Criminal terrorist PM Samak praises Myanmar Junta

  Criminal terrorist Thai PM Samak

praises Myanmar Junta

(BangkokPost.com) – Mr Samak Sundaravej hailed his trip to Burma last Friday as a success when he spoke on his weekly television programme aired on Channel 11 on Sunday.

The premier said he managed to talk to Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein about several important issues including bilateral cooperation on the economic front, and on energy issues.

 “It was my job as a prime minister to judge the country through first hand experience. The general view of this country has always been one-sided, but there are two sides to a coin,” he said.

My comment: You must open both eyes and look at Myanmar. Now you closed one eye meant for the democracy, Justice and Human Rights. You open only one eye look at the benefits of your country, your cronies and yourself. And that only eye you looked at Myanmar is also covered with the greedy green spectacle.

The premier said before he left that he would not bring up human rights or democracy issues with the dictators, and also wound up witnessing the signing of a previously secret economic agreement that mandates Thai cooperation with Burma in several economic projects.

Mr Samak added that the trip made him realise that Burma is a peaceful Buddhist country. The country’s prime minister even prays and meditates on a daily basis.

My comment: In Burmese there is a saying,

” Pasat Ka_Phaya Phaya.

Let Ka_Karyar Karyar.”

So what? Myanmar PM prays and meditate daily. Pray for what? Asking Buddha to forgive the killings, torturing and jailing of Monks, demonstrators and unarmed civilians who protested peacefully?

Let’s the history of that bird with the same feathers with Myanmar SPDC Junta leaders_

Samak Sundaravej 

Samak Sundaravej (Thai: สมัคร สุนทรเวช) (born June 13, 1935) has been the Prime Minister of Thailand since January 2008, as well as the leader of the People’s Power Party since August 2007. He is of Chinese descent , ancestral surname Lee (李). Ref: [泰国] 洪林, 黎道纲主编 (April 2006). 泰国华侨华人研究. 香港社会科学出版社有限公司, 187. ISBN 962-620-127-4. 

In 1968 Samak joined the Democrat Party. Well connected to the military, Samak became head of its renegade right-wing faction. In the 1976 general election, he defeated Kukrit Pramoj and was made Deputy Interior Minister in the cabinet of Seni Pramoj. He quickly became prominent for arresting several left-wing activists. (Ref: Paul M. Handley. The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press (2006). )

Samak was removed from his ministerial position, and in reaction organised an anti-government demonstration calling for the removal of three young liberal Democrat ministers who he branded as being “communists”. On the evening of the massacre on October 6 he headed a lynch mob which confronted Prime Minister Seni in front of Government House. Although in 2008 interviews with CNN and al-Jazeera Samak denied complicity with the 6 October 1976 massacre that left officially at least 46 dead, the record tells otherwise. Accounts from witnesses, documents and published reports clearly identify Samak as chief operator of the “Armoured Car” radio programme, an ultra-right wing broadcast that constantly expounded anti-communist and pro-right propaganda.

Samak used this programme to stir up hatred against Thammasat University students, and intentionally disobeyed the Prime Minister’s orders at the time to “stop creating divisiveness.” In defending the return of 1973-ousted Field Marshal Praphat over the radio, Samak told listeners that students demonstrating against the dictator’s return were committing suicide.

Following the coup of October 6, 1976, Samak became Minister of the Interior in the administration of Tanin Kraivixien, a palace-favoured anti-Communist with a reputation for honesty. Samak immediately launched a campaign which saw hundreds of supposed leftists, many of whom were writers and other intellectuals, arrested.

In 1992, as Deputy Prime Minister in the Suchinda administration, Samak justified the military’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators by declaring that the government had the right to do so as long as the United States could send troops to kill people in other countries. He remains unrepentant and continues to stand by his justification, stating that the military was merely trying to restore law and order after the pro-democracy demonstrators, which he branded as “troublemakers”, had resorted to “mob rule”.

 

The meeting between new Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej instead focused on growing anger over killings of Cambodian immigrant workers, a spokesman said Monday.

At Samak’s two-day visit at Cambodian, issues of disputed sea borders and border killings of itinerant Cambodians had come up.

As a newly-elected leader, Samak’s visit to neighbouring nations has become a tradition for new leaders of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations, of which both countries are members.

