Handcuffed Than Shwe, the Genocide Criminal

Handcuffed Than Shwe, the Genocide Criminal

 than-shwe-2009-3-9-1-50 copy

Than Shwe,

                   Why did you arrest the Burmese Muslim leaders?

This is the CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY amounting to a GENOCIDE.

Do you understand the meaning of  Genocide?

Just licking the BOOT of Obama could not erase your sins or AGAINST HUMANITY and GENOCIDE

 If you fail to release the Muslim leaders, we would start a campaign to handcuff you.

If the world Muslims declare Jihad on SPDC, you could not find a safe haven but grilled in hell soon.

The world Muslim Ummah

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Aung Naing had admitted to the executions and killings of young ABSDF students in the book, “All Wars Are Dirty” by PHIL THORNTON

Aung Naing had admitted to the executions and killings

of young ABSDF students  in the book,

 “All Wars Are Dirty” by PHIL THORNTON

He had given lame excuses of not knowing or understanding the Human Rights and democracy. He also wrongly claimed that the killings were not politically motivated and nobody gained any political advantage.  

The worst part was that he never mentioned the tortures and the actual number of executions was much more than he admitted.

He claimed and blamed the KIO, Amnesty International and the ICRC with the following statement, “before we made it we approached, through the KIO, Amnesty International and the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]. We needed help; we wanted to hand the prisoners over to them. They said they couldn’t do anything, as they could not reach us on the Burma-China border.”

We need to investigate whether AI and ICRC actually got the news and refused to accept the student rebel prisoners. If they really get the message but acted irresponsibly they should be condemned because it is not very difficult to reach the ABSDF Camp through Burma, as many parents and relatives had really done that after informing the Burmese government and the Foreign Embassies like USA, British and Japan. We knew that the remaining students were released by the help of KIO/KIA without the knowledge of Aung Naing and new ABSDF leaders.

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ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE 

WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

 

ASEAN leaders are complaining about the convenient way to solve the Rohingya problem.

But for the Rohingyas or Burmese Muslims or Christian Chins/Karens/Kachins and Buddhist Mons/Shans/Burmese etc AND the NLDS  and political opponents and armed rebel groups_

Whether the SPDC would accept them back is not their main concern. What is the consequences after repatriation is their only problem.

Jailed? Tortured? Is the main concern for all but ‘Village arrest’ (for Rohingyas only) is the problem.

No democracy, no Human Rights, no political life, no respect for the Rights of religious minorities and Ethnic minorities is their main concern.

But the lack of development, economic problems back home are the most important fact for all of them.

There is no clear cut line to DEFINE OR CATEGORIZE THEM INTO POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. 

Continue reading

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

 

First of all I wish to apologize if I am wrong.

 

If Malaysian Government had already sent the condolence note to Myanmar, I am sorry for writing this.

 

If Malaysian Government, GLCs (government Linked companies), NST, TV3, NTV7, RTM and NGOs (esp. government affiliated) had already started a campaign to help Myanmar, please accept my  apology for wrongly writing this posting.

 

If you all haven’t done anything, it is shame on you.

 

We don’t want a cent from you Kaisu Malaysia!

 

 

We know that we are not Orang Puteh (Whiteman) , no Arab blood and have no Malay-Indonesian blood. We are ALWAYS discriminated in your country.

 

Never mind if you do not wish to recognize the undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers.

 

During the great disaster in Myanmar, I hope if Malaysian government could do the followings to help us without spending a cent.

 

Please announce amnesty on all the Myanmar/Burmese undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers including those already in the detention camp. (At least if they could work and earn, they could help their families, relatives and friends.)

 

You could put a time limit for example six months to one year.

It is shameful that you are heartless to continue arresting and some of your agents are harassing them daily.

 

Dr San Oo Aung

 

17 Myanmar Illegal Immigrants Held In Kelantan

BERNAMA, RANTAU PANJANG, May 6 (Bernama) — The Anti- Smuggling Unit (UPP) Tuesday arrested 17 Myanmar nationals without valid travel documents in Kampung Kempas, Machang, as they were being smuggled into the country by a syndicate.

Kelantan UPP commander Mazlan Che Hamid said the Myanmar nationals, aged between 16 and 30 years, had been turned over to the Immigration authorities.

He said the van driver, a Malaysian, stopped the vehicle by the roadside and fled after realising that it was being tailed by UPP personnel at 4.30 am.

The UPP personnel had followed the van from Kampung Kedap here, some 40 km from Machang, he said.

— BERNAMA

Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

 Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

“Think of national interests”, Suaram told by

unjust leader from the Justice Party

On the protest voiced by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on the Selangor-levy plan, he said local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Suaram must place priority on national interests and not champion universal human rights and attack the state government for looking after its residents in their own homeland.

Yes, do not champion universal human rights but just look at your party’s name.

Do you stupidly still think that  your party is established for justice to DSAI alone? BUT not for the UNIVERSAL JUSTICE?

Dear DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza, please give an intensive course on Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, Rule of Law, UN Human Right Decleration on this shortsighted person.

If not this MB is morbidly suffering from Myopic astigmatism, a condition in which his eye is affected with myopia (Shortsightedness) in one meridian only: that is on foreigners.

He will later start an anti-Foreigner campaigns_

Now he said foreigners took the work of locals and buy the houses.

Soon he will propose to shut down the Kelang Port to stop exporting goods and petroleum so that Malaysian citizens could enjoy the surplus, unsold, exports. Sure, commodity prices would go down because of unsold, un-exported goods.

Soon he would stop all foreign tourists from entering Selangor to reduce traffic congestion and to give more hotel rooms available to local tourists. Hotel room rates would go down up to the level affordable to all the Malaysian citizens.

Soon he would stop all foreign direct investment to give more opportunity to the locals.

Selfish politicians like him would never think globally.

Selfish politicians usually use national interests as a smokeshield to disguise their cruel deeds.

Selfish and weak politicians always try to exploit or hit the soft spots. Khalid dare not exploit on Malaysian old pendatangs so he is looking the blood of fresh pendatangs.

(Sorry Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians for using this insulting words. I myself was labled like that in my own country and here we all are treated unfairly and unjustly as 10th. Grade foreigners amongst fresh pendatangs)

Selfish politicians always use the (Ultra) Nationalistic sentiments to incite or exploit against Foreigners.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should be controlled by DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza.

Justice Party (I hope Justice for all and not for selected races and citizens only) leader, new Chief Minister Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

I sensed a déjà vu phenomena while reading Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s words_

Former PM Tun Mahathier had also reported to utter these words as a lame excuse when he imposed increased medical fees for the foreigners.

  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that legal foreign workers’ children are not allowed at all in any government schools!
  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that the government had built 3000 schools only for the illegal immigrants from Indonesia. (According to NST front page news and photograph of a school)

Even PR holders are denied the good faculties in Public or Government Universities nowadays.

  • Local students are subsidized using part of our levies and income-taxes.
  • Even in the expensive private universities, locals are supported using the foreigners’ levies and income-taxes.
  • Adding salt to that do you know that we need to pay  more then locals? And one idiot is asking to charge more on foreigners in the local universities. Is this the Justice?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should open his eyes and fight for that injustices and then I am sure the foreign workers would be willing to pay even hundred times more than he proposed.

He is ignorant that Government health facilities always charge THREE TIMES first clast fees to the foreigners while keeping them in the Third Class.

  • He should fight to charge same rate as locals at hospitals if he wish to charge again in his state.
  • He came from Justice party: after charging those levies (when the locals earning the same salary are usually exempted from paying income-tax because of low earning.)
  • Afterall those foreign workers are working for your country, your countrymen’s companies that your citizens owned at least 30% and for your citizens. Where is “Justice” if the workers your citizens employed are forced to pay extra charges or sometimes denied medical treatment?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  should be banned from claiming that he is from Justice Party if he continue to deny justice for all.

Using state Roads?

  • Foreigners also pay income-tax or levies.

  • Even if they use the taxis or busses, they paid the fees that is inclusive of all the Road Tax, Import Duty, Sales Tax, AP Fees, Tool fees etc.
  • If the Foreigners buy cars are they exempted from above?

So don’t give lame excuses Tun and Tan Seri, this is your country and State. If you want to discriminate on poor foreign workers, just do whatever you like. But don’t give those lame silly excuses. Just Hit the Soft Spots!” It is safer than exploiting the same citizens.

By the way, your “zero tolerance on squatters” is also targetting the poor. 

Please read the following news_

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in the Star Online news 

BANTING: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) should take a more national approach to foreign worker issues and not attack the state government, says Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid said the state government’s proposal to collect RM9 monthly from all migrant workers in the state was aimed at setting up a fund to help provide re-training for local unemployed youths so they could land better jobs.

He said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

Well done: Khalid, you have darken your party and opposition.

“Suaram feels that bringing in foreign workers is one of the solutions to human rights problems but they should understand we have to help our own people, too.

“This is a democracy, so we can open up and discuss the matter,” he told reporters after officiating at the closing ceremony of the training for local authorities’ enforcement officers at the Selangor Enforcement Training Centre (Pulapes) in Jugra here yesterday.

On Monday, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng hit out at the state government’s proposal, calling it unjust as foreign workers received low wages and were often exploited by employers or recruitment agencies with non-payment, unjust deduction of salary, long working hours and unfair dismissals.

He added that migrant workers were barely surviving and probably in debt after paying exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia.

Khalid meanwhile said the RM4,000 in levy and agency charges migrant workers paid was too large a sum, and the state planned to call on the Federal Government to reduce the amount.

He also proposed that a centralised information system be set up to keep an accurate record of foreign workers in the state.

“I was among the people involved in the corporatisation of the system for foreign workers and I can show ways to keep tabs on even the illegal workers,” he said.

Khalid also said the Federal Government should not cast aside suggestions just because they came from opposition parties and should accept the good

“We want to show the federal government how to keep records on illegal workers (Have you use illegals in your old palmoil company?) by having the state levy. I will set up a centralised information system to keep correct records on those who come and work in the state,” he said.

Abdul Khalid said the RM3,000 to RM4,000 charged by migrant worker agencies was high and that for the Selangor government this was not reasonable.

(Then you have heart to extort extra RM 9.00, that will definitely pass onto the poor workers.)

(Have your old company pay the levies for your workers.  Afterall Tun said that levies were meant to made the employers expensive to hire foreigners but Tun and all of you close your eyes and look other way round when the poor foreign workers have to pay those money.)

If you are man enough demand part of the levies to be paid to state governments from the immigration or MOF.

He said millions of ringgit were paid by foreign workers to recruiting agencies that brought them to the country and the Malaysian government collected a levy but eventually the agents concerned did not know where the workers were and this “flood of foreign workers” created problems for society.

Although migrant workers, especially the illegal ones, were eventually repatriated by the government, the problem did not seem to end as they returned to the country and the ones who benefited were the travel agents and migrant workers recruitment agencies, Abdul Khalid said.
 

See this great Malaysiakini news,

  1. Permas: New MB’s statements ‘chilling’ by Soon Li Tsin 

The community residents’ association of Selangor and Federal Territory (Permas) is disappointed with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s decision to continue with the ‘zero squatters’ policy.   

Opposition leader Wan Azizah unveils bold agenda

The nation’s first female parliamentary opposition leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, today unveiled an ambitious agenda to boost economic growth and fight corruption.

Access to equal opportunities

Strengthening race relations

Withdraw Monthly Fee

on Migrant Workers

Wednesday, 26 March 2008 
Suaram is deeply disturbed with the plan of the Selangor state government to collect RM10 monthly fee from all migrant workers in the state of Selangor. The new policy was announced by the Chief Minister of the newly formed Selangor state government, Khalid Ibrahim recently during a press interview with Chinese press.

According to the Chief Minister, the money collected will be used for the purpose of setting up a re-training fund for unemployed youths. It aims to equip them with more skills and in a long run reduce the reliance on migrant workers. 

The migrant workers community is

  • one of the most exploited
  • and most marginalized groups in the society.
  • They work in conditions described as 3-Ds – dirty, demeaning and dangerous,
  • and theirs are jobs which the locals shun off.
  • They receive low wages
  • and are often exploited by employers
  • or recruitment agencies for non-payment,
  • unjust deduction of salary,
  • long working hours,
  • unfair dismissal etc.

By taxing the migrant workers

  • who are barely surviving
  • and probably in debt in order to pay the exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia ,
  • an extra heavy burden is added on the migrant workers and their families.

And to use the money collected from the migrant workers to re-train local unemployed youth and eventually replace the migrant workers, is scandalous, to say the least.

Even if the monthly fee is to be paid by the employer and not the migrant workers, we are concerned that eventually this fee will be deducted from the migrant worker’s wages one way or another.

The new policy reflects how unsensitized Malaysian political parties,

  • be they in the opposition

  • or the government,

are to the plight of migrant workers.

The Parti Rakyat Keadilan (PKR) has espoused the principle of justice and won a huge victory with the pledge to the people to fight against the widening income gap between the “have” and the “have-nots”.

Certainly, taxing the poor migrant workers to assist local unemployed youth, do not measure up to the principle and spirit of justice.

Suaram calls on Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim to immediately withdraw this unjust policy. We also urge the Chief Minister to consult civil society organizations who are working on migrant workers issues before making any policy decisions in the future.

Yap Swee Seng
Executive Director

 

 

Troubling times

Troubling times

Modified and edited the original comment written By P RAMAKRISHNAN . He is Aliran president and this article first appeared in Aliran Monthly and reprinted in Malaysiakini.

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article P RAMAKRISHNAN . I hope that the P RAMAKRISHNAN  and Aliran  could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens

The silent majority must wake up and take a stand against chauvinistic Myanmar Military who are using race and religion to stir the cauldron. These are troubling times and we have every reason to be troubled. Race and religion seem to be running riot and upsetting the equilibrium of our lives and portending a dangerous future for Myanmar/Burma.

Race and religion can cause discomfort and disquiet. They can be a very potent force that can threaten and shatter our fragile unity, undo our common efforts to live in peace and harmony.

We have witnessed these many months how unscrupulous people have used the issues of race and religion for their selfish ends without any consideration for the welfare of the country.

It is indeed sad that more than half-a-century of nationhood has not produced a common citizenry. We are still compartmentalised into our ethnic identities in so many ways. Whether it is your birth certificate, National Registration card, application forms, registering for an examination, getting married – whatever you do in Myanmar – you are forced to identify yourself along ethnic and religious lines.

It is only when we apply for passports to leave the country that most of us can identify ourself as a Myanmars. But once we return Myanmar, we lose that identity.

We should not be subjected to this moral shame. It is demeaning and undignified that I should leave the country as a Myanmar and return home as an Indian mixed blooded (read migrant).

Why is it so difficult to forge a common nationhood?

Shouldn’t that be the natural consequence of independence?

Wasn’t that the dream of our forefathers that eventually we would evolve into a nation with a common destiny, remaining true to our  Country?

But that was not to be so. Selfish communal politicians and Military leaders made sure that it is in their interest to keep the various races and religions apart. They never stopped stirring the cauldron of hate; they made sure that intolerance and prejudice would be there at all times, smouldering and simmering.

Stirring the cauldron

It was only recently that we witnessed how extreme the situation has become. It was shocking that so much venom was spewed with such impunity in the General Ne Win’s BSPP party convention prior to the formulation of the new Immigration Law, which was termed as ‘the most racially charged Tatmadaw event in years, shocking many people who read the proceedings and the apple-polisher newspaper articles, comments and editorials calling the Burmese Muslims, “Kala dein” or spawns of Indians and “Mi Ma Sit_Pha Ma Sit”, in Burmese meaning BASTARDS.

No one intervened to stop them from expressing so much antagonism, anger and hatred. Nobody chided them for their unbridled tirade. But, on the other hand, there was much cheering and approval for what was said.

Clearly some of the things that were said were without doubt seditious. They had a tendency to inflame emotions and provoke passions.

Actually every human being is willing to risk lives and bathe in blood in defense of race and religion. Don’t play with fire Tatmadaw leaders. If you mess with our rights, we will mess with yours.

 ‘When tension rises, the blood of Jehadist warriors could run in our veins’. And Burmese Muslims’ thread of driving the cars full with petrol tanks and jerry cans into the Buddhists homes and set the whole city on fire as the revenge had made the Military leaders, agitators and provocateurs to stop their plan to create more anti-Muslim riots.

 ‘Don’t test the patience of the Burmese Muslims and don’t play with fire’.

Japanese Bushido Samurais believe that once ‘You have unsheathed the knife KATANA, you must use it’

It was so bad and shocking that the level of open debate on issues relating to race and religion was worryingly threatening Myanmar Muslims. But it appeared that we were helpless to put a stop to this very damaging rhetoric that had a field day in Myanmar up to the present!

Insensitive, irresponsible

The remarks are intolerably rude, crude and insulting.

The hate-filled sentiments at the assembly, was regrettable and the whole Burma/Myanmar is shrouded in an atmosphere of fiery and emotional sentiments, remarks that were more poisonous and unreasonable.

They could raise issues of race, religion and citizenship. That is every government or leader’s rights. But the Myanmar Military leaders should not attack or hurt the feelings of other communities while highlighting the problems of one particular community…You think it’s very clever, but it hurts people’s feelings…Don’t do anything that will provoke.

The unkind debates over the mixed blooded Kala Deins are the cause for concern for all of us.

But it should not be viewed as if only the Myanmar-Muslims were upset and angry with what transpired Myanmar. A vast majority of well-meaning Burmese, both Buddhists, true monks and non-Muslims, were aghast that the Myanmar Military Junta and Military Intelligence or MI could have descended to such an atrocious level. They were disappointed that a dominant ruling Military Junta leaders could be so insensitive and irresponsible in dehumanising and demonising the fellow Muslim citizens.

Religious ultras, opportunistic politicians

While the racial approach is being played contemptuously, the religious approach is gaining a frightening momentum. It is fanned by the ultra-conservatives and opportunistic Military Generals who are hell-bent on changing the way of life that we have been accustomed to. They have gone into top gear to bring about changes that will ultimately affect all those who disagree with them by denying the very rights that are guaranteed under the old constitution and the late General Aung San.

Knowing that it is Tatmadaw that dictates policies and sets the directions of the country, citizens have cause to worry. Military Junta’s decisions become national policies with no regard for the majority opinion at the national level.

It is difficult to comprehend the reasoning for this uncompromising stand. They proclaim that Islam is in the assault mode on Buddhism but produce no evidence.

We wonder how is it possible to have mature democracies in the uncivilised military dominated Myanmar.

How is it there can be so much tolerance and mutual respect elsewhere that seems to be lacking here?

No problem before

There were no racial problem nor tensions before 1930 when the Bamas used the Nationalistic Spirit against the Indians and Muslims as a smoke-shield to start a revolution against Colonial rulers, British. Actually most of the Burmese Citizens had accepted the, One God, Many Paths, reflecting the viewpoints of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Science.

Since then, things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. It has become so intolerable that what used to be a natural thing as wishing and greeting one another during festive occasions and even visiting houses were abandoned in some towns.

Time to wake up

If we take a careful look at the way things are evolving, it reveals a minority vocal group in influential positions in the Myanmar Tatmadaw and MI who are dictating terms and deciding policies against Muslims of Myanmar. And as long as the majority who disagree with them stay sullen and silent, things will not get better – it will only become worse.

That is why it is necessary for the majority of Burmese to realise that unless we get together and take a common stand against the forces that pose a clear danger to our ethnic relations and harmony, we stand to lose all that we cherish.

Well-meaning people must get involved in this effort all over the country and send forth a clear message that if the present Military Junta leaders do not change, then we must change them for the good of the nation. We must not hesitate but act seriously and bravely.

