(1 - 6 July 2002)
This Week's Message
Once again, we have to thank you for reading us. It is particularly because you read us that the military rulers' present war of rape against non-Burman populations has come to the attention of US government, leading to its condemnation of Rangoon. Our hope is that " License to Rape" will further serve as a speed-up for the achievement of peace and freedom for our long-suffered peoples of Burma.
We would also like to take this opportunity to apologize our readers who found the James Bond introduction to "License to Rape" on our web "rather disconcerting." The report is so disturbing and serious that it warrants a serious introduction, one complains. And I'm sure they are right.
The reason was because reaction to our previous reports had been somewhat mediocre that we thought an outrageous introduction might stir up things a bit. Looking at the results, I guess we were not proven wrong, (even it we weren't proven right.)
At the same time, now that it has served its purpose, we would like you to know we are letting it go. Instead, the statement from the US State Department will from now on take up as License to Rape's new introduction.
Thanks for your support.
(Wishing you progress and prosperity)
On License to Rape
Thank you for your important e-mail. I personally would avoid using the expression ethnic cleansing for four reasons:
It is the language of the aggressor and not the victim. To cleanse means to clean: ethnic cleansing means to clean up ethnic people. The Shan are not a piece of dirt to be cleaned up. This was a disgusting expression created by the Serbs to JUSTIFY the destruction of minorities. We should never use it- even in "inverted commas." If we use it we use the language of the aggressor. We let them control us.
The expression has no legal meaning. We must use expressions that lawyers can understand. If we use the expression ethnic cleansing nobody will take any SERIOUS interest in our case because the word is not legally important. It has no legal meaning.
Ethnic cleansing is used to drive people AWAY from and OUT of their lands. Ethnic Cleansing is violent removal but is not intended to completely destroy a people. The Burmese military dictatorship is not however just interested in driving out people from their homes and lands: IT WANTS TO DESTROY THEM AS A PEOPLE.
We should use legal language instead that is language which is powerful and suggests serious criminal activity. Therefore we should use the following: War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity or Genocide (Get the full text of the International Criminal Court from the web using adobe software for download if you have it).
If you believe the military dictatorship is really wanting to destroy the Shan people directly or INDIRECTLY you should use the term Genocide. Your "License To Rape Report" brillaintly supports this view.
If you would like me to give a class on the new Human Rights Law I would be very happy to do so.
My final advice is however NOT to use ethnic cleansing but to use the legal terms with supporting evidence.
This week's highlights
15 Thai NGOs, led by Friends without Borders, appeal to PM Thaksin not to forcibly return the 600 Shan refugees back to Shan State, where reports of atrocities are rampant in junta -Wa controlled areas. Friends of Tais, a Chiangrai based Thai group, lobbies in Chiangmai and Bangkok for non-refoulement of Shan refugees.
Wisanu Sawasdee, Maehongson Deputy Governor, says more than 4,300 refugees in Ban Naisoy will be relocated to Pang Tractor and Pang Khwai villages. Stephen Sinclair Loulot from UNHCR laments they are too close to the border.
All we hear is (Burmese leaders) being quoted by our own people.
Chuan Leekpai, opposition leader, saying there had been no direct response from the Burmese leaders with regards to settling the disputes with Rangoon, 3 July 2002.
Democratic Voice of Burma reports 50 monasteries in Dagon South Township of Rangoon been ordered by the Divisional Religious Affairs Department to move elsewhere.
Furor over 'License to Rape"
Rangoon is waging an ethnic war, not an anti insurgency war, charges Shan Democratic Union, umbrella organization of Shan exiles.
The US State Department condemns "the pervasive use of rape" by military forces and demands Rangoon take immediate steps to end sexual violence. (Rangoon slams 'License to Rape' two days later, accusing it as a creation by 'Shan United Revolutionary Army'.)
Yawserk not wanted
Gen Surayud denies an order for the arrest of Col Yawserk has been is sued, saying the army was told to step up surveillance only. (On 1 July Gen Chavalit said he had told authorities to arrest any leaders of Anti-Rangoon groups, especially the SSA, found in the country).
On War on Drugs
(Though) there has been a lot of talk about Thai cooperation with Burma on drugs eradication . connections between Thai drug dealers and ethnic drug lords in Burma remain strong, as witnessed by the vast amounts of Ya Ba flowing into the Thai market each day.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, University of London, The Nation, 2 July 2002
Supreme Cornmander Adm Narong Yutthawong also says the SSA radio does exist but not in Thai soil.
Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyuth demands formal apology from Rangoon for Dr. Ma Tin Win's articles attacking revered Thai kings. The next day, army spokesman says no formal apology necessary.
Goat hunting season
Police blacklist Ma Tin Win and Maung Maung Aye, New Light of Myanmar's editor in chief, as undesirable persons and a threat to the country. This action, requested by the Foreign Ministry, still awaits approval by the Interior Ministry.
Gen Chavalit blames Gen Phon Wanakamon, former aide to Chuan Leekpai when he was prime minister, and, at present, President of Bangkok based Tai Union, for Burma being upset and suspicious of Thai motives.
Is Maung Aye's seat on fire?
Yesterday no different from today
A number of Burmans are residing in Siam; and during the last war, quite a number of Burmese families evacuated to that country. The result is that the ties of friendship are even stronger now than ever before, and there are now many in Burma who have come to regard Siam as a kind of second home.
Aung San, welcoming speech for the visiting Thai delegation headed by Phya Anuman Ratchathan, Chulalongkorn University on 17 April 1947, Irrawaddy, 6 July 2002.
Gen Maung Aye has been under fire following 'false' reports he had approved planned Thai crackdown on the Wa, says Chavalit.
Visiting PM Mahathir of Malaysia says PM Thaksin could concentrate on bolstering existing cooperation in the Asean framework instead of creating a new one i.e. Asia Dialogue Cooperation.