Cambodian alleged that Thailand uses undue force in controlling Cambodian immigrant workers to Thailand, which results in at least a dozen shooting deaths at the hands of Thai border patrols per year, according to border police.

‘Please, do not use unnecessary violence (on the borders) because it could disturb the Cambodian people,’ Kanharith warned. ‘Thailand has full rights to control illegal immigrants, but Thailand should also respect human rights.’

Thai refused to accept the 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia.

The oil field border dispute had been discussed extensively by Hun Sen and Samat, and Thailand had been urged to be less inflexible, allowing a ‘win-win situation between our two nations’.

As all of us know and Samak has also admitted that he is a proxy for Thaksin Shinawatra, let’s look at his puppet-master’s history_

Thaksin Shinawatra 

(Thai: ทักษิณ ชินวัตร, IPA: [tʰáksǐn tɕʰinnawát]; (Chinese: 丘達新), nickname แม้ว (maew, a northern Thailand hill tribe also known as Hmong), born July 26, 1949 in Chiang Mai, Thailand), Thai businessman and politician, is the former Prime Minister of Thailand, and the former leader of the populist Thai Rak Thai Party. He was in exile for 17 months until February 28, 2008, when he returned to Bangkok. Thaksin is commonly referred to by the Thai press as “maew” (Thai แม้ว) which is, the derogative term for a northern Thailand hill tribe also known as Hmong.

Thaksin attended the 10th class of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.[24] He then attended the Thai Police Cadet Academy and upon graduation, he joined the Royal Thai Police Department in 1973.

Thaksin started his career in the Thai police, and later became a successful entrepreneur, establishing Shin Corporation and Advanced Info Service, the largest mobile phone operator in Thailand. He became one of the richest people in Thailand prior to entering politics, although he and his family later sold their shares in Shin Corporation.

His government was frequently challenged with allegations of corruption, dictatorship, demagogy, treason, conflicts of interest, acting undiplomatically, tax evasion, the use of legal loopholes and hostility towards a free press. He was accused of lèse-majesté, selling domestic assets to international investors, and religious desecration. Independent bodies, including Amnesty International, also expressed concern at Thaksin’s human rights record. Human Rights Watch described Thaksin as “a human rights abuser of the worst kind”, alleging that he participated in media suppression and presided over extrajudicial killings. A series of attacks in 2005 and 2006 by Sondhi Limthongkul and his People’s Alliance for Democracy destroyed Thaksin’s name and reputation.  He was also subject to several purported assassination attempts.

Thaksin initiated several highly controversial policies to counter a boom in the Thai drug market, particularly in methamphetamine. After earlier anti-drug policies like border blocking (most methamphetamine is produced in Myanmar), public education, sports, and promoting peer pressure against drug use proved ineffective, Thaksin launched a multi-pronged suppression campaign that aimed to eradicate methamphetamine use in 3 months. The policy consisted of changing the punishment policy for drug addicts, setting provincial arrest and seizure targets, awarding government officials for achieving targets, targeting dealers, and “ruthless” implementation.

Over the next seven weeks, press reports indicate that more than 2,700 people were killed.[75] The Government claimed that only around 50 of the deaths were at the hands of the police. Human rights critics say a large number were extrajudicially executed. The government went out of its way to publicize the campaign, through daily announcements of arrest, seizure, and death statistics.

Thaksin’s anti-drug approach was effective and extremely popular. According to the Narcotics Control Board, the policy was extremely effective in reducing drug consumption, especially in schools, at least until the 2006 coup.

King Bhumibol, in his 2003 birthday speech, supported Thaksin’s anti-drugs approach, although he did request the commander of the police to categorize the deaths between those killed by police and those killed by fellow drug dealers. Police Commander Sant Sarutanond reopened investigations into the deaths, and again found that few of the deaths were at the hands of the police. A Bangkok university poll conducted in February 2003 revealed 92% of respondents backed Thaksin’s approach. Nevertheless, his anti-drug approach was widely criticized by international community. Thaksin requested that the UN Commission on Human Rights send a special envoy to evaluate the situation, but said in an interview, “The United Nations is not my father. I am not worried about any UN visit to Thailand on this issue.”

A year after the 2006 coup, the military junta ordered another investigation into the anti-drug campaign. Former Attorney General Kanit Na Nakhon chaired the special investigative committee. “The special committee will be tasked with an investigation to find out the truth about the deaths as well as to identify remedial measures for their relatives,” said Justice Minister Charnchai Likhitjittha.