Let us draw strength and hope from this saying:

‘It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Burmese Muslims requested the future leaders including the opposition leaders to grant the following Basic Human Rights

Burmese Muslims requested

the future leaders of Burma

including the opposition leaders

to grant the following Basic Human Rights

The following basic Human Rights should be granted to all the citizens including all the Muslims of Burma/Myanmar:

  1. Rights of unrestricted internal travel in the whole of Myanmar/Burma.
  2. Rights to travel abroad must be accepted by the government and to relax the strict present regulations on all Myanmar/Burmese citizens.
  3. Equal access to education at all levels including postgraduate studies, locally and abroad, according to meritocracy.
  4. Equal rights to all the government jobs and chance to be promoted according to meritocracy but not based on the Military experience or relationship.
  5. Equal rights to settle and work in any parts of Myanmar/Burma.
  6. Equal rights to serve and entitle for promotion to all the ranks in armed forces, Police, immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs etc.
  7. Freedom of religion, worship, religious publications, building and repairing of religious buildings and religious schools etc.
  8. Rights to allow participation in the election process and hold posts in all the levels in national and regional politics.
  9. Rights to hold the political and administrative posts in various level of government and its’ agencies.
  10. Freedom of speech and expression in any form of media is important. But freedom after speech is especially more important!

We all must recognize and implement:

  1. (i) The Status, Rights, protection, participation and representation of all the Ethnic Minorities.
  2. (ii) The Status, Rights, protection, participation and representation of all the Minority Religious groups.
  3. (iii) The Status, Rights and protection of the poor and downtrodden.
  4. (iv) Programme and implementation for the eradication of poor and general measures to increase the living standard of people. Handicapped people, youths, orphans, aged, disease inflicted people, homeless people, retrenched and unoccupied peoples’ rights and protection must not be ignored.
  5. (v) Majority got the right to rule. But they must respect, protect and guarantee the Minorities’ rights.
  6. (vi) Minorities must have the right of representation because the Majorities with their number of votes could totally monopolize all the good, lucrative and high places and positions, marginalizing the minorities.
  7. (vii) Majority must ‘sacrifice’ their absolute power by reserving some places and positions thus giving the Minorities the chance of participation and representation.
  8. (viii) Workers rights and adequate protection. Rights of forming unions, strikes, compensation, recreation, various benefits, pension and etc.
  9. (ix) On farsighted and fair distribution of investment policy in various fields of : Education, Research and Development, Science, Information Technology, Health, factories, Irrigation, Houses especially low cost houses and infrastructure projects.

There must be antitrust legislature to control the monopoly in each and every field.

We have to look, monitor and record at the –

  1. (a) Distribution of wealth and opportunity among the different groups depending on race, religion and political alignment, Political patronage- awarding government contracts, appointments, promotions, scholarships, land distributions, permits etc.
  2. (b) Rural development, Urbanization, squatter relocation and settlements.
  3. (c) Basic infrastructure facilities, water, electricity, highways, telephone, multimedia facilities, railways, seaports and etc. 

not to forget the most important basic issue of :

  1. (i) The Rights of Dissent and Disobedience of the people, parties, minorities and even among the Ruling Party (Party ordinary members, Central Committee Members, MPs and even Cabinet Ministers). Those individuals should not be forced or coerce to always toe the party line.
  2. (ii) We also wish to request that the minorities must have a say in the governance or at least the laws and rulings that are related or affected them.
  3. (iii) Democratic governments must accept that accepting the participation of minority races and religions is better than hatred, resentment, revolution, racial riots or civil wars.

 “Counting the ballots is better than cracking the skulls”.

We need the folowing undertaking by the future governments of Burma/Myanmar_:

  1. 1. “The people, whether Majority or Minority must have the right to disobey or resist the commands of the oppressive, authoritative or tyranny governments, if their commands trespass the limit and no longer serve their interests.
  2. 2. There must be enough check and balance. ACA (Anti Corruption Agency) or any organizations dealing with corruption must be independent from the administrative branch of Government.
  3. 3. Newspapers, TVs and all the media must be free and independent to probe and do investigative reports.
  4. 4. NGOs and other right groups must also be free to express their views. All of them and various reporters must have a free access to the government and the big companies as long as there is no real danger of espionage or national security. There is a danger of over protection and trying to hide under the name of national security to avoid exposure of the corruption.
  5. 5. There must be real separation of powers in the government. Administrative power of the head of the government should not let to be able to influence the Judiciary, Attorney General’s office and Legislative assembly.

In gist, the Rights we should get from the good governments are, Political, Civil, Human Rights & Economic Reform, including though not limited to:

  1. Freedom of speech.
  2. Freedom of association.
  3. True, full democracy.
  4. Separation of Powers between Government, Judiciary, Police & Military.
  5. Independent, competitive non-government media, free from government censorship or editorial restrictions.
  6. Full freedom of religious-thought, belief, expression & practice, including abolition of Government controls of religious affairs.
  7. The right of self-determination.
  8. The Rule of Law: The presumption of innocence until proven guilty; Trial by jury of peers; The right to a fair trial with appeal rights; The right to adequate & independent legal representation
  9. Non-discrimination by Governments, individuals or organisations on the basis of race, nationality, colour, religion, gender, marital status, political belief or affiliation, physical or mental disability.
  10. Religious & Political organisations must be permitted.

if I go into details of other Human Rights such as:

  1. (i) Detainees’ Rights: Prisoners’ Rights, POW’s (Prisoners of War) Rights, Political Prisoners’ Rights etc. Free from torture and inhumane treatments. Right to engage a lawyer, right to remain silence, right to defend one self in proper open court of law, right of access to medical care, communication with the love ones, rights to recreate and rehabilitate in the prison etc.
  2. (ii) Women’s Rights,
  3. (iii) Children’s various Rights,
  4. (iv) Senior citizens’ Rights, Handicapped Persons’ Rights, and various victims of diseases, HIV patients, Ca patients etc Rights.
  5. (v) Workers Rights; Workers Unions’ Rights, Foreign Workers’ (legal and illegal) Rights etc
  6. (vi) Foreigners’ Rights; Foreign temporary Residences Rights, visitors, tourists, Foreign Investors and Asylum or refugee seekers’ Rights etc
  7. (vii) Diplomatic Rights, Inventors’ Rights, Artists’ Rights, Patent Rights etc. etc…

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire VII

Detention of Ethnic Shan and other opposition Leaders

Read detail in Irrawaddy, “Detained Ethnic Leaders Denied Outside Medical Aid” By Shah Paung on January 8, 2008

Detained ethnic Shan leaders are being denied medical treatment from outside for serious health problems, according to the Shan National League for Democracy.

9883-khun-htun-oo.gif

SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo

SNLD spokesman Sai Lek told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that prison authorities had rejected or ignored requests by the families of SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo and SNLD member Sai Hla Aung for medical attention from outside.

Hkun Htun Oo suffers from_

  1. prostate problems,
  2. diabetes,
  3. heart disease
  4. and high blood pressure.

Sai Hla Aung has_

  1. a hyperthyroid condition,
  2. diabetes
  3. and heart disease.

They were arrested in February 2005, together with_

  1. SNLD General-Secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin,
  2. Shan State Peace Council President Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten
  3. and Shan politician Shwe Ohn, who was later released.

They were arrested days before a resumed session of the National Convention opposed by Shan leaders.

  • Hkun Htun Oo was sentenced to 92 years imprisonment and is detained in Putao prison, Kachin State.
  • Sai Nyunt Lwin received a 75 year sentence and is in Kalay prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sao Hso Ten was sentenced to a total of 106 years imprisonment and is in Hkamti prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sai Hla Aung received a sentence of 75 years and is in Kyauk Pyu prison, Arakan State.
  • Meanwhile, arrests of National League for Democracy members continue. NLD spokesman Nyan Win said five members of the NLD youth wing had been arrested between Burma Independence Day on January 4 and January 6. No reason has yet been given for the arrests.
  • According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), based in neighboring Thailand, there are more than 1,400 political prisoners in Burma.

SPDC Junta and Myanmar Tatmadaw failed to understand that patriotism is not the sole property of the Myanmar Tatmadaw and its Generals alone.

Each and every citizen_

  • regardless of his race,
  • religion,
  • social status
  • or political alignment,

has the right and is duty-bound to show his sense of patriotism to the country he loves in his own way.

Tatmadaw failed to acknowledge that the opposition parties like NLD, SNLD etc are equally patriotic, if not more so than SPDC leaders.

Many opposition leaders, to name a few_

  1. U Gambari lead real Buddhist monks,
  2. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD leaders like U Tin Oo,
  3. U Hkun Htun Oo led SNLD Shan leaders,
  4. Min Ko Naing lead 88 Student leaders, like Ko Ko Gyi etc,
  5. Burmese Muslims such as, Daw Win Mya Mya (NLD Mandalay, Panthay) and Ko Mya Aye (88 Student leader)

Are unlike those in the SPDC and Tatmadaw,

  • have given up much of their comforts in life,
  • endured so much pain and humiliation
  • and even have been detained
  • and tortured
  • under the illegal, undemocratic, unjust, draconian laws of the SPDC.

SPDC Junta should answer my question even if their brain is slightly larger than a bird’s brain.

If sacrificing the major part of one’s life for the nation is not patriotism, what is it then?

It is extremely distressing that the ruling Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw want to cling onto power instead of being an instrument for the peace, progress, prosperity, unity of Myanmar and power house to start an inertia of change to democracy.

Not only the different Races and religions have become the cause of disunity, hate, violence and turmoil but the Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw show the world that they are even willing to assault, arrest, torture and kill their own monks to stop the momentum of people’s peaceful struggle to initiate the changes to democracy.

So what’s left now to think about the safety or guarantee of other minority races and religious groups’ fate, life and property ?

We all now witnessed that Myanmar Tatmadaw is even willing to sacrifice and annihilate any one or any obstacle on their way to the road to their permanent dominance of Myanmar. 

But the whole world looks quite cool, slow and looks like willing to patiently waiting forever for the SPDC promised, “Rice presenting on the moon-plate”

SPDC Generals should stop playing the politics of fear and intimidation on the unarmed Myanmar civilians. They should not politicise or use the national security as an excuse because it would be the most unpatriotic act, amounting to treachery.

We have journeyed together, sharing a common brotherhood for 60 years and we have attained wisdom and maturity to effect change that would create an environment where all of the Burmese/Myanmar citizens can have our voices heard, rights respected and continue to live together without fear or suspicion of each other.

We should not allow selfish Military Generals to sow the seeds of disunity, suspicion, hate and jealousy that will only be detrimental to us in this multi-racial and multi-religious nation of Burma/Myanmar.

As Barrack Obama, the US presidential candidate, said after his first defeat in the primaries:

‘Change is hard. Change is always met by resistance from the status quo. The real gamble is to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result’.

We cannot and should not expect a better outcome from the same old Tatmadaw system over and over again. They will try to keep all the issues and dialogue in the back burner.

In order to create a just government for all of the Burmese/ Myanmars, we must strive to effect a change.

We have no much time to wait for the evolution, until or unless, UN and Mr Gambari could forced the snail paced present (almost effectively stalled) dialogue on the rocket louncher to install on to the fast track.

To bring about that change may not be that easy, it may be a monumental task, but there must be a beginning for all good things to happen.

Why shouldn’t it be now?

Is the saying, “Time and Tide wait for no man” irrelevant to the inhumane, noncivilized uniformed Tatnadaw?

Why did UN and the whole world allow the Junta to procrastinate when all of us already know that what the SPDC want was TIME only.

SPDC stupidly thought that time could heal the bleeding hearts of the people seeing their beloved revered monks beaten, arrested and killed.

It is now in our hands to make that change.

Do we have the will and courage to do so?

Except for the USA and EU leaders,

  • are ASEAN leaders,
  • OIC leaders,
  • Common Wealth leaders,
  • Non Allied movement leaders
  • and UN member countries’ leaders

all became cowards? Eunuchs with any B–ls? Greedy Crooks?

Or are they all willing to close their eyes, as the Burmese saying, “Myauk Thar_ Sar Chin Yin_Myaul Myet Nher_Ma Kyi Ne’.” meaning. “if you want to eat the flesh of the monkey, avoid looking at the face of the monkey.”

So carry on world leaders, just close your eyes to avoid seeing us beatened, tortured, arrested and killed by the Than Shwe Junta.

Please continue to enjoy the following article I republished from Irrawaddy.

Pro-Democracy Political Prisoners in Poor Health Condition
By Shah Paung
January 16, 2008

At least four detained political prisoners in Burmese prisons are in poor health and need medical attention, according to their family members.

The four political prisoners are Hla Myo Naung and Kyaw Soe of the 88 Generation Students group, who are both in Insein Prison in Rangoon; Win Maw, a pro-democracy activist, also in Insein Prison; and Myint Oo, a committee member of the Magwe Division of the National League for Democracy, who is in Mandalay Prison.

Hla Myo Naung has eye problems and is nearly blind in both eyes, according to a family member. He has had eye problems since October 2007, and was arrested while he was enroute to a Rangoon clinic to have an operation on the left side of one eye.

After he was arrested, authorities performed an operation on one of his eyes, but it was not successful and an eye nerve was damaged.

Family members of both Win Maw and Kyaw Soe said they received medical treatment in prison after they were tortured by the authorities in an interrogation center.

However, Win Maw has now contracted pneumonia. Kyaw Soe suffers from fainting spells. Both men were victims of water torture, according to sources.

A family member of Win Maw said they have not been allowed to visit him for nearly three weeks.

Myint Oo, who also suffers from pneumonia, began receiving medical treatment in a Mandalay prison hospital three days ago, according to family members.

Tate Naing, the secretary of the exiled-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said that since August 2007, the military government has arrested more than 7,000 people, including pro-democracy activists.  Prisoners are not allowed to receive outside medical treatment.

88 Generation Students leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi also have health problems, say their family members. They were arrested by authorities in August 2007.

According to the AAPP, there are more than 1,850 political prisoners in Burmese prisons.

 

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI

 The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire VI

Country Profile 

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Size:
Lies between 19 and 24 degrees latitude North, and Stretches from 96 to 101 degrees longitude East, covering approximately 64,000 square miles; shares boundaries with Burma, China, Laos, Thailand and the Karenni.

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Topography and Drainage:

Bisected north to south by the Salween River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. It lies at an average of 2,000 feet above sea-level, and the highest point, Mount Loilaeng, is 8,777 feet. It is composed of broad valleys, thickly wooded mountain ranges and rolling hills forming scenic landscapes.

Jong-ang, the biggest waterfall (972 feet) can be found near the town of Kengtong in Mongnai State.

Climate

There are three seasons:

  1. Monsoon (May to October),
  2. Cold season(November to January)
  3. and Summer (February to April).

Annual rainfalls average between 40-60 inches.

The overall temperature is equable throughout the year: not too cold and not too hot.

Vegetation

Pine and evergreen forests can be found in abundance. Teak and various kinds of hardwood cover over 47,210 square miles.

Minerals
The bulk of the so-called Burmese natural resources are in the Shan State: silver, lead, gold, copper, iron, tin, wolfram, tungsten, manganese, nickel, coal, mica, antimony, fluorite, marble, gemstones and even uranium.

Major Operating Mines are:

  • the Mogok (Mognkut in Shan) and Mongsu ruby mines,
  • and the Namtu Bawdwin silver mines discovered by the Chinese traders and renovated in 1904 by none other than Herbert Clerk Hoover (1874-1964) who became the 31st President of the United State.
  • A study of the Indian geological reports made by Drs Cogging and Sondhi in 1993 reveals Northern Shan States as incredible mining potential…
  • As for Southern Shan’s remarkable resources, they can be studied from the reports made by a G.V. Hovson (Shanland’s Grievances, by Htoon Myint of Taunggyi, )

People :

The population of these multi-racial people, described by ancient travelers as the most peace loving people who trust everybody and envy nobody is estimated at 7-10 million, the majority of whom are Tai, of the same ethnological stock as Thai and Laos, plus several other racial groups including Pa-o, Palaung and Wa of Mon-Khmer stock; and Kachin, Akha and Lahu of the Tibeto-Burman stock.

All in all, it’s various indigenous races have lived harmoniously together for centuries. This fact is supported by the political analyst Josef Silverstein, who say’s:

“Although the Shans dominated the people in the area both politically and numerically, they never assimilated the minorities; as a result, cultural pluralism existed through out the Shan States”. (Politics in the Shan State, The Question of Secession from the Union of Burma, 1958, by J. Silverstein).

The Shan’s stand on the racial question is best described by Sao Shwe Thaike, who in his capacity as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly,

countered the objection that Muslims could not be considered as being indigenous by saying :

“Muslims of the Arakan certainly belong to one of the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.”

Culture:

Shan is still the first language of the majority, though due to 60 years under the British Protectorate and 40 years under Burmese neo-colonialism, usage of English and Burmese has become fairly common.

As for attire, Shan men, unlike the Burmese, who wear longyis or long skirts, don long baggy trousers. Theravada Buddhism is the pre-eminent faith, and perhaps due to this tolerant religion, Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism and even animisms flourish in this land.

Agriculture:

Primarily a self-sufficient agricultural economy, being blessed with fertile soil, it produces rice, tea, cheroot leaves, tobacco, potatoes, oranges, lemon, pears, and opium.

Cattle-and horse-breeding is also a common sight in low grasslands. Added to the fact that it is rich in mineral resources and abundant in teak timber, there is no reason why the Shan State could not become one of the richest and most economically dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, given a favorable political climate. 

Shan States is a beautiful and fertile land, with green hills and mist-covered mountains. 

Shans are on the whole, good natured gentle, independent people.

Shan States have a diverse mix of ethnic groups; Tai Yai, Tai Khurn, Tai Lui or Tai Neir, Tai Keiy, Pa-O or Daung Su, Daung Yoe, Palaung, Kachin, Dai Nawng or in Burmese Intha, Danu, Lisu, Lahu, Wa, Kaw, Padaung, as well as Chinese, Indians, Burmans and others. 

The Shans are the most widely scattered of the ethnic people in Myanmar and they can be found in every part of the country.

Their Mans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Tharrawaddy and then to southern Taninthayi (Tenasserim) and from the tip of Kengtung in the east to Hsawng Hsup, Kabaw valley and Ta-mu in the west.

In central Myanmar many Shan settlements can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Toungoo, Pyinmana and Pyi (Prome). 

Now-a-days, Shan people are spread around the world, many having left Burma to escape the persecution and brutality of the SPDC, many to study overseas. 

Shans live overseas in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, China, Japan and elsewhere.  Many overseas groups are actively campaigning for freedom in Shan States and Burma. 

Until recently many groups worked almost independently.  In recent years the more widespread use of e-mail and internet technology means that overseas Shan groups can communicate more easily with one another, sharing ideas, discussing campaigns and global change.

Shans feel immensely sad that their beautiful homeland has been ravaged and abused by SPDC, and because they have deep love for their motherland, they feel deeply bereft and betrayed.

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Two Soa Hso Kham Pha is the eldest son of the late Last year Soa Hso Kham Pha, also known as Tiger Yawnghwe, founded the Interim Shan Government with the cooperation of a group of Shan elders. Recently the ISG has established a freedom fighting force called Shan State Army (Central) with thousands of troops to fight against the neo-fascist military regime in Burma.  

List of Shan state rulers

 Read more in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.The Shan State of Burma (Myanmar) was once made up of a large number of traditional monarchies or fiefdoms. Three ranks of chiefs where recognized by the Burmese king and later by the British administration. These ranks were Saopha or Chaofa (Shan for king or chieftain) or Sawbwa in Burmese, Myosa (”duke” or chief of town), and Ngwegunhmu (silver revenue chief).

