Compassionate letter 12,“The End of the Saga, but not the Dear John letter!”

Compassionate letter 12,

“The End of the Saga”

“But not the Dear John letter!”

As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

Dear Nan,

                If you could remember, I sent my first letter on our wedding anniversary, that is 12th February (our National day commemorating forming the foundation of our union, the day we signed our matrimonial agreement at Panglon) and that is also your birthday, the Shan National day. And coincidently that is two day’s prior to the Valentine day, the day of lovers. And I wrote the letter to you because your father announced our divorce declaration that is the Shan leaders announcement of the separation from Burma/Myanmar and the forming of an Independent Shan Country.

And another strange coincidence that leads to my compassionate letters was because of a DVD of Sai Kham Leik/Sai Hti Sai’s songs sent by my brother. While I was enjoying my renaissance or daydreaming back the good old young era, my children keep on doing their daily routine even without noticing my favourite songs. So I decided to explain or translate the songs to them. And the rest is the minute history of a saga of these compassionate letters to my ‘estranged wife’.

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Compassionate letter 11, “Cannibal Queen Kyine Kyine @ Marie Antoinette”

Compassionate letter 11,

“Cannibal Queen Kyine Kyine (a) Marie Antoinette”

As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

Disclaimer! Cannibalism and Daw Kyine Kyine’s story is just a political Satire and never based on the real events.

During the French Revolution, when Queen Marie Antoinette was told that the peasants had no bread to eat she retorted and advised, “Let them eat cake”.

According to the unconfirmed reports, Cannibal Queen Daw Kyine Kyine, wife of Senior General Than Shwe, ordered the young generals to bring in all the chocolates donated for the Cyclone Nargis victims for her grand children.

She advised all Myanmar Cyclone victims to eat the dead bodies as she could solve the disposal of dead bodies and the victims could also get the high protein food. She had rumoured to have whispered the shocked young general that Thar Manya Saya Daw’s flesh was very tasty.

Cannibal Queen Kyine Kyine hoped to kill multiple birds with one stone_

  1. No need to request for further aids
  2. No need to worry about the disposal or burial of the cyclone victims’ dead bodies
  3. Although it is no need for her to worry about the feeding of the victims, no one would revolt because of hunger
  4. Her grandchildren could eat all the chocolates.

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Compassionate letter 10, “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!”

Compassionate letter 10,


As Bo Aung Din in Burma Didest

Dear Darling Nan,

I hope to catch you with the twist of my tongue at the end of month of May because I thought your mind would be on Worker’s day, May Day and laugh at me for celebrating the 1st. May event on the 31st. i.e. end of the month only. I was expecting your accusation of my absent mindedness.

But I am surprised because you are quite smart and could immediately understand what I mean by MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, which is just a distress call used on the radio or SOS,” “Save our Ship,” “Save Our Souls,” or “Send Out Succour”. Yes darling I am just making a distress call to the whole world to save us, all the Shwe Bama villagers from the tyrants, criminals, would-be-fugitives SPDC Junta government terrorizing and ruling our Shwe Bama country.

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Compassionate letter 9, “SPDC Generals’ record in the Dog-leather book of Sakya”

Compassionate letter 9,

“SPDC Generals’ record in the Dog-leather book of Sakya”

 As BO AUNG DIN  in Burma Digest

   Dear darling Nan,

                             I hereby wish a very Happy Burmese New Year and peaceful Thingyan for you and all the Shwe Bamas. Our children missed you but I missed you more especially during Thingyan because as you know we met at our University’s Thingyan festival and so Thingyan became a very important landmark or mile stone for both of us. I still remember the first Thingyan we celebrated together after our mutual friend Ko Tin Mg introduced us. I was teasing him why he was there as he is not a Buddhist. You were at his back and without even knowing me, you act as his advocate or solicitor and give excuses for him by answering that he was the secretary of Burmese Language Association of the university, that organization is sponsoring this event and Thingyan is nowadays celebrated by all the citizens of Burma.

By the way darling, are you tired or fed up of reading my compassionate letters? Kindly allow me to quote a famous saying, ‘My letters could not be written out unto their end even if all the trees on earth were pens, and if the sea eked out by seven seas were ink’. May be my favourite song ‘Want to stay together-alone only no-one else’ by Mar Mar Aye could explain my feelings. She sang about using the sky to write upon, a river as the pen and using the ocean water as ink. But in this age of ICT, neither do we need to use pens nor ink but just ‘typing’ onto the key board is enough. So I have to change or modified these into, “My letters could not finish even if my hands suffered ‘Carpel Tunnel Syndrome’. But it is your prerogative, up to you to decide whether you continue to receive my letter or not. I will stop any time if you say so.

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Since 2002, the European Union has intervened abroad sixteen times in three different continents (in Burmese)

 “We should not let people die.”


သုံးသပ္သူ- (ms)
နားဂစ္ေလေဘးဒုကၡသည္ ကယ္ဆယ္ေရးလုပ္ငန္း ေႏွးေကြးေနမူ႔ေၾကာင္႔ ေသဆုံးမူ႔ ဟာတေန႔ထက္ေန႔ ပုိမုိမ်ားၿပားေနပါတယ္။ ဒီလုိ ကယ္ဆယ္ေရးလုပ္ငန္း အဓိက ေႏွးေကြးေနမူ႔ဟာ မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာဓိဌိ စစ္အာဏာရွင္ေတြက ႏုိင္္ငံတကာ အကူအညီ ေပးေရးအဖြဲ႕ မ်ားကုိ၀င္ေရာက္ကူညီခြင္႔မၿပဳဘဲ ၿငင္းဆန္ေနတာေၾကာင္႔ ၿဖစ္ပါတယ္။


Since 2002, the European Union has intervened

abroad sixteen times in three different continents

primarily for humanitarian reasons.

ၿပင္သစ္၊ၿဗိတိန္၊ဂ်ာမနီ၊အေမရိကန္၊ဆြီဒင္၊ဒိန္းမတ္၊ ဘယ္ဂ်ီယံ၊ အီတလီအပါအ၀င္ ဥေရာပႏုိင္ငံ အစုိးရ ေတြကေတာ႔ ဒီလုိလုပ္ရပ္ဟာလူသားမဆန္တဲ႔ၿပဳလုပ္မူ႔၊ လူသားေတြအေပၚ က်ဴးလြန္တဲ႔ အစုလုိက္အၿပံဳလိုက္ေသဆုံးမူ႔အေပၚ တာ၀န္ရွိတာေၾကာင္႔ မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာစစ္ဗုိလ္ခ်ဴပ္ေတြဟာ ရာဇ၀တ္မႈ႔ က်ဴးလြန္းေနၾကတာၿဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ( Crimes against humanity လုိ႔ ) မေန႔ကၿပင္းၿပင္းထန္ထန္သတိေပးေၿပာၾကားလုိက္ပါတယ္။

အရင္တုန္းက လူ႔အခြင္႔ အေရးအဖြဲ႔အစည္းေတြသာဒီလုိရွဴံ႕ ခ် ခဲ႔ၾကတာၿဖစ္ေပမဲ႔၊ ႏုိင္ငံတကာအစုိးရေတြပါ ဒီလုိပါ၀င္ ရွဴံ႕ ခ် လာေနတာေၾကာင္႔ မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာ စစ္ဗုိလ္ခ်ဴပ္ေတြရဲ႕ ေနာက္ဆုံး ေန႔ရက္ဟာ ပုိမုိ နီးကပ္လာၿပီ လုိ႕ ယူဆေၾကာင္း ႏုိင္ငံေရးေလ႔လာေနသူေတြက ေၿပာဆုိေန ၾကပါတယ္။

ရ၀မ္ဒါ ေဒသမွာလူသားေတြ အစုလုိက္အၿပံဳလုိက္သတ္ၿဖတ္ခံခဲ႔ရမူ႔ ကုိ ကမၻာ႔ႏိုင္ငံေတြက မဟန္႔တားနုိင္ခ႔ဲတာ ကုိဥပမာယူၿပီး၊ ၿမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ နားဂစ္ေလေဘးဒုကၡသည္ေတြအေပၚ ကုလသမဂၢ အပါအ၀င္ ကမၻာ႔ႏုိင္ငံ ၾကီးအစုိးရေတြ အေနႏွင္႔ အၿမန္ဆုံးအေရးယူ ေဆာင္ရြက္အကူအညီ ေပးသင္႔ေၾကာင္: ႏုိင္ငံတကာ လူ႔အခြင္႔အေရးအဖြဲ႔အစည္း ေတြ ႏွင္႔ ၿမန္မာၿပည္သူေတြက ေတာင္းဆုိေနၾကပါတယ္။ အရင္တုန္းက လူသားေတြ အစုလုိက္္အၿပံဳလုိက္ သတ္ၿဖတ္ ခံခဲ႔ရမူ႔အေပၚ ကုလသမဂၢ ႏွင္႔ ကမၻာ႔ႏုိင္ငံ ၾကီးအစုိးရေတြက အကာအကြယ္ေပးမူ႔ေတြ ကုိ ၿပန္လည္ ေလ႔လာၾကည္႕ယင္—–





Examples of past possible humanitarian interventions include:

ဒီေန႔အမၻာ႔ႏုိင္ငံအစုိးရေတြအေနႏွင္႔ၿမန္မာႏုိင္ငံလက္ရွိအေၿခအေနအေပၚအၿမန္ဆုံးအေရးေပၚအစည္း အေ၀းေခၚယူၿပီ——–

  • (၁) မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာ စစ္ဗုိလ္ခ်ဴပ္ေတြဟာ နားဂစ္ေလေဘးဒုကၡသည္ ကယ္ဆယ္ေရး လုပ္ငန္းေတြမွာ ဆက္လက္ၿပီး ႏုိင္ငံတကာႏွင္႔ပူးေပါင္းေဆာင္ ရြက္မူ႔မရွိလွ်င္၊ မိမိတုိ႔၏သံတမန္မ်ားကုိအၿမန္ဆုံးၿပန္လည္ေခၚယူၿပီး၊သံတမန္ေရးရာဖိအားေပးမူ႔ႏွင္႔အေရးယူမူ႔ ကုိတၿပိဳင္တည္းၿပဳလုပ္သင္႔သည္။
  • (၂)မိမိတုိ႔၏သံတမန္မ်ားကုိအၿမန္ဆုံးၿပန္လည္ေခၚယူၿပီးေနာက္ထူးၿခားတုိးတက္မူ႔မရွိလွ်င္၊ႏုိင္ငံတကာအစုိးရမ်ားအေနႏွင္႔ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာေထာက္ထားၿပီး၊ လူသားေတြရဲ႕ အသက္ကယ္ဆယ္ေရး (Humanitarian Intervention ) ကုိ ခြင္႔ၿပဳခ်က္မယူဘဲ အၿမန္ဆုံးၿပဳလုပ္ပါ။
  • (၃)လူသားေတြရဲ႕အသက္ကယ္ဆယ္ေရး (Humanitarian intervention ) ကုိ ေႏွာက္ရွက္မူ႔ ၿပဳလုပ္လွ်င္ေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း၊ စစ္ေရးတုန္႔ၿပန္မူ႔ၿပဳလုပ္လွ်င္ မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာ စစ္ဗုိလ္ခ်ဴပ္ေတြ ေနထုိင္ရာၾကပ္ေၿပးေနၿပည္ေတာ္ႏွင္႔္ မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာ စစ္ဗုိလ္ခ်ဴပ္မ်ားကုိ ၿပစ္မွတ္ထား တုိက္ခုိက္ပါ။
  • (၄)မေကာင္းဆုိး၀ါးမိစၦာ စစ္ဗုိလ္ခ်ဴပ္မ်ားအတြက္ၿမန္မာၿပည္စစ္ေလယာဥ္မ်ားအားၿပန္သန္းခြင္႔ “No Fly Zone အၿဖစ္” ပိတ္ဆုိ႔ပါ။


Humanitarian intervention refers to armed interference in one state by another (or more) state with the stated objective of ending or reducing suffering within the first state. That suffering may be the result of civil war, humanitarian crisis, or crimes by the first state including genocide. The goal of humanitarian intervention is neither annexation nor interference with territorial integrity, but minimization of the suffering of civilians in that state. The claimed rationale behind such an intervention is the belief, embodied in international customary law in a duty under certain circumstances to disregard a state’s sovereignty to preserve our common humanity.