The committee found that as many as 1400 of the 2500 killed had no link to drugs. However, while giving the opinion that orders to kill came from the top, the panel failed to establish sufficient evidence to charge Thaksin directly with the murders. The Nation (an English-language newspaper in Thailand) reported on November 27, 2007:

Of 2,500 deaths in the government’s war on drugs in 2003, a fact-finding panel has found that more than half was not involved in drug at all. At a brainstorming session, a representative from the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Tuesday disclosed that as many as 1,400 people were killed and labeled as drug suspects despite the fact that they had no link to drugs. … Senior public prosecutor Kunlapon Ponlawan said it was not difficult to investigate extra-judicial killings carried out by police officers as the trigger-pullers usually confessed.

South Thailand insurgency

A resurgence in violence began in 2001 in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand which all have a Muslim, ethnic Malay majority. There is much controversy about the causes of this escalation of the decades long insurgency. Attacks after 2001 concentrated on police, the military, and schools, but civilians have also been targets. Thaksin has been widely criticized for his management of the situation, in particular the storming of the Krue Se Mosque, the deaths of civilian protesters at Tak Bai in Army custody, and the unsolved kidnapping of Muslim-lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit.

In October 2004, 84 Muslim human rights protesters were killed at Tak Bai when the Army broke up a peaceful protest.. The many detainees were forced at gunpoint to lie prone in Army trucks, stacked like cordwood. The trucks were delayed from moving to the detainment area for hours. Many detainees suffocated to death due to gross mishandling by the military. After the 2006 coup, the Army dropped all charges and investigations into Army misconduct related to the Tak Bai incident. Thaksin announced a escalation of military and police activity in the region. In July 2005, Thaksin enacted an Emergency Decree to manage the three troubled provinces. Several human rights organizations expressed their concerns that the decree might be used to violate civil liberties.

In March 2005, Thaksin established the National Reconciliation Commission, chaired by former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun to oversee efforts to bring peace to the troubled South. In its final report released in June 2006, the commission proposed introducing Islamic law and making Pattani-Malay (Yawi) an official language in the region. The Thaksin administration assigned a government committee to study the report, while Muslims urged the government to act faster in implementing the proposals.

There have also been complaints that Thaksin appointed relatives to senior positions in the civil service and independent commissions, for example by elevating his cousin, General Chaiyasit Shinawatra, to Army commander-in-chief. In August 2002, he was promoted from Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces Development Command to become Deputy Army Chief. Both General Chaiyasit and Defense Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh denied charges of nepotism at the time. General Chaiyasit replaced General Somthad Attanan as Army commander-in-chief. However, General Chaiyasit was replaced by General Prawit Wongsuwan in August 2004, after only a year in office. His replacement was in response to an escalation of violence in southern Thailand. Prawit was succeeded by Sonthi Boonyaratglin in 2005.

Thaksin was also accused of interference after the Senate appointed Wisut Montriwat (former Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance) to the position of Auditor General, replacing Jaruvan Maintaka.

Respected former Thai ambassador to the UN Asda Jayanama, in an anti-Thaksin rally, claimed that Thaksin’s two state visits to India were made in order to negotiate a satellite deal for Thaksin’s family-owned Shin Corporation. The accusation was countered by Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon, who attended the state visits with Thaksin.

Thaksin’s government has been accused of exerting political influence in its crackdown on unlicensed community radio stations.

Thaksin has also been accused of being superstitious.

Thaksin often faced harsh comparisons. Social critic Prawase Wasi compared him to AIDS, Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda and Senator Banjerd Singkaneti compared him to Hitler, Democrat spokesman Ong-art Klampaibul compared him to Saddam Hussein, and the newspaper The Nation compared him to Pol Pot.

Thaksin has been engaged in a series of lawsuits brought by American businessman William L Monson regarding a cable-television joint venture the two partnered in during the 1980s.