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Contents

1 Shan states

  1. 1.1 Hierarchy and Precedence

  2. 1.2 Baw (Maw)

  3. 1.3 Hopong (Hopon)

  4. 1.4 Hsahtung (Thaton)

  5. 1.5 Hsamönghkam (Thamaingkan)

  6. 1.6 Hsawnghsup (Thaungdut)

  7. 1.7 Hsenwi (Theinni)

    1. 1.7.1 North Hsenwi

    2. 1.7.2 South Hsenwi

  8. 1.8 Hsihkip (Thigyit)

  9. 1.9 Hsipaw (Thibaw)

  10. 1.10 Kehsi Mangam (Kyithi Bansan)

  11. 1.11 Kengcheng (Kyaingchaing)

  12. 1.12 Kenghkam (Kyaingkan)

  13. 1.13 Kenglön (Kyainglon)

  14. 1.14 Kengtung (Kyaingtong)

  15. 1.15 Kokang

  16. 1.16 Kyon

  17. 1.17 Kyawkku Hsiwan (Kyaukku)

  18. 1.18 Laihka (Lègya)

  19. 1.19 Lawksawk (Yatsauk)

  20. 1.20 Loi-ai (Lwe-e)

  21. 1.21 Loilong (Lwelong)

  22. 1.22 Loimaw (Lwemaw)

  23. 1.23 Mawkmai

  24. 1.24 Manglon

  25. 1.25 Monghsu

  26. 1.26 Mawkmai (Maukme)

  27. 1.27 Mawnang (Bawnin)

  28. 1.28 Mawsön (Bawzaing)

  29. 1.29 Möngkawng (Mogaung)

  30. 1.30 Mongkung

  31. 1.31 Möngleng (Mohlaing)

  32. 1.32 Mönglong

  33. 1.33 Möngmit (Momeik)

  34. 1.34 Mong Nai (Monè)

  35. 1.35 Mongnawng

  36. 1.36 Mong Pai (Mobye)

  37. 1.37 Mong Pan

  38. 1.38 Mong Pawng (Maing Pun)

  39. 1.39 Möngping (Maingpyin)

  40. 1.40 Möngsit (Maingseik)

  41. 1.41 Möngtung (Maington)

  42. 1.42 Möngyang (Mohnyin)

  43. 1.43 Möngyawng

  44. 1.44 Namhkai (Nanke)

  45. 1.45 Namhkok (Nankok)

  46. 1.46 Namhkom (Nankon)

  47. 1.47 Namtok (Nantok)

  48. 1.48 Namkhok-Nawngwawn

  49. 1.49 Panglawng

  50. 1.50 Pangmi

  51. 1.51 Pangtara (Pindara)

  52. 1.52 Pwehla (Poila)

  53. 1.53 Sakoi

  54. 1.54 Samka

  55. 1.55 Tawngpeng

  56. 1.56 Wanmaw (Bhamo)

  57. 1.57 Wanyin (Banyin)

  58. 1.58 Yawnghwe (Nyaungshwe)

  59. 1.59 Ywangan (Yengan)

  60. 1.60 Bibliography

Shan states

State Area (sq. mi) Classical Name Notes
Sawbwas
Kengtung 12,400 Khemarata Tungaburi
Hsipaw 4,524 Dutawadi
Mongnai 2,717 Saturambha/Nandapwa
Yawnghwe 1,392 Kambawsarata
Tawngpeng 800 Pappatasara
South Hsenwi 2,400 Siwirata or Kawsampi Also known as Mongyai
North Hsenwi 6,330 Siwirata or Kawsampi
Mongmit 3,733 Gandhalarata
Mongpai 730
Lawksawk 2,362 Hansawadi?
Laikha 1,560 Hansawadi
Mawkmai 2,557 Lawkawadi
Mongpan 2,988 Dhannawadi
Mongpawn 366 Rajjawadi
Manglun Jambularata
Kantarawadi 3,015
Samka 314
Mongkung 1,593 Lankawadi
Myosas
Nawngwawn 28 Pokkharawadi Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Mongnawng 1,646 Nandawadi
Mongsit
Kehsi-bansam 551
Mawnang Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1934
Loilong (Pinlaung) 1,098
Hsahtung 471
Wanyin 219
Hopong 212
Namkhok 108 Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Sakoi 82
Mongshu 470 Hansawadi
Kenglun 54 Amalgamated with Kehsh Bansam, 1926
Bawlake 565
Kyetbogyi 700
Hsamongkham 449
Baw 741
Pwela 178
Ngwegunhmus
Yengan (Ywangan) 359
Pangtara (Pindaya) 86
Pangmi 30
Loi-ai 156 Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1930
Kyaukku 76 Amalgamated with Pwela, 1928
Loimaw 48 Amalgamated with Yawnghwe, 1928
Kyone 24
Namtok 14 Amalgamated with Loilong, 1931

    Chinese provinces with the name Shan

  1. Shan is another name of the Dai, an ethnic group in China.

  2. Shan, an abbreviation for the Shaanxi province of the People’s Republic of China

  3. Shan, or Shan county, also refers a county in Shandong province of PRC

  4. Shan, or Shantou (汕头), a city in Guangdong province of PRC

  5. Shan, name for a region in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

  6. Shan, also refers to the name of ancient Western Regions (西域)

Shan also means hill, peak, or mountain in Chinese languages and Japanese There is also Chinese surname, Shan (surname), is a in Chinese.There is also river name with Shan , in Zhejiang Province of PRC

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Photos of the His Royal Highness Tzao Hso Khan Pha, President and Head of States, Interim Shan Government of the Federated Shan States.The remaining  are Shan Freedom Fighters’ photos, Six photos are copyright of Chris Sinclair mailto:csinclair@pobox.com.Four…….. Four other photos are courtesy of TSY taisamyone@yahoo.co.uk. All are taken from Burma Digest.

What’s up China?

What’s up China?

When compare to our other good neighbour, India, you are so cruel on all the countries in South East Asia, including Burma.

You had kicked out or forced out or pushed out almost all the ethnic groups of South East Asia including all the ethnic minorities of Burma/Myanmar and the Bama people’s ancestors. After that you shamelessly bully all of us again by following to our new home land and asked for the protection money or ransom money.

See your neighbour India, it had given the great religions, Hindu, Buddhism and Islam to all the nations of South East Asia including Burma.

India had given culture, arts, literature etc to all of us, including Burma/ Myanmar.

India had just fought two wars in the whole history on our South East Asia. ( We leave behind three wars with China and wars in South Asia.)

( What’s up is an informal question meaning, depending on situation and emphasis: “what are you doing”, “how are you?”, “what is happening” or “what gives.” It is sometimes used as an informal, casual greeting in itself.)

Now I wish to ask China to repent and pay back the the historical debts instead the present shameful stance of its hindrance in  our current struggle  for the democratization movements against SPDC Junta. China is actively supporting this pariah Junta and protecting this régime in the UNSC.

Please red my article in Burma Digest, C.C.C.C. or C4 ,Communist Chinese Colonialist’s Cruelties with MAHA BANDULA pseudonym to know about the China.

If we look at the China’s long history of aggressive behaviour on its own citizens, neighbours and the world, it is quite alarming. The world must do something to protect itself from this big bully instead of closing one eye to get the big economic opportunity by supporting its one China policy and undemocratic unruly bullying on its neighbours and on its own citizens.

If we look at the history of South East Asia, including almost all of our ethnic minorities of Burma/Myanmar, almost all of us had to migrate down and out of China because of the violent, aggressive Chinese new comers that pushed or forced all of us out.

Later after settling in the new home land, Chinese Kings tried to continue their bully by demanding to pay tributes regularly. Not only Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, Burma, Thailand, Laos but far away countries like, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Bengal, Europe, Mecca and Medina are also not spared.

And during the late 60’s and 70’s, just because General Ne Win massacred the Burmese Chinese in the anti-Chinese Riots, they supported the Burmese Communist Party with 100,000 Chinese Red army troops, disguised as Wa rebels.

According to the Burmese language, Peking radio reports, 100,000 Chinese soldiers deserted with full ammunition and joined forces with them. So, the so called, Wa Ethnic Minorities, who could not even speak or understand a word in Burmese, became full citizen now. They could easily get the Myanmar National Registration Cards and many of them even managed to get the Myanmar Passports.

Just look at the various groups of Burmese Muslims’ dilemma in getting the National Registration Cards and Passports. And our cousin brothers, Rohingyas are unfairly discriminated.

Is that because our skin are darker than Chinese?

Is that because our nose are sharper than Chinese?

Is that because we are Muslims and could not assimilate thoroughly like Chinese who could assimilate easily?

Is that because the Burmese girls need not convert if they marry the Chinese?

Although PURE Chinese Nationals who disguised as ‘Myanmar Ethnic Minority’ Wa could grease the hands of Myanmar local and national authorities, just because they-are not-Indian factor and because of their Chinese features paved their way easily.

But anyway please look back the history of South East Asia, India. [We all are not Indians but anyway Burmese Muslims are called Kalas/Indian (people of the Indian sub-continent) mixed blooded people.]

Except for the South India dynasty of Chola’s attack on Indonesia’s Srivijaya and Moghul  King Aurangzeb, attacked the Arakan once only. His elder brother Shah Shuja’ was the second son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan who built the famous Taj Mahal of India. Shah Shuja’ lost to his brother and fled with his family and army in to Arakan. Sandathudama (1652-1687 AD), the Arakan King accepted and allow him to settle there but later arrested and killed. Although Aurangzeb was the enemy of the Shah Shuja’, he was upset by the massacre and attacked Arakan.

India and China shaped the present South East Asia, and the Colonial masters polished into the present finished products.

Indianized kingdoms

The concept of the Indianized kingdom, first described by George Coedès, is based upon the Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic cultural and economic influences in Southeast Asia.

Ancient and classical kingdoms

Southeast Asia has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The communities in the region evolved to form complex cultures with varying degrees of influence from India and China.

The ancient kingdoms can be grouped into two distinct categories.

The first is agrarian kingdoms. Agrarian kingdoms had agriculture as the main economic activity. Most agrarian states were located in mainland Southeast Asia.

Examples are the Ayutthaya Kingdom, based on the Chao Phraya River delta and the Khmer Empire on the Tonle Sap.

The second type is maritime states. Maritime states were dependent on sea trade. Malacca and Srivijaya were maritime states. A succession of trading systems dominated the trade between China and India.

First goods were shipped through Funan to the Isthmus of Kra, portaged across the narrow , and then transhipped for India and points west.

Around the sixth century CE merchants began sailing to Srivijaya where goods were transhipped directly. The limits of technology and contrary winds during parts of the year made it difficult for the ships of the time to proceed directly from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea.

The third system involved direct trade between the Indian and Chinese coasts. Several kingdoms developed on the mainland, initially in modern-day Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The first dominant power to arise in the archipelago was Srivijaya in Sumatra. Very little is known about Southeast Asian religious beliefs and practices before the advent of Indian merchants and religious influences from the second century BCE onwards.

• Prior to the 13th century, Buddhism and Hinduism were the main religions in Southeast Asia.

• The Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom in Java and Sumatra existed around 200 BCE.

• The history of the Malay-speaking world begins with the advent of Indian influence, which dates back to at least the 3rd century BC. Indian traders came to the archipelago for its forest and maritime products and to trade with merchants from China.

• Cambodia was first influenced by Hinduism during the beginning of the Funan kingdom. Hinduism was one of the Khmer Empire’s official religions.

• Cambodia is the home to one of the only two temples dedicated to Brahma in the world. Angkor Wat is also a famous Hindu temple of Cambodia.

• The Majapahit Empire was an Indianized kingdom based in eastern Java from 1293 to around 1500. Its ruler Hayam Wuruk, (1350 to 1389) dominated other kingdoms in the southern Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Bali and the Philippines.

• The Cholas excelled in maritime activity in both military and the mercantile fields. Their raids of Kedah and the Srivijaya, and they influence the local cultures.

• Many of the surviving examples of the Hindu cultural influence found today throughout the Southeast Asia are the result of the Chola expeditions.

• Despite being culturally akin to Hindu cultures to western historians these kingdoms were truly indigenous and independent of India.

• States such as Srivijaya and the Khmer empire developed territories and economies that rivalled those in India itself.

• Borobudur, for example, is the largest Buddhist monument ever built.

• Despite being culturally akin to Hindu cultures to western historians these kingdoms were truly indigenous and independent of India.

• States such as Srivijaya and the Khmer empire developed territories and economies that rivalled those in India itself.

• Borobudur, for example, is the largest Buddhist monument ever built. Southeast Asian rulers were founders of these states_

• and then imported the Indian ritual specialists as advisers on raja dharma, or the practices of Indian kingship.

• The Indianized kingdoms developed a close affinity

• and internalised Indian religious, cultural and economic practices without significant direct input from Indian rulers themselves.

• Indianization was the work of Indian traders and merchants, although later the travels of Buddhist monks such as Atisha became important. Southeast Asian rulers enthusiastically adopted elements of raja dharma,

• (Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, codes and court practices)

• to legitimate their own rule • and constructed cities, such as Angkor,

• to affirm royal power by reproducing a map of sacred space derived from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

• Southeast Asian rulers frequently adopted lengthy Sanskrit titles

• and founded cities, such as Ayutthaya in Thailand, named after those in the Indian epics.

• Most Indianized kingdoms combined both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and practices in a syncretic manner.

• Kertanagara, the last king of Singhasari, described himself as Sivabuddha, a simultaneous incarnation of the Hindu god and the Buddha.

• Also a significant part of the current population in South East Asia has a trace of Indian ancestry from distant antiquity. Indian and Chinese cultures blended with native cultures These kingdoms prospered from the Spice Route, trade among themselves and the Indian kingdoms.

• The influence of Indian culture is visible in the script, grammar, religious observances, festivities, architecture and artistic idioms even today.

• The influence of Indian and Chinese cultures blended with native cultures, created a new synthesis. The Southeast Asian region was previously called by the name Indochina.

• The influence of Indian and Chinese cultures are both strongly visible in this region even today, with the majority of the region being Indianized and Vietnam Sinocized.

• The reception of Hinduism and Buddhism aided the civilization maturity of these kingdoms but also subjected them to aggression by Indian and Chinese rulers.

• Cultural practices like the performances of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana across all of Southeast Asia.

• Traces of Hindu culture are visible also in the Sanskrit etymology of words in Myanmar language, Malay language, Indonesian and other regional languages as well as personal names. The Chinese ruled Vietnam for a millennium, while the Chola dynasty of South India ruled over Srivijaya briefly.

• And though Southeast Asia is an economic powerhouse in its own right, the need to balance Chinese economic and political influence with that of India remains an important factor for the region.

• Cultural and trading relations between the powerful Chola kingdom of South India and the South East Asian Hindu kingdoms, led the Bay of Bengal to be called “The Chola Lake”

• and the Chola attacks on Srivijaya in the tenth century CE are the sole example of military attacks by Indian rulers against Southeast Asia. The Pala dynasty of Bengal, which controlled the heartland of Buddhist India maintained close economic, cultural and religious ties, particularly with Srivijaya.

• The subsequent arrival of Islam, by Arab traders,

• and Christianity, by Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch colonial rulers significantly weakened the connection with India.

• Chinese influence grew with the gradual migration of Chinese traders and merchants. Chinese influence dominated in Vietnam, although other states such as the Khmer empire and Malacca were drawn into Chna’s diplomatic orbit.

• While Buddhism remains the dominant religion in mainland Southeast Asia,

• Hinduism survives in Bali and

• Christianity is the dominant religion in the Philippines and eastern Indonesia.

The History of Burma (or Myanmar) is long and complex.

Several races of people have lived in the region, the oldest of which are probably the Mon or the Pyu. In the 9th century the Bamar (Burman) people migrated from the then China-Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady, and now form the governing majority.

‘Bamars are descendants of Sakyans who are of the Aryan Race or of some other descendants of Aryans’.

Though there is ‘scarcely any race that can claim descent from exclusively one original race’, nevertheless, Burma’s proximity to India permits the claim that the Burmans have ‘an ornamental Aryan superstructure on the existing Mongoloid foundation’, resulting in some historians proclaiming that ‘Myanmars were descendants of Aryans’.

The history of the region comprises complexities not only within the country but also with its neighbouring countries, China, India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand.

India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture as the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in brahmins presiding over important ceremonies such as_

1. weddings

2. and ear-piercings

3. but most notably in Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival.

Traditions of kingship including coronation ceremonies and formal royal titles as well as those of lawmaking were also Hindu in origin.

India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture as the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in brahmins presiding over important ceremonies such as_

1. weddings

2. and ear-piercings

3. but most notably in Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival. Traditions of kingship including coronation ceremonies and formal royal titles as well as those of lawmaking were also Hindu in origin.

1. Early history of Burma Humans lived in the region that is now Myanmar as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 3000 BC, and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi (pronounced Suvanna Bhoum), was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC.

Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC, though definitely by the 2nd century BC when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon’s written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon cultures together in a hybrid of the two civilisations.

By the mid-9th century, they had come to dominate all of southern Myanmar. From that time, Northern Burma was a group of city-states in a loose coalition.

The ‘King’ of each city-state would change allegiance as he saw fit, so throughout history.

1. Pyu, one of the three founding brothers of Shwe Bama village was believed to be mixture of three groups;

(i) one local inhabitant since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) another came from India bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the another group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group. Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:

(i) One came down from above like

Shan, (ii) and another from India , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land. Talaings originated from the Talingana village of India and arrived to lower  Burma , met and intermarried with Mons, who came down from Yunnan, spreads through Burma up to Thailand, Laos and Kambodia.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc.. Our  Burmese spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language.

But our Burmese writing language was from India, Brami Script we took not from our native Mon but her cousin Mons resided in Thailand.

Settlements of Indian Migrants in Ancient Burma Orissa

Orissa, Indian Buddhist colonists, arrived lower Burma, settled and built pagodas since 500 BC.

Andhra Dynasty Hindu colonists, of Andhra Dynasty, from middle India (180 BC) established Hanthawaddy (Mon town) and Syriam (Ta Nyin or Than Lyin) in Burma.

Talaings or Mons Mons or Talaings, an Ethnic Minority Group of Myanmar, migrated from the Talingana State, Madras coast of Southern India. Mon

Early History of Burma_

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Pyu although both Burman and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centred on Thaton in present day Mon state.

The 6th century Mon kingdom of Dvaravati in the lower Chao Phraya valley in present day Thailand extended its frontiers to the Tenasserim Yoma (mountains). With subjugation by the Khmer Empire from Angkor in the 11th century the Mon shifted further west deeper into present day Burma.

Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC and had received an envoy of monks from Ashoka in the 2nd century BC.

The Mons adopted Indian culture together with Theravada Buddhism and are thought to have founded kingdoms in Lower Burma including Thaton in the 6th or 7th century and Bago (Pegu) in 825 with the kingdom of Raman’n’adesa (or Ramanna which is believed to be Thaton) referenced by Arab geographers in 844–8.

The lack of archaeological evidence for this may in part be due to the focus of excavation work predominantly being in Upper Burma.

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms. These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north.

Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries. About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia.

The Burman ( Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan. In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan.

After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai, regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory.

Mon kingdoms A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states. These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757. Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand.

Hanthawaddy (or Hanthawady; in Thai หงสาวดี Hongsawadi) is a place in Burma. Hongsawatoi ( Bago/Pegu/ Handawaddy ) Hongsawatoi, Capital city of old Mon kingdom. It was destroyed by Burman King, U Aungzeya or Aloungpaya in 1757. Hongsawatoi ( Mon language pronounce) (Pali Hamsavati) Bago is about 50 miles from Rangoon. According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD.

It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples went air-borne around Southeast Asian countries. The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD. At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The area came under rule of the Burmese from Bagan in 1056. After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence. From 1369-1539, Hanthawaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Burma.

The area came under Burman control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshweti to his Kingdom of Taungoo. The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam.

They mixed with the new migrants of Mongol from China and driven out the above Andhra and Orissa colonists.

Those Mon (Talaings) brought with them the culture, arts, literature, religion and all the skills of civilisation of present Myanmar. They founded the Thaton and Bago (Pegu) Kingdoms. King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan) conquered that Mon Kingdom of King Manuha, named Suvannabumi (The Land of Golden Hues). The conquest of Thaton in 1057 was a decisive event in Burmese history.

It brought the Burman into direct contact with the Indian civilizing influences in the south and opened the way for intercourse with Buddhist centres overseas, especially Ceylon.Many Burmese dishes and breads came as a result of Indian influence, prominently reflected in the Burmese version of Indian biryani.

PYU

The Pyu arrived in Burma in the 1st century BC and established city kingdoms at Binnaka, Mongamo, Sri Ksetra, Peikthanomyo, Halingyi (Hanlin), Kutkhaing in the north, Thanlwin coastal line in the east, Gulf of Mataban and its coast in the south, Thandwe in the southern west and Yoma in the west. During this period, Burma was part of an overland trade route from China to India.