Defenders of humanitarian intervention justify it primarily in the name of a moral imperative: “we should not let people die.” This idea is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948. For these defenders, intervention is only legitimate when it is motivated by a massive violation of human rights and when it is put in motion by an international body, typically the United Nations Security Council. In particular Article 28 announces a right to a social and international order in which human rights are realized. Further, the Chapter Seven powers of the United Nations Security Council are often used to legitimate intervention for stopping any threats to international peace and security. From the 1990s the understanding of what constituted threats to international peace were radically broadened to include such things as the movement of refugees, to justify intervention into Somalia and Yugoslavia. These two countries were the first that the United Nations intervened without gaining permission from the States involved. In practice, humanitarian intervention actions are often carried out by coalitions of nations, which can create two somewhat different situations: Humanitarian Intervention

The right to interfere, which constitutes jus ad bellum, a term coined by the philosopher Jean-François Revel in 1979, is the recognition of the right of one or many nations to violate the national sovereignty of another state, when a mandate has been granted by a supranational authority. In practice, because of humanitarian emergencies, it is common that the mandate is provided retroactively; for instance, France’s intervention in Côte d’Ivoire was made initially without a UN mandate.

The duty to interfere is an obligation which falls to all nation-states to provide assistance at the request of the supranational authority, to the extent possible. Obviously, this notion is the closest to the original concept of humanitarian intervention, except that a right translates into a duty, and is managed by a supranational authority. Humanitarian Intervention and Relational Sovereignty By Dr. Helen Stacy Humanitarian intervention with military force has no firm theory under the international legal apparatus because sovereignty, the inviolate claim of a nation state against all others, is a legal shield against outside intervention in a nation’s internal affairs.

1 The United Nations Charter under Article 2(4) prohibits the “threat or use of force” against another state, even when civil bloodshed is creating humanitarian disasters.

2 The Charter allows only two exceptions to this prohibition: Article 51 in Chapter VII of the Charter allows a nation to use force in self-defense if an armed attack occurs against it or an allied country,

3 and the United Nations Security Council is authorized to employ force to counter threats to breaches of international peace.

4 Humanitarian intervention rests upon the unconvincing fiction of the danger that a civil conflict may spill over a nation’s borders, at least if it is to be justified under the U.N. Charter. A better account of the fate of national sovereignty in cases of international humanitarian intervention in human rights disasters derives from what I call a theory of Relational Sovereignty.

5 This theory arises under today’s conditions of globalization and describes the role of the sovereign government as an obligation to meeting its citizens’ civil, political, social and economic needs, according to the government’s capacity, and always working for its citizens’ good. A government fails in its governance role when its murderous, corrupt, or persistently neglectful actions lead to serious human rights harms. Under the theory of relational sovereignty, widespread and extreme harm to citizens is evidence that sovereignty is no longer an absolute shield against international intervention. Put differently, relational sovereignty puts human rights at the heart of good governance.

6 A widespread and extreme humanitarian crisis alters sovereignty in two ways: First, citizens rather than the government are seen as the bearers of their national sovereignty. If their government no longer represents their best interest, the nation’s sovereignty no longer coalesces in its government. Second, citizens rely on the international community to express their sovereign interest in good governance when they themselves are unable to depose a government that harms them. In other words, their national borders have metaphorically fractured, allowing other nations in the international community to step across to their assistance. When sovereignty is seen this way – as an obligation of attentive governance, which the international community can insist upon on behalf of a nation’s citizens – it need not be breached when humanitarian intervention takes place. This temporary dispersal of national sovereignty from a nation’s citizens to the international community is easiest to map onto humanitarian crises of murderous civil conflict. It is more difficult to map onto humanitarian crises of malnutrition and starvation. But I argue here that humanitarian intervention may also be justifiable for massive cases of letting-die, such as starvation and disease. In other words, national sovereignty cannot shield corrupt or neglectful governments that fail to distribute essential sustenance – food, medical care, and essential services – to their citizens in exigent circumstances. International morality is invoked not only for the commissions of nation states, but also for their intentional omissions. My argument is that widespread death by malnutrition or disease should make a government just as culpable as death by civil violence, where a government that has the capacity to prevent starvation and disease fails to do so. When a government negligently fails to prevent a national crisis that leads to widespread death, that government’s claim to inviolate sovereignty qua other nations or the international community is invalid. But expanding humanitarian intervention into a general license for war against repressive regimes is dangerous. The equitable principles of fairness show that humanitarian interventions should be restricted to very few situations. In what follows, I set out the problems with the legal apparatus of humanitarian interventions under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, and how this apparatus is out of step with an emerging notion of sovereignty. Using Relational Sovereignty as a theory for lowering the defense of sovereignty against the legitimacy of international humanitarian interventions, and using familiar principles of equity and individual rescue in tort, I set out three limiting principles for international humanitarian intervention, and then briefly test these against the ongoing U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

(B.) The Problem with Interventions under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter The last decade of humanitarian intervention has been a patchwork of inconsistent justifications, too-often sluggish international responses, and varying degrees of efficacy in bringing assistance to failed states. On the face of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, intervention in purely civil unrest contravenes the principles of national sovereignty. There is no mention in the Charter for intervention on purely humanitarian grounds. And yet there have been several Chapter VII interventions in recent years. In each of the humanitarian crises of Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, and Bosnia, the U.N. has authorized intervention across national borders.

7 In each of these cases, internal national conflicts were incongruously reinterpreted as wars that could spill into other nations so that Chapter VII could be made to fit. Not surprisingly, these awkward interpretations are contested. For example, in 1994, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 940 to justify an international military mission to Haiti under its Chapter VII powers, citing fears that the civil conflict in Haiti threatened the region’s peace and security. In fact, Haiti’s problems were specific to its own politics and history and were unlikely to cross its borders. The U.N. intervention was opposed by many Latin American countries and led to the charge that the real motive was not humanitarian but political – namely, to restore democracy and the rule of Jean-Baptiste Aristide.

8 Another way of creating moral grounds for intervention arises when the U.N. is already participating in the settlement of a civil war or is somehow involved in the region. Multilateral humanitarian action by a coalition of states without Security Council sanction in these conditions seems more plausible. There have been multilateral military interventions outside the U.N. Charter when, for example, the 1995 Serbian massacre of some 7,000 Muslim males in the supposed U.N. “safe haven” of Srebrenica gave rise to NATO’s role in Bosnia. This led to Washington’s coercive diplomacy that hammered out the Dayton agreement.

9 The fiction is that an internal human rights crisis may spill over a nation’s borders and pose a threat to regional peace and security. But the “breach of regional peace” fiction doesn’t easily apply to a human rights crisis in a remote part of island nation that has little impact on its neighboring nation states. For example, when in 1999 rampaging Indonesian militiamen were slaughtering East Timorese by the hundreds, this human rights crisis did very little to threaten the peace or security of any other country in the region. In the absence of grounds for a Chapter VII intervention, even more creativity was called for. U.N. Secretary General Annan issued a statement that senior Indonesian officials risked prosecution for crimes against humanity if they did not consent to the deployment of an available multinational force.

10 Annan insisted that the Indonesian government either stop the killing itself or consent to the deployment of international troops, threatening that failure would result in Indonesians being held criminally liable for human rights violations.

11 The humanitarian intervention in East Timor has given rise to what has been termed the “Annan Doctrine”: the loss of the traditional prerogatives of sovereignty in the face of crimes against humanity.

12 Some scholars argue that Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter prohibits any military intervention in other states on the grounds of purely internal violations of human rights.

13 Others argue instead that the recent humanitarian interventions that have occurred with a U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolution under Chapter VII have created a de facto exception to Article 2(4).

14 Still others argue that humanitarian intervention may be morally justified, albeit not legally justified, without a foral UNSC Resolution. In such cases, some other record of the UNSC’s condemnation of the target country’s human rights record is sufficient, and the lack of any formal UNSC Resolution simply reflects international politics rather than any lack of genuine humanitarian concern. This occurred in relation to the 1999 NATO attack of Serbia that successfully rescued the Albanian Kosovars from Serbian ethnic cleansing. NATO acted because the U.N. could not. Richard Goldstone, chair of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, concluded that even though the Kosovo intervention did not have the backing of a Security Council resolution, it was never the less a legitimate intervention. NATO’s actions had resolved a humanitarian crisis and had widespread support within the international community and civil society.

15 Furthermore, the Commission argued that the gap between legal and legitimate humanitarian interventions is dangerous and needs to be removed by specifying the conditions for humanitarian intervention.16 In other words, what matters more than a legal permission to intervene is a moral permission to intervene. This moral permission legitimates the intervention, even though it cannot render the intervention fully legal under the terms of the U.N. Charter. The legal constraints upon international humanitarian intervention are out of step with the moral urge to prevent loss of life in a nation with a humanitarian crisis. These efforts to fit humanitarian intervention into the existing international legal apparatus are fictions, crafted so that international action may follow international moral opprobrium. They are more honestly a simple judgment by the international community that a nation’s government has failed its citizens. I want to suggest that the “Annan doctrine” deployed in East Timor is the way ahead. It shows the sovereign – here, the Indonesian — government bargaining directly with the international community through the U.N. over human rights standards and trading some of the traditional prerogatives of sovereignty for freedom from international criminal prosecution. In this way, the sovereign answers not only to its own citizens for its failures of responsibility, but answers also to the international community. The stakes of the negotiation are sovereignty. Sovereignty is not only a duty of government to protect the human rights of its citizens, but a bargaining chip in international humanitarian intervention with the international community acting on behalf of a nation’s citizens.

16. Relational Sovereignty In the twentieth century the view was that national sovereignty applied universally to all nations with a seat at the United Nations table, but that it did not impose a practical requirement to assist people in need in other lands. It suggested that we need not be morally troubled that other people may need our care. Under the 20th century metric, international sovereignty was a “thin” responsibility–at heart, merely a duty or obligation each state owes to all others to observe national borders.

17 Sovereignty today is best understood as vastly more complex. Economic interdependence between nation states has grown, accelerating with the end of the Cold War, the expansion of the European Union and the growing influence of the World Trade Organization and the World Bank.

18 More subtly, the proliferation of regional and international organizations has led to a diffusion of state influence beyond their sovereign borders.

19 This distribution is uneven, and often unjust. Even so, globalization has blurred the distinction between domestic politics and international politics.