Accusations by Sondhi Limthongkul

The political crisis was catalyzed by several accusations published by media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul, a former Thaksin supporter. These included accusations that Thaksin:

  • Restricted press freedom by suing Sondhi after Sondhi printed a sermon by a controversial monk (see Luang Ta Maha Bua incident)
  • Masterminded the desecration of the Erawan shrine (see Phra Phrom Erawan Shrine incident)

Sale of Shin Corporation

On January 23, 2006, the Shinawatra family sold their entire stake in Shin Corporation to Temasek Holdings. The Shinawatra and Damapong families netted about 73 billion baht (about US$1.88 billion) tax-free from the sale, using a regulation that made individuals who sell shares on the stock exchange exempt from capital gains tax.[132]

The transaction made the Prime Minister the target of accusations that he was selling an asset of national importance to a foreign entity, and hence selling out his nation. The Democrat party spokesman compared him to Saddam Hussein: “Saddam, though a brutal tyrant, still fought the superpower for the Iraqi motherland”.

Thaksin faced pressure to resign following the sale of Shin Corporation to Temasek Holdings.

2006 Bangkok New Year’s Eve bombings

On December 31, 2006 and January 1, 2007, several bombs exploded in Bangkok. Thaksin later went on CNN to deny any involvement in the bombings.[150]

Thaksin was assaulted while eating at a Thai restaurant in London. A Thai woman threw a glass at him – it was not known whether he was injured.[151]

His diplomatic passport was revoked in December 31, 2006 after the junta accused him of engaging in political activities while in exile. Thai embassies were ordered not to facilitate his travels.

In January 2007, the Financial Institutions Development Fund complied with an Assets Examination Committee request to file a charge against Thaksin and his wife over their purchase of four 772 million baht plots of land from the FIDF in 2003. The charge was based on alleged violation of Article 100 of the National Counter Corruption Act, which specificies that government officials and their spouses are prohibited from entering into or having interests in contracts made with state agencies under their authorisation. As in truth, this particular law,has been proposed before the Thaksin’s regime, by the Democrats.

The Assets Examination Committee also accused Thaksin of issuing an unlawful cabinet resolution approving the spending of state funds to buy rubber saplings. However, it did not accuse him of corruption.

In March 2007, the Office of the Attorney-General charged Thaksin’s wife and brother-in-law of conspiring to evade taxes of 546 million baht (US$15.6 million) in a 1997 transfer of Shin Corp shares.

The Assets Examination Committee rules that Thaksiin was guilty of malfeasance for obstructing competition by passing an executive decree that imposed an excise tax for telecom operators. Thaksin’s Cabinet approved an executive decree in 2003 that forced telecom operators to pay an excise tax of 10% on revenues for mobile phone operations, and 2% for fixed-line operations.

 Reference

Bangkok Post

Wikipedia

 

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 

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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_

               

Myanmar’s Muslim sideshow

Myanmar’s Muslim sideshow

(Note: This was an old article before latest real Monks protests. The monks reported in this article are Military Intelligent Agents, disguised as monks)
By Cem Ozturk

Southeast Asia

As the world continues to glare at Myanmar’s ruling junta for its ongoing oppression of the country’s popular democracy movement, it is hardly by coincidence that tensions between Buddhists and Muslims, in the past instigated by Yangon in times of political crisis, are on the rise again.

Some in Myanmar point the finger at alleged new “terrorists” among the Muslim minority. Do these allegations represent a heightened Islamist presence in Myanmar, or is this just the inner grumblings of a regime hoping to use the “war on terror” for desperately needed international support?

With red robes, a freshly shaven head and a look of serene indifference across his face, the seated monk was a near perfect emulation of the gold image of Buddha placed against the far wall. His words, however, were far from tranquil.

“We have a problem in Myanmar; we have a problem here in Mandalay. The problem is called Islam. There are many new Muslims in Mandalay from Pakistan [and Bangladesh]. These people are thieves and terrorists. They do not respect our religion and our women. We are Buddhist, and we are peaceful, but we must protect ourselves.”

The scene was a Buddhist seminary adjacent to Shwe In Bin Monastery in Mandalay – Myanmar’s second largest city. In this deeply Buddhist nation, the monkhood is second only to the government in public influence. The abbot, a charismatic Burman named Win Rathu, is a highly respected leader among the Mandalay clergy whose tough talk has earned him the Hollywood-esque nickname “The Fighting Monk”. He is widely accepted as the leader of a growing anti-Muslim movement.

Several weeks prior to his conversation with Asia Times Online (September 14), he gave a speech on the matter which attracted a voluntary audience of nearly 3,000 monks – a substantial number by all accounts, and one that reflects the seriousness with which the perceived Muslim threat is being taken by the monkhood.