In 97 and 121, Roman ambassadors to China chose the overland route through Burma for their journey.

The Pyu, however, provided an alternative route down the Irrawaddy to Shri Ksetra and then by sea westward to India and eastward to insular Southeast Asia.

Pyu (also Pyuu or Pyus; in Chinese records Pyao) refers to a collection of city-states and their language found in the central and northern regions of modern-day Burma (Myanmar) from about 100 BCE to 840 CE.

The history of the Pyu is known from two main historical sources: the remnants of their civilization found in stone inscriptions (some in Pali, but rendered in the Pyu script, or a Pyu variant of the Gupta script) and the brief accounts of some Chinese travellers and traders, preserved in the Chinese imperial history.

India and Arakan Intercourse

Wesali founded by Hindu Chandras “The area known as North Arakan had been for many years before the 8th century the seat of Hindu dynasties.

In 788 AD a new dynasty, known as the Chandras, founded the city of Wesali (Indian name of Vaisali).

This city became a noted trade port to which as many as a thousand ships came annually; the Chandra kings were upholders of Buddhism,

• … their territory extended as far north as Chittagong;

• … Wesali was an easterly Hindu kingdom of Bengal

• … Both government and people were Indian.

• It seems to have been founded in the middle of the fourth century A.D.

• Thirteen kings of this dynasty are said to have reigned for a total period of 230 years.

The second dynasty was founded in the eighth century by a ruler referred to as Sri Dharmavijaya, who was of pure Ksatriya descent. His grandson married a daughter of the Pyu king of Sri Ksetra. Hindu statues and inscriptions in Wesali

The ruins of old capital of Arakan – Wesali show Hindu statues and inscriptions of the 8th century AD.

Although the Chandras usually held Buddhistic doctrines, there is reason to believe that Brahmanism and Buddhism flourished side by side in the capital.

Chittagong is from Tsit-ta-gung The Arab chief was the Thuratan, in the Arakanese utterance whom the king of Arakan Tsula-Taing Tsandra (951-957 AD.), claimed to have defeated in his invasion of Chittagong in 953 AD.

1. In memory of his victory the Arakanese king set up a stone trophy, in the conquered land. And inscribed on it the Burmese word,

2. “Tsit-ta-gung”

3. meaning “there shall be no war”.

4. And from this remark of the monument, according to Burmese tradition, the district took its name, Chittagong.

Chittagong under Arakanese rule Nearly a century, from about 1580 till 1666 AD

Chittagong was under almost uninterrupted Arakanese rule. Arakanese captured and sent numbers of the inhabitants of Bengal into Arakan as agricultural and slave labours.

Pyu

Pyu, one of the three founding father of Bamar or Myanmar race was believed to be the mixture of three groups;

(i) Few insignificant local inhabitants since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) many migrants came from India bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the last group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group. Pyu language started in 5AD in Southern Rakhine.

The famous Mya Zedi Pagoda stone inscriptions were written in Pyu, Mon, Bama, and Pali in 1113AD.

1. Pyu had written records, dated from 1st century A.D.

2. and Mon from 5th century A.D.

3. and Bama had its own written records only in 11th century A.D. Beikthano (Vishnu) Beikthano (Vishnu) at the end of 4th. AD (9Khmer troops occupied 210-225 AD. (Taung Dwin Gyi) after which the Mons moved in, giving the cities names Panthwa and Ramanna pura.

Religious remains show both forms of Buddhism, Mahayanism and Hinayanism, together with Vishnu worship.

There are large stone Buddhist sculptures in relief in the Gupta style, bronze statuettes of Avalokitesvara, one of the three chief Mahayanist Bodhisattvas, and so many stone sculptures of Vishnu that the city was sometimes referred to as ‘Vishnu City’.

Pyu chronicles speak of a dynastic change in A.D. 94. Sri Ksetra village was apparently abandoned around A.D. 656 it was sacked by the Nan Cho Chinese Shan in the mid-9th century, ending the Pyu’s period of dominance.

Pyu Kings are Maharajas

In Chinese Chronicles they recorded Pyu as ‘P’aio’. But Pyu Called themselves Tircul..

• There are records of Nan Cho and Tibet alliance in 755 AD to defeat Chinese.

• Nan Cho king Ko-lo-fen communicate with Pyu. Pyu Kings were called Maharajas and Chief ministers were called Mahasinas.

• Nan Cho conscripted Pyu soldiers to attack of Hanoi in 863 AD.

• In 832 AD Nan Cho looted Han Lin village from Pyu. Pyu kings named Vishnu as in Gupta, India Inscriptions in Pyu language using a South Indian script, showed a Vikrama dynasty ruling there at least from AD 673 to 718.

• On Pyu’s stone inscriptions, kings names with Vikrama were suffix with Vishnu. The same tradition was noticed in Gupta era India 100 BC. and in Sri Kestia, Mon in south, Thai and Cambodia.

• Statue of Vishnu standing on Garuda with Lakshmi standing on the lotus on left.

• And Brahma, Siva and Vishnu thrones were also found.

• Name, Varman indicated that there was influence of Pallava of India.

• The mentioning of Varman dynasty, an Indian name, indicated there was a neighbouring and rival city, but Old Prome is the only Pyu site so‘ far to be excavated in that area.

Indian Dravidian tribe in Panthwa

In Chinese Chronicles Chen Yi-Sein instead gives an Indian derivation for Panthwa village, as the name of a Dravidian tribe settled in Mon’s areas around the Gulf of Martaban. This group was later one of the pioneers in a ‘Monized’ occupation of Beikthano village, which also led to the village/city being called Ramanna-pura, linked to Mon areas of southern Myanmar (1999:77).

The Tagaung dynasty is explicitly incorporated into the story of Duttabaung’s mother and father; the lineage of the Queen of Beikthano is less consistent, but always intertwined with that of the Sri Kestra village rulers.

In all of these, links are made between territorial control, royal patronage of Hindu or Buddhist sects and supernatural events.

Thamala and Wimala.

Two princes named Thamala and Wimala (Myanmar version of Indian names-Thalma and Vimala.) established the town Bago in 573AD. Tabinshwehti (Taungoo Dynasty) conquered it in 1539 AD.

The evidence of the inscriptions, Luce warns us, shows that the Buddhism of Pagan ‘was mixed up with Hindu Brahmanic cults, Vaisnavism in particular.

Chinese trade Chinese merchants have traded with the region for a long time as evidence of Magellan’s voyage records that Brunei possessed more cannon than the European ships so it appears that the Chinese fortified them.

Malaysian legend has it that a Chinese Ming emperor sent a princess, Han Li Po to Malacca, with a retinue of 500, to marry Sultan Mansur Shah after the emperor was impressed by the wisdom of the sultan.

Han Li Po’s well (constructed 1459) is now a tourist attraction there, as is Bukit Cina, where her retinue settled.

The strategic value of the Strait of Malacca, which was controlled by Sultanate of Malacca in the 15th and early 16th century, did not go unnoticed by Portuguese writer Duarte Barbosa, who in 1500 wrote “He who is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice”.

The following is a list of tributaries of Imperial China.

• Brunei

• o Malacca (满剌加 / 馬六甲) 拜里米苏拉

• Indonesia[citation needed]

o Java

o Lanfang Republic

• Japan

o Wa[3] (also Wae, Wei, 倭)

o Nippon (日本)

• Korea

• Philippines[10]

o Manila

o Sulu (蘇祿)

• Thailand[3]

o Siam 邏羅

• Bhutan 不丹

• Nepal 尼伯爾

o Karakum (喀喇庫木)

o Yuli (also Weili, 尉犁)

o Kushana (also Kuşāņa, Guishuang, 貴霜)

o Boluo’er (博羅爾)

• Vietnam[3]

o Âu Lạc (甌雒, 甌貉)

o Champa (also Chiêm Thành, Lin-yi, 林邑, 占城)

• Korea (since 1369, first every year or every three years, after 1403 every year)

• Nippon (日本)

• Liuqiu (Ryukyu Islands, every two years since 1368)

• Annam (every three years since 1369) • Cambodia (Chenla, since 1371 (?))

• Siam (every three years since 1371)

• Champa (every three years since 1369)

• Java (1372, 1381, 1404, 1407, every three years for some time after 1443)

• Pahang (1378, 1414)

• Palembang (1368, 1371, 1373, 1375, 1377)

• Brunei (1371, 1405, 1408, 1414, 1425)

• Samudra (on Sumatra (?)or Dvarasamudra in Southern India, 1383, 1405, 1407, 1431, 1435)

• Chola (1370, 1372, 1403)

• Sulu (1417, 1421)

• Calicut (1405, 1407, 1409)

• Malacca (1405, 1411, 1412, 1414, 1424, 1434, 1445ff, 1459)

• Borneo (SoLo?) (1406)

• Kollam (1407)

• Bengal (1408, 1414, 1438)

• Ceylon (1411, 1412, 1445, 1459)

• Jaunpur (1420)

• Syria (Fulin?, 1371)

• Cochin (1404, 1412)

• Melinde (1414)

• Philippines (1372, 1405, 1576)

• Maldives,

• Burma (YaWa),

Lambri (NanWuLi),

• Kelatan,

• Bengal (PengJiaNa),

• Kashgar

Sairam

• SaoLan (identical to Sairam?)

• Badakhshan

• Bukhara(?)

• PaLa(?)

• Shiraz

• Nishapur

• Kashmir

• Samarkand (1387, 1389, 1391 etc, after 1523 every five years)

Arabia (TienFang, Mecca?) (somewhere between 1426 and 1435, 1517, sometimes between 1522 and 1566)

Medina (somewhere between 1426 and 1435)

• A number of Tibetan temples and tribes from the Tibetan border or the southwest. Qing Dynasty This list covers states that sent tribute between 1662 and 1875.

Korea (annually, with very few exceptions)

Siam (48 times, most of them after 1780)

• Burma (17 times, most of them in the 19th century)

• Laos (17 times)

• Sulu (1726, 1733, 1743, 1747, 1752, 1753, and 1754)

• Nepal (1732(?), 1792, 1794, 1795, 1823, 1842, and 1865)

• Russia (1676 and 1727)

• England (1793, 1795 (no tribute presented), and 1816)

• Holland (1663(?), 1667, and 1686)

• Portugal (1670, 1678, 1752, and 1753)

Holy See (1725)

• Kirgiz (1757 and 1758)

Europeans

Europeans first came to Southeast Asia in the sixteenth century. It was the lure of trade that brought Europeans to Southeast Asia while missionaries also tagged along the ships as they hoped to spread Christianity into the region.

Portugal was the first European power to establish a bridgehead into the lucrative Southeast Asia trade route with the conquest of the Sultanate of Malacca in 1511.

The Netherlands and Spain followed and soon superseded Portugal as the main European powers in the region.

The Dutch took over Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641 while Spain began to colonize the Philippines (named after Phillip II of Spain) from 1560s.

Acting through the Dutch East India Company, the Dutch established the city of Batavia (now Jakarta) as a base for trading and expansion into the other parts of Java and the surrounding territory.

Britain, in the form of the British East India Company, came relatively late onto the scene.

Starting with Penang, the British began to expand their Southeast Asian empire.

They also temporarily possessed Dutch territories during the Napoleonic Wars,

In 1819 Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a key trading post for Britain in their rivalry with the Dutch. However, their rivalry cooled in 1824 when an Anglo-Dutch treaty demarcated their respective interests in Southeast Asia.

From the 1850s onwards, the pace of colonization shifted to a significantly higher gear. This phenomenon, denoted New Imperialism, saw the conquest of nearly all Southeast Asian territories by the colonial powers.

The Dutch East India Company and British East India Company were dissolved by their respective governments, who took over the direct administration of the colonies.

Only Thailand was spared the experience of foreign rule, although, Thailand itself was also greatly affected by the power politics of the Western powers.

  1. By 1913, the British occupied Burma, Malaya and the Borneo territories,
  2. the French controlled Indochina,
  3. the Dutch ruled the Netherlands East Indies
  4. while Portugal managed to hold on to Portuguese Timor.
  5. In the Philippines, Filipino revolutionaries declared independence from Spain in 1898
  6. but was handed over to the United States despite protests as a result of the Spanish-American War.

Colonial rule had a profound effect on Southeast Asia.

  1. While the colonial powers profited much from the region’s vast resources and large market,
  2. colonial rule did develop the region to a varying extent.

Commercial agriculture, mining and an export based economy developed rapidly during this period.

Increased labor demand resulted in mass immigration, especially from British India and China, which brought about massive demographic change.

The institutions for a modern nation state like a state bureaucracy, courts of law, print media and to a smaller extent, modern education, sowed the seeds of the fledgling nationalist movements in the colonial territories.

Reference

Wikipedia

 

Decision Time in Burma

Decision Time in Burma

By R. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Excerpts  

Three months have passed since the world called on Burma’s dictators, Gens. Than Shwe and Maung Aye,

  • to end their brutal crackdown on tens of thousands of peaceful monks and other demonstrators

  • and begin a genuine dialogue with Burma’s democratic and ethnic minority leaders –

  • with the goal of a transition to democracy. The time has come for them to act.

A. The regime

The regime initially appointed an official to interact with Aung San Suu Kyi and allowing her to meet once with a few democratic colleagues, it has since halted.

  1. It has continued to arrest activists and harass Buddhist monks.

  2. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest.

  3. The junta has refused her request to have two colleagues serve as liaisons to the government.

  4. On Dec. 3, senior regime officials delivered their harshest comments yet,

  •  rejecting any role for the opposition in drafting the constitution,
  • blaming Aung San Suu Kyi for the lack of progress on a dialogue

  • and describing the September demonstrations it suppressed as “trivial.”

   5. The regime argues that it is the only force capable of keeping the country unified and that any change outside its control risks turmoil and instability.

   6. The military rulers have brought about a steady decline in living standards and a deterioration in educational and public health systems.

   7. They have caused a continuing flow of refugees, narcotics and dangerous diseases into neighboring countries, and have so distressed and frustrated the people that they took to the streets by the thousands despite the risk of brutal suppression.

  8. With Than Shwe and Maung Aye showing no willingness to move in this direction, to a peaceful transition to democracy.

  9. This is a horrendous track record.

 10. The reality is that the regime and its policies are the greatest threat to Burma’s unity, stability and prosperity.

B. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

  1. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has reaffirmed her willingness to participate in a “meaningful and time-bound” dialogue to be joined by representatives of the country’s ethnic minority groups.

  2. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic leaders have nevertheless said that the Burmese military has an important role to play in a peaceful transition to democracy.

C. USA

  1. The United States does not regard such violence and the beating, detention and reported torture of peaceful protesters, including monks, as trivial.

  2. As first lady Laura Bush has said, “It seems the generals are indifferent to the Burmese people’s suffering, but the rest of the world is not.”

  3. The United States wants to see a strong, prosperous, stable and free Burma.

  4. As part of this effort, the United States will continue to target regime leaders and their cronies with sanctions.

  5. President Bush has promised that our country will continue to pressure the Burmese dictators to ensure that there is no return to business as usual.

 D. Need to do

  1. Dialogue would enable the Burmese people, through legitimate political and ethnic representatives, to discuss with the regime ways to broaden the political process – including participation in the drafting of a constitution.

  2. This way the results will have legitimacy and popular support.

  3. Allowing the full array of talent available in Burmese society to tackle the country’s many problems.

  4. There are steps the junta could take immediately that would signal its seriousness –

  5. Releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and others,

  6. Allowing them freedom of association and ending the ongoing crackdown.

E. UN

  1. We are convinced that the only way to achieve this objective is through the sort of broad national dialogue that U.N. special adviser Gambari is trying to facilitate with Security Council support.

  2. It is also why the United Nations should quicken the pace of its diplomacy.

F. The World

  1. The world must not turn its back on the people of Burma and allow the regime’s disregard for human dignity to continue.

  2. Together, we must apply sustained and strong pressure while making clear that a successful dialogue leading to a political transition would enable Burma to make a full return to the international system.

  3. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Gambari plans to return to Burma soon.

G. It is time for the generals to tell him – and the Burmese people –

  • That they will begin a genuine dialogue

  • And take the steps necessary for it to succeed.

The time has come to ask the senior generals:

What are you waiting for?

Burma’s Saffron Revolution leader, Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira

Burma‘s Saffron Revolution leader

Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot)

U Gambira

Dr San Oo Aung 

gb-super.png

Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira,  is a prominent Buddhist clergy, who took a leading role in the August and September peoples’ protest in Burma.

In August 2007, SPDC announces the sudden increase in fuel prices. That cause a devastating effect of Burmese people as especially the food and basic necessities prices increased along with the massive inflation but there was no increase in consumer earning power not only for the poor but even for the average ordinary citizens.

Mass peaceful protests nationwide started on 21 September 2007. At first it was led by Buddhist monks. U Gambira, 27 year old monk was the leader organizing, instigating and leading all the monks. Only after a few days only ordinary people dare to support and took part and went down into the streets, protesting against the government, calling for a reduction in commodity prices, release of political prisoners and national reconciliation.

Beginning on 21 September 2007, the numbers of demonstrators increased considerably, with estimated numbers ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. Demonstrations on this scale have not been seen since the nationwide protests in 1988, which were violently suppressed by the authorities with the killing of approximately 3,000 peaceful demonstrators.  

Bae Thu Thay Thay_ Nga Tae Mar_Pyee Yaw.

That is sheer selfishness, self-interest, self-centeredness or egocentricity. We could call in a modern term, MYOB meaning “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS” or to ‘take care of our own self first’ policy. This has been the priority culture that practices by almost all of us, nowadays. Yes this provides a great advantage to the ruling Myanmar Military government when things related to Myanmar’s affairs.

This MYOB have deeply imbedded in our thinking process daily and putting chills of fear up into our spines coupled with the prospects of rewards if we just keep quiet or nod our heads or could reap the best rewards if we could support, praise and also greased the palms of various level of military authorities.

The monks of Burma are not prepared to kill for anything or anyone nor even a tinniest of a creature. But U Gambira had managed to successfully lead them to come out on to the roads ready to sacrifice for the benefit of their people. The simple gesture of the unarmed praying monks taking to the streets and standing their ground before the bayonets and tanks of the military junta sends out a clear message to the SPDC regime that while they have the guns and tanks it is the monks and the people who now command the moral high ground.

Although I was quite young, I still remember the images of the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in the about fifty years ago in Saigon, now renamed Ho Chin Minh city. The monks were protesting against the corrupt Vietnamese regime of that time. 

Later only I learnt that The South Vietnamese government troops had opened fire to disperse students and monks, who were banned from carrying Buddhist flags on Wesak Day. The Buddhist leadership quickly organized a protest that led to several monks burning themselves to death. 

I felt the déjà vu feeling when I saw the Burmese monks’ protests.

History always repeats itself but sometimes strangely in reverse condition. That South Vietnamese government was supported by USA and against the communists. Now the SPDC is the illegitimate children of communist/socialist General Ne Win and supported by communist China again. (China is becoming a Nga Pwa Gyi in both situations.) That Vietnamese government who shot monks was eventually toppled. We hope the same happens in Myanmar soon.  

Myanmar Tatmadaw should realize that it has lost all the remaining credibility, even if they have a few, not only in the eyes of its own people but more crucially for the world as well.

And by taking the stand that they have and keeping to it, Sayadaw U Gambira and our revered monks have shown the world that religion can also be a living dynamic force in the politics and is not a pariah faith to be locked in the sacred precinct of temples, churches, pagodas and churches. The only important fact is that the religion must be used with care and not to divide the people, races and religious followers but for the benefit of the country and humanity.

In Buddhism, Sanghas or Monks are revered in the same rank as Lord Buddha and Dharma, teachings or rules and regulations or Laws of Buddhism taught by Buddha. In Burmese, “Pha Yar_Ta Yar_Sangha” are held in the highest regard amongst the Burmese Buddhists. No one dare to insult Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, except SPDC and its thugs.