20 What was once seen as a parochial national issue may now become a matter of regional or international concern.

21 This growing transnational awareness of the plight of another nation’s people has in part been the product of the last decade’s expansion of human rights as an international rhetoric of demand aimed at governments by citizens and outsiders alike– a rhetoric that is simultaneously being elaborated in international human rights treaties. Much of the human rights rhetoric, as well as many international human rights treaties, are a “wish list” that go far beyond a nation’s capacity or political will to fulfill. Even so, new global and international communities are judging national compliance with international human rights. The United Nations, regional systems like the European Union and the Inter-American systems, and myriad non-governmental organizations, have both direct and indirect input into human rights issues today.

22 Claims that states have violated their citizens’ human rights, either overtly or simply by mal-distributing essential goods in exigent circumstances, come from sources both inside and outside the state. Ever-expanding economic, cultural, and intellectual interdependencies between states, and between the citizens of states, are forging tenuous bonds of interest and concern among the citizens of different states. Do these bonds –much more tenuous than the bonds of shared citizenship of a state, and contingent upon international communication – amount to a moral relationship that crosses state borders? And if they do, how should it influence the moral calculus about coercive interventions in a state’s human rights abuses of its citizens? Relational sovereignty proposes that sovereignty today is dependent on the measure of care by government for its citizens, and that the international community may step in to militarily enforce this care. Sovereignty, in other words, carries a more expansive definition than it used to. Relational sovereignty describes sovereignty as an emerging set of obligations among citizens, governments, and the international community, with two dimensions. The first is a duty upon governments that correlates with the activities of their citizens, even if those activities extend beyond the nation’s borders. For example, the activities of the U.S. government extend beyond the borders of the U.S., not only because of U.S. military and economic interests, but also because U.S. citizens have myriad capital, corporate, professional, and recreational interests and activities beyond U.S. borders. Second, relational sovereignty describes the interest that one country may have in the quality of governance in another country. For example, the nations of the European Union have an interest in the quality of governance of nations applying to join the Union, and an improving human rights record is an important chunk of the accession process. In other words, sovereignty is a qualitative function rather than an unconditional status, and a function that may be assessed by citizens and the international community alike. A nation’s claim to sovereignty – the sort of strong claim that under the traditional definition of sovereignty would have kept other nations at bay and outside the borders – will not necessarily be recognized by other nations. This is especially so if a government is creating a human rights crisis. Relational sovereignty places such interactive judgments at the center rather than the periphery of responsible governance.

23 Relational sovereignty can be applied to humanitarian intervention. International peacekeeping activities of the last decade have emphasized the growing role of international human rights norms when considering the need to override sovereignty to protect a nation’s citizens. In 1999, the U.N. Security Council’s resolution authorizing the intervention of international peacekeeping in Kosovo referred to the resolution of “the grave humanitarian situation in Kosovo.”

24 And more recently in 2004, Kofi Annan urged the U.N. Security Council to take action in the Darfur region of Sudan, citing “strong indications that war crimes and crimes against humanity have occurred…on a large and systematic scale”.

25 When national sovereignty is seen as a normative standard that is conditioned upon a government’s good human rights performance, this decade’s peacekeeping and humanitarian missions create a new principle for humanitarian intervention. National sovereignty will not deter the international community when a state is committing human rights abuses. National governments must discharge their duty of care towards their citizens, and the “court” of international opinion passes judgment. The international community acts as proxy for a state’s citizens in judging its care for them. If the sovereign fails to treat its citizens, and by that government’s own standards, the social contract between the ruler and the ruled collapses, an assessment of the government’s failings becomes a tripartite negotiation between sovereign, citizens, and the international community.

Three Principles Limiting International Humanitarian Intervention Widespread recognition exists that the U.N. Charter is out of step with contemporary international conditions. The 2004 U.N Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change

26 emphasized the inter-connectedness of terrorism, civil wars, and extreme poverty. In welcoming the Panel’s report, Kofi Annan enthused about the “opportunity to refashion and renew our institutions,” including a more systematic and effective mechanism for intervention in humanitarian crises. In meantime, while this reform process takes place, the gap between legal and legitimate justifications for interventions in humanitarian crises should be closed. In a world of complete justice, no government would ever seriously harm its citizens, either directly through violence or indirectly through incompetence, corruption, or mal-distribution of social and economic goods. But the extreme step of military intervention needs to meet an extremely high standard of clear need, even more so if intervention does not fit Chapter VII conditions of threatening regional peace and security. I want to offer the legal principle of equity as a way of justifying and containing the new global awareness of harm a state does to its citizens, pending full recognition of the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention under the theory of Relational Sovereignty. Equitable principles can balance the benefits and the dangers of humanitarian intervention. Equity has its historical foundation in both morality and law. When in the early days of modern courts the letter of the law failed to provide a remedy for deserving plaintiffs, judges used their discretion to grant a remedy “in equity.” Without a statute to guide them, judges have created the “common law” by articulating equitable principles that are so taken-for-granted that they do not need the authority of constitutions or legislation. The common law has in this way created fundamental legal principles that courts have elaborated over the years. These principles of equity have become the fail-safe of courts that seek to see that justice is done. In these situations, “equity intervenes when there is no adequate remedy at law.”

27 Courts fall back to equitable remedies in order to “provide fairness in a particular case of law.”

28 In other words, equity allows a court to fill the gaps of formal laws so that justice and fairness may prevail. Equitable principles are already part of international law, and have been applied in international judicial decision-making to ensure justice and fairness to the state parties. For example, the Statute of the International Court of Justice lists general principles of law recognized by civilized countries as one of the four sources of law,

29 and the Court assumes that it is always entitled to have recourse the use of equity. Equity, states the Court, is “implicit in the functions of a world tribunal.”

30 One recent example is the Court’s decision in the case about the Israel-Palestine wall. The Court directly cited equitable remedies, with all of the opinions referring to the “basic fairness” to the people of both territories and Judge Owada stating: Consideration of fairness in the administration of justice requires equitable treatment of the positions of both sides involved in the subject-matter in terms of the assessment both of facts and of law.

31 Equity should provide relief when the lives of innocent civilians are at risk. Judge Odwada said: Condemnation of the tragic circle of indiscriminate mutual violence perpetrated by both sides against innocent civilian population should be an important segment of the Opinion of the Court.

32 My argument here is that equitable principles and equitable doctrines can be applied to sovereignty, describing the duties of government towards its citizens and constraining intervention by the international community. Using equity and an analogy to principles of interpersonal rescue under traditional tort law, I suggest three threshold conditions for intervention. Such intervention should be limited to very rare cases, and should carry three threshold conditions. The first condition is that the humanitarian crisis must be widespread and extreme for intervention to be justified. This test already de facto exists in international law and has been applied over the last decade to interventions in genocide and widespread civil murder and mayhem.

33 I argue that this test should also apply to interventions that seek to alleviate mass starvation and disease. The crucial element for both types of widespread harm is the culpability of the national government in either causing or allowing such harm. The second threshold condition is that intervention must be welcomed by a firm consensus of injured citizens within the ailing state. Of course, this test is difficult to establish because it requires an ex ante assessment of popular support for intervention. It is easy to assume popular support for intervention when there is some reliable institutional litmus of public sentiment, as when in 1999 the U.N. intervened in the East Timor mayhem, after the overwhelming “yes” vote of the East Timorese referendum seeking secession from Indonesia. But such clear evidence is usually not available because oppressive governments rarely allow institutional expressions of unpopular sentiment about them. Finally, the third threshold test requires that international intervention do some good, and at very least, do no harm. This is also hard to establish: it requires excellent information about the politics, the capacity, and the popular preferences of the country where intervention might take place, and this information must point to the strong likelihood that intervention can improve conditions in the recipient country. If these three conditions are not in place, then intervention is unlikely to produce improved human rights. When they are, intervention can rightly be seen as an urgent expression of assistance to another nation’s people in need. Improving respect for human rights is the raison d’être of humanitarian intervention.

Threshold Test 1: Conditions must be extreme and widespread International law holds that a nation’s absolute sovereignty is sacrosanct and should be respected by other states. Despite this, military intervention, either multilateral or unilateral, has been justified under international law in the last decade where civil conflict was causing death or physical harm to innocents. But whereas intervention has been a measure of last resort in halting civil conflict, military intervention has not been justified in other situations of widespread death to innocents, such as terrible malnutrition, starvation and disease, even when those terrible circumstances have arisen from a government’s culpable inaction.

34 The international community typically intervenes in such cases by sending economic aid, both immediate aid with food and personnel, and longer-term economic aid for building a country’s infrastructure. Yet corruptly-governed countries, even those with very low internal revenues, still resist international economic incentives to prevent malnutrition and disease through better distribution of scarce social goods. Zimbabwe, for example, has high rates of government corruption and high rates of infant mortality and death from disease, including HIV-Aids. It has widespread poverty caused by its government.

At the same time, Zimbabwe is resistant to international pressure to reform its politics. For countries that lie beyond indirect international influence, is there another way to incentivize their governments to distribute social goods more equally among their citizens?

Where a Chapter VII intervention on the grounds or regional peace and security is not justified, and international economic incentives are not reducing the death toll, should there be an alternative rationale for forced intervention in a government’s harm to its citizens? One approach could be to revisit the justifications for military humanitarian intervention and ask: is there a philosophical difference between intervention for genocide and intervention for mass malnutrition and starvation caused by corrupt or negligent governance? Why should a slow death through starvation be categorically different from a swift death by machete? The total numbers of deaths of citizens doesn’t distinguish the cases, nor does the pain and anguish experienced by their victims. If it is accepted that the philosophical rationale for humanitarian intervention is the international community’s interest in protecting the suffering citizens of a nation, surely this should equally apply to death delivered by degrees over weeks and months. Equity looks to the moral culpability of a party for the harm of a victim. The test is justice and fairness, not just sovereignty. The key justification for international humanitarian intervention should be a government’s culpability in causing, or failing to prevent, the widespread death of innocents, rather than the method of causing those deaths. The test of widespread harm has already emerged for international intervention in civil carnage.

For example, after the civil and political crises in Rwanda and Kosovo, Kofi Annan stated that military intervention could be legitimate if there is an acute human rights crisis and if all diplomatic efforts have failed. Annan’s test could be read to mean that military invention may also be justified for widespread starvation through a government’s negligent or intentional failure to distribute minimally necessary goods and essential sustenance. Governments that fail miserably in their duty to ensure their populations’ well-being, either through bad intentions or through corruption or negligence, are surely failing in the obligations of the sovereign to care for its citizens. States which have no capacity – commonly referred to as “failed states” – are outside this first threshold test because their government is not the direct cause of the conditions causing death. The crucial element here is a government’s capacity to help its citizens. There is no moral difference between deaths caused by a government’s failure to keep the peace and deaths caused by a greedy government’s failure to distribute social and economic goods among all its population.

There is little practical difference either: recent studies have shown that the perception that intervention in civil war is straightforward is simply wrong – intervention is always complicated, and its success or failure depends much more upon long-term support than it does on the initial justification for intervention. Death by civil violence and death by corruption or neglect should be treated equivalently, equally justifying military humanitarian intervention if the harms are as equally widespread.35 Applying this to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example, a true humanitarian intervention would have depended upon more widespread harm – harm that was felt across all ethnic groups and not concentrated in one region. This threshold test would therefore rule out humanitarian intervention in Iraq because human rights abuses there, though extreme in some cases, were not as widespread as either mass starvation or large-scale ethnic cleansing. Threshold test 2: intervention must be welcomed by the victims The common law does not demand that an individual accept help from a bystander. The law of equity has applied this in the area of medical assistance, crafting the equitable doctrine of self-determination. This is defined as “one’s ability to exert autonomy over one’s own person, which includes the right to prevent unwanted bodily invasion and, therefore, the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment.”

