is Burma heading? An assessment for 2008 by the London-based influential think tank, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), said the country’s policymaking will ”remain erratic”, but the energy sector will be fairly buoyant next year.

Certainly, Burma will never face a shortage of customers for its natural resources. Countries like China, Thailand and India will continue to ignore internal humanitarian issues while doing business with the junta.

Burma’s natural gas exports will keep Burma’s current account in surplus for the next two years, but import costs will rise, partly driven by the rising cost of importing petroleum products, said the EIU.

”But the outlook for the rest of the economy is poor,” the EIU said. ”Inflation will remain high, and the free-market exchange rate will continue to be subject to downward pressure.”

Actually, Burmese society is chronically ill. Twenty years ago, Mrs Suu Kyi described the 1988 nationwide pro-democracy uprising as a ”second struggle for national independence”.

The second independence struggle is still struggling to keep its momentum against the all-powerful military government.

U Nu, Burma’s first prime minister, said on Jan 4, 1948: ”No one will blame us for being jubilant on such an occasion, on such a day, but nevertheless for most of us it is a day for solemn thought. Burma is again free, but we must be fit to maintain that freedom, and we must be ready at all costs to keep Burma free and to make her great.”

Today after 60 years of independence, little _ if any _ jubilation can be found in Burma. It has slowly evaporated over the course of our independence, gained 60 years ago.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/07Jan2008_news13.php

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 7, 2008 at 5:45 am

World Focus on Burma (7 Jan 08)

  1. What is there to celebrate in Burma?
    Bangkok Post, Thailand – 10 hours ago
    Those are the words of Burma’s first president, Sao Shwe Thaike, in his independence message on Jan 4, 1948 when the country gained its independence after … (If the URL is not working, click here.)
  2. Dhaka postpones BIMSTEC ministerial meet
    Hindu, India –
    After the inclusion of Myanmar in December 1997, the grouping was renamed as BIMST-EC or Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic …
  3. Free to celebrate new year
    Akron Beacon Journal, OH –
    … freedom for the members of the Karen (pronounced Kahr-en) community, who have fled the military regime in Burma, now called Myanmar, in Southeast Asia. …
  4. A digitally enhanced Myanmar opposition
    Los Angeles Times, CA –
    … photographs and blog reports posted on the Internet played a key role in breaking the wall of silence surrounding Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. …
  5. Bird flu still a threat 10 years after leap to humans
    Sioux Falls Argus Leader, SD –
    “Just in 2007, we’ve seen the first reports of human cases in Laos, Nigeria and Burma (Myanmar),” he says. Cases tend to coincide with poultry outbreaks and …
  6. Karen community grateful for escaping violence, dictatorship
    The Chronicle Journal, Canada –

    The second phase of the group crossed into Burma – called Myanmar by the country‘s current military rulers – and arrived in 739 BC, explained Saw Winning, …

  7. TOTAL petrol station demo in Chester
    Indymedia UK, UK –

    On Saturday 5 January, in solidarity with NLD, the Burmese monks and the oppressed people of Burma, members and supporters of Wrexham Women for Peace held a …

  8. Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
    “The licence fee is 500000 kyat a year with an additional 50000 kyat monthly, which you have to give to the Myanmar Info-Tech Corporation,” the café owner …
  9. Sense of loss as Burma marks independence without hero
    Hong Kong Standard Pausing in front of the fence around Rangoon’s main park, a man points through the iron bars to show…
  10. New ASEAN chief upbeat on charter’s full ratification
    Reuters India, India –

    JAKARTA (Reuters) – The new Association of Southeast Asian Nations chief expressed confidence on Monday the grouping’s landmark charter aimed at paving the …

  11. Singapore ratifies Asean Charter
    The Nation/ANN | Bangkok : Singapore is taking the lead and becoming the first member to ratify the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Charter, barely seven weeks after it was signed by the g..

    Written by Lwin Aung Soe

    January 7, 2008 at 5:40 am

    World Focus on Burma (5 Jan 08)

    1. Burma’s Junta Oblivious to International Pressure Imposes Media …
      Asian Tribune, Thailand –
      Military junta of Burma made a defiance sign of non-cooperation with the international community on 4th January, the 60th anniversary of independence from …
    2. Myanmar opposition group calls for Suu Kyi release
      JURIST –
      [JURIST] Opposition activists in Myanmar [JURIST news archive] called for the release of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi [Nobel Prize profile; …
    3. Annals of the War on Terror: Speaking Ill of the Dead
      Publius Pundit –
      … to Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. That’s quite true. Because, God bless her, Suu Kyi has never held actual power for one single second in Burma. …
    4. Laura Bush asks Myanmar military regime to free Suu Kyi
      Times of India, India –
      … with Burma’s opposition, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy,” she said. Laura Bush urged the world to condemn the military regime in Myanmar, …
    5. US First Lady Criticizes Burma’s Leaders on Independence Day
      Voice of America –

      By VOA News US First Lady Laura Bush has issued strong criticism of Burma’s military leadership, on the country’s 60th anniversary of independence from …

    6. On Myanmar, EU’s Envoy Supports UN’s Soft Power Approach, “Laura …
      Inner City Press, NY –

      UNITED NATIONS, January 4 — On the sixtieth anniversary of Burma’s independence from the United Kingdom, the range of international reactions to the images …

    7. India should use influence for neighbourhood peace: EU
      Deccan Herald, India –
      Concerned over lack of democracy in Pakistan and Myanmar, the European Union today urged India to use its “influence” in the region to advance peace and …
    8. Letters, faxes, and e-mail
      Press-Register – al.com, AL –
      Her brave counterparts on the international scene include, for instance, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma (Myanmar), …
    9. Myanmar issue must remain a priority: EU envoy
      AFP –
      UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — Efforts to promote democracy in Myanmar must remain a priority for the international community, European Union special envoy for …
    10. UN envoy to visit China, India for Myanmar talks
      Monsters and Critics.com, UK –
      New York – UN special envoy for Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, plans to visit China and India next week to continue discussion on building up efforts to bring …
    11. Opposition party slams junta over talks with Suu Kyi
      Gulf Times

      YANGON: Myanmar’s opposition party yesterday criticised the ruling junta for “pretence” over meetings with its detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying the talks were merely a bid to ease pressure on the regime. ...