After Gautama Buddha’s Parinirvana, Sanghas maintain and preserve the teachings of the Buddha, as the guardians of Buddhism. All the Buddhists in Burma regarded Sanghas as the sons of Buddha who carry on the torch of enlightenment and march forward, continue to propagate and disseminate the Buddha’s teachings.

The protest began on Aug 19 after the government raised fuel prices. Initially, the protest involved only civilians but the impact changed dramatically when the monks took to the streets. 

Sept 26 was a sad day for Burma, when the Myanmar Tatmadaw opened fire on unarmed civilian protestors and Buddhist monks. Soldiers and police fired tear gas, clubbed protesters and arrested hundreds of monks in an attempt to quash the uprising.

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Hundreds of deaths were reported, but the SPDC tried its best to cover-up and destroy the evidences. They did not hesitate to use force even against those unarmed Buddhist monks peacefully charting prayers. Even the very old and young monks were kicked and beaten by the ruthless soldiers and shoved them onto trucks.

Doors of their monasteries were broken; things were ransacked and taken away. Few thousands of monks were arrested. There are reports creeping out across the iron sieve reporting that many of them have been tortured and killed or died because of the wounds inflicted during the arrest and torture. Some monks go into hiding, some flee abroad, some are dead, but the fate of many more remains unknown.

Buddhist monks are greatly revered for their exceptionally humble, harmless and peaceful way of life. If the military rulers can act so ruthlessly against such defenseless spiritually inclined monks, it is frightening to imagine what more they are capable of doing to others less spiritual.Now the junta is openly hunting for four monks who it says are the ringleaders of the biggest uprising against the government in 20 years.

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“Many monks are still hiding, at the homes of people, or on the top floors of apartment buildings,” one escaped monk, who gave his name as Vida, told reporters in northern Thailand. “It is dangerous for anyone who goes out. We are worried about our friends, especially those who have been arrested or have disappeared.”

”We saw that the military is very brutal, and we think a lot of people must have been tortured or killed. We plead with the international community to support us in any way you can.”

U Gambira, the leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, managed to speak by phone from an undisclosed location in Myanmar to a public meeting at the Asia Society in New York.

He told of daily arrests at monasteries. He told that there were many soldiers surrounding the Buddhist monasteries and also in the streets. 

Have our hopes and prayers for the rapid democratic change in Burma is totally crushed to a hopeless situation?

Have the pro-democracy protesters been defeated totally and there is no more hope left for all of us?

When a government resorts to bullets and clubs to suppress peaceful demonstrators, you know they have lost all moral authority and it is just a matter of time before the regime is dumped into the ash heap of history.

Anil Netto

The Burmese people have taken all that batons, bullets, cruelty and hard labour can give. But it is the Burmese junta that has lost all moral credibility – a long time ago. And thus, it is just a matter of time before these ruthless generals are unceremoniously booted out – with or without Asean’s help.

You see, it is no longer a worldly struggle but also a spiritual battle. That explains why the monks have been at the forefront of the struggle, the same way that priests and nuns led the People Power revolution in the Philippines that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In the evening of 25 September 2007, the authorities began a crackdown on the protesters, introducing a 60-day 9pm-5am curfew and issuing public warnings of legal action against protesters.  Arrests of reportedly at least 700 people have followed in the former capital Yangon, the second-biggest city, Mandalay, and elsewhere.  Among those arrested in Yangon were monks, members of parliament from the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), other NLD members and other public figures.  

Websites and internets blogs carrying information and photographs of the demonstrations were blocked; internet lines were cut. Telephone lines and mobile phone signals to prominent activists and dissidents were also cut.  

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U Gambira, as a leader of the All-Burma Monks’ Alliance had spearheaded the nationwide protests. He became a fugitive following the deadly Sept. 26-27 crackdown on protesters nationwide.

SPDC had arrested the family members of U Gambira, and shamelessly declared that they will not release them until U Gambira has been detained.  At first, U Gambira could successfully avoid the government authorities but had to giveup to safe his family as SPDC had cowardly arrested his family as a ransom.

  1. Ko Aung Kyaw Kyaw, the younger brother of U Gambira and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division, was arrested in Rangoon.
  2. Another brother, Ko Win Zaw, a HIV/AIDS patient, was also arrested in their hometown of Pauk.
  3.  U Gambira’s mother and sister were also arrested by the township police in Meikhtila in Mandalay division. 
  4. U Min Lwin, his father and another sister had to be on the run.   The military intelligence officer who arrested U Gambira’s family members shamelessly told them they would not be released until U Gambira is detained.

Like other detained political dissidents they were at very high risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The following is a statement recorded by RFA:

“My situation is not good. I have slept without shelter for two nights. I am not very well now. My security is pretty bad,” he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.

“Now these fellows are trying to butcher me. Now if you are done talking, as soon as you hang up, I have to move somewhere…”

“The important thing for overseas Sanghas [monks] is to carry out the Burmese cause continuously, with unity. At the moment, as you know, we cannot do anything inside Burma. We have been assaulted very badly. A few got away, a few left. I am still trying to get away but I haven’t succeeded.”

He read the following message to_

  1. U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari,
  2. U.S. President George Bush,
  3. and to the world:

“Mr. (Ibrahim) Gambari… I wish to say,

  • please do something effective and practical for Burma.
  • Measures such as economic sanctions and arms embargo will take time (years) to achieve a political solution. What is most important is for today, for tomorrow.  
  • Please tell Mr. Gambari that I am very grateful for his active participation in Burmese affairs. I have a tremendous respect for him.
  • But please tell him to implement the most effective practical measures in Burma.
  • Please try.
  • Please send U.N. representatives to Burma to carry out various ways and means to get political results now. For today.”

To Buddhists all over the world and activists and supporters of Burmese movement_

  • please help to liberate the Burmese people from this disastrous and wicked system.
  • To the six billion people of the world, to those who are sympathetic to the suffering of the Burmese people, please help us to be free from this evil system.
  • Many people are being killed, imprisoned, tortured, and sent to forced labor camps.
  • I hereby sincerely ask theinternational community to do something to stop these atrocities.
  • My chances of survival are very slim now. But I have not given up, and I will try my best.”Killings, torture, labor camp

I would like to make an appeal to President Bush:

  • Please take pride as a President who has worked hard for Burma to achieve something before his term expires.”
  • “I might not have very long to live.
  • I, Gambira, speaking by phone with you right now, have a very slim chance of survival.
  • Please try your best to relieve our suffering.
  • It will be worse in future when they [the junta] have laid down their roadmap so they can remain in power forever—it will be a blueprint to oppress us systematically.
  • Once they establish their constitution, the Burmese people will suffer for generation after generation.”
  • Reports came out of the arrest of the U Gambira on 4 November. His brother Aung Kyaw Kyaw and father Min Lwin were also arrested in October. Their current whereabouts are not known.
  • U Gambira is believed to have been charged with treason for his role in leading the demonstrations, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
  • Other members of his family were arrested as “hostages” in an attempt to force him out of hiding.
  • U Gambira was arrested the same day his article appeared on the Washington Post on November 4, the source said.
  • The source, who talked to the clergy over telephone, said,
  • “He [U Gambira] responded saying that he had been arrested and is now under detention. Then, the line was disconnected.”
  • While how his arrest came about is difficult to confirm, some activists in exile believe it is related to his article, saying it might have given the junta clues to where he was hiding.
  • He was arrested on 4 November in Singaing.  U Gambira is 27 years old and is also a spokesperson for the People’s Movement Leader Committee.
  • U Gambira was arrested from a hiding place in Kyaukse, central Burma, in early November.

According to the news published on Dec 5, 2007 by DVB:

The father of U Gambira, U Min Lwin, who was detained along with his son a month ago, has now been released, according to a family member. Min Lwin and U Gambira were arrested by officers from the police information force and other government officials in Sintgaing Township, Mandalay division, together with a third man named Ko Mondine.

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  • U Gambira, was held at Insein prison since his arrest, while his father was detained at New Mandalay prison.
  • After being held for one month, Min Lwin was released at around 11pm on 3 December. Ko Mondine and two other men from Mandalay division, Pyone Cho from Ma Hlaing Township, and Khin Maung Soe From Htone Bo Township, were released at the same time.  
  • Ko Mondine, Pyone Cho and Khin Maung Soe had been arrested for delivering money to U Gambira.
  • Min Lwin said he did not want to talk about his prison experiences in detail.
  • “I’m very happy that I can meet my family again,” he said.  He said that he would now seek justice for his sons U Gambira and Aung Kyaw Kyaw, who was arrested in Rangoon on 17 October. Both of them remained in detention.
  • Aung Kyaw Kyaw is the younger brother of U Gambira
  • and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division. According to the following reports in Irrawaddy,
  • His mother told The Irrawaddy that authorities told U Gambira’s family that he is charged with treason for his leading role in the September mass demonstrations.

U Gambira was born in the town of Pauk in central Burma. He has three brothers and one sister. 

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“I am very worried,” said his mother.

  • “I am so sad for my son and my husband.
  • They might be tortured during interrogation.
  • But I am proud of him [U Gambira].
  • Since his childhood, my son has been active in helping other people.”
  • The monk’s father, Min Lwin, is believed to be in Burma’s infamous Insein Prison, said U Gambira’s mother.
  • U Gambira’s brother, Kyaw Kyaw, was also arrested in October as an exchange while the monk was in hiding.
  • But his brother has not been freed since the monk’s capture.
  • His mother and three other family members were also detained and interrogated before he was arrested.

Detaining of the fugitive political activists’ family members by the SPDC authorities calling for an exchange with the fugitive activist is regarded by the Human rights organizations as a form of criminal inhumane act of illegally “taking hostages”.

The Saffron revolution is not over yet.

  • The SPDC regime’s use of mass arrests, murder, torture and imprisonment
  • has failed to extinguish our desire for the freedom that was stolen from us so many years ago. We have taken their best punch.
  • As the famous saying, “Shwe Ba Ah Sa Nar Myee.” This is just a temporary set-back.
  • There is another Burmese saying_Htow Myi’ Sin_Nauk Ta Hlan_Sohe Thee.
  • The GOOD will always TRIUMPH over the EVIL.
  • Kindly allow me to repeat clearly and firmly again, “our uprising is not over yet!”
  • The SPDC military Junta may control the streets and monasteries,
  • but they will never be able to control the hearts and minds or determination of the Burmese people.

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Now it is the generals who must fear the consequences of their actions.

We adhere to nonviolence, but our spine is made of steel.

There is no turning back.

There is another Burmese saying, Ngoke Mi_Thae Taing. Tet Naing_Phar Yoke.

It matters little if my life or the lives of colleagues, comrades should be sacrificed on this journey as long as our beloved holy, revered monks are leading us.

After all, Sayardaw U Gambari had selflessly sacrificed for all of us.

Our comrade brothers, sisters, children will fill our sandals, and more will join and follow till the Saffron Revolution revolution succeed and dumped the Myanmar Tatmadaw to where they belong, barracks, as the servants and security guards of the Burmese People.

Ah Yae Daw Pone Aung Ya Myi.

Free Sayardaw U Gambari !

FREE DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI!

FREE BURMA!

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Acknowledgement

Many data obtained from_

               

Say Young Sone Anyein, video 1 to 6

Say Young Sone Anyein,

video 1 to 6

You Tube Video source through Niknayman’s blog ( thank you Ko Niknayman for the videos)

We like to praise the courage of the Comedians after watching the Jokes of the Anyein performance , which is usually combined with the traditional dance with the jokes.

 

However the Jokes made by the famous comedians, Godzilla, King Kong,and the others make all of us laughing at the same times feel deep sorrow as we all know that these comedians were crying in their heart while making the Jokes to express the feeling for the 50 millions Burmese, who’s mouths were sealed by the Military Junta.

For the non Burmese readers I am unable to translate their jokes as they smartly and bravely used the Myanmar Language, Culture and tradition with current situation of Burma in indirect words. Myanmar Language is difficult to translate in its true essence as meaning may change with different intonation.

Following is my favourite quote regarding humor and the fight for democracy which was originally from Irrawaddy On-line.

Sit Mone

VCD Political Comedy

Draws Laughter in Rangoon

By Shah Paung
December 21, 2007
The generals who run Burma don’t like it when the joke’s on them, but political satire and humor are alive in military-ruled Burma.

A popular VCD depicting a traditional anyein performance is now selling like hot cakes in Burma. An anyein is like a variety show with comedians, singing and dancing.

The performance took place at Myaw Zin Gyun near Rangoon’s lake Kan Daw Gyi on November 24.

Well-known comedians including Godzilla, King Kong and Kyaw Htoo and four comedians known as “Thee Lay Thee” performed live in spite of a warning from authorities.

Before going on stage, Godzilla was asked to sign a document saying he would not make political jokes.

The comedian troupe is known as “Say Young Sone” (The Colorful).

The comedians quickly ignored the authorities and began cracking jokes about the military and the September uprising, drawing laughter and cheers from the audience.

The comedians targeted the September uprising, the regime’s municipal policy, the junta-backed Union Solidarity Development Association, religion and UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari.  

A VCD of the performance is now widely available in Rangoon despite a ban imposed by the government.
 
One youth in Rangoon said that since last week the VCD has been on sale on the streets. He said he bought 10 copies to share with his friends.

One of the most popular bits is when two comedians portray UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari and Minister of Information Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan, who is dubbed as “Comical Ali.”

Kyaw Hsan begins touching the legs of Gambari—the duo then gradually begin to touch mouths, eyes, ears and heads.

Gambari finally says he knows what Kyaw Hsan’s up to.

“This man does not know about “Myanmar!” [Burma],” says Kyaw Hsan.

Finally, the two stand up and can not touch each other any more.

“Your dollars are falling out!” says Kyaw Hsan, pointing to the floor. 

Gambari quickly bends over and picks up a US dollar. Kyaw Hsan kicks Gambari in the rear, shouting “This is Myanmar!”

Recently, the UN special envoy’s budget of more than $800,000 was approved for 2008 to work toward national reconciliation. The Nigerian diplomat has a Burmese nickname, “kyauk yu pyan,” which means “one who takes gems and then leaves.”

The performance also touched on Bagan Airline, which is  owned by Burmese business tycoon Tay Za.

Snr-Gen Than Shwe was satirized as a man who acted like a king and who treated his “servants” (comedians) like slaves. The servants finally punished the king by beating him. 

The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma began broadcasting the VCD performance on its satellite television network on Thursday.

Photos of Anti-Muslim Riots in Bago/Pegu

Anti-Muslim Riots in Bago/Pegu

Instigated and staged by

Agent Provocateur Military Intelligent

bogus Monks in 1997

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

 -Voltaire

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That wasn’t a real protesting by true monks. It was set up by the military Juntas to lodge a wedge between Buddhist and Muslims in Burma.

I was there in Mandalay when that happened. The Buddhist monks sheltered the Muslims in their monestries while other bogus MI monks are destroying the mosques. The whole world and many Burmese citizens know who were the people doing that.

At last 3 agent provocator, Military Intelligent monks were caught by the civilians who were trying to protect their homes and the monks rioting in  the city against Muslims were not the real monks.

They just shaved their heads with the boots underneath the robes, using walki-talkies exclusively used by the Myanmar Tatmadaw and sometimes seen using or ridiong the motorbikes which practice is strictly forbidden by real monks.

Why the people did not join them if that is a clash between Muslims and Buddhists? We all, Buddhists and Muslim friends were still hanging out and helping each other.

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OIC Condemns Attacks On

Muslims In Myanmar

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) – As more accurate information is emerging from Myanmar over recent attacks on Muslims there, the Organization Of Islamic Conference (OIC) earlier this week joined the chorus of those condemning the attacks.

The OIC released a press statement saying, “The extremist Buddhists have burned houses, killed women and children and destroyed eight historical mosques in Tongo region, and 26 mosques in Mindanao region.”

It strongly condemned the “inhuman and aggressive” attacks by “extremist” Buddhists upon Muslims in the Union of Myanmar (formerly Burma).

The OIC called on the international community and human rights organizations to intervene and force the Myanmar government to halt attacks on Muslims, and quit destroying mosques and Islamic historical places.

It urged the international community to secure the safety of Muslims in the Union of Myanmar and enable them to exercise their political and social rights as accorded to other citizens, and safeguard their Islamic identity.

Muslims number close to seven million in Myanmar. The majority are Indian Muslims who settled in Burma when the country was under British rule, moving to Burma during the 19th century.

Some of the ethnic Indian Muslims migrated into Karen State. The descendents of Indian Muslim immigrants identify themselves as “Pwakanyaw Thu” or “Black Karen”.

They no longer maintain active links with India. Relations between Muslim, Christian and Buddhist Karens are generally peaceful.

A Muslim group with an older history in Burma is the Rohingya of Arakan State. Arakan was an established kingdom even before modern Burmans (the majority ethnic group of Myanmar) moved from Tibet to occupy Burma in the 9th century.

Arab Muslim traders converted the people of Arakan (then called Rohang) to Islam. The succeeding centuries saw an influx of Muslim immigrants from West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. Arabs, Persians, Indians and Turks intermarried with native Arakanese.

The distinct ethnic character of the people is evident in their language, Rohingya, which is a mixture of Bengali, Persian, Arabic, and Arakanese. The Rohingya (also known as Rohai) also live on the other side of the Burma-Bangladesh border.

Persecution of Burmese Muslims by Buddhists is ongoing today. The history of human rights violations against Muslims in Burma dates back to 1784, when Burman Buddhists invaded Arakan.

Muslims, as well as other religious minorities in Myanmar, are suspected of being subjected to organized mass rapes, slavery and other abuses

Burma

International Religious Freedom Report 2007

Released by the U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

 

Highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes have ruled the country since 1962. Constitutional protection of religious freedom has not existed since 1988, after the armed forces brutally suppressed massive pro-democracy demonstrations and abrogated the Constitution. In 1990 pro-democracy parties won a majority of seats in a free and fair election, but the junta of senior military officers refused to recognize the results and has ruled the country by decree and without a legislature ever since. The authorities generally permitted most adherents of registered religious groups to worship as they choose; however, the Government imposed restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abused the right to freedom of religion. There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report. The Government continued to infiltrate and covertly and overtly monitor meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. The Government systematically restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom and discouraged and prohibited minority religious groups from constructing new places of worship. In some cases, government officials destroyed existing places of worship. The Government also actively promoted Theravada Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of ethnic minorities. Christian and Islamic groups continued to have trouble obtaining permission to repair existing places of worship or build new ones. Anti-Muslim violence continued, as did the close monitoring of Muslim activities. Restrictions on worship of other non-Buddhist minority groups also continued throughout the country. Although there were no new reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists, the Government applied pressure on students and poor youth to convert to Buddhism. Adherence or conversion to Buddhism is generally a prerequisite for promotion to senior government and military ranks.During the period covered by this report, social tensions continued between the Buddhist majority and the Christian and Muslim minorities. Widespread prejudice existed against citizens of South Asian origin, many of whom are Muslims.

The U.S. Government advocated religious freedom with all facets of society, including with government officials, religious leaders, private citizens, scholars, diplomats of other governments, and international business and media representatives. Embassy representatives offered support to local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and religious leaders, and acted as a conduit for information exchanges with otherwise isolated human rights NGOs and religious leaders. Since 1999 the U.S. Secretary of State has designated the country as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The U.S. Government has a wide array of sanctions in place against the country for its violations of human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 261,970 square miles and a population of more than 54 million. The majority follow Theravada Buddhism, although in practice, popular Burmese Buddhism coexisted with astrology, numerology, fortune telling, and veneration of indigenous pre-Buddhist era deities called “nats.” Buddhist monks, including novices, number more than 400,000 and depend on the laity for their material needs, including clothing and daily donations of food. The country has a much smaller number of Buddhist nuns. The principal minority religious groups include Christian groups (Baptists, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and an array of other Protestant denominations), Muslims (mostly Sunni), Hindus, and practitioners of traditional Chinese and indigenous religions. According to official statistics, almost 90 percent of the population practice Buddhism, 6 percent practice Christianity, and 4 percent practice Islam. These statistics almost certainly underestimate the non-Buddhist proportion of the population, which could be as high as 30 percent. Independent scholarly researchers place the Muslim population at 6 to 10 percent. A tiny Jewish community in Rangoon has a synagogue but no resident rabbi to conduct services for the approximately 25 Jewish believers.