36 As long as a person has the rational ability of an adult, he may refuse medical treatment. Applying this principle to international military intervention, equity suggests that just as people may refuse medical intervention, citizens also may make a political choice not to be saved from their sovereign’s tyranny. In other words, international intervention must only take place if the beleaguered citizens of a nation state wish it. Using East Timor as an example, I want to suggest that this idea of consent is already forming de facto in the international system. From 1975 to 1999, there had been active resistance among the East Timorese people to Indonesian rule – resistance that was regularly reported in the international press and was a subject of heated diplomacy between Indonesia and other nations. When the 1999 referendum in East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia, the U.N.’s decision to send troops to stop civilian murder was easy. The East Timorese had expressed a clear mandate for the U.N. to step in on their behalf. But in many cases of widespread civil unrest or widespread starvation and disease, there is no such unambiguous expression of the popular will as there was in East Timor. What information can the international community rely upon? Even more problematically, what are the moral obligations of the international community if it seems that a population consents to its own violation? Equity is a guide here. Sometimes, an individual’s refusal of medical treatment may be overridden where there are other interests, such as the preservation of life, the prevention of suicide, the protection of innocent third parties, and the integrity of medical ethics. But the courts are extremely cautious about stepping over apparent consent to self-harm. For example, in Gray v. Romeo, 697 F. Supp. at 580, a 1988 decision of the US District Court of Rhode Island, the court stated: Although Marcia Gray has a constitutional right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment, no right is absolute…Accordingly, Marcia Gray’s right must be balanced against competing governmental interests that include: the preservation of life, the prevention of suicide, the protection of innocent third parties, and the integrity of medical ethics…Upon examination, Marcia Gray’s interest in self-determination outweighs all governmental interests.

37 Marcia Gray had the right to make a self-harming decision in refusing food and hydration. The same question needs to be asked about a nation’s people who seem to be acquiescing in their own government’s harm or neglect. The equitable doctrine of self-determination can either act as a brake on intervention by imputing to citizens their preference to suffer under a corrupt or violent government rather than have outsiders come in and impose solutions, or it might act as a justification for intervention by imputing that citizens could not possibly consent to the degree of extreme and widespread harm in their country. The second threshold test will also be hard to satisfy in most cases as most corrupt or authoritarian governments do not take the pulse of their citizens’ feelings. Absent a referendum such as in East Timor, there must be clear evidence of such a groundswell of popular opinion that there is likely to be very little insurgent reaction against international intervention and very high levels of co-operation with those intervening forces in the days and weeks following invasion. Applying this to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example, would have called for better empirical knowledge of the human rights conditions in Iraq, and would have meant taking seriously those provisions in the 1991 Security Council resolutions that referred to human rights by, for example, sending human rights monitors as well as weapons inspectors to Iraq. Anything less than East Timor’s expressions of popular will must be viewed with extreme caution. Intervention must be informed by opinions of people currently living under a repressive government and not only the veins of a vocal diaspora of past inhabitants.

Threshold test 3: the intervention must produce more good than harm Finally, the third threshold test requires that international intervention ought only take place where it will do good, and at the very least, do no overall harm. Returning to the individual rescue analogy, equity does not require a bystander to be a Good Samaritan and help another in distress. But if bystanders choose to intervene, two conditions apply: first, they must intend to help the victim; and second, at very least they must not do harm. If the bystander causes more harm to the victim, it raises the question of misfeasance or bad intent on the part of the bystander. Applying equity to international law, humanitarian intervention into another nation’s human rights crisis ought to bring an improvement, and at the very least, must not make the human rights situation worse. If conditions worsen, the Good Samaritan has not been so good after all. Equity emphasizes two things: first, that humanitarian motivations must seek predominantly to help the people of another nation and not to pursue other geopolitical agendas; and second, intervention must improve, or at very least not worsen, conditions for the citizenry.

Like Threshold Test 2, this makes intervention harder and not easier to justify. Improvement in conditions for citizens in the recipient country must be substantial, and not likely to be outweighed by harms that may come from insurgent resistance to the international forces. Improvements in living conditions must occur immediately, instantly providing relief from ghastly circumstances. And the intervention must also demonstrate the likelihood of long-term improvements, such as improved governance and better distributive mechanisms for social and economic goods. How might this last threshold test operate? The United States’ unilateral invasion of Iraq fails the Good Samaritan test because not only were weapons of mass destructions not found, but the invasion came at a huge cost of lives for the Iraqi people, with some 25,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the first two years. Given the relative size of the two countries, this number of civilian deaths would be the equivalent of roughly 300,000 American deaths. The application of an international Good Samaritan doctrine would seek to limit the harm within Iraq. An acceptable alternative might have been to deploy troops on the border to put pressure on the Iraqi regime to comply with the 1991 Security Council resolutions. The potential task of those troops would not have been invasion and regime change, but to protect civilians in the event that the government decided to crush an uprising, as happened, for example, in 1991. Under the equitable doctrine of the Good Samaritan, the U.S. invasion could be seen as misfeasance – the sin of commission.

5. Conclusion A couple of decades ago, neither the U.N. Security Council nor the governments of individual nations relied so heavily on issues like human rights, genocide, oppression and torture when justifying intervention in civil conflicts. This is changing. There is today an unprecedented awareness of the plight of people in other nations. Globalization has accelerated this debate through its focus on the role of governments in responding to international pressures for expanded human rights. This awareness has altered the expectations of sovereignty: the international community places an affirmative duty upon national governments not only to keep the peace, but to distribute minimal material goods sufficient to prevent starvation. Military humanitarian interventions of the last decades are invoking a moral language of international interest in the competence of domestic governments. International humanitarian intervention has become one way of expressing compassion for citizens who are too silenced, too sick, too hungry, or simply too neglected to demand more of their government. While death by government violence or civil war may seem a more shocking failure of a government’s duty of care to its peoples, in fact, widespread death through malnutrition or disease may render a negligent government equally culpable. The rationale for international intervention ought to apply to both active violence and passive death and disease. In both cases, the sovereign government has failed in its role to protect its people.

A murderous, corrupt or neglectful government’s failure to prevent the death or injury of its citizens amounts to a fracturing of sovereignty. This creates an opportunity – a moral permission rather than a legal obligation — for other nations to act as Good Samaritans. In these circumstances, the international community may provide a remedy to beleaguered citizens – a remedy that exists as a matter of equity rather than as a matter of law, and which may be the impetus for a Chapter VII intervention.

The test should be extreme and widespread harm, whether this comes from deadly civil mayhem or malnutrition and diseases. An equitable international right to intervene in the intentional governmental harm or negligent failure of a state to distribute public goods should arise when national sovereignty has been overtaken by a government’s action or inaction towards its people. It needs to be an overwhelmingly welcome intervention, with good ex ante evidence of internal support for exterior intervention. And it must be an intervention that improves the lives of citizens, and certainly does not make their life harder. For even when intervention is supported by a large majority of a population, history shows that some resistance and insurgency will likely cause further bloodshed and harm. For intervention to be justified, there must have been such extreme and widespread hardship in that country that the bloodshed of a forced international presence seems minor in comparison. Finally, humanitarian intervention is only justified if there is a long-term commitment to building something better in the place of what is destroyed. Helen Stacy is a lecturer at the Stanford Law School. She has published extensively on international and comparative law; the adversarial system of law; legal and social theory; and human rights. She is the author of Postmodernism and Law: Jurisprudence in a Fragmenting World, (Ashgate Press, 2001), which explores the impact of postmodernism on legal thinking and discusses how law can benefit from postmodern thought. Before coming to Stanford, Stacy was a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law as an industrial lawyer with Shell Oil Company in Australia, and then as a senior crown prosecutor in the United Kingdom as a member of the Inner Temple of the Inns of Court, where she prosecuted cases of murder, manslaughter, rape and terrorist acts. Endnotes 1 On the debate regarding humanitarian intervention and its status in current international law see, among others, A.P.V. Rogers, The Rule of Law in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations: Humanitarian Intervention and International Law, 27 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 725 (2004); Dino Kritsiotis, Reappraising Policy Objections To Humanitarian Intervention, 19 Mich. J. Int’l L. 1005 (1998); And Nikolai Krylov, Humanitarian Intervention: Pros and Cons, 17 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L.J. 365 (1995). 2 U.N. Charter art. 2, para. 4 reads “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

3 U.N. Charter art. 51 reads “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

4 U.N. Charter art. 42 states: “Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”

5 I initially proposed the reconfiguration of relational sovereignty in Helen Stacy, Relational Sovereignty, 55 Stan. L. Rev. 2029 (2003).

