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Date: Mon, 03 Apr 1995 06:20:08 -0700 (PDT)
Reply-To: Conference "reg.burma" <burmanet-l@igc.apc.org>
From: strider@igc.apc.org
Subject: BurmaNet News: April 2, 1995 [#138]
To: Recipients of burmanet-l <burmanet-l@igc.apc.org>
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From: <strider>
Received: (from strider) by igc2.igc.apc.org (8.6.11/Revision: 1.11 ) id GAA20596; Mon, 3 Apr 1995 06:19:45 -0700
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 06:19:45 -0700

A Letter from a Karen in America

By Saw Aung Khin, in BurmaNet,
2 April 1995

3 April 1995

It is a lengthy process to obtain peace in any country where there is civil war and Burma is no exception. Civil war has been raging in Burma for more than four decades and there is no sign of ending it yet. It may or may not happen during my life time, but I strongly feel that the SLORC can turn things arround if they have the will and the heart to do it.

Due to oppressive and inhumane treatment of it's own citizen, SLORC has been condemmed by the world all over, but due to greed of power and wealth, they will not care and will continue to do the same of ill treating the population of Burma.

As a Karen, let me mention how the Karen people feel about the SLORC. More than two decades ago there were two group of Karen insurgents. One led by Bo Lin Htin and the other led by Bo Mya. When Burmese military regime declared ammnesty to the insurgents, the group led by Bo Lin Htin and some KNU officials came back from the jungle and some given few cabinet position in Karen state for a few years. One unfortunate thing happened at that time was the regime killed the group leader Bo Lin Htin. What ever the reason for killing given by the military regime, it is very hard for the Karen people to trust them again.

A few years ago one of the SLORC commander in the Kayin state mentioned and suggested in a meeting that if you want to see Karen, you will have to go down to Yangon (Rangoon) and see them in the MUSEUM. Quite a chilling remark!. May be that is why SLORC attemped to wipe out the Karen people and force them to flee their home land. More than seventy thousands Karen ended up in refugee camps in Thailand without any future at all.

Furthermore, whenever the SLORC commander or their media refer anything about Bo Mya, they never say simply Bo Mya or KNU president Saw Bo Mya but will mention "Nga Mya". Here, let me explain about the Burmese word "Nga". It is the prefix name used only exclusively for the criminals. Bo Mya might have killed his opponent or enemy, but we never heard of him killing innocent villagers. In my point of view, he is not a criminal. On the other hand, the SLORC commanders and their troops destroyed Mon and Karen villges, tortured and raped the villagers, sent them to the front line to clear land mines and enslaved them to hard labor.

The SLORC tried to deceive the world and say that there is peace and harmony in the liberated areas and tell refugees to come back. When the SLORC fail to convince the refugee to come back, they kidnap the refugees. There may be time when the refugees have no choice but to come back, but at present, the pain and agony that have been engraved in their hearts and mind still persist and they are so scare of coming back and live under the reign of terror. Even one time Apatheid Government of South Africa did not treat it's people as the SLORC treat the people of Burma. Besides the pain and agony the people of Burma go through, physically and mentally, there is no freedom at all to express one's thought and wishes and the news media is heavily sensored. When you pause for a short moment and think about the physical and mental suffering of the people of Burma as a whole you come to the conclusion that the SLORC is reducing the status of the people of Burma to sub-human species which is no better than bullocks and buffaloes ploughing the field and pulling the carts. Well by the grace of God I am fortunate to be living in the United States of America where I can express my thoughts and fellings. This is the land of Liberty where evey citizen enjoy equal opprotunity. If I am still living in Burma and have this kind of notion and express it, I am certain I will be awarded one way ticket to Insein Jail where I might have to spend the rest of my living life. I salute to all the people of Burma who perished by the oppressive regime and extend my deep heartfelt sympathy for who still survive.

Well, those mentioned above are the dark side of the SLORC. But they can turn things arround if they choose to do so. The Karen leadership has expressed willingness to negotiate and Thai Government hinted it's willingness to mediate if SLORC make a move. There has been no better time than this time. By making peace with the opposition and minority groups the SLORC will save alot of resorces as well as human lives and sufferings. The SLORC will not have to spend a great deal on the military hardwares. The ethnic and opposition troops can be integrated into Burma Army without seeking new conscripts. Then Burma will have the most battle harden and experienced army in the world. The young conscripts can go home and seek further education and their future if they choose to do so. Money earned from foreign investment can be used to develop the country to catch up with the rest of the advanced world. The highly educated people will not leave the country and there will be no brain drainage. Look at Malaysia which also has diverse ethnic groups like Burma. There has also been one time tension between different ethnic groups and turmoils occured. Once they learned their mistakes, they correct it and the the country has become prosperous. At present, Malaysia enjoy peace and harmony with diverse ethnic culture.

One thing the SLORC needs to do is not be too proud to negotiate with the opposition and ethnic groups to explore the possibility of peace. Even the Berlin wall could crumble down and Isreal could negotiate with PLO, there is nothing that SLORC can not negotiate with the opposition and ethnic groups. Once peace prevailed and military bdget is reduced, we can divert our attentions and energy into improving the standard of living just like Germany and Japan after the end of World War Two. After all every one in Burma share the same destiny. If the country prosper we all enjoy it and if the country degredate, we all suffer. If we all really reconciled, I'm very sure that nothing can stop Burma from becoming prosperous nation. The country is rich in natural resources and with modern technology we will be able to catch up with the advanced world very soon.

In conclusion, I ernestly and sincerely pray that the SLORC will take the best opportunity at hand and turn the situation arround for the betterment of the people of burma.

Simon M. Khin <skhin@paul.spu.edu>

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