The country is ethnically diverse, with some correlation between ethnicity and religion. Theravada Buddhism is the dominant religion among the majority Burman ethnic group and among the Shan, Arakanese, and Mon ethnic minorities of the eastern, western, and southern regions. Christianity is the dominant religion among the Kachin ethnic group of the northern region and the Chin and Naga ethnic groups of the western region, some of whom continue to practice traditional indigenous religions. Protestant groups report recent rapid growth among animist communities in Chin State. Christianity is also practiced widely among the Karen and Karenni ethnic groups of the southern and eastern regions, although many Karen and Karenni are Buddhist. In addition, some ethnic Indians are Christian. Hinduism is practiced chiefly by Burmese of Indian origin, who are concentrated in major cities and in the south central region. Islam is practiced widely in Rakhine State, where it is the dominant religion of the Rohingya minority, and in Rangoon, Ayeyarwady, Magway, and Mandalay Divisions. Some Burmans, Indians, and ethnic Bengalis also practice Islam. Chinese ethnic minorities generally practice traditional Chinese religions. Traditional indigenous beliefs are practiced widely among smaller ethnic groups in the highland regions. Practices drawn from those indigenous beliefs persist widely in popular Buddhist rituals, especially in rural areas.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

Highly authoritarian military regimes have ruled the country since 1962. The current military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has governed without a constitution or legislature since 1988. Most adherents of religious groups that register with the authorities generally are allowed to worship as they choose; however, the Government imposes restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abuses the right to religious freedom.

Since independence in 1948, many of the ethnic minority areas have served as bases for armed resistance against the Government. Although the Government negotiated cease-fire agreements with most armed ethnic groups after 1989, active Shan, Karen, and Karenni insurgencies continued. Periodic fighting between the army and the leading Karen insurgent group, the Karen National Union (KNU), and multiple army attacks on Karen villages occurred. Successive civilian and military governments have tended to view religious freedom in the context of whether it threatens national unity or central authority.

The country has no official state religion. However, since independence, successive governments, civilian and military, have supported and associated themselves conspicuously with Buddhism. In 1961 the Government’s push to make Buddhism the state religion failed due to country-wide protests by religious minorities. However, in practice the Government continues to show a preference for Theravada Buddhism through its official propaganda and state-sponsored activities, including government donations to monasteries and support for Buddhist missionary activities. Promotions within the military and the civil service are generally contingent on the candidates being followers of Buddhism. The Ministry of Religious Affairs includes the powerful Department for the Promotion and Propagation of Sasana (Buddhist teaching).

State-controlled news media frequently depict or describe government officials paying homage to Buddhist monks, making donations at pagodas throughout the country, officiating at ceremonies to open, improve, restore, or maintain pagodas, and organizing ostensibly voluntary “people’s donations” of money, food, and uncompensated labor to build or refurbish Buddhist religious shrines throughout the country. State-owned newspapers routinely feature front-page banner slogans quoting from Buddhist scriptures. The Government has published books of Buddhist religious instruction.

Buddhist doctrine remains part of the state-mandated curriculum in all government-run elementary schools. Students can opt out of instruction in Buddhism and sometimes did. All students of government-run schools are required to recite a Buddhist prayer daily. Some Muslim students are allowed to leave the room during this recitation, while at some schools non-Buddhists are forced to recite the prayer.

The Department for the Perpetuation and Propagation of the Sasana handles the Government’s relations with Buddhist monks and Buddhist schools. The Government continues to fund two state Sangha universities in Rangoon and Mandalay to train Buddhist monks under the control of the state-sponsored State Monk Coordination Committee (“Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee” or SMNC). The Government-funded International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University (ITBMU) in Rangoon, which opened in 1998, has as its stated purpose “to share the country’s knowledge of Buddhism with the people of the world.” The main language of instruction is English. The Government also funds one university intended to teach non-citizens about Theravada Buddhism.

Since the 1960s Christian and Islamic groups have had difficulty importing religious literature into the country. All publications, religious and secular, remain subjected to control and censorship. It is illegal to import translations of the Bible in indigenous languages. Officials have occasionally allowed local printing or photocopying of limited copies of religious materials, including the Qur’an (with the notation that they were for internal use only) in indigenous languages without prior approval by government censors.

Virtually all organizations, religious or otherwise, must register with the Government. A government directive exempts “genuine” religious organizations from official registration; however, in practice only registered organizations can buy or sell property or open bank accounts. These requirements lead most religious organizations to seek registration. Religious organizations register with the Ministry of Home Affairs with the endorsement of the Ministry for Religious Affairs. Leaders of registered religious groups have more freedom to travel than leaders of unrecognized organizations and members of their congregations.

Religious affiliation is indicated on government-issued identification cards that citizens and permanent residents of the country are required to carry at all times. Citizens are also required to indicate their religion on official application forms, such as passports

Muslims across the country, as well as some other ethnic minority groups such as Chinese and Indians, are required to obtain advance permission from the township authorities whenever they wish to leave their hometowns.

Muslims in Rakhine State, on the western coast, and particularly those of the Rohingya minority group, continued to experience the severest forms of legal, economic, educational, and social discrimination. The Government denies citizenship status to Rohingyas because their ancestors allegedly did not reside in the country at the start of British colonial rule, as required by the country’s citizenship law. The Muslims assert that their presence in the area predates the British arrival by several centuries. On April 2, 2007, five U.N. Special Rapporteurs and an Independent Expert called on the Government to repeal or amend its 1982 Citizenship Law to insure compliance with international human rights obligations. Without citizenship status, Rohingyas do not have access to secondary education in state-run schools because the Government reserves secondary education for citizens only,

Since 1988 the Government permits only three marriages per year per village in the primarily Rohingya townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung in northern Rakhine State, and requires the approval of the Regional Military Commander.

Muslims in the country also have difficulty obtaining birth certificates. A local official in Sittwe, Rakhine State, reportedly issued a verbal order in 2005 prohibiting the issuance of birth certificates to Muslim babies born in the area.

There are still original-resident Muslims living in Thandwe, but newcomers who are Muslim are not allowed to buy property or reside in the township. Muslims are not permitted to live in Gwa or Taungup.

Official public holidays include numerous Buddhist holy days, as well as a few Christian, Hindu, and Islamic holy days.

The Government made some nominal efforts to promote mutual understanding among practitioners of different religious groups.

In October 2006 Minister of Religious Affairs Brigadier General Thura Myint Maung, invited leaders from the four main religious groups (Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu) to a meeting in which the Minister denounced the 2006 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. He told the religious leaders they knew there was freedom of religion in the country and claimed the Government always granted permits for religious gatherings and permitted renovations of mosques and churches. The Muslim leaders reportedly asked the Minister to unseal mosques in the central region that the Government closed following communal riots in earlier years and for permission to complete madrassahs that were under construction. The leaders reportedly were required to sign statements that they enjoyed religious freedom and were requested to write a letter stating that their religious communities were allowed to practice their faith freely in the country, which the ministry would display on its official website. During a discussion that followed, the representatives of the Islamic Religious Affairs Council (IRAC) stated that while there had been progress on some religious matters, there was room for further improvement. The Minister reportedly stopped further discussion and adjourned the meeting abruptly.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Government continued to show preference for Theravada Buddhism while controlling the organization and restricting the activities and expression of the Buddhist clergy (Sangha), although some monks have resisted such control. Based on the 1990 Sangha Organization Law, the Government banned any organization of Buddhist monks other than the nine state-recognized monastic orders. These nine orders submit to the authority of the SMNC, the members of which are indirectly elected by monks. Violations of this ban are punishable by immediate public defrocking, and often by criminal penalties.

According to state-owned media reports, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a government-sponsored mass organization in which participation often is compulsory, organized courses in Buddhist culture attended by millions of persons. It was not possible to verify this claim independently.

There are reports that the ITBMU, while in principle open to the public, accepted only candidates who were approved by government authorities or recommended by a senior, progovernment Buddhist abbot.

The Government infiltrated or monitored the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. The meetings and activities of religious groups were also subject to broad government restrictions on freedom of expression and association. The Government subjected all media, including religious publications, and on occasion sermons, to control and censorship.

During the reporting period, the Government harassed a group of Buddhist worshippers who visited the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon every Tuesday, the day of the week that Aung San Suu Kyi was born, to pray at the Tuesday pillar for her release and the release of all political prisoners in the country. Authorities sometimes used the pro-regime USDA to block the group from entering the pagoda grounds and make them pray outside the entrance or to shout and clap loudly to drown out their prayers. After Naw Ohn Hla, the spokesperson for the worshippers, protested to the pagoda authorities and wrote letters to regime leaders, local authorities again allowed the group access to the pagoda to pray; however, authorities ordered the pagoda janitors to throw buckets of water on the platform around the Tuesday pillar so that the worshippers would have to kneel in water. They also played music through loudspeakers at full volume to drown out the sound of the group’s prayers. Despite official harassment, including physical and verbal abuse by the pro-regime USDA and the People’s Militia, the worshippers continued to pray every Tuesday during the reporting period. In May 2007 many more groups began praying at different pagodas on Tuesdays for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release upon expiration of her detention order on May 27.

Authorities frequently refused to approve requests for gatherings to celebrate traditional Christian and Islamic holidays and restricted the number of Muslims that could gather in one place. For instance, in satellite towns surrounding Rangoon, Muslims are only allowed to gather for worship and religious training during the major Muslim holidays. In late 2006 a prominent Muslim religious organization planned to hold a golden jubilee in Mawlamyine, Mon State, to celebrate the founding of their organization. After they requested permission to hold the event, the local Division Commander, Brigadier General Thet Naing Win, called representatives of all non-Buddhist religious organizations in the area to a meeting. He informed them that permission would not be granted to hold any religious functions or ceremonies due to security reasons. The Muslim organization then altered its plans and held a low-profile ceremony to honor pilgrims who had been granted official permission by the Ministry of Religious Affairs to attend the Hajj.

On March 22, 2007, authorities detained Htin Kyaw, when he publicly protested the denial of his religious freedom to become a monk. Htin Kyaw had participated in earlier demonstrations against deteriorating economic and social conditions. Rangoon authorities then enforced a 1995 prohibition against any opposition political party member from being ordained as a monk or religious leader and forbade the abbot of a monastery in North Okkalapa in Rangoon to ordain Htin Kyaw.

On January 23, 2007, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) released a report that documented the Government’s restrictions, discrimination, and persecution against Christians in the country for more than a decade. Subsequently, the Ministry of Religious Affairs pressured religious organizations in the country to publish statements in government-controlled media denying they had any connection with CSW or to condemn the report, and to reject the idea that religious discrimination existed in the country.

The Government continued to discriminate against members of minority religious groups, restricting their educational, proselytizing, and church-building activities.

Government authorities continued to prohibit Christian clergy from proselytizing in some areas. Christian groups reported that several times during the period covered by this report, local authorities denied applications for residency permits of known Christian ministers attempting to move into a new township. The groups indicated this was not a widespread practice, but depended on the individual community and local authority. In some instances, local authorities reportedly confiscated National Identity Cards of new converts to Christianity. Despite this, Christian groups reported that church membership grew, even in predominately Buddhist regions of the country.

During the reporting period, authorities in the Rangoon area closed several house churches because they did not have proper authorization to hold religious meetings. Other Rangoon home churches remained operational only after paying bribes to local officials. At the same time, the authorities made it difficult, although not impossible, to obtain approval for the construction of “authorized” churches.

On October 1, 2006, the Agape Zomi Baptist Church, with more than 1,000 members, had to stop its weekly services at Asia Plaza Hotel in Rangoon after the hotel management refused to continue renting them a conference room. The hotel management claimed the township authorities had ordered them to stop renting its facility to the group, which had worshipped at the hotel for approximately one year.

In August 2006 NaSaKa, the Government’s border security force, ordered eight Rohingya Muslim communities in Rathedaung Township, Rakhine State to close their religious centers, including 5 mosques, 4 madrassahs, 18 moqtobs (premadrassahs), and 3 hafez khanas (Qur’an reciting centers). Later, local authorities allowed two madrassahs to reopen. NaSaKa ordered the closures because it stated that the institutions were not officially registered. According to Muslim sources, government officials have not allowed any madrassahs to register officially. Muslim religious organizations are appealing the closures.

On August 19, 2006, government officials prohibited a Baptist church in Rangoon from conducting a literacy workshop for its youth. The authorities stated that the church must seek advance permission to hold such programs, although the church had held similar programs for the past four years without needing permission. Authorities also reportedly censored the same Baptist church’s weekly order of service.

In February 2006 Insein Township authorities also ordered a Chin evangelist to stop holding worship services in his house church in Aung San ward. In November 2005 authorities in Insein Township, Rangoon, pressured evangelical Christians of the 20-year-old Phawkkan Evangelical Church to sign “no worship” agreements. Some signed the agreements out of fear, but others refused. In February 2006 the authorities issued an order banning worship at the church.

The Religious Affairs Ministry has stipulated in the past that permission to construct new religious buildings “depends upon the population of the location;” however, there appeared to be no correlation between the construction of pagodas and the demand for additional places of Buddhist worship. In most regions of the country, Christian and Islamic groups that sought to build small places of worship on side streets or other inconspicuous locations were able to do so only with informal approval from local authorities; however, informal approval from local authorities created a tenuous legal situation. When local authorities or conditions have changed, informal approvals for construction have been rescinded abruptly and construction halted. In some cases, authorities demolished existing church buildings.

Christian groups continued to have trouble obtaining permission to buy land or build new churches in most regions. Sometimes the authorities refused because they claimed the churches did not possess proper property deeds, but access to official land titles was extremely difficult due to the country’s complex land laws and government title to most land. In some areas, permission to repair existing places of worship was easier to acquire. Muslims reported that the authorities banned them from constructing new mosques anywhere in the country, and they had great difficulty obtaining permission to repair or expand their existing structures. Historical mosques in Mawlamyine, Mon State, Sittwe, Rakhine State, and other areas of the country continued to deteriorate because authorities would not allow routine maintenance. Some authorities reportedly destroyed informal houses of worship or unauthorized religious construction they discovered. In early 2007, Muslims in Northern Rakhine State, repaired a mosque that had been severely damaged in a storm. When the authorities discovered this, they destroyed the repairs that had been made to the mosque. Buddhist groups have not experienced similar difficulties in obtaining permission to build new pagodas, monasteries, or community religious halls.

During the reporting period, the Catholic Church established new dioceses in Kachin and Shan states. The bishop of the new diocese in Pekon, Shan State, decided to build his residence on a plot of land long owned by the church. Brigadier General Myo Lwin, commander of Military Operation Command Seven at Pekon, ordered the partially built structure demolished, confiscated the land, and extended his own compound fence to enclose the church property. Despite appeals to higher authorities, the Church has not recovered its property.

The Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) in Insein Township, Rangoon is the premier seminary for Baptists throughout the country. To accommodate a rapidly increasing enrollment, MIT raised funds to build a new classroom building and purchase building supplies. At the last minute, government officials refused to grant a building permit. Four years later, piles of construction materials still litter the campus where they gather mildew and rust. In contrast, the Government openly supports Buddhist seminaries and permits them to build large campuses.

Some Christians in Chin State claimed that the authorities have not authorized the construction of any new churches since 1997. However, newly built churches are evident in several parts of the state. A Christian leader in Chin State stated that to obtain permission to repair or build a church he first had to obtain permission from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs (NaTaLa), the Immigration Department and the Township Peace and Development Committee. In Rangoon, Mandalay, and elsewhere, authorities allowed construction of new community centers by various Christian groups only if they agreed not to hold services there or erect Christian signs.

It remained extremely difficult for Muslims to get permission to repair existing mosques, although internal renovations were allowed in some cases. In some parts of Rakhine State, authorities cordoned off mosques and forbade Muslims to worship in them.

State censorship authorities continued to enforce special restrictions on local publication of the Bible, the Qur’an, and Christian and Islamic publications in general. The most onerous restriction was a list of more than 100 prohibited words that the censors would not allow in Christian or Islamic literature because they are “indigenous terms” or derived from the Pali language long used in Buddhist literature. Many of these words have been used and accepted by some of the country’s Christian and Islamic groups since the colonial period. Organizations that translate and publish non-Buddhist religious texts were appealing these restrictions. In addition, censors have sometimes objected to passages of the Old Testament and the Qur’an that they believe approve the use of violence against nonbelievers. There have been no reports of arrests or prosecutions for possession of any traditional religious literature in recent years.

Authorities also restricted the quantity of bibles and Qur’ans brought into the country. During the reporting period, however, individuals continued to carry Bibles and Qur’ans into the country in small quantities for personal use. There were no reports that authorities intercepted or confiscated Qur’ans at border entry points, but religious leaders complained that postal workers steal them to sell on the black market.

In general, the Government has not allowed permanent foreign religious missions to operate in the country since the mid-1960s, when it expelled nearly all foreign missionaries and nationalized all private schools and hospitals, which were extensive and affiliated mostly with Christian religious organizations. The Government is not known to have paid any compensation in connection with these extensive confiscations. Christian groups, including Catholics and Protestants, have brought in foreign clergy and religious workers for visits as tourists, but they have been careful to ensure that the Government did not perceive their activities as proselytizing. Some Christian theological seminaries also continued to operate, as did several Bible schools and madrassahs. The Government has allowed some members of foreign religious groups, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), to enter the country to provide humanitarian assistance or English language training to government officials. Some of these groups did not register with the Myanmar Council of Churches, but were able to conduct religious services without government interference.

The Government allowed members of all religious groups to establish and maintain links with coreligionists in other countries and to travel abroad for religious purposes, subject to the country’s restrictive passport and visa issuance practices, foreign exchange controls, and government monitoring, which extended to all international activities by all citizens regardless of religion. The Government sometimes expedited its burdensome passport issuance procedures for Muslims making the Hajj or Buddhists going on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, India, although it limited the number of pilgrims. In 2006 government officials allowed approximately 3,000 Muslims to participate in the Hajj. The procedure reportedly became more cumbersome in 2006 due to the relocation of most government offices from Rangoon to Nay Pyi Taw. Observers speculate that had this not been the case, more Muslims would have gone. During the period covered by this report, immigration and passport officials continued to use the occasion of the Hajj to extort bribes from would-be travelers. Government and private travel agencies processed approximately 2,500 Buddhist pilgrims to travel to Bodhgaya in India.

Non-Buddhists continued to experience employment discrimination at upper levels of the public sector. Few have ever been promoted to the level of Director General or higher. There were no non-Buddhists who held flag rank in the armed forces, although a few Christians reportedly achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The Central Executive Committee of the largest opposition group–the National League for Democracy–also included no non-Buddhists, although individual members from most religious groups in the country supported the party. The Government discouraged Muslims from enlisting in the military, and Christian or Muslim military officers who aspired for promotion beyond the rank of major were encouraged by their superiors to convert to Buddhism. Some Muslims who wished to join the military reportedly had to list “Buddhist” as their religion on their application, though they were not required to convert.

Rohingya Muslims, although essentially treated as illegal foreigners, were not issued Foreigner Registration Cards. Instead, the Government gave some of them “Temporary Registration Cards” (TRC). UNHCR estimated that only 650,000 of the approximately 800,000 Rohingyas possessed TRCs. Authorities have insisted that Muslim men applying for TRCs submit photos without beards. The authorities did not allow government employees of the Islamic faith, including village headmen, to grow beards, and dismissed some who already had beards. The authorities also did not consider many non-Rohingya Muslims to be citizens. In order for these Muslims to receive National Registration Cards and passports, they must pay large bribes. Ethnic Burman Muslims pay less than Muslims from ethnic minority groups (primary those of Indian or Bengali descent).

In 2006 a prominent Muslim religious organization asked the Rakhine State Peace and Development Council Chairman, the Regional Military Commander, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs to lift marriage restrictions for Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. At the end of the reporting period, they had yet to receive a response.