6 See id. at 2045-7.

7 On the matter of intervention in Somalia, see Security Council resolution S.C. Res. 794, U.N. SCOR, 47th Sess., 3145th mtg. at 3, U.N. Doc. S/RES/794 (1992); On the matter of intervention in Rwanda see Security Council resolution S.C. Res. 929, U.N. SCOR, 49th Sess., 3392d mtg. at 2, U.N. Doc. S/RES/929 (1994); On the matter of intervention in Haiti see Security Council resolution S.C. Res. 940, U.N. SCOR, 49th Sess., Res. & Dec., at 51, U.N. Doc. S/INF/50 (1994); and on the matter of intervention in Bosnia see Security Council resolution S.C. Res. 770 (1992), U.N. SCOR, 47th Sess., 3106th mtg., U.N. Doc. S/RES/770 (1992) & S.C. Res. 816, U.N. SCOR, 48th Sess., 3191st mtg., U.N. Doc. S/RES/816 (1993). 8 On the opposition of Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Brazil (who was a member of the Security Council at the time) see the Security Council’s discussions for July 31st 1994, when representatives of Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay and Venezuela, among others, were invited to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, at S/PV. 3413 of 31 July 1994, pages 4 (Mexico), 5 (Cuba), 6 (Uruguay) and 8 (Venezuela & Brazil). 9 For more on the Bosnian atrocities and the Dayton Agreement see Elizabeth M. Cousens, Making Peace in Bosnia Work, 30 Cornell Int’l L.J. 789, 791-2 (1997). 10 .U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Press conference at the U.N. Headquarters on September 10, 1999. A transcript of this press conference, UNIS/SG/2360, is available at: 11 .Annan warned that if Jakarta refused to accept the international community’s assistance, it could not “escape the responsibility of what could amount . . . to crimes against humanity.” Id. Or, in the words of the Geneva Conventions, Indonesian leaders would be left open to international prosecution because they had not taken “all feasible measures” to stop the violence. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Aug. 12, 1949, art. 68, 6 U.S.T. 3516, T.I.A.S. No. 3365, 75 U.N.T.S. 287. 12 . U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Speech to open the General Assembly on September 20, 1999, at 13 Michael Akehurst, Humanitarian Intervention, in Intervention In World Politics, 99 (Hedley Bull ed., 1984); Natalino Ronzitti, Rescuing Nationals Abroad Through Military Coercion And Intervention On The Grounds Of Humanity (Dordrecht, 1985). Ian Brownlie, International Law And The Use Of Force By States (Oxford, 1963); Lori F. Damrosch, Commentary on Collective Military Intervention to Enforce Human Rights, in Law and Force in the New International Order 215, 217-21 (Lori F. Damrosch & David J. Scheffler eds., 1991); Louis Henkin, The Use of Force: Law and U.S. Policy, in Right v. Might: International Law and the Use of Force 37, 41-44 (Louis Henkin et al., 2d ed. 1991). 14 John Norton Moore, Grenada and the International Double Standard, 78 American Journal Of International Law 145, 154-55; Michael Reisman, Sovereignty and Human Rights in Contemporary International Law, 84 American Journal Of International Law 866, 869 (1990); Celeste Poltak, Humanitarian Intervention: A Contemporary Interpretation of the Charter of the United Nations, 60 U.T. Fac. L. Rev. 1 (2002); For more on the veto system, as preventing humanitarian intervention see: Jules Lobel, American Hegemony and International Law: Benign Hegemony? Kosovo and Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, 1 Chi. J. Int’l L. 19, 2000. 15 The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, The Kosovo Report: Conflict, International Response, Lessons Learned, (Oxford University Press, 2000). 16 Id. 17 This conception of sovereignty extended to both internal and external relations: a state exercises extensive control over its people within its territory, but at the same time it must respect the authority of other states within their territorial borders. This is a ‘thin’ conception, as it concentrates on the state’s right to govern its citizens, and not on the state’s responsibilities towards its citizens. For more on this see Jonathan H. Marks, Mending the Web: Universal Jurisdiction, Humanitarian Intervention and the Abrogation of Immunity by the Security Council, 42 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 445, 477 (2003). 18 Stanley Hoffmann, The Ethics And Politics Of Humanitarian Intervention, 12-13 (University of Notre Dame Press, 1996). 19 Id. at 15. 20 For more about the erosion of sovereignty due to economic and technological developments see John H. Jackson, Sovereignty-Modern: A New Approach to an Outdated Concept, 97 A.J.I.L. 782, 785 (2003). 21 An example for such occurrence can be found in the case of East Timor. East Timor declared its independence from Portuguese colonization on 28 November 1975. Nine days later it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces, killing 60,000 Timorese in the initial assault. At the time, the international community did not initiate any actions targeted at the protection of the Timorese people. More than 20 years later, on 30 August 1999, in a U.N.-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of East Timor (78.5%) voted for independence from Indonesia. By this time, the region’s aspirations for independence were the focus of the United Nations, which agreed to send a multinational peacekeeping force to the region in the pre-referendum phase, at the request of Indonesia. Soon after the referendum, anti-independence Timorese militias – organized and supported by the Indonesian military – commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution against the East Timorese. On 20 September 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state. 22 For a historical account of the globalization of human rights see Herbert V. Morais, The Globalization Of Human Rights Law And The Role Of International Financial Institutions In Promoting Human Rights, 33 Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev. 71, 2000. For more on the involvement of the EU in this process see Diego J. Linan Nogueras & Luis M. Hinojosa Martinez, Human Rights Conditionality in the External Trade of the European Union: Legal and Legitimacy Problems, 7 Colum. J. Eur. L. 307, (2001). 23 A similar idea was expressed by Fernando R. Teson, at Forthcoming in J. L. Holzgrefe and Robert O. Keohane, editors., Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal and Political Dilemmas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2003); see also Fernando Teson, Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry into Law and Morality (Transnational Publishers Inc., 1997). 24 See .S.C. Res. 1244, U.N. SCOR, 4011th mtg., U.N. Doc. S/RES/1244 (1999). 25 Emily Wax, Sudanese getting little help U.N. estimates death toll has nearly doubled to 70,000 since Sept. 9, The Washington Post, November 17, 2004, at A10. 26 The U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, established the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, in November 2003, in order to examine new dangers to international security and to recommend ways of strengthening institutions of collective security. For more on the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change see: . 27 Thomas O. Main, Traditional Equity And Contemporary Procedure, 78 Wash. L. Rev. 429, 476-78 (2003). 28 Jack Moser, ESSAY: THE SECULARIZATION OF EQUITY: Ancient Religious Origins, Feudal Christian Influences, And Medieval Authoritarian Impacts On The Evolution Of Legal Equitable Remedies, 26 Cap. U.L. Rev. 483, 486 (1997). 29 The other three sources are: (1) international covenants; (2) international custom; and (4) judicial decisions of various nations. See art. 38, para. 1. 30 See General Information about ICJ: 31 For the separate opinion of Judge Owada, see theICJ website at 32 For the separate opinion of Judge Owada, see theICJ website, at 33 The requirement of an extreme and widespread humanitarian crisis, as a just condition for humanitarian intervention, has also appeared in the work of others. See Michael Walzer, Just And Unjust Wars 108 (Basic Books Inc. 1977); Fernando Teson, Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry Into Law And Morality, (Transnational Publishers Inc., 1997). 34 Fernando Teson, Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry Into Law And Morality 117, 123-5 (Transnational Publishers Inc., 1997). 35 Here, I am utilizing the distinction between civil and political rights as they are expressed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and social and economic rights as they are expressed in the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. 36 See Kristin M. Lomond, Note: An Adult Patient’s Right To Refuse Medical Treatment For Religious Reasons: The Limitations Imposed By Parenthood 31 U. Louisville J. Fam. L. 665, 670 (1993). 37 Gray v. Romeo, 697 F. Supp. at 580. အဆံုးအထိဆက္ဖတ္ရန္ ၿပန္ေခါက္ထားခဲ့ေလ….

Source Ko Moe Thee Zun weblog

Senior General and his PA (in Burmese)

Senior General and his PA

ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္မွဴးၾကီးနွင့္ သူ၏ ပီေအ

“တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး ဖုန္းလာတယ္ခင္ဗ် ”
“ေဟ ဘယ္ကဖုန္းလဲ”
“ ဘန္ကီမြန္း ဆီက ဖုန္းပါ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး”
“ဟာ ဒီ ေခြးမသား ေလာပန္ ျပန္ေျဖလိုက္ ငါမအားဘူး ေတဇနဲ႔လႊဲထားတယ္လို႔ ေျပာလိုက္”
“တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး ဘန္ကီမြန္းက ေလာပန္မဟုတ္ဘူးခင္ဗ်.. ဟို..ဟို”

“ဘာ လဲ ယူနန္ျပည္နယ္အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ေရးမွဴးလား ေျပာလိုက္ အဲဒီေကာင္လဲ တင္ေအာင္ျမင့္ဦးနဲ႔ ေျပာလိုက္လို႔”
“ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး လက္ခံစကားေျပာမွျဖစ္မယ္ထင္တယ္ မုန္တိုင္းတိုက္လို႔ ဒုကၡေရာက္ေနတဲ့သူေတြကိစၥ”
“ ဟ .. မင္းတယ္ခက္တဲ့ေကာင္ပါလား ၊ ေျပာလိုက္အဲဒီတရုတ္ကို မင္း အပူမဟုတ္ဘူးလို႔ ငါေတာင္မပူဘူး”
“ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး .. ဒါဆိုဘယ္လိုျပန္ေျပာလိုက္ရမလဲ”
“ ငါ့ေျမးနွာေစးေနလို႔ ေက်ာင္းမသြားနိုင္ဘူး ဒီေန႔ သူနဲ႔ ငါ တေနကုန္ဗီဒီယိုဂိမ္းကစားရမယ္ မေနွာင့္ယွက္နဲ႔လို႔ ေျပာလိုက္ မင္းတို႔ ဒါေလာက္မွ အသံုးမက်ဘူးလား ေခြးမသားေတြ”

“ဟုတ္ကဲ့ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး … ဒါဆို အေမရိကန္ သေဘၤာေတြ ျမန္မာ့ေရပိုင္နက္ထဲ ေရာက္ေနျပီခင္ဗ်”
“ေဟ…ဟုတ္လား ဒီေကာင္ေတြ ပါမစ္ မပါပဲ ငါးလာဖမ္းရင္ အကုန္ ဖမ္းခ်ဳပ္ျပီး ဒဏ္ရိုက္လႊတ္လိုက္ ေခြးမသားေတြ”
“ မဟုတ္ဘူး ခင္ဗ် …. ေလေဘးဒုကၡသည္ေတြအတြက္ အကူအညီပစၥည္းေတြလာပို႔တာ ”
“ ရာရာ စစ… ငါေတာင္ မကူဘူး ဒီေကာင္ေတြကဘာေကာင္ေတြမို႔လဲ”
“တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီးဆီက ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္လိုေနပါတယ္ သူတို႔ေတြ ၀င္ကူဖို႔”
“ ဟ… ဘယ္ေတာ့မွ အေမရိကန္ ဆိုတဲ့ေကာင္ေတြ ကို အလကားမတ္တင္း ငါ အသက္ရွင္ေနသမွ် အ၀င္မခံဘူးကြ မွတ္ထား”
“ဟုတ္ကဲ့ နိုင္ငံျခားေရး၀န္ၾကီးကို ျပန္ေျပာခိုင္းလိုက္ပါ့မယ္”
“ေအး ဒါန ဲ႔ ထိုင္းက ႏွာျပားလာတုန္းက ငါ့အတြက္၀ယ္လာတဲ့ KFC ၾကက္ေၾကာ္ေတြေႏႊးထားစမ္း ၾကားလား”
“ဟုတ္ကဲ့ ေလေဘးကယ္ဆယ္ေရးအတြက္ အေမရိကားက လွဴထားတဲ့ အခ်ိဳရည္ေတြပါ ထည့္ထားေပးပါ့မယ္”
“ေအး … မင္းေတာ္တယ္ ေခြးသား ”
“ေက်းဇူးတင္ပါတယ္ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး ခု ကုလသမဂၢက ေနာက္ထပ္ ကိုယ္စားလွယ္တစ္ေယာက္လာေတာ့မွာျဖစ္ပါတယ္ ဘယ္လို ကိုင္တြယ္ရမလဲ ”
“ထံုးစံအတိုင္းေပါ့ မင္းေတာ္ေတာ္ညံ့တဲ့ေကာင္ပဲ ေခြးမသား ၊ ေက်ာက္စိမ္းေတြ ပတၱျမားေတြ ဘာလုပ္ဖို႔ထားတာလဲ”
“ အားလံုးေကာင္းသြားမွာပါ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး အားလံုးျဖစ္ေစရပါမယ္”
“ ေအး… မင္းေတာ္တယ္ ေခြးမသား ၊ မင္းဘာဆက္ေျပာဖို ့က်န္ေသးလဲ”
“ ေနာက္ဆံုးတခု တင္ျပခ်င္တာက..အေမရိကန္ သေဘၤာေတြက အေမရိကန္ေရတပ္က စစ္သေဘၤာေတြ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး”





Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”

Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”


As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

Dear Nan,

Do you remember the seminar we attended in 2001 called, Ethnic Minorities’ Struggles along the Thai-Burmese Border, organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. I think we had noticed the presence of UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO and some UN officials there.

Dear Nan, nowadays why did you become so over sensitive, easily irritated, snappy, angry fast and quick to blame others including me? May be you are frustrated with the deadlock in our country’s future. Don’t worry dear, nothing last forever in this world, including the Military rules in Burma/Myanmar. There would be definitely a change in our country’s politico-social status. Don’t give up hope; we already could see the light at the end of the tunnel. SPDC camel’s back is already weak, its need only some more straws to break. We just need to keep on pushing endlessly on them from all possible battle front s.

You asked me why I could even think you would forget that trip. I know darling, you enjoyed that trip too much and could not forget the various memorable experiences on the journey and there. And especially you had a rare chance to reunite with few of your cousins staying at Thai-Burma border. And our feeling and experience of as if we were at home, just by tasting the wind that breezed from the Shan Yoma into Thai. And you accidentally discovered my soft spot, my love for your Shan Land, when I could not control my tears while gazing at our mother land, which is actually my birth place also. At first you even failed to understand me and asked, what happened to my eyes because you thought that dust or some foreign particles entered my eyes. You were shocked only when I could not answer back immediately, choked and answered with the trembling soft voice.