This perceived threat is nothing less than the largest religious minority in Myanmar. Numbering approximately 2 million people, Myanmar’s Muslims comprise at least 4 percent of the overwhelmingly Theravada Buddhist state – a percentage as large as neighboring Thailand’s. The percentage is very likely to be even higher as the ruling junta in Yangon refuses to recognize a large number of Muslims as citizens, and furthermore, all official statistics from the Myanmar government are known to be far from reliable at best, and completely fabricated to fit the government’s needs at worst.

There are at least four ethnically distinct Muslim communities in Myanmar, all of which are Sunni. The ethnically Chinese Hui, with roots in Yunnan, dominate much of the cross-border trade in Mandalay and the north. Indian and Pakistani Muslims, who arrived with British colonial rule, are still found all over the country, most evident in Yangon and Mandalay. The ethnically Burman Muslims were converted in the same wave of Indian and Arab traders and scholars that influenced Thailand and Malaysia between the 9th and 14th centuries, and live throughout the central plains. The largest, also the poorest, Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar today is that of the Rohingyas. This struggling community shares both a border and a common cultural heritage with Bangladesh’s Bengali Muslims, and live primarily in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state.

“These Pakistanis – they are the worst ones,” says Win Rathu. “They are making it bad for everyone in Myanmar. The real reason America put the sanctions on us because they wanted to punish al-Qaeda, which is here – and now we are all paying. Buddhists are starving because of their connections to al-Qaeda.”

While Win Rathu might be the first to claim that the US’s sanctions on Myanmar are aimed at terrorists rather than the ruling junta, he is not the first person to claim that terrorists have mingled with Myanmar’s Muslims. International attention was drawn to the Rohingya Muslim community when its links to Islamist groups were discovered. Anti-terror officials around the world took note, and so did the ruling junta in Yangon.

The government in Myanmar has never recognized the Rohingyas as a native population. It sent hundreds of thousands of them fleeing into Bangladesh in 1978 during a cleansing campaign ominously named Naga Min (Dragon King). Similar pogroms erupted again in the early 1990s, resulting in similarly massive migrations of refugees.

Most of the Rohingyas have since repatriated to Myanmar. However, over 100,000 remain inside Bangladesh. Some enjoy the relative protection of United Nations refugee camps, but all live in dire situations as refugees in a state than can scarcely manage to support its own people.

From the desperate conditions of these camps have sprung several generations of small resistance groups which have operated a low-level insurgency along the northwestern border for some decades. Most of these groups have sought equal religious and economic standing in Myanmar, and a few have demanded the creation of a separate Muslim state along the border. All of these groups have been completely ineffective against Myanmar’s large military – battle hardened by 50 years of counter-insurgency warfare.

The Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) is one of these groups, and the subject of much of the world’s attention on Myanmar’s Muslims. Founded in the early 1980s, the RSO has aped movements such as the Taliban and the Kashmir-based Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. After a failed merger with another Rohingya insurgent group to form the moderate Arakan Rohingya National Organization, the RSO split into several factions, all claiming the name RSO.

As the South Asia Intelligence Review reports, at least one of the RSO’s factions is known to have enjoyed financial and technical support from a variety of pan-Islamist organizations throughout South and Southeast Asia, including the Bangladeshi/Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami, and most importantly, Bangladesh’s Harakat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami (HuJI) – all of whom are unquestionably linked with al-Qaeda.

Videotapes of Bangladeshi/Rohingya mujahideen training camps acquired by the media and US intelligence during the October 2001 campaign in Afghanistan also support this link, as does the fact that Rohingyas were among some of the Taliban fighters captured by the Northern Alliance and coalition forces. According to Islamist network expert Subir Bhaumik, Rohingya volunteers have been sent to international flashpoints as far away as Kashmir and Chechnya. Further establishing the links is the fact that Osama bin Laden himself has openly referred to the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar, as well as his supporters there, in at least one speech.

Back in Win Rathu’s office, the tranquil smiling continued as he switched on a digital video camera, a Compaq PC, and an air conditioner – all incredible luxuries for anyone in this desperately poor country, and especially unusual material possessions for an avowed ascetic monk.

“There have been problems before, but the problems have really grown in the last several years with the Pakistani Muslims,” said Wi Rathu. “They want Myanmar to be Muslim – but Myanmar is Buddhist. They want the rest of Asia to be Muslim and live by Muslims rules – but we are Buddhist.”