In Rangoon, Muslims can usually obtain birth certificates for newborns, but local authorities refused to allow them to place the names of the babies on their household registers.

Authorities generally did not grant permission to Rohingya or Muslim Arakanese to travel from their hometowns for any purpose; however, permission was sometimes obtainable through bribery. Non-Arakanese Muslims were given more freedom to travel; however, they were also required to seek permission, which was usually granted after a bribe is paid. Muslims residing in Rangoon could visit beach resort areas in Thandwe, Rakhine State, but could not return to Rangoon without the signature of the Regional Military Commander. Those with money were able to bribe local officials to return. Muslims residing outside of Rakhine State often were barred from return travel to their homes if they visit other parts of Rakhine State.

Rohingyas did not have access to state-run schools beyond primary education and were unable to obtain employment in any civil service positions. Muslim students from Rakhine State who completed high school were not granted permits to travel outside the state to attend college or university. In lieu of a diploma, Rohingya high school graduates received a sheet of paper that stated they would receive a diploma upon presentation of a citizenship card; however, Rohingyas can never obtain such a card.

Many of the approximately 25,000 Rohingya Muslims remaining in refugee camps in Bangladesh refused to return because they feared human rights abuses, including religious persecution.

Abuses of Religious Freedom

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), has been in prison or house arrest since 2003, when forces allied with the Government attacked her and her convoy, which included several NLD-allied monks, while traveling in Sagaing Division in the northwestern region of the country. The Government reportedly used criminals dressed in monks’ robes in the ambush. On May 15, authorities detained more than 30 worshippers in Rangoon when they approached separate pagodas to pray for Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. At the end of the reporting period, the worshippers were still detained. The next day USDA members, claiming to represent “the people,” detained another 15 worshippers after they prayed at a pagoda in Mingladon Township, but the authorities let them go the same day. On May 25, 2007, the Government extended Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest for an additional year.

In February 2007 the Burmese Army arrested a monk who was allegedly trading Buddha images to Buddhists in Bangladesh illegally. The army forced the monk to disrobe in contravention to Buddhist precepts that require a monk to have his robes removed at a ceremony in a monastery. Laypersons, regardless of status, may not demote a monk to become a layperson.

On July 2, 2006, authorities from Thandwe, Rakhine State arrested Abbot Wila Tha and his assistant Than Kakesa from the Buddhist monastery of U Shwe Maw village, Taungup Township, closed the monastery, and forced 59 monks and novices to leave. Local sources claimed that the reason for the arrest was that the abbot refused to accept donations from or conduct religious ceremonies for the authorities. The authorities also claimed the abbot was endangering local stability by talking to the monks and novices about democracy, that he was a supporter of the NLD (National League for Democracy), and that he had supported the visit of Aung San Suu Kyi (pro-democracy activist and leader of the NLD) when she visited the area several years earlier. The exile-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) estimated there were 86 Buddhist monks in prison for various charges. It was not possible to verify the AAPP estimate. The number of non-Buddhists in prison for their religious beliefs was unknown. Authorities usually defrocked monks when they arrested them and treated them like ordinary prisoners, including using torture. The prison authorities disrespectfully addressed the monks by their given names, not their religious titles.

Local civilian and military authorities continued to take actions against Christian groups: arresting clergy, closing home churches, and prohibiting religious services.

In February 2006, police at Hpa-an, Karen State, arrested Yeh Zaw, a member of the Phawkkan Evangelical Church. Yeh Zaw had earlier written a letter to the regime leader urging him to end the persecution of his church that Rangoon authorities closed earlier in 2006, banning members from worshipping there. Police charged him with traveling without an identity card.

In 2005 local authorities in the Chin State capital of Hakha notified Baptist leaders that they would be forced to relocate an active, historic cemetery from church property to a remote location outside of town. Religious leaders reported that authorities continued to forcefully relocate cemeteries in many parts of the country.

In the past, pagodas or government buildings often have been built on confiscated Muslim land.

In Kachin State, authorities have constructed Buddhist shrines in Christian communities where few or no Buddhists reside and have tried to coerce Christians into forced labor to carry bricks and other supplies for the shrine’s construction. In September 2006 government officials inaugurated a pagoda near the Kachin Independence Organization’s headquarters at Laiza, Kachin State. Kachin sources reported there were no Buddhists living in the community. In northern Rakhine State, authorities frequently forced Rohingyas to help construct Buddhist shrines, even though Buddhists there account for approximately 2 percent of the population.

In January 2006 Muslim Rohingyas from at least ten surrounding villages claimed the military forced them to carry building supplies for three model villages at Padauk Myin, Mala Myin and Thaza Myin in Rathedaung Township. Certain townships in the Rakhine State, such as Thandwe, Gwa, and Taungup, were declared “Muslim-free zones” by government decree in 1983.

Authorities have attempted to prevent Chin Christians from practicing their religion. In 2005 the military commander in Matupi Township, Chin State, ordered the destruction of a 30-foot cross erected on a hillside with government permission in 1999. A more senior military official subsequently told local church authorities that they could get permission to reconstruct the cross; however, the local pastors have thus far refused to ask for such authorization. In the past, these crosses often have been replaced with pagodas, sometimes built with forced labor.

SPDC authorities continued to “dilute” ethnic minority populations by encouraging, or even forcing, Buddhist Burmans to relocate to ethnic areas. In predominantly Muslim northern Rakhine State, authorities established “model villages” to relocate released ethnic Burman criminals from other parts of the country.

There continued to be credible reports from diverse regions of the country that government officials compelled persons, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, especially in rural areas, to contribute money, food, or materials to state-sponsored projects to build, renovate, or maintain Buddhist religious shrines or monuments. The Government denied that it used coercion and called these contributions “voluntary donations” consistent with Buddhist ideas of making merit. In April 2006 authorities in Lashio reportedly tried to coerce merchants to contribute large sums to construct a Buddhist shrine. Christian merchants refused to participate and the funds raised were well below the authorities’ target.

Forced Religious Conversion

Muslim and Christian community leaders reported that during the period covered by this report, authorities had moved away from a campaign of forced conversion to Buddhism and instead focused on enticing non-Buddhists to convert to Buddhism by offering charity or bribery. Conversion of non-Buddhists, coerced or otherwise, is part of a longstanding government campaign to “Burmanize” ethnic minority regions. This campaign has coincided with increased military presence and pressure. In 2005 there was a single, unverified report of forced conversion at gunpoint in Chin State; however, Christian groups reported that such violent cases were less frequent than in earlier years. In September 2006 Chin sources reported that 15 students withdrew from a government-operated hostel for girls in Matupi, Chin State, after formerly voluntary Buddhist evening prayers became compulsory for all the hostel residents. Although the girls received free school fees, food, and accommodation, they complained they felt pressured to become Buddhist. In Kanpetlet, Chin State, NaTaLa operated a school exclusively for Buddhist students and guaranteed them government jobs after graduation. Christian children had to agree to convert to Buddhism if they wanted to attend this school.

There were no reports of forced religious conversion of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to return to the United States.

Section III. Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Preferential treatment for Buddhists and widespread prejudice against ethnic Indians, particularly ethnic Rohingya Muslims, were key sources of social tensions between the Buddhist majority and Christian and Muslim minorities.

In February 2006, violent clashes broke out between Muslims and Buddhists in Magway Division in response to rumors that Muslim men had raped a Burman woman. Ethnic Burmans attacked and torched Muslim and ethnic Indian homes, shops, and mosques. Rioting and looting spread to surrounding towns, including Chauk and Salin. Local security forces did not intervene at first, but as violence spread authorities imposed a strict curfew in several towns. Reliable sources stated that the authorities arrested 17 people in Sinbyukyun and another 55 persons in Chauk, mostly Muslims. Unofficial sources claimed that 3 people died and another 10 were injured in the riots. Three mosques in Yenangyaung, Chauk, and Saku were reportedly destroyed in the violence. At the end of the reporting period, the mosques remained sealed and authorities would not permit Muslims to rebuild them, nor did authorities conduct inquiries into the attacks. Christians reported that an entire Muslim village fled to the monastery of a trusted Buddhist abbot near Shwe Settaw to seek refuge during the riots.

These attacks follow earlier communal violence in Kyauk Pyu, Rakhine State, in 2005. During several days of violence, two Muslims were killed and one Buddhist monk was severely injured. Some Islamic groups blamed the Government for trying to increase tensions between Buddhists and Muslims as part of a “divide and rule” strategy.

Since 1994, when Buddhist members split away from the KNU (Karen National Union) to organize the pro-government Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), there have been armed conflicts between the DKBA and the predominately Christian antigovernment KNU. Although the DKBA reportedly includes some Christians and there are some Buddhists in the KNU, the armed conflict between the two Karen groups has had strong religious overtones. There were also unverified reports that DKBA authorities continued to expel villagers who converted to Christianity.

During the reporting period, a Burmese language document surfaced titled, “Program to Eliminate Christianity.” The document suggested 17 points for countering Christianity in the country; however, the source of the document was unknown and several grammatical errors raised questions about its authenticity. There was no definite evidence to link the document to the Government.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

Government restrictions on speech, press, assembly, and movement, including diplomatic travel, made it difficult to obtain timely and accurate information on human rights in the country, including on freedom of religion. Information about abuses often becomes available only months or years after the events and frequently is difficult or impossible to verify.

The U.S. Government continued to promote religious freedom in its contacts with all sectors of society, as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. During the period covered by this report, Embassy officials discussed the importance of improved religious freedom with government and military officials, private citizens, scholars, representatives of other governments, and international business and media representatives. Embassy representatives met regularly with leaders of Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic religious groups, including ethnic minority religious leaders, members of the faculties of schools of theology, and other religious-affiliated organizations and NGOs. This included regular invitations to the American Chargé d’Affaires’ residence to build understanding and tolerance among the groups.

Through outreach and traveling, when not blocked by regime officials, Embassy representatives offered support to local NGOs and religious leaders and exchanged information with many otherwise isolated human rights NGOs and religious leaders. Representatives of the Rohingya minority participated in English language and current events studies at the Embassy’s American Center. The American Center regularly translated statements and reports by the U.S. Government and various NGOs on violations of religious freedom in the country and distributed them via its frequently visited library. The U.S funded an effort for UNHCR to initiate work with the Ministry of Immigration and Population to issue TRCs, fairly and without bribes or unreasonable requirements, to undocumented Rohingyas. In addition, the Embassy worked closely with Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian NGOs involved in education and teacher training.

Since 1999 the Secretary of State has designated the country as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. Because of the country’s poor human rights situation, including its abuses of religious freedom, the United States imposed extensive sanctions on the regime. The United States has also opposed all assistance to the Government by international financial institutions and urged the Governments of other countries to take similar actions. U.S. sanctions include a ban on imports from the country, a ban on the export of financial services to the country, a ban on bilateral aid to the Government, a ban on the export of arms to the country, and a suspension of General System of Preferences (GSP) benefits and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) financial services in support of U.S. investment and exports to the country. The U.S. Government also ended active promotion of trade with the country, limited the issuance of visas to high-ranking government and military officials and their immediate family members, and froze SPDC assets in the United States. New investment in the country by U.S. citizens has been prohibited since May 1997.

Released on September 14, 2007

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Crackdown on Burmese Muslims

July 2002

Summary

As United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail prepares to visit Burma in early August, pressure is growing from the international community and Burmese ethnic minority leaders to broaden the ongoing dialogue between the democratic opposition and the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to include the concerns of Burma’s minority populations. The concerns of Burma’s Muslims should be part of that agenda.

During much of 2001, there was increased tension between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Burma, at times erupting into violence. News of the violence was quickly suppressed, however, and little detailed information about what took place reached the outside world. The government has failed to take effective action to protect Muslims in Burma, imposed restrictions on Muslim religious activities and travel both inside the country and abroad, and taken no action to punish those responsible for destroying Muslim homes and mosques.

A combination of factors seems to have precipitated last year’s confrontations. Destruction of Buddhist images in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001, and the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., appear to have fueled increased Buddhist resentment against local Muslims.

Like previous attacks on Muslims by members of the majority Buddhist population, economic factors also played a role. The worst violence in eastern Burma, for example, took place in May and September 2001, at times when the country’s economic crisis was particularly severe. During this period the blackmarket rate for kyat was well over 800 to the U.S. dollar, roughly 100 times the official rate. The fact that many Muslims are businessmen, shopkeepers and small-scale money changers means that they are often targeted during times of economic hardship.

Outbreaks of violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities took place in Taungoo, just over 150 kilometers north of Rangoon, in May 2001, when more than a thousand people led by robed Buddhist monks attacked Muslims shops, homes, and mosques. Many Muslims were reportedly beaten and there were credible reports of at least nine deaths. Violence spread to nearby townships and villages. The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) did little or nothing to intervene to stop and prevent the attacks.

Even more serious violence erupted in Prome, northwest of Rangoon, in early October 2001, leading authorities to impose a curfew to prevent the unrest from spreading to nearby areas.

Further outbreaks took place in Pegu, northeast of Rangoon, though on a smaller scale.

In Arakan State, a predominantly Muslim area, human rights violations, including forced labor, restrictions on the freedom of movement, and the destruction of mosques, have been commonplace.

In February 2001, in the state capital Sittwe, a major frontier and commercial  

For background on Arakan State and persecution of Muslims, see Human Rights Watch, “Burma: The Rohingya Muslims: Ending a Cycle of Exodus?”

A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 8, no. 9 (c), September 1996; Human Rights Watch/Asia and Refugees International,

“Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh: The Search for a Lasting area with sizeable Muslim and Buddhist populations, full-scale riots broke out, resulting in deaths, destruction of Muslim homes, and the imposition of a curfew and travel restrictions.

This briefing is based on Human Rights Watch research conducted in late 2001 and early 2002, including over thirty interviews with Burmese Muslims and other religious leaders inside Burma and in nearby countries. To protect the safety of those we spoke to inside Burma, individuals’ names and the times and places of interviews are not included. By combining this information with interviews with Rohingya (Muslim) refugees in camps in Bangladesh conducted by Forum Asia from May-December 2001, and published media accounts, Human Rights Watch has compiled a still incomplete but telling picture of what caused the violence, how the authorities responded, and some of the lingering abuses of religious freedom and other fundamental human rights that continue to affect Burma’s Muslim population.

Recommendations

Burma is obligated under international human rights law to protect the fundamental rights of all persons within its territory, including religious minority populations. The government must respect all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind such as race, language, religion, and national or social origin. This includes the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; and to manifest one’s beliefs in practice, worship, and observance.

The SPDC should take immediate steps to end continuing harassment and persecution of Muslim communities. It should immediately lift all official restrictions on the freedom of Muslims to congregate in mosques, as well as restrictions on their ability to gather in groups for prayers in private homes. The government should eliminate requirements for special identity papers and lift travel restrictions on Muslims, both of which were rigidly enforced last year in order to keep Muslim communities in check.

The SPDC should also take effective action against those responsible for violence against Burmese Muslims. The authorities should fully investigate last year’s attacks on Muslim shops and mosques and prosecute those responsible for such crimes as assault, arson, and looting. They should take steps to ensure that property, including mosques, destroyed during last year’s violence is restored and losses fairly compensated. In locations such as Arakan State, where local army commanders reportedly ordered the destruction of mosques, those implicated should be prosecuted or otherwise disciplined. In instances when force is used by authorities against civilians, including lethal force, in the course of crowd control, the government should ensure that international standards and guidelines, including the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, are fully respected.

The international community sho uld call on the Burmese government to allow Ambassador Razali and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, unrestricted access to all Muslims areas, including the sites of last year’s violence, so that they can meet with local Muslim residents and community leaders and make recommendations for specific steps to protect the basic human rights of the country’s Muslim population.

Solution,” A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 9, no. 7 (c), August 1997; Human Rights Watch/Asia, “Burmese Refugees in Bangladesh: Still No Durable Solution,” A Human Rights Wash Report, vol. 12, no. 3 (c), May 2000.

3 Background on Muslims in Burma

Burma has been ruled by successive repressive, authoritarian regimes since 1962, when General Ne Win seized power. In 1988, the armed forces brutally suppressed massive pro-democracy demonstrations and since then a junta of senior military officers has ruled by decree, claiming only to be a transitional government. During the last fourteen years the military’s human rights record has been appalling. The suppression of political and religious activities has been endemic through the whole of this period.

2 The latest Burmese Constitution, adopted in 1974, restricts religious freedom and stresses the paramount supremacy of the State. It states that “the national races shall enjoy the freedom to profess their religion…provided that the enjoyment of any such freedom does not offend the laws or the public interest.”3 But violence and discrimination against Burma’s Muslim minority has been commonplace over the last four decades. Islamic leaders in Rangoon believe that attitudes among the predominantly Buddhist Burmese population began to change from tolerance to persecution after General Ne Win seized power in a military coup in 1962. Since then, Muslims have been deliberately and systematically excluded from official positions in the government and the army.

The Burmese government estimates that some four percent of the population are Muslims.

However, Islamic leaders believe that Muslims make up nearly ten percent of the population.

There has been no official census since Burma gained its independence from Great Britain in 1948. Apart from Arakan, the western Burmese state that borders Bangladesh and is home to the Muslim Rohingyas, Burma’s Muslims live predominantly in urban areas throughout the country.

According to a senior Muslim leader in Rangoon, most Muslims are indistinguishable in  appearance and behavior from the country’s Buddhists: they dress the same, wear longyis, speak Burmese, and understand Burmese culture and history.

During the British colonial period and the early years of independence, Muslims played an important role. They held high positions in government and civil society. They were also in the forefront of the fight for independence from the British. After independence, Muslims continued to play a prominent role in the country’s business, industrial, and cultural activities. Many Muslims were public servants, soldiers, and even officers. At the time of the last democratically elected parliament in the 1960s, there was at least one Muslim minister and several Muslim members of parliament.

This all changed after General Ne Win seized power in 1962. He initiated the systematic expulsion of Muslims from government and the army. There is no written directive that bars Muslims from entry or promotion in the government, according to Muslim leaders in Burma, but in practice that is what happens.

Although there is no official state religion, the Burmese military government actively endorses Theravada Buddhism in practice, as have previous governments – both civilian and military.

2 See Human Rights Watch World Reports, chapters on Burma, 1990-2002.

3 Article 21 (b) of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, 1974.

4 government is increasingly seen identifying itself with Buddhism. The state-controlled media often shows military leaders and government ministers paying homage to Buddhist monks; making donations to pagodas throughout the country; officiating at ceremonies to open, improve, or restore pagodas; and organizing forced donations of money, food, and labor to build or refurbish Buddhist shrines throughout the country. State-owned newspapers regularly feature slogans and quotations from Buddhist scriptures. While undoubtedly motivated in part by religious conviction, this close identification is also seen by many observers as part of the military’s strategy to find some form of legitimacy for its rule.

Muslims and Christians have major difficulties in obtaining permission to build places of worship and in importing indigenous-language translations of traditional sacred texts. In fact, over the last ten years there have been numerous reports of mosques being destroyed, in some cases with Buddhist stupas being built in their place.

Muslims in Burma have long suffered from ethnic and religious discrimination. Historical sources suggest that the majority Buddhist population has viewed Muslims with suspicion almost from the time they began to become a significant minority in Burma twelve hundred years ago.

While there are no written regulations or laws that mandate any of the customary discriminatory practices which have emerged in Burma today, mistrust and antipathy toward Muslims is deeply rooted.

The Burmese4 have had a long tradition of intermarriage, especially between Burmans and members of ethnic groups found in eastern Burma –Karens, Mons and Shans – which are predominantly Buddhist. In recent years there has also been substantial intermarriage with members of the Chinese community, also made easier by shared religious beliefs. But this occurs far less often in the case of Muslims; normally, marrying into a Muslim family entails conversion to Islam.

Over the decades, many anti-Muslim pamphlets have circulated in Burma claiming that the Muslim community wants to establish supremacy through intermarriage. One of these, Myo Pyauk Hmar Soe Kyauk Hla Tai (or The Fear of Losing One’s Race) was widely distributed in 2001, often by monks, and many Muslims feel that this exacerbated the anti-Islam feelings that had been provoked by the destruction in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

5 Local Buddhist monks have often been at the center of these campaigns. According to Burmese Muslim leaders, distribution of pamphlets in 2001 was also supported by the Union of Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a government-sponsored mass organization that fulfils a social and political function for the military.