Dear Nan, just remember that incidence before saying good-bye to me. My eternal love would never stop even if you go ahead with your plan to divorce me or even if I die. Don’t worry dear, even if you stay away from me I would not disturb you with revenge and jealousy or keep on stalking you. I am not a Sula Thu Badda from Saddan Sin Min, or like the character from our favourite, writer, singer, artist, actor and director Win Oo’s, The hate of a pretty woman. Win Oo himself was hated by the military and refused to honour him because he had supported the democracy movement. I just wish to remind our futures leaders not to forget the popular artist from various fields like Win Oo, U Htun Wai and etc who were ignored or suppressed by the Myanmar Military because they had supported the democracy movement. Once there is democracy, we should honour them and those who had sacrificed for the democracy movement.

I am not asking for blood or revenge punishment of the perpetrators but to compensate by our country to those suffered. We have to take a leaf out of National Reconciliatory Council of South Africa. This is in case the SPDC Generals redeem themselves and transfer the power back to the real owner, people, NLD and opposition. If not they should better start to select and engage the best lawyers in Myanmar who could converse in English, and study the International Laws related to GENOCIDE. Shan leaders and Burma Digest had already said; See you in court to the SPDC Generals. According to the Laws they had already contravened the Genocide Law, and there is neither Diplomatic nor Ruler’s Immunity. So dear darling, I wish to assure you not to even worry for my letters; I could stop writing to you if you just say so.

As you know darling, at that time, you were still studying at Singapore National University for your Masters and I was working with a Multinational company there. Now you got your PhD and you could afford trying to run away from me like a winged bird. Sorry dear, you were very angry with my first letter comparing you with the cat got (transplanted with) the new wings. I know you left me not because you could stand on your own, but for the principle: as a strong warning protest for the arresting of your uncles by my step mother Daw Than Shwe. I know and felt from the bottom of my heart that after many years of staying together, we already have a very strong bond and attachment for each other. Your other uncles and Burma digest is even collecting evidences to take legal action on Daw Than Swe and cohorts including that crime as I had mentioned above. Yes dear Nan, UN and International Criminal Court had defined that incarceration of the leaders of a group is guilty of not only attempted genocide but committing the GENOCIDE!

Let’s go back to our trip. Although we could take a flight, we decided to follow your idea to take the slow train from Singapore to Bangkok, through Malaysia. Dear Nan, I have to thank you for your suggestion and I am glad that even our fussy children had enjoyed the journey. Although we had visas to enter Malaysia, Thailand and re-entry visa to Singapore, all the three Immigrations had given trouble to us just because we were holding the Myanmar passports. After prolonged interviews only they approved our entry and then only you questioned them what wet wrong. You pointed out calmly to them that we could enter their countries even without any visa before when we were not an ASEAN member. Now only after Myanmar is accepted as an ASEAN member country, why our citizens need visas and there are a lot of red tapes and stricter entry conditions. You were angry because although our travel documents were in proper order, they set-aside our Passports and processed only after all the passengers were safely back on the train.

Malaysian Immigration and Thailand officers had given lame excuses; they have to be strict because of many Myanmar illegal immigrants in their countries. But you boldly told them off, by asking how rich their countries were, to think we were going to work in their countries. Dear darling, you continued that even if their governments invited your husband to work for their countries, you have to reject as your husband’s driver’s salary is even more than the average government officer’s salary in their countries. (Actually my real salary was not that high; Nan just wanted to revenge and dents their pride only.) I had to pull your arms to stop you because they were Government Officers and they could easily give trouble to us as they are notorious for extortion with trumpet charges on others. And the politicians are always ready backing them, to cover up their countries’ rots.

But when the stupid and greedy Thai officer keep on repeating that they have to be strict because of Myanmar illegal, and advised us to deal with the touts outside to smoothen the process, we all understand that he was clearly asking for bribes. You are a lady only but your anger sometimes rose higher than me and told them off again by advising to clear the millions illegal and rebels from our country inside their border. And you threatened to report to the Thai Embassy for refund of the visa fee if we need to pay bribes again. Then only the Thai officer from the back came out and stamped our passports with 60 days’ stay approval, although we asked for only three days. Thai Immigration officer’s agent touts are also shameless and although they knew that we have no more business with them they follow us and asked for few loose coins as cigarette money. (They already knew that they could not demand the dinner or tea money but have to settle for cigarette s only.) Although I did not want to pay, you pulled out few dollar notes to stop harassment.

Sorry friends for Nan’s offending words about the freedom fighters at our border. Please forgive us because she used those words just to win the war of words, with those Sit Taung Sars meaning the officers checking just to get bribes. Although we all knew that those kinds of habits and extortion are rampant in Myanmar SPDC authorities, we now know that this is one of the ASEAN values. But we had to admit that we rarely see these corruptions amongst government servants in Singapore, but cronyism, nepotism racial discrimination and unfair cruel crushing or annihilation of all the political opponents is still the order of the day under the autocratic government of Singapore. My dear wife never looks down on all of you and even forced me to follow her to the border to donate some foods, clothings, medicines and cash at the border. Later we learnt that our photographs were secretly taken by Myanmar MI spies and sent to Singapore Myanmar Embassy to take necessary actions. We have to thank the special officer-in-charge of Intelligence works in Singapore Myanmar Embassy, who was married to Nan’s cousin. (The same person who helped the release of Ko Harnif after the racial riots, mentioned in my previous letter.) His wife gave the whole file to Nan so that we could destroy.

Dear Nan, as you were familiar with the history of our Ethnic Minorities: the facts came out or revealed there in the seminar were not strange or new to you, but I was shocked because I lost in touch with the history at that time. And the following facts disclosed at the seminar were unanticipated; I could not swallow and were not even accepted easily by my conscious mind:

These are a few stories passed down by the Daw Daw Mon, U Ka Yin and Daw Daw Shan (Daw Daw Tai), Wut Boonlert, coordinator of the Karen Network for Culture and Environment, continued to explain how a stateless predicament befell the U Ka Yin’s relatives of the Salawin Basin.

According to him, once upon a time ie a long long time ago Ka Yin started his long march from the very far far away land, Gobi Desert and migrated to Yangtze Basin. Then he descended aga in downwards to the Khong River, the Chao Phya River and the green Irrawaddy Basin in Shwe Bama village, where grass were greener and water was cleaner.

U Ka Yin is also known in Thailand as the Kariang or Yang as he is also an ethnic group of U Thai village. U Ka Yin always has good relations with Ko Thai Land because Ko Thai Land started a policy to use U Ka Yin’s villages as buffer zone from successive aggressive U Shwe Bama. After some of the U Bama’s relatives were expelled from the Lanna Kingdom village in 1783, with support from the new U Chakri Dynasty of Bangkok village, (Saw Bwa Pya) Kawinla of Chiang Mai village had a close relationship with the U Ka Yin in order to bring people from the land controlled by his cousin U Ka Yinni (also known as U Ka Yah) to Chiang Mai.

Later Saw Bwa Luang Setthi Khamphan of Chiang Mai married Saw Bwa Nang Kham Paeng, daughter of Saw Bwa Maha Wong who governed Muang Pha Poon. Saw Bwa Nang Kham Paeng was later sent to govern Muang Kantara Wadee. But the Saw Bwa Muang of Chiang Mai dared not tell about an ancestor who came from the land of the U Ka Yinni. Saw Bwa Nang Khampaeng was the great-grandmother of Saw Bwa Dararassamee, a wife of King Rama V.

But it is a fact that Ko Thai created our Shwe Bamas as a common bogyman not only for historical reasons but it offered a cheap and convenient target when it launched a Pan Thai Empire, to unite all the Tai speaking tribes in Shan quarters of Shwe Bama village, U Laos and all those of the Dai tribes including from Sip Son Panna in U Ta Yoke’s village tract.

Ka Yin-speaking people are spread over a large area, mainly on the Shwe Bama village frontie r with U Thai Land village. Everywhere U Ka Yin’s relatives live interspersed among various other ethnic brothers of Shwe Bama, so that we find pockets of exclusiv e U Ka Yin’s cousin villages among for instance Daw Mon, U Shan and Ko Lawa.

Historically, U Ka Yin (U Pha Hti) descended from the same ancestors as U U Mongo people. The Great grand father U U Ka Yin settled in Htee-Hset Met Ywa (Land of Flowing Sands), a land bordering the source of the Yangtze -Kiang River in the Gobi Desert. From there, U Pha Hti migrated southwards and gradually entered the land now known as Shwe Bama about 739 B.C. or earlier as stated above. They thought they were the first settlers in this part of new land. U Ka Yin named this land Kaw-Lah, meaning the Green Land.

But U Pha Hti could not enjoy his peaceful live for long, as Daw Daw Mon entered this area next, followed at their heels by the Shwe Bamas. (Contrary to his claims, most historians accepted that Daw Daw Mon was the first settler in Shwe Bama earlier than U Pha Hti.) Both the Daw Daw Mon and U Bama brought with them feudalism. U Bama later won the feudal war, and they subdued and subjugated all other nationalities in the land. The U Pha Hti claimed that he had suffered untold miseries at the hands of the U Bama lords. U Pha Hti thought that persecution, torture, killings, suppression, oppression and exploitation were the order of the day. U Pha Hti even mentioned a few historical facts as evidence; he referred to the U Bama’s subjugation of the Daw Daw Mon and the Daw Ya Khine, and especially their past atrocities against the Daw Thai at Ayudhaya village. He even claimed that those were episodes in a never ending attempt of Genocide by the Shwe Bama soldiers on their Ethnic Minorities.

Dear Nan, I have already acknowledged that you are smart and clever but why did you query me for the skipping of your second question regarding the Basic concepts of good Governance. Why do you forget my right of answering your questions in any serial order? I thought the answer to that question is a little bit dull and so I used my right to choose to answer your last question before the second question.

What’s up Nan, at first my answers were based on Shan official web and the Karen migration is based on Karen web site and our own experience at the seminar. I also quoted Dr Than Tun’s books, and various History books I mentioned in earlier letter and from the Wikipedia encyclopaedia.

Even if you do not wish to give me the distinction marks, I am sure you could not fail me. Ha, Ha! I had learned a lot from you Nan, thank you for teaching me all the general knowledge and encouraging or sometimes pushing and forcing me to read in stead of watching my favourite movie series. Now you are reaping what you sow. Don’t even think to say that now the son is one month older than the father! If all the students in the whole world just used to learn and know what their teachers spoon fed them, and if there are no more research or progress, we all would be stuck in the Stone Age.

Dear darling, all of us progress successively from Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Steel Age, Mechanical Revolution Age, Electrical Age, Atomic Age, Computer Age, Internet Age, ICT Age and K-economy Age (Knowledge based economy) because students not only learned but tried to be better than their teachers. I am not insulting the teachers dear Nan. Just because you are working as a lecturer, you are a little bit bias, angry and thought I am insulting all my teachers. Actually I always respect my teachers and also know their plight: the grinding stones became thinner helping to sharpen the knives.

