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1.Statement of Support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Recent Actions
2. National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) Emergency News Release
3. Sky News: Hunger Strike Fears For Suu Kyi
4. Independent:
Suu Kyi 'on hunger strike'
5. World Politics Review Exclusive: Burma: Diplomatic Failure Amid Rumors of a Hunger Strike
6. AP: Gambari 'wasting his time' in Burma
7. Asian Tribune:
Gambari Burma Mission Not Accomplished, UNSC should intervene more directly
NCGUB: Burma Situation Update -- August 2008

Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA)
Statement of Support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Recent Actions
Date: August 26, 2008
   Download statement PDF MS Word

We absolutely support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in making a great stand even under detention; she has refused to meet with the UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, as currently being reported. Her vision, judgment, courage and leadership in highlighting the failed efforts of the United Nations (UN) and the State Peace & Development Council's (SPDC) one-sided position could not come sooner. We fully stand by her decision.

We share the concern expressed by the spokesperson of her party, National League for Democracy (NLD) over Mr. Gambari’s "yet another failed visit to Burma". UN's 20 years long efforts to bring peace, freedom and genuine democracy to the people of Burma has been unsuccessful. The UN has allowed the military to strengthen and tighten the power grip, while brutally crushing the dissidents and the people of Burma, including the Buddhist monks.

The people of Burma have already paid a huge price for the UN's inability to deter oppression and dictatorship, and solve Burma's problems politically. As a result, the country and the people have sunk much deeper into misery, poverty and chaos brought about by the tyranny of the brutal regime. Precious time should no more be wasted by using echelon diplomacy nor the military dictators be allowed to continue one-sided policies and forceful establishment of their rule. Time is running out for the UN to produce meaningful results and save Burma and her people.  

The one and only true will of the people of Burma is to implement the results of the 1990 election in which NLD, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory. The regime continues to resist the will of the people and of the international community by denying the rightful leadership to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party.  It is a long overdue responsibility of the United Nations to bring about effective political dialogue between all stake holding parties and the military.

We completely reject the regime's planned sham election in 2010 to erase the 1990 election results and to formalize military rule in Burma. It is a part of the process of so called road map to democracy that is not only illegal, but also staged with despicable acts such as holding the referendum while half of Burma's population was devastated by the May 2008 Cyclone Nargis. The people of Burma will once again be forced at gunpoint to participate in the fake voting process of the planned 2010 elections.  

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to accept food since August 15, 2008. We want to express strong concern over her health situation and continued detention. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was violently attacked, captured and put under house arrest since May 30, 2003. Her continued detention is unlawful and we fear for the safety of her life.

The regime must release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners including Buddhist monks and student leaders as a first step towards peacefully resolving Burma's issues.  

We call upon the United Nations Security Council and the international community to do their utmost to: 

1. Request UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself to go to Burma and help start a meaningful and effective political dialogue.
2. To secure the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners immediately.

Executive Committee
Contact: Anil Verma, Secretary, (510) 485-3751


National League for Democracy (Liberated Area)
News Release

Date: August 25, 2008

1. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not accepted any food or visitors for 9 days. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's daily food supply is delivered to her house each day, but the last day Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accepted the food was 15 August 2008. If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi continues to refuse food from her comrades, her health will be of serious concern. Two people living with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are also refusing food. The international community's immediate action is necessary.

2. During UN Special Envoy Mr. Ibrahim Gambari's recent six day visit to Burma, Mr. Gambari met with authorities from the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), diplomats, personnel from SPDC-crony organizations, and leaders from the National League for Democracy (NLD). However, Mr. Gambari did not meet with any top officials from the SPDC or with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

3. Over the past 20 years, consecutive General Secretaries of the United Nations have made efforts to solve Burma's crisis; however, these efforts have not resulted in tangible improvements for Burma. This demonstrates that the UN's strategy for solving the crisis in Burma is flawed.

4. During the Saffron Revolution in 2007, Mr. Gambari was successfully lured into the SPDC's political trap: attempting dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and SPDC officials that supported the SPDC's "seven-step road map to democracy." Daw Aung San Suu Kyi found it very difficult to solve the national crisis using peaceful means as a result of this one-sided dialogue.

5. According to reliable sources, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi informed people that there should be limitations, especially time limitations, for tolerating the SPDC's one-sided approaches. She further informed people that we must sacrifice our lives like martyrs for the people of Burma so as to successfully support Burma's freedom.

6. Therefore, the National League for Democracy (Liberate Area) appeals to the international community to support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and solve the crisis in Burma using any necessary means. Specifically, we appeal to the Secretary General of the United Nations to go to Burma as soon as possible to solve the crisis.

Central Committee
National League for Democracy (Liberated Area)

Contact: U Nyo Ohn Myint
Mobile Phone No. (66) 897003432
Email address:

Hunger Strike Fears For Suu Kyi

2:12pm UK, Tuesday August 26, 2008

Burma's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has started refusing food deliveries - but the country's ruling junta is denying rumours she is on a hunger strike.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1996

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1996

Exiled dissidents in India and Thailand have reported that the Nobel Peace Prize winner last accepted fresh food supplies on August 15.

