[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
Please tell me how to get off this list. I was unwillingly subscribed to
thousands of lists and can not get off this one, please assist.
At 07:58 AM 4/7/97, you wrote:
>From: Carol Schlenker + Aung Thu <carol@xxxxxxx>
>Mainichi Daily News, Monday, April 7, 1997
>SEASON RIPPLES WITH RIOTS AND REVOLUTIONS
>Letter from Burma (No. 3) By Aung San Suu Kyi
> Summer in Burma is the months of March and April, when the temperature
>creeps up steadily, sapping strength and snapping tempers. The air is
>redolent with the scent of jasmines and mango trees begin to put forth tiny
>green fruit, hard and sour, best eaten with a dip of salty fish sauce and
>hot powdered chillies. Summer is also the time when we start preparing for
>our New Year which takes place in mid-April and those who believe in
>astrology, which is to say the majority of the Burmese people, study
>predictions for the coming 12 months.
> Last year, I wrote of the way in which the authorities took steps to
>prevent the National League for Democracy (NLD) from carrying out Buddhist
>ceremonies in accordance with our New Year traditions. The result was that
>a ceremony for paying respect to elders planned by members of our party had
>to take place in the middle of the street near a cross roads. Writing of
>this episode I concluded that "it seemed like an omen that the NLD would not
>lack public attention during the coming year." Looking back, this remark
>seems remarkably prophetic, a prediction that would do any astrologer
>credit. Over the past year we have received an inordinate amount of
>attention from the authorities as well as from the media and the public.
> Hardly a day goes by without an article or two in the state-controlled
>newspapers vilifying me or other leaders of the NLD or the supposed
>activities of the party. Every time there is a sign of public unrest or
>opposition to the military government, or a controversial incident, or an
>undesirable situation of any kind, it is promptly attributed by the
>authorities to the NLD. Rising prices, student demonstrations, a bomb going
>off in the inner sanctum of a sacred relic, communal conflict, even an
>attack on NLD leaders by hooligans obviously operating in collaboration with
>official security forces, the authorities do not hesitate to point an
>insinuating finger at our party. The government either has an extremely
>high regard for our abilities or has ceased to be concerned with the truth
>in its obsessive desire to attack the democratic opposition.
> Summer in Burma is not a gentle season of balmy breezes and soft sunshine.
>It is a harsh season when the heat beats down on a drained and desiccated
>land. It is also a season for riots and revolutions, perhaps because
>people's tolerance wears thin when the temperature starts to soar.
> And this makes it the season for focusing on the NLD.
> The most significant events this summer so far have taken place in
>Mandalay. Burma is a land of rumor. A country where there is no freedom of
>expression becomes a land of rumor, a society where the merest wisp of what
>appears to be news of national importance is grasped with desperation by a
>people starved of information. Sometimes there is little substance to the
>whispered stories and the tea shop talk that spread around town as quickly
>as one acquaintance can catch the eye and capture the ear of another. But
>sometimes there is solid fact behind what at first appears to be just a
>piece of frothy gossip.
> The first intimation that something was amiss in the last bastion of the
>Burmese monarchy came when rumors of strange happenings at the Mahamyatmuni
>Shrine began to trickle down to Rangoon. It was said that the breast of the
>sacred image had been riven in two. While people were still debating on
>such a possibility and the implications of so distressing an omen, word came
>out that the monks of Mandalay were making an enquiry into a large crack --
>some said a gaping hole -- that had appeared in the thick gold with which
>devotees had encrusted the image over the centuries. Fast on the heels of
>the news about the enquiry we heard that monks in Mandalay had ransacked
>mosques because a Buddhist girl was assaulted by a Muslim man.
> Traditionally, Buddhists and Muslims in Mandalay have maintained harmonious
>relations and this sudden eruption of hostilities was a surprise to many.
>But it was no surprise when we heard there had been attempts by the
>authorities to place the communal tensions at the door of the NLD.
>According to an official Information Sheet, "it is very much regretful to
>learn that some elements who are bent on creating unrest in the country
>exploited the situation and managed to agitate some of the Buddhist
>religious communities in Mandalay to attack Muslim communities and some
>mosques. On the surface, it seems like a religious clash but it is actually
>very much politically motivated." I quite agree that the communal conflicts
>were probably orchestrated by those with political motives of some kind but
>I can say with absolute confidence and a clean conscience that the NLD has
>nothing to do with dirty politics of that ilk.
> Although generally referred to as "the opposition," the NLD is the party
>that has received the mandate of the people of Burma through free and fair
>elections, and we have a status to uphold as well as a responsibility to
>resist injustice and tyranny and all moves aimed at obstructing a strong
>united democratic movement.
> Summer is a season when the spirit of resistance seems to revive in the
>full glare of the sun. Resistance ... a term evocative of grit and
>determination, risk and sacrifice. Every society which has felt the rough
>yoke of injustice will understand the need to cultivate that part of human
>nature that refused to accept meekly whatever oppressors and fate might
>decide to dole out.
> 27 March 1945 was the day when Burma rose up in resistance against fascist
>military rule. This year once again we celebrated the spirit of justified
>resistance by recalling the events of more than half a century ago when the
>people of our country decided unitedly that it was time to put an end of a
>cruel, unjust system. Among the members of the NLD today, there are
>veterans of the independence movement, people who entered politics as young
>students demonstrating against colonial rule and who went on to fight for
>freedom enter on the civilian front or as soldiers in the Burma Independence
>Army of the Patriotic Burmese Forces, precursors of the present day armed
>forces of Burma. That these men, no longer young but still firm of purpose,
>are with us today in the struggle to gain for our people the full rights due
>to citizens of an independent nation is a matter of great pride for our
>party and a source of inspiration for our people. But it is also a matter
>of shame for our country that there is still a need for the generation that
>fought for independence to continue to labor for the nation of their dreams.
>At this time of their lives they should have the right to look back on their
>achievements with calm satisfaction as they watch their grandchildren grow
>to adulthood in an ordered, prosperous society.
> Political resistance has become so very much a part of our everyday
>existence that on summer nights while I like awake waiting for the cool
>breeze to come up from the lake, I sometimes wonder what it would be like
>for members of the NLD once there is no longer a need to exercise the spirit
>of resistance with grinding perseverance. Will they be completely taken up
>with the task of reconciliation and reconstruction? or will they suddenly
>feel the vacuum of a lack of dangerous challenge and acquire a burning
>desire to conquer unscaled mountain peaks and plumb unexplored ocean depths
>to mop their excess energy? After so many years of constant peril, it would
>be a pleasure to see our people indulging in such relatively safe activities.
>* * * * * * * *
>(This series of "Letter from Burma" appears in the Mainichi Daily News on
>the first Monday of each month. The Japanese translation of the column
>appears in the Mainichi Shimbun on the same day.)