Officially sanctioned action against the Muslim community has varied over the last two decades.

In the mid-nineties there were several attempts to eliminate mosques in different parts of the country, including in Rangoon. But it is more than two years now since any mosques in Rangoon

4 The term Burmese is generally used for citizenship and Burman for the ethnic group.

5 “Giant Buddha statues ‘blown up,’” BBC, March 11, 2001, available at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_1214000/1214384.stm (July 12, 2002).

5 were forcibly closed or razed, according to the president of Burma’s Islamic Affairs Council.

These previous efforts in Buddhist areas of Burma often had official backing, unlike most of the attacks on the mosques in 2001.

It is difficult to estimate the extent of damage done to mosques in eastern Burma during the violence last year. Many still remain closed, especially in Taungoo where the wo rst violence occurred. Even in many of the mosques that have reopened, the damage is still clearly visible, as in Pegu.

Special identity papers and travel restrictions on Muslims have also long been in force. Burma denies citizenship status to most Muslim Rohingyas, for example, on the grounds that their ancestors did not reside in the country at the start of British colonial rule in 1824.

6 The U.N. special rapporteur on Burma in 1993 urged the government to “abolish its over-burdensome requirements for citizens in a manner which has discriminatory effects on racial or ethnic minorities.”

7 Restrictions seem to have been far more rigidly enforced last year because of heightened concerns about the Muslim community. There are many credible reports of Muslims being taken off buses and trains when they were not able to produce their travel papers, and in some cases even when they did. For instance, in February 2001, eight Muslim men traveling to Rangoon were arrested despite having identity papers because they were traveling outside Arakan State without permission from the local police. They were sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

8 In October, a Muslim man was taken off a plane in Kawthaung airport in southern Burma, bound for Rangoon without apparent reason; his ticket was cancelled.

9 One Muslim woman, a resident of Rangoon, told Human Rights Watch she was unable to return home after traveling to the Andaman Sea on holiday because, she said, the local authorities insisted that she needed a visa to return. She was allowed to travel back to Rangoon two weeks later.

Muslims wanting to perform the Haj in 2002 also faced especially tight restrictions this past year.

In most years several thousand Muslims travel to Mecca for the Haj. Senior Islamic leaders in Rangoon estimate that more than five thousand pilgrims travel to Mecca in a typical year by their own means. This is on top of the two hundred Muslims who go as part of the official Burmese delegation, arranged by the military government. In 2002, only the two hundred pilgrims on the officially organized visit to Mecca were allowed to make the trip.

The government insists there was no prohibition on travel. In theory Muslims were allowed to go on the Haj, Muslims leaders say, but no one was able to get a passport to travel. The number of passports granted to Burmese citizens has been drastically cut, according to official sources in 6 For details on Burma’s highly restrictive citizenship law see Human Rights Watch/Asia, “Burmese Refugees in Bangladesh: Still No Durable Solution,” May 2000.

7 Ibid.

8 Mizzama News February 13, 2001.

9 Irradawaddy Magazine Online October 10, 2001.

Rangoon. Before last November, more than a thousand passports were issued a month; this has been reduced. Although all Burmese reportedly now have to wait longer for a passport and pay more in bribes for it, Muslims claim that they have had to endure even more than other groups due to prejudice. The president of the Burmese Islamic Council says the percentage of Muslims applicants getting passports has now fallen from 20 percent to 5 percent. This not only makes performing the Haj more difficult, but also restricts Muslim businessmen’s commercial activities.

Although Buddhism is not officially enshrined as the national religion, the Burmese military government often uses Buddhism as a means of laying claim to a form of national legitimacy.

The senior generals use Buddhism to bolster their authority, frequently visiting pagodas and paying tribute. Intelligence chief Lt. General Khin Nyunt has even built a new pagoda near the Rangoon Mingaladon airport.

However, in 2001, the SPDC was far more pragmatic in its approach, partly because their new policy of actively engaging the international community meant that they needed a more

measured approach to religious tolerance. The SPDC was anxious to maintain strong relations with Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, leader of the largest Muslim country in mainland Southeast Asia.

But the Burmese government’s approach during much of 2001, at least in areas outside Arakan State, also reflected the belief that to prevent major outbreaks of social unrest they would need to contain Muslim sentiment. Military leaders apparently feared that young hotheads amongst the Muslim community might be provoked into violent action.

Such unrest is something the military regime wants to avoid at all costs. In a rapidly deteriorating economy, with the price of stable goods like edible oil and rice increasing sharply, the possibility of social disturbances developing into a food riot has haunted government leaders. Something similar happened in 1988 and helped spark the massive pro-democracy movement. It paralyzed the government for several months before the military coup on September 18 brutally crushed the demonstrations and established military rule throughout the country.

The Burmese government’s reaction to the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhist images at Bamiyan in March 2001 was mixed from the start. Government sources say the military regime sent a formal letter of protest to the Taliban authorities in Kabul but never made its action public.

Pictures and videos of the event, pirated and copied from foreign publications and foreign broadcasters, were confiscated by the military authorities for fear they would enflame the country’s Buddhist population. The SPDC’s failure to publicly condemn the destruction of Buddhist images angered many monks, residents of Rangoon told Human Rights Watch. The government quickly imposed curfews in those towns where violence erupted and in some towns even cut communications, as in Taungoo, Taunggi, and Pegu. Senior Buddhist monks were told to instruct the heads of local monasteries to keep their young monks in their compounds,according to one Rangoon-based monk. “Many monks in Rangoon have also been told not to travel outside the city at present,” he said. “They were told there was a nation-wide ban on all religious ceremonies.”

7 The government was also nervous about the Burmese population seeing footage of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Some footage was shown on television and newspapers carried minimal coverage of the events of September 11, but with few photos. In many parts of the country, including Rangoon, military authorities closed the mosques and banned mass gatherings, including meetings for worship. Plainclothes military intelligence officers and police were stationed near mosques in most cities, according to Islamic leaders in Rangoon.

Military authorities again imposed curfews in places where violence erupted in October, describing the curfews as precautionary and intended to prevent individuals from spreading rumors with the intention of creating inter-religious conflict. A government press release announced: “The Government will not condone hate crimes or harassments targeted not only to Muslims but other religions.”

10 As a result, security measures, travel restrictions, and measures against illegal immigration were “beefed up.”

While there are credible reports that military intelligence officers were involved in stirring up anti-Muslim violence in some cities outside Rangoon, other officials seemed to have been concerned that religious riots not get out of control.

Taungoo Violence (May 2001)

There was mounting tension between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Taungoo for weeks before it erupted into violence in the middle of May 2001. The destruction of the Buddhist images in Bamiyan seem to have been one of the main triggers. Buddhist monks demanded that the ancient Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in retaliation for the destruction in Bamiyan, according to Muslim leaders.

Eyewitnesses blame the violence on a crowd of more than a thousand people, led by monks. The violence started when a group of Burmese Buddhists attacked shops and restaurants owned by Muslims in the central town area. The Muslim owners retaliated angrily, defending themselves and fighting back, and then the violence escalated. In the next two days, Muslim homes, shops, and mosques were damaged or burned. Many Muslims were beaten and required medical treatment. During the violence, many Muslims sought and were given sanctuary both in Christian and Buddhist religious places of worship. Medical treatment at the government hospital was denied or delayed for a number of victims, said a local resident, and private doctors provided care for them but at their own risk.

Nine Muslims reportedly died during the riots, including three children. In one incident, a family of four, including two young children, perished when their house was set on fire by angry crowds allegedly whipped up by Buddhist monks. The house was burned to the ground, allegedly after being ignored by fire-fighters who devoted all their efforts to saving a Buddhist home next door.

10 Myanmar Information Sheet, 17th October 2001.

11 The U.S. State Department’s Annual Report for International Religious Freedom issued in October, 2001, estimates that ten Muslims and ten Buddhists were killed, and notes

“…there were credible reports that the monks that appeared to be inciting at least some of the violence were USDA or military personnel dressed as monks.

 After two days of violence the military stepped in and the violence immediately ended.”

8 More than sixty Muslim homes were destroyed and virtually all the Muslim-owned shops were looted and demolished, according to a local Muslim leader. Six mosques were destroyed, according to Muslim residents, including the famous 200- year-old Hantha Mosque.

The mosque was initially defended by volunteer Muslim guards, but the local authorities prevailed on thecommittee to allow the town council to take responsibility for the mosque’s safety. Muslim leaders emphasize that the Mosque was demolished during curfew hours and believe that local authorities were at least in part responsible for its destruction.

There are also credible reports that the violence against Muslims in Taungoo spread to nearbytownships and villages, including Myo Hla and Kywe Pway. In Taungdwin Gyi several days after the violence in Taungoo, Muslim-owned cars, houses, shops, and properties were burned and destroyed, said a Muslim eyewitness. The conflict between Muslims and Buddhists also spread to Taunggyi in Shan state. There are also unconfirmed claims that several mosques in parts of Karen State to the south of Taungoo were destroyed in Buddhist-Muslim violence that followed the disturbances in Taungoo.

There are also reports of problems in Prome and Mandalay around May, but here Buddhist

monks seem to have taken an active role in protecting the local mosques from destruction. The tension was so high in Mandalay that authorities were forced to close the Zay Cho market (in central Mandalay near the main railway station) for three days.

A curfew was declared as soon as anti-Muslim clashes broke out in Pegu – a little more than eighty kilometers northeast of

Rangoon. Curfews were imposed in many areas and towns in the second half of May because of the Muslim-Buddhist tension, according to a Rangoon-based diplomat, including in Pegu, Prome, Taungoo, and Taunggyi.

Many of the monks in Taungoo were carrying hand-phones, according to a highly credible eyewitness. Mobile phones are not readily available to the Burmese population — they simply cannot afford them. This seems to suggest that they were not monks, and may have been military intelligence operatives masquerading as monks.

In general, there was clearly a split among the monks in their attitude towards the violence against Muslims.

The scars of last May’s violence remain. Recent visitors to Taungoo say there are empty lots where former homes and businesses once stood. They have all been cleaned up and left empty.

The mosques in Taungoo remained closed as of May 2002. Muslims have been forced to worship in their homes. Local Muslim leaders complain that they are still harassed, and told that not more than five people can pray together even in the privacy of their own homes. After the violence, many local Muslims moved away from Taungoo to other nearby towns and as far away as Rangoon. But local residents say that some of them have now returned to Taungoo because they could not find work in Rangoon.

Violence in Prome (September/October 2001)

Even more intense violence against Muslims occurred in early October in Prome, located roughly 300 kilometers northwest of Rangoon. Eyewitnesses say a crowd of more than a thousand Burmese Buddhists, led by two hundred visiting monks, went on a rampage attacking Muslim homes and shops. A local Islamic leader who witnessed the event said that residents pointed out to the monks those shops which were owned by Muslims, who had gathered in Prome for a religious ceremony that intelligence chief Lt General Khin Nyunt was due to attend.

Many Muslim shop-owners had their properties destroyed. “The military did indeed intervene, but not before forty shops owned by Muslims were destroyed,” said a senior Muslim leader.

“And the violence flared up again two hours later after the police and troops had gone.”

There are conflicting accounts of what provoked this outbreak of violence. Many Prome residents believe the clash was sparked off when a young Burmese girl eloped with a Muslim boy and was forced to convert to Islam. The girl’s parents protested to the boy’s parents at the local Mosque.

Some local residents, however, claim the violence was engineered by proopposition forces who wanted to embarrass the government.

The government immediately cut off communication links with Prome and imposed a curfew in an effort to preve nt the unrest from spreading to other towns. But, in fact, violence against Muslims did erupt elsewhere, including in Hinthada in Irrawaddy and Pegu.

Pegu (October 2001)

Tension between Muslims and Buddhists reportedly was high in October 2001. Local residents say violence erupted after a quarrel broke out between some monks and a Muslim drug store owner. Several Muslim shops were reportedly ransacked, though Islamic leaders have played down the violence. There were some scuffles, with monks and Muslim youths shouting insults at each other, but the confrontations reportedly were quickly stopped by local authorities before they got out of hand.

Although the violence in Pegu was far more limited than in Prome, at least one mosque in the city was badly damaged. Although the mosque is now open for worship, the damage done to it is still very noticeable. For months after the violence, Muslim congregations, particularly after Friday prayers, continued to disperse quickly for fear of attracting the wrath of local military authorities. “The military are watching us very closely all the time,” a local Muslim leader told Human Rights Watch. Tension in Pegu was still evident in early 2002. The fear is palpable.

“There is no freedom for anyone here,” said another Muslim worshipper, “but for Muslims it’s even worse.”

Muslims in Pegu are at great pains to insist that the situation in the town is now back to normal and that there are no problems with the local Buddhist community. But curfews, travel restrictions, and tighter police and military surveillance remain in effect, suggesting that tensions remain high.

Arakan/Sittwe (February)

Violence against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan is a way of life, according to U.N. staff based in camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. As opposed to other parts of Burma, however, in Arakan the violence against Muslims is carried out systematically by the Burmese army.

The persistent abuse of human rights in Arakan, including institutionalized discrimination and forced labor has been documented by Human Rights Watch and others. Half a million

10 Rohingyas fled into Bangladesh a decade ago because of this persecution. 12 While the exodus of refugees has slowed since the worse repression ten years ago (the majority of the more than 250,000 who fled at the time have returned under the auspices of the UNHCR), conditions remain oppressive and Rohingyas continue to try to cross the border.

There was sporadic violence against Muslims in Arakan throughout 2001, with particular violent incidents in Sittwe and in and around Maungdaw township.

The worst incident occurred in February in the border town of Sittwe, Arakan State’s capital, located on the Naf river, a major border crossing-point and a center of commercial activity for the region. Both Muslims and Buddhists live in the town.

13 Burmese interviewed by Human Rights Watch report that there is constant tension between Buddhists and Muslims in Sittwe. The resentments are deeply rooted, and result from both communities feeling that they are under siege from the other. The violence in February 2001 flared up after an incident in which seven young monks refused to pay a Muslim stall holder for cakes they had just eaten. The Muslim seller, a woman, retaliated by beating one of the novices, said a Muslim eyewitness. Several more senior monks then came to protest and a brawl ensued, he said. One of the monks was hit over the head by the Muslim seller’s husband and started to bleed.

Riots then broke out. The abbots at the local Monastery began to ring the bells sounding an emergency, bringing many of the town’s Buddhists onto the streets to defend the monks. They were armed with knives, sticks, swords, and guns, said a local Muslim eyewitness. The Imam in the nearest mosque used a loudspeaker to call on local Muslims to defend themselves, calling for a jihad to protect women and children.

Eyewitnesses vary in their view of what happened next. Muslims insist that it was monks, armed with knives (or Soe in Burmese) who started the fighting. Buddhist sources deny it. What is clear is that a full- scale riot erupted after dusk and carried on for several hours. Buddhists poured gasoline on Muslim homes and properties and set them alight. More than thirty homes and a Muslim guesthouse were burned down, according to local residents. The fighting took place in the predominantly Muslim part of town and so it was predominantly Muslim property that was damaged.

Police and soldiers reportedly stood by and did nothing to stop the violence initially. It was several hours before they intervened.

According to a local Muslim resident, it was only when the Burma denies citizenship status to most Rohingyas on the grounds that their ancestors did not reside in the country at the start of British colonial rule in 1824. For details on Burma’s highly restrictive citizenship law see Human Rights Watch, “Burmese Refugees in Bangladesh: Still No Durable Solution,” May 2000.

The U.N. special rapporteur on Burma in 1993 urged the government to “abolish its over-burdensome requirements for citizens in a manner which has discriminatory effects on racial or ethnic minorities.”

13 The U.S. State Department’s Annual Report for International Religious Freedom, 2001, said “there were various, often conflicting, accounts of how the riots began, but reports consistently stated that government security and fire fighting forces did little to prevent attacks on Muslim mosques, businesses and residences…There are estimates that over 50 Muslim homes burned to the ground and that both Muslims and Buddhists were killed and injured.”

11 police realized that the Muslims were fighting back and killing Buddhists that police acted, shooting their weapons into the air. When this did not disperse the crowds, another sixty police reinforcements arrived in a truck and began to shoot directly at the Muslims, according to other local residents. “There were several dead bodies in the streets,” said one eyewitness, “both Muslims and Buddhists, but I don’t know how many.” There are no reliable estimates of the death toll or the number of injuries. More than twenty died according to some Muslim activists.

The army arrived around 2:00 in the morning and finally restored order.

A curfew was imposed in Sittwe immediately after the February riots, which stayed in force for more than two months. It was relaxed during the Water Festival (the celebration leading up to the Buddhist New Year) in April, but re-imposed afterwards. Muslims from nearby townships –

including Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung – were not allowed to travel to Sittwe.

Travel permits were revoked and, as of May 2002, few Muslims were being allowed to travel freely out of northern Arakan.

There was also violence in and around Maungdaw township in Arakan, with eyewitness accounts suggesting that at least 28 mosques and madrassah (Muslim schools) were destroyed in May 2001

The crackdown, according to one refugee who had been a businessman in Maungdaw town, began when the local NaSaKa14 military officer instructed the leaders of the Muslim community to draw up a list of the mosques in the area and the names of those who were on the respective mosque committees. He then ordered the closure of some of the mosques and reportedly told the committee members that if they did not comply with his order he would do it himself, saying:

“Don’t think this order comes from me. It comes from the higher authorities.”

This account was confirmed by a number of other refugees from the Maungdaw area recently arrived in Bangladesh, who also reported that local mosques had been destroyed in May 2001 on the local military commanders’ orders. Most of the mosques that were destroyed seem to have been built without official permission. According to the refugees, implementation of the policy requiring permission varied depending on how rigorous the military were. In some cases, the committee reportedly was able to save its mosque by paying substantial bribes. One mosque near Stapurika, close to Maungdaw, was saved at the cost of 100,000 kyat which was paid to the local military camp commander, according a former resident of the area.

The destruction of mosques seems to have been halted in the middle of 2001. Some mosques were permitted to be rebuilt after Muslim leaders met senior government officials in Rangoon to complain about the military’s orders to destroy all unauthorized mosques in Arakan. According to a former madrassah teacher from Buthidaung, the government officials said: “In Afghanistan, Talibans have destroyed statues of our Lord Buddha, so that is why we were destroying your mosques here.” Most of the mosques destroyed were thatch huts put up without permission.

For much of 2001, the use of unpaid labor for building military camps and acting as porters for the army in Arakan had been on the decline. But after the start of the U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan in October, authorities built new police and military camps and mounted twenty-four hour sentry duty. This entailed an increase in the use of use of forced labor to construct these new camps and the houses in them.

“There are four sentry posts in my village and in every post four men do a whole night of [unpaid] sentry duty,” said a Muslim teacher from Buthidaung. This is a pattern that is being repeated in many places in Arakan. The authorities say it is necessary because they fear an increase in terrorist activity by Muslim-based insurgents like the Arakan Rohingya National Organization and the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), whom they accuse of connections with the Taliban or international Mujahid groups in Afghanistan. 15

Conclusion

Last November, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, in his remarks to the U.N. General Assembly, expressed concern about reports of violence against Muslim communities, and said, “Inter-ethnic/religious tensions are a matter of prime concern to me in a country whose extremely rich human, historical, political, linguistic and cultural diversity pose the constant political challenge of making these differences co-exist in a peaceful, dynamic and constructive manner.”16 The Burmese government must take effective action to address the concerns of the country’s Muslim population, and to safeguard and protect their basic human rights.

15 Some “Burmese” were reportedly captured in the recent war in Afghanistan, though it isn’t clear what this actually means. They were assumed to be from Rohingya groups who have in fact sent people there in the past for training. However they have never shown the same fundamentalism or militarism associated with the Taliban.

16 From the Special Rapporteur’s speech presenting his interim report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, A/56/112, Fifty Sixth Session of the General Assembly, November 7, 2001.