Our Lord Buddha pointed out to us the virtues of the candle light (fire) sharing the fire (light) to light up another candle. You never lost any thing, but could help light up another candle. We need to think like that. Teachers are sharing or distributing their knowledge but the students must not stop or satisfied with what they are taught. Even Lord Buddha had taught us not just to accept any thing without thinking, including his teachings. So don’t angry with me dear Nan. You should instead happy with your student’s small progress. Although I am gloating, I had made a blunder again. Sorry Nan, I am drifting away a lot from my topic again.

Dear darling Nan, as I had already answered earlier, our people of Shwe Bama village are said to be descendants of three main Migrant Ancestor branches or families:

(1) Mon-Khmer,

(2) Tibeto-Burman and

(3) Tai Shan-Chinese.

Daw Daw Mon is a desendant of of this Mon-Khmer group family. Humans lived in the region that is now known as our Shwe Bama village as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilization is that of the Daw Daw Mon. See Nan, this fact is contrary to U Ka Yin’s claim. But I think it is no use for us to quarrel who came first when the most important real practical fact is that we all are sailing together in the same boat. It is no use trying to fight over who is the original owner, who came later and who is just a freshman comming in and join last. Once we accepted any one as a fellow traveller or a citizen, we must be fair to all of them, should stop all discriminations and treat as an all-equal-partner. We need the combined undivided effort to reach our destination, Democratic Federal Union of Burma/Myanmar. The weather out side is bad, SPDC thunderstorm is still strong, it cause Kyant Phut waves which could pull and push our ship into danger. Instead of fighting among each other and wasting our energy, we must focus all our energy to fight our common enemy, SPDC and cohorts.

Daw Daw Mon actually began her long march of migration into our Shwe Bama village in about 3000 BC, and her first kingdom Suwarna Bhumi village, or Golden Landwas founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Daw Daw Mon’s tradition folk tales suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC. But definitely by the 2nd century BC, they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka, Ko Kala’s village. Much of the Daw Daw Mon’s written records hav e been destroyed during the wars.

By the mid-9th century, Daw Daw Mon became a dominant force in all of southern Shwe Bama. Even in Malay Chronicles called Sejarah Melayu.

 Pago/Bago men were recorded to arrive Malacca, the first Malay kingdom, and were regarded as one of their founders, forefathers or ancestors! Yes, I wish to repeat again, our Daw Daw Mon’s children were regarded as part of Malaysia’s ancestors.

Daw Daw Mon’s descendants are also known as Talaings because of their origin partly from Talingana village (State) of Ko Kala’s village tract. But some of them think that Talaing is a derogatory name for them and wish only to be known as Daw Daw Mon’s desendants. Daw Daw Mon blended U Kala and Mon culture (carried and inherited from U Tayoke’s place) together and emerged as a hybrid of the two civilizations.

I h ereby wish to apologize my Mon friends because some of you may be obviously offended by the name Talaing. But let me continue talking about the gossips about the alleged secret afair of Daw Daw Mon and U Talaing, Dear Nan, while writing about this Talaing name, I remember the joke of my uncle U Tin Oo (NLD) and I hope that you would kindly allow me some extra time to regurgitate this story.

Dear Nan, thank you for allowing me to interrupt with this interesting story about my Uncle U Tin Oo. As y ou know, although he is my uncle but you are more closed to them as his wife had a better chemistry with you. Dear Nan, when we were in U Ya Khine’s village tract they used to visit our house for few times. And Uncle U Tin Oo used to tell that our house was his lucky house because coincidently on the day of his visits to our house, he got promotions for two times. At that time he was serving in the Burma Army and was the Commander of the Middle Division Military Command. Once he was promoted and became a full General on his first visit to our house and on the day of his next visit he was promoted as the Minister of Defence.

Dear Nan, you were strict with our a-little-bit-mischievous children, forced or disciplined them to eat with porcelain coated iron plates and used to keep the delicate fine china plates in storage, for the guests. I still remember that day; our Bama Military General refused to use the precious plates and joined our children using their porcelain coated iron plates. As we already knew his humane or decent habit of calling in his driver and security soldiers to join the dinner table, one of his soldiers fondly or proudly told us that his General used to eat with the ordinary soldiers and usually refused to eat at specially decorated reserved VIP places. He was very popular among the grass roots and loved by various strata of people; Military rank and file and even among the ruling elite. He was the national hero then because he had just rooted out the prolonged strong hold of Burma Communist Party’s rebel head-quarters on the Bago Yoma (Pegu Mountain Ranges).

No wonder uncle U Tin Oo was loved by the whole army and all the people, not like the present megalomaniac Myanmar SPDC generals, who used to sit on higher decorated special chairs with the delusions of been a royal descendents and wished to be addressed like a royalty. They are actually like the dirty trace of oil above the peoples’ clean water. They choose not to be mix with rank and file and ordinary people; like that oil could not mix with water.

Dear Nan, once you asked me in a whisper; why my uncle General Tin Oo never attempted a Coup d’tat, to save all of us from Daw Ne Win’s tyranny. I told you I thought he was so naive and loyal to Daw Ne Win at that time, but now he has to pay dearly for that indecisiveness. He even failed to support with all his might to Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint, a Burmese Muslim, who sought his blessing for a Coup d’tat to topple Daw Ne Win. Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint was caught, charged and hanged. And our uncle U Tin Oo had to spend six years in jail for the failure to report the treason attempt. And Daw Ne Win started a vicious and ferocious revenge attack on all the Muslims of Burma like Saddam Hussein’s attack on all the Shiites after the failed assassination attack on him.

Dear Nan, we all have conveniently forgot our fallen unsung hero, Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint, who unsuccessfully tried to stage a palace Coup d’tat and present the crown on the platter to a good, fair and just leader, U Tin Oo of present NLD. We should honour him so that other heroes in the Myanmar army would repeat the wheel of the history; follow his brave plot to save all of us. Now most of us could only have a secret day dream for the split in Myanmar military and the rising of the moderate leaders who would negotiate and willing to make a deal with all of us.

I am regurgitating these old events because recently I got the news that NLD U Tin Oo was allowed out for less than an hour to visit his nephew’s funeral. At our last meeting with him, when we met before our transfer to Thar Yar Waddy, he joked that the town was notorious for its biggest jail in Burma. But he was so pleased with you when you were quick to retort that it is actually famous for Saya San, farmer rebel, our hero. He even commented, Shan Ma, I am happy that you could also remember our Bama hero!

But I thought he made an unintentional blunder by insulting Daw Mon when he joked about the story of Kyansittha. During the war with the Daw Mons, he went to pray at the famous Shwe Maw Daw pagoda in Bago. When he came down the stair case of the pagoda, the Talaings had already surrounded the pagoda. But Kyansittha managed to come down calmly without any harm, any fight and he neither faced a danger nor even had a scratch.

He asked us the reason of that miracle and the answer to this extra normal phenomenon. I was caught, but dear Nan, you were clever enough to quickly give the correct answer: Ta, means one in Burmese. Ta-Line means one line on the shoulder i.e. a sergeant in his own army. So, Kyansittha was not surrounded by the enemy Daw Mon or U Talaing’s soldiers but was just surrounded by his own military men, sergeants or in other words ˜Ta-Lines.

That General Tin Oo was later promoted to the Chief Commander of Burma Armed Forces and became ˜the number two man in Burma. But that position was dangerous under the dictator Daw Ne Win. Once the second man became popular and if there were signs of a threat, he used to remove them like all other dictators around the world, and replaced with a weaker person so that his number one position would be safe. General Tin Oo was accused of corruption. He had allegedly accepted five bottles of imported foreign liquor, accepted the government controlled foreign currency from the Military Attache in London, to buy medicine for his child suffering from leukaemia! Quite a flimsy trumpeted charges to remove the second most powerful man in a country. But you told me that we have to thank god, he was not accused of shameful trumpeted charges like sodomy as Hitler and Mahathier had done on their deputies. I hereby wish to propose that future Presidents or Prime Ministers of Burma/Myanmar should not allow in office for mo re than two terms. In Burmese, all the Aso Ya Asa bae yoe thee means all the governments are trustworthy at the start but later changed into tyrant and not honest any more. .

Dear Nan, you could deduct some marks from my score. No problem, I think it is our duty to tell our children about our experiences. You have to give me some latitude to swing and sway. As long as my variations do not overshoot beyond one standard deviation, I hope there should not be any problems.

Dear darling, at the above mentioned seminar we attended in 2001 called, Ethnic Minorities Struggles along the Thai-Burmese Border, Pisanh, a Mon representative, presented about his great grand Aunty Daw Daw Mon ancestors building kingdoms villages in Shwe Bama village tract and other parts of Asia.

According to Daw Daw Mon and Shwe Bama village records, before Buddha achieved Enlightenment, Alika and Tapusa, two Mon merchants, had presented khao tu [sweetened rice] to Buddha. Lord Buddha then gave his eight hairs to those two Daw Daw Mon’s merchants. They then brought the hairs to their Daw Daw Mon’s village head and he put the Buddha’s hairs in a pagoda. That pagoda is now known as Shwedagon, and has become a symbol of Shwe Bama village.

Daw Daw Mon’s village kingdom was destroyed by the Shwe Bama village heads. First Thaton village was conquered by King Anawrattha in eleventh century. He bitterly accused that in 1757 King Alongphaya of Burma attacked and burn the Mon capital of Hongsawadee village (Han Tha Wadee) about 3,000 Mon monks were killed. The Mon religious leaders flee to U Thai’s village.

Ten years later the U Thai’s kingdom of Ayutthaya village was also destroyed by the Shwe Bamas. But later Thailand skilfully used Daw Daw Mon, U Ka Yin, Daw Daw Shan and other ethnic groups to play as buffer states between the Ko Thai and Shwe Bamas.

Daw Daw Mon’s Dvaravati kingdom ( Danya Waddy village) existed from the 6th to the 11th centuries AD, when it was conquered by the Ko Khmer’s Empire. And that Ko Khmer’s Empire or village tract was centred on the Chao Phraya River valley in modern-day Ko Thai Land’s village, with Nakhon Pathom village as the capital and spread up to lower Shwe Bama village tract.

Dear Nan, I wish to give a just brief account of Ko Khmer’s village empire that was a powerful village kingdom based in what is now Daw Cam Bodia’s village. Ko Khmer’s village empire, which seceded from the kingdom of Chenla, at times ruled over parts of modern-day U Laos’ village, Ko Thai Land’s village and Daw HYPERLINK “”Viet Nam’s village. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, which was the capital during the empire’s zenith. Khmer villageers are Hindi and Mahayana Buddhists but l ater changed into Theravada Buddhists after the new version of religion was introduction from Sri Lanka in the 13th century

Dear Nan, Daw Daw Mon’s cousins, U Kaya, Daw Wa, Ko Palaung, Ma Padaung, Daw Pale, U Yao, Ma La, and others are originated from the Mon-Khmer group. Actually Mon-Khmers are sea-migrants of the east from India Talingana State mixed with the invader Mongols from the north. Mon-Khamars also stayed in U Thai Land village and Daw Cam Bodia village. Shwe Bama villagers got their cultures, written language , religion, arts and skills dubbed ten flowers: goldsmith, silversmith, carpentry, painting, architecture, sculpture, masonry etc from Daw Daw Mon and her cousins from U Thai Land’s village!

Dear Nan, it is a little bit strange for me because we were taught in the history books that Shwe Bama village head Anawrattha conquered Daw Daw Mon village head Manuha and brought back the Buddhism and all the skilled persons but our Shwe Bama written language is more related to Daw Daw Shan’s cousins Ma Mon, from U Thai Land’s village rather than our own sister Daw Daw Mon.