Win Rathu’s fears call to mind the stated goals of some of the pan-Islamist jihadi groups such as Jemaah Islamiya, which wish to see an Islamic super-state encompassing territory from Bangladesh to Indonesia. It is not difficult to see why this idea might be cause for alarm. His other fears, however, call to mind nothing but the kind of superstitions that give rise to religious violence in the first place.

“The Muslims are responsible for nearly all of the crime in Myanmar: opium, theft, many rapes. They want to deface images of the Buddha like they did in Afghanistan. Now they mock us with these longyis [a common traditional garment]”. As he said this, three young monks presented framed pictures of the longyis – on which they claimed patterns of Buddhist symbols were placed next to symbols which supposedly represented female genitalia. The longyis, they asserted, were worn and sold by Muslims, and were imported from Malaysia – a Muslim country.

It was this kind of tension which led to nationwide sectarian riots in 2001. Violence broke out between the two faiths in the towns of Taungoo, Prome, Sittwe, Pegu and Mandalay, as large mobs often led by what appeared to be Buddhist monks attacked Muslim businesses, homes and mosques. The violence resulted in at least nine deaths and considerable destruction of property.

As Human Rights Watch reported in its 2001 report, “Crackdown on Burmese Muslims”, monks, working with the support of the government, have distributed anti-Muslim pamphlets such as the 2001 tract “Myo Pyauk Hmar Soe Kyauk Hla Tai (The Fear of Losing One’s Race). Distribution of the pamphlets was also facilitated by the Union of Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). The USDA is the civilian support wing of the military regime, and the same group that recently ambushed and abducted democratic opposition leader Aung San Su Kyi.

While the idea of monks actually leading rioters may seem unusual, certain details make it less so. Myanmar’s large and much feared military intelligence service, the Directorate of Defense Security Intelligence is commonly believed to have agents working within the monkhood. The monks have always been courageous supporters of the democracy movement. It would seem that monitoring dissident monks is not their only function.

Human Rights Watch also reported that monks in the 2001 riots were carrying mobile phones, a luxury not readily available to the Myanmar population – as very few without government connections can afford them. It is also reported that there was a clear split between monks who provoked violence and those who did not. It has been suggested by Human Rights Watch and others that these facts may reflect the presence of agents provocateur among the monks. That suggestion may not be far off.

“Win Rathu works for the government,” said one monk to Asia Times Online on strict condition of anonymity. “What he says is not Buddhist. What he does is not Buddhist. Very many monks do not support these views.” Indeed, by his own admission, Wi Ra Thu’s speech was not licensed or supported by his seniors among the clergy. One doubts as well that it is the clergy which finances his princely lifestyle.

In the past, the military regime has launched major campaigns against one or another internal minority during times of major political crises. The logic is clear – without internal crisis as an excuse for government crackdowns, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)has no justification for its heavy-handed rule. Indeed, the SPDC has often been accused of inciting such sectarian violence for its own political ends. In February 15, 2000 testimony before the United States Congressional Human Rights Caucus Stephen Dun, a Christian member of the Karen ethnic minority, related how the 1994 split between the Buddhist and Christian factions of Karen rebels in the south was caused by agitators. The sectarian schism resulted in the fall of the rebels’ most important stronghold, Manerplaw, to SPDC forces – a nearly mortal blow to the Karen rebellion.

The 1991 scapegoating and subsequent exodus of 250,000 Rohingyas into Bangladesh occurred at a time of major political crisis – the ruling military regime had just been overwhelmingly defeated by the National League for Democracy (NLD). Refusing to recognize the NLD’s victory, the regime was condemned domestically and internationally.

As the government faces economic sanctions and renewed international condemnation for its imprisonment and treatment of Aunt San Su Kyi from the West, one should expect the same diversionary tactics from the regime. The recent military campaign against Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) rebels in south confirms this.

The Muslim minority is another easy target. However, unlike the KNLA, operations against Rohingyas have the added political value of being framed as part of the international “war on terror”. If tension continues to escalate, setting off violence like it did in 2001 – the same kind of desperate conditions that gave hold to Islamist groups in the first place will be exacerbated. A further radicalized Muslim minority directly adjacent to a major terrorist target like Thailand, in a region already struggling to cope with terrorism, could indeed constitute a heightened Islamist threat.

If violence does once again break out, it will be agitators like Win Rathu at the lead. And this religious violence threatens to divert the world’s attention from the real issue in Myanmar – the continuing deprivation of its people’s prosperity by an unpopular military dictatorship.

(Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact content@atimes.com for information on our sales and syndication policies.)
 

The Role of Muslims in Burma’s Democracy Movement

The Role of Muslims in

Burma’s Democracy Movement

From Irrawady

By Shah Paung
November 12, 2007

Although the September protests in Rangoon were led by Buddhist monks, Burmese Muslims were among the first to offer water to the monks as a means of showing support for the peaceful demonstrations.

“I saw some Muslims kneel down and pay respect to the Buddhist monks,” said Pan Cha, a Burmese Sikh businessman who arrived at the Thai-Burmese border in early October after being involved in the September demonstrations.

Over a month since the junta cracked down violently on the monks and their supporters in the streets of Burma, Pan Cha forcefully said in an interview with The Irrawaddy that “The Burmese people are not afraid—nationwide demonstrations are coming back again soon!”

“I came here [to the border] just to escape for a while and tell the truth about what happened in Burma to the international media,” he said. “After, I will go back to Burma.”

In the context of the pro-democracy movement in Burma, it is important to remember the role of Burmese Muslims.

According to residents and journalists who were at the demonstrations, many Muslims supported and participated in the protests and were badly beaten by Burmese security forces.

In a video clip seen around the world, soldiers beat and kick a young Muslim man who is huddled on the ground. They club him with batons and kick him brutally.

Pan Cha, who helped organize security for the demonstrations, said that a top Burmese minister ordered pro-junta group, the Union Solidarity and Development Association, to beat any Muslim in sight at the demonstrations, because Muslims were never USDA members.

He went on to say that when they first saw Buddhist monks demonstrating on September 18, many Muslims wanted to support the monks, but were worried about repercussions against the Muslim community as a whole. They feared it would cause more Kala Burma Adigayone (Muslim – Buddhist riots) and create problems for all Muslims in Burma (Kala is a derogatory name for Muslims and Indians in Burmese).

Inspired by the resilience of many Muslims in Rangoon, Pan Cha began encouraging them not to fear the government, telling them that they were standing up for the rights of all the people of Burma. On September 19, many Muslims joined in the demonstrations after their prayers and supported the monks by offering water, betel nut and fresh towels.
 

Some wealthy Muslims supported demonstrators by providing mobile phones to make communications between the protesters easier. Some who were car owners blocked the military trucks that were carrying arrested demonstrators and tried to help them escape when the army convoys stopped. They risked their own lives on behalf of others.

According to the 88 Generation Students group, at least seven Muslims in Rangoon were charged with inciting state unrest by supporting the monk-led demonstrations. They are currently being detained in Pabedan Township in Rangoon.

Pan Cha also confirmed that before he left Burma on October 4, he knew of about 30 Muslims who had been hospitalized from being beaten during the street protests. More than 100 Muslims were still being detained, he said.

Muslims have long played a leading role in Burma’s democracy movement, even dating back to before Burmese independence.

All scholars of Burmese history know the story of Abdul Razak. Better known as U Razak, he was the Muslim headmaster of Mandalay Central National High School and became Minister of Education and National Planning in Burma’s pre-independence government. He was also a leader of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League in Mandalay.

He lost his life at aged 49, when he was gunned down by assassins on July 19, 1947, together with Burmese independence leader Gen Aung San and seven other cabinet members and colleagues. The day is now commemorated annually in the country as “Martyrs’ Day.”

As a minority group, Muslims in Burma regularly suffer from social and religion discrimination. The Burmese government regularly encourages ultra-nationalism and uses religion as a political tool. The Burmese government will not grant citizenship to Muslims and, to all intensive purposes, do not recognize Muslims as being Burmese.

The junta’s top leader, Snr Gen Than Shwe, is known to despise Muslims and Chinese people who live in Burma. However, most Chinese in Burma are business people and were not directly involved in the September uprising. In Mandalay, home to thousands of Chinese immigrants, most doors remained closed during the protests, a sign that the ethnic Chinese were not in support of the demonstrators. The Muslim minority, on the other hand, played an active part in the pro-democracy demonstrations, just as they have throughout the country’s troubled recent history.

“We cannot say that the demonstrations were not related to Muslims just because they were led by Buddhist monks,” Pan Cha concludes. “We were all born and live in Burma and should not discriminate among each other. We must work together toward democracy.”