But her National League for Democracy (NLD) said the circumstances remained unclear.

Suu Kyi remains a powerful symbol of the struggle to end military rule in Burma despite being largely silenced by the generals.

Her party won national elections in 1990 but the junta - which has ruled the country with an iron grip since 1962 - never allowed it to assume power.

A Burmese government official dismissed reports of a hunger strike.

"It is just rumours, it is not true," he said, refusing to be named. "We have not got any (political) demands from her."

The news comes after Suu Kyi repeatedly canceled meetings with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who ended a six-day visit to Burma without seeing her.

The 63-year-old has spent most of the past 19 years confined to her lakeside home in Rangoon.

Her latest detention began more than five years ago. She has been allowed little contact with the outside world.

Her doctor and lawyer were permitted to visit her on August 17, when she was given a medical check-up - her first since February.

In an attempt to soothe international outrage after a violent crackdown on anti-junta protests last September, the generals appointed a liaison, labour minister Aung Kyi, to negotiate with Suu Kyi.

But they have not met since January, when the opposition leader complained about the slow pace of their talks.

Suu Kyi 'on hunger strike'

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent
Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Suu Kyi 'may be on hunger strike'
Independent - London,England,UK

Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi believe the imprisoned Burmese democracy leader may have launched a hunger strike over the military regime's refusal to hold talks about democratic reforms.

Members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) said the 63-year-old had last accepted a weekly delivery of food on 15 August and told the young party members who delivered it not to bring any more. An NLD spokesman in Burma said he could not confirm whether she had stopped eating but that bags of food delivered to a checkpoint outside her house in Rangoon had not been picked up.

“If Aung San Suu Kyi continues to refuse food from her comrades, her health will be of serious concern,” the NLD's office in neighbouring Thailand, said in a statement. “Two people living with [her] are also refusing food. The international community's immediate action is necessary.”

The Nobel Laureate has spent 13 of the last 19 years either in prison or under house arrest. Since May 2003 she has been detained at her lakeside home where she lives with her assistant and another female party member. She was last seen in public when she briefly appeared at the gate of her heavily guarded house as a crowd of Buddhist monks gathered outside during last September's democracy demonstrations.

Her party colleagues said Ms Suu Kyi recently told the regime she wished to renew negotiations in order to help bring about national reconciliation. She also said she wanted a satellite dish installed at her home and for her assistant, Khin Win, to be able to leave whenever she wants.

At the same time, she last week cancelled a series of meetings with the UN's special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, during his six day visit to Burma. The Nigerian diplomat was criticised by Burma's political opposition and accused of trying to appease the country's military regime rather than push it towards making democratic reforms

The junta that has ruled Burma for two decades is determined to ensure Ms Suu Kyi remains in detention. It knows that if she were set free she would be the only person around which the public might rally in sufficient numbers to challenge the military authorities.

To those ends, in May the regime extended her current detention term by another year. They have also severely restricted the number of people allowed to see her. While her doctor and lawyer were permitted to visit her last week, that was her first medical check-up since February and the first meeting with her legal representative since 2004.

The military junta yesterday claimed that the detained politician had not started a hunger strike. “It is just rumours, it is not true,” a government official told the Agence France-Presse. “We have not got any political demands from her.”

But campaigners in the West said it was possible that Ms Suu Kyi had decided to turn to such drastic measures. “There have been rumours like this before which have turned out not to be true, but given the way Gambari seems to favour the regime one could imagine that she is feeling very frustrated,” said Mark Farmaner of the Burma Campaign UK. “Gambari does not have the respect of the [military regime] and is seen as biased by the democracy movement. It is hard to see how he can carry on as UN envoy.”

In 1990 Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD won an overwhelming victory in national elections. But the military authorities ignored the result and began rounding up political opponents. Human rights groups believe that up to 200 people may have been killed by the authorities when they crushed last year's demonstrations. Hundreds of political prisoners and Buddhist monks remain in jail.

Burma: Diplomatic Failure Amid Rumors of a Hunger Strike

Frida Ghitis | Bio | 26 Aug 2008
World Politics Review Exclusive

Once again, the news from Burma rings with echoes of despair. The latest mission from the international community has ended in embarrassment -- not for the despotic generals who rule Burma (renamed Myanmar by its illegitimate regime), but for the United Nations and its ineffectual efforts. It seems no one who matters wants to waste any more time meeting with the U.N. envoy. And now, unconfirmed reports say the iconic leader of the pro-democracy opposition, the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, may have started a hunger strike. Once again, Burma stands like a conscience-searing mirage on the Asian horizon, reminding us of our failure to help the most desperate.

The Nigerian diplomat chosen by the U.N. to conduct negotiations, Ibrahim Gambari, has left Burma without having met Gen. Than Shwe, the head of the ruling junta, or Suu Kyi, the woman who led the country's National League for Democracy (NLD) to victorious elections 18 years ago, and has spent most of the time since then under house arrest.