Dear Nan, in the chronicles of U Thai Land, it stated that Daw Daw Mon’s relatives were one of the earliest distinct groups to occupy Shwe Bama, moving into the area as early as 1500 BCE, or possibly earlier. Daw Daw Mon’s relatives had established the historical kingdoms of Dvaravati (Danya Waddy) and Haripunchai. Until the 14th century AD, Daw Daw Mon’s culture continued to spread very far east, including modern U Thai’s village and Issan plateau cities such as Lampang and Khon Kaen. As late as the 14th and 15th centuries, it is believed that the Daw Daw Mon’s relatives were the ethnic majority in this vast region, but intermarried freely with U Cam Bodia and U Tai-Kadai (your Daw Daw Shan’s relatives) populations. Archaeological remains of Daw Daw Mon’s settlements have been found south of Vientiane village, and may also have extended further to the north-west in the Haripunchai village era.

Dear darling Nan, according to the chronicles of U Thai Land, Daw Daw Mon’s cousins converted to Theravada Buddhism at a very early point in their history; unlike other ethnic groups in the region, they seem to have adopted Theravada orthodoxy before coming into contact with Mahayana tendencies. And it is believed that the Daw Daw Mon had converted U Thai and U Cam Bodia from Hindu/Mahayanism to Theravada Buddhism (15th century). So this is another version of the event how you got Buddhism.

Dear Nan, it is interesting that like us, U Thai and some present day Ma Mon has tried to identify her ethnicity with the semi-historical kingdom of Suwarnabhumi. Historical scholars pointed out that the early usage of the term (as found in the edicts of Ashoka during the U Kala’s Village tract’s haydays of Buddhism) indicated a location in Southern India, and not in South-East Asia. However, from the time of the first translations of the Ashokan inscriptions in the 19th century, both the Shwe Bama and U Thai have tried to identify place-names found in the edicts with their own territory or culture; sometimes these claims have also relied upon the creative interpretation of place-names found in Chinese historical sources. (This is taken from U Thai’s records.)

Dear Nan, I am excited to know that, Suwannaphum (also Suwarnabhumi) remains one of the most mythified in the his ory of Asia and in U Thai Land’s village, their head of village and village museums insist that it was somewhere along their southern coast. And so they had named the new Bangkok village airport after the mythic kingdom of Suwarnabhumi, or “Suwannaphum”.or Thu Wanna Bumi meant Golden Land in Burmese.

Dear Nan, when I wrote about your Daw Daw Shan, I forgot to mention about her ancestor origin that she was a descendant of the Tai Shan-Chinese group. Daw Daw Shan, U Pha Hti or U Ka Yin and Daw Taungthu, etc., all have their roots in the Tai-Chinese community and descended from present U Ta Yoke’s village tract and had made a long march through Ko Yu Nans village. We already knew the relation of Daw Daw Shan and her twin sister Daw Daw Siam, now known as Daw Thai. Their languages are also similar and both of them feel that they are twin sisters, just separated by the border.

Some of the Daw Shan’s descendants prefer to be called Tai. “Shan” is a Burmese corruption of “Syam” or “Siam”, or Thai or Tai. Shwe Bama Shans are much more in common ethnically and culturally with their cousins in U Thai village than the Shwe Bama villagers.

“In the past, there were 33 provincial towns in Muang Tai and each town was governed by chao fah or Saw Bwa,” said Chaiya Khongchuen of the Tai Union. “Burma was directly colonized by Great Britain, but Muang Tai [the Shan State] was just a Protectorate State. Ne Win killed many chao fahs (Saw Bwas) during 1962 coup. On May 21, 1958, Tai leader Saw Yanda announced that he was waging war against the Burmese government,” Chaiya said at the above mentioned seminar.

Dear Nan, let’s talk about last group of our ancestors, the Tibeto-Burman group which I had already mentioned in last letter.

Shwe Bama spoken language is derived from this Tibeto-Burman group. U Bamar, Daw Chin, Ko Kachin, Ma Rahkine, Ma Inthar, Ko Naga, Daw Yaw, Ko Mro, Daw Lisu, U Kadu, Ma Hpon, Daw Maru, U Lashi, Ma Rawang, Daw Azi, Daw Nung, U Daru, U Gauri, Ma Lahu, Ma Lolo and others, descended from the Tibeto-Burman group.

Darling, they migrated downwards from Daw Tibet’s village, U Ta Yoke’s village tract. They are now spread widely and staying in Shwe Bama village, U Tayoke’s village and Ko Kala’s village. Do you remember darling, in 2002 there was a U Kachin’s international conference held in Shwe Bama village. U Kachin’s cousin brothers from U Tayoke’s village and Ko Kala’s village attended.

Ko Chin, Ko Kachin and Ko Naga’s relatives are also on both sides of Indo-Burma border. Buddhist Rakhines in Bangladesh are known as Marghs.

Dear Nan, as you already know, our ethnic brothers spread in our village tract widely viz: U Ka Yin, Daw Daw Mon, Daw Daw Shan, Ko Intha, U Kayah, Ma Palaung, Ko Aka, and Ma Pa-o usual ly stayed in the east and southeast of the Shwe Bama village tract. And Ko Kachin, Daw Wa and U Kokang stayed in the north and east of our village tract. Daw Chin and U Yakhine are mainly in the west.

Dear Nan, I still remember these facts you told me once, that the Tibeto-Burman group of languages (often considered a sub-group of the Sino-Tibetan language family) is spoken in various central and south Asian countries, including Shwe Bama village, northern part of Ko Thai Land village, southern part of U Tayoke’s village tract (Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hunan), Daw Nepal’s village, U Bhutan’s village, Ko Kala’s village tract (Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir), and western part of U Pakistan’s village.

Dear darling, at that time you amazed me by telling me that the Tibeto-Burman group of languages subfamily includes approximately 350 languages. Our Shwe Bama language has the most speakers (approximately 35 million).

Dear Nan, you will be surprised by my new findings that some linguists (including Shafer 1966 and George van Driem) advocate elevating “Tibeto-Burman” to displace “Sino-Tibetan” as the top-tier language family, with the Chinese languages (Sinitic) classified as a branch of the Tibeto-Burman/Sino-Tibetan family. In simple layman terms, Chinese language is now under Tibeto-Burman language family. It is facinating to know that the great China or U Tayoke got the language from our ancestors!

As I had stated, in the 9th century the Shwe Bama and our Ethnic minorities migrated from the then U Tayoke-Daw Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady which is now the heart of the Shwe Bama golden Pavalion.

Dear darling, our Shwe Bama village tract has experienced a long history of migration along fluid frontiers and numerous conflicts among various ethnic groups. We are between two big neighbours or world’s greatest civilizations, U Tayoke and U Kala’s village tracts. And our country is the only highway those big neighbours could travel, trade or migrate because they are divided by the very high Himalayan Mountain Ranges. When there were wars or struggles for power to control a village kingdom, our village tract became a safe heaven of refuge. Or if there were any famine, bad weather, diseases of humans, animals or plants our country was always ready to provide a greener pasture and cleaner water. So our Golden Shwe Bama village became the melting pot of two civilizations.

Sorry Nan I forgot to acknowledge that you told me about these facts in my first letter: our spoken language is from Tibeto-Burman group and related to U Tayoke’s language but our written language is from Brami script of Ko Kala’s village tract. And even our vowels or way of pronouncing is the same as southern Ko Kala’s few languages. So some of them could even read written Burmese correctly but could not understand much. But as our spoken language is similar to U Tayoke, they could understand some of our spoken words. Our lower half of the national dress is from Ko Kala and upper half from U Tayoke. And we got the religion, culture, arts etc from our big neighbours. But I am glad and feel proud because we had adapted all we got, modified to suit our needs and now almost all of our nationalities have our own unique languages, personalities, national dresses, traditions, cultures etc that we all could proud of.

Dear darling, I am sad to tell you about this, but anyway you had already known it. Because of the bad SPDC government, now our country is suffering the reversal of fate, totally in a different state, we are in the reverse gear mode. Our Shwe Bama village tract’s long tradition of giving refuge to all our neighbours in need, immigrant’s heaven, is sadly changed. Now many of our people are refugees, working legally and illegally abroad and we are in the emigration mode. Last time our country was a paradise for all of us, citizens and foreigners. Now we had lost our paradise like the Athu Yar Nat Min who was removed and replaced by the Tha Gar Min and sent to Athuyakae. But sadly, our SPDC is not Tha Gar Min or King of the angels, but acting like the King of the devils. They could not get or enjoy the Paradise stolen from us because they had just ruined our paradise and are collecting endless sins, preparing to go to hell, where they be long, in the next life. I hope and strongly believe that our lost or ruined paradise could be rebuilt by our united workforce once we got our democracy.

As you always said when I was a little bit disturbed with the never stopping visitors, Ain thar hma Ei lar thi in Burmese, which means only when the host (home) is pleasant, the guests would come. Your concept of “to be a donating person or paying hand is better than the receiving hand or a person in need”. Yes dear, now I could accept your foresighted ideas of trying to be at the upper end of charity chain of events. We have to thank god for chosen us in that position although we are not rich. We have to build back our country to regain our previous golden paradise status.

In the past we gained a lot; Brain Gain from immigrants, but now we are emigrating out from our mother land in droves and started to suffer the effect of Brain Drain. May be that is one of the SPDC Generals charitable idea of serving the world with our Shwe Bama’s brains, skills and labour. I am surprised with your never ending optimistic views that now many of our brothers and sisters are abroad, got a lot of experiences in almost every field. Once there is democracy and real open door economic policy, we all could contribute the rapid leap forward of our beloved country and we could easily overtake Thailand Malaysia, Singapore and all he ASEAN countries.

And I now could apply your Pollyanna’s optimistic views and could even see your temporary departure from me in t he fits of anger as a blessing in disguise for me. Because of that only I came to know Dr Tayza and Burma Digest and also have a chance to write love letters to you distantly following the paths of Nehru. Sorry again dear, I know this is the kind of gloating you hate most, and I had mentioned his name for three times already just to irritate you. But I hope you could already understand and forgive me at the end as I could not stop teasing you. And I don’t know why god matched two of us as life partners, you are always serious and hate fooling around and I am very light hearted and always search the funny side of any events around us.

Dear Nan, time is up because I foolishly waste it with the other subjects to impress you! I have to stop now but please reserve your judgment; don’t give your final verdict to fail me now. I will definitely continue to answer your remaining questions and impress you in my next letters. I hope to probe one of our ancestors, U Pyu and his civilizations next week but if Dr Tayza and Burma Digest Editorials thought otherwise and decided to stop their special courier service I have no choice but to stop nagging you.

Good-bye darling

Yours with love

(Ko Tin Nwe)


TQ for this_


Politics in America

Election 2008 and Politics

Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”

May 17th, 2008

jr wrote an interesting post today on
Here’s a quick excerpt
Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”

As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

Dear Nan,

Do you remember the seminar we attended in 2001 called, Ethnic Minorities’ Struggles along the Thai-Burmese Border, organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. I think we had noticed the presence of UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO and some UN officials there.
Dear Nan, nowadays why did you become so over sensitive, easily irritated, snappy, angry fast and quick to blame others including me? May be you are frustrated with the deadlock in our country’s future. Don’t worry dear, nothing last forever in this world, including the Military rules in Burma/Myanmar. There would be definitely a change in our country’s politico-social status. Don’t give up hope; we already could see the light […]

Read the rest of this great post here

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