Opposition leaders in exile and inside the country are fed up with Gambari, who served as his country's U.N. ambassador during Nigeria's military dictatorship. Burma activists say his work has proven "worthless," a "failure." The U.N. defends him, calling for patience, saying he is engaged in a "process, not an event," in the words of Marie Okabe, deputy spokeswoman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But how much patience? Military rulers have governed Burma since 1962. In August 1988 -- on the supposedly lucky date of 8-8-88 -- street demonstrators demanded democracy. Soldiers massacred protestors, and a new junta took over. Reform was supposed to come after the 1990 elections, called by the junta in a miscalculation. Suu Kyi's NLD won by a landslide. The winners landed in prison, and the junta continued to grind its heel on the population. By then, Burma had suffered not only from widespread human rights abuses, but had been transformed from one of the more affluent countries in Asia to one of the poorest in the world. The Burmese have good reason to resent appeals to patience.

Calls for democracy don't just rise out of ideological passion for the rule of the people. No, Burma needs change because the generals have destroyed their country and their peoples' lives. According to the European Union, Burma spends less on health care than any country on earth. It spends lavishly on one of the biggest military forces in the world, looting the country's vast natural resources to enrich top officers. Meanwhile, combined spending on health, education and on helping those who lost everything after this year's catastrophic cyclone reaches a few dollars a year per person.

The Beijing-backed generals are not completely immune to international pressure. After Cyclone Nargis killed 138,000 and left 800,000 homeless in May, the junta blocked international aid. With thousands facing death, the generals wouldn't budge. But then, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner uttered the magic words: "responsibility to protect." The RTP doctrine says governments have the duty to protect their people from crimes against humanity. When the government becomes the perpetrator, the responsibility falls on the international community. That hinted at foreign intervention. The generals relented only enough to avert a major catastrophe. Witnesses say minimal aid has reached the victims, but not enough to rebuild their lives.

NLD officials say Suu Kyi has turned back food deliveries since mid-August and say they are extremely worried about the health of a woman revered by millions throughout Burma. Suu Kyi may want to scare the generals, and shake the international community back into action. She has already made unimaginable sacrifices. We don't know how far she will go now.

History has shown that the junta responds only to extreme pressure, especially when it comes from its Asian neighbors -- particularly China. Then it ignores earlier promises when the world looks away.

Reports in the region say the day after the Beijing Olympics ended, China's defense minister told his Burmese counterpart he wants to strengthen bilateral ties. China and Burma, it seems, have short memories. After the cyclone and a year earlier, after brutal repression of an uprising by Buddhist monks, they seemed briefly ready to negotiate. Then the world looked away, soothing its conscience with a useless envoy.

Helping the Burmese people's non-violent struggle requires outspoken, vigorous and relentless diplomacy. Beijing must hear that its post-Olympic international standing requires that it too, pressure the junta to negotiate a transition of power.

Enough despair. It's past time that we had some good news from Burma.

Frida Ghitis is an independent commentator on world affairs and a World Politics Review contributing editor.

UN Burma envoy 'wasted his time'

Nyan Win in Rangoon, 21/08
Nyan Win delivered strongly-worded criticism of the UN mission

Burma's main opposition party has dismissed the latest visit by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari as a waste of time.

Nyan Win, of the National League for Democracy (NLD), said Mr Gambari had not established any dialogue between the military rulers and the opposition.

He was also annoyed that the envoy appeared to have given tacit backing to the junta's planned election in 2010.

Detained NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi refused to meet Mr Gambari, fuelling speculation she is unhappy with the UN.

And Mr Gambari was not invited to the remote capital of Nay Pyi Taw to meet the junta's top leader, Senior General Than Shwe.

The BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head, says Mr Gambari now seems to have used up all the credibility he had.

After more than two years of failure his statements remain relentlessly upbeat - yet he seems to put no pressure on the generals, our correspondent says.

Consolidated power

Nyan Win expressed particular annoyance with Mr Gambari for negotiating with the generals over their "roadmap" to democracy, which plans for elections in 2010.

"We have made very clear to the UN envoy that the mission should not discuss the upcoming 2010 elections, as the NLD does not recognise the military-backed constitution," he said.

File image of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari
Mr Gambari's latest visit to Burma has attracted little praise

"The UN envoy was wasting his time on matters that he was not supposed to deal with."

He added that Mr Gambari had also failed to make any progress on the other major theme of his mission - to secure the release of political prisoners including Ms Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.

During his six-day visit, Mr Gambari did hold talks with the NLD and meet Prime Minister Thein Sein - a figurehead who holds little real power.

But diplomats conceded that nothing concrete had come of his visit.

The NLD won a general election in 1990 but the junta refused to allow the party to assume power.

In recent months, the generals have further consolidated their grip on power, pushing through a constitution which reserves 25% of the seats in any future parliament for the military.

They have also extended Ms Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year. She has spent more than half of the past 20 years in detention.

Gambari 'wasting his time' in Burma
(08-24 17:51)
UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari was "wasting his time" in Burma because he did nothing to end the political stalemate there, the opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi charged.

The unusually harsh criticism comes a day after Gambari ended his six-day mission to Burma without meeting Suu Kyi nor the country's top general. He left for Singapore yesterday.

Gambari told diplomats it was Suu Kyi who refused the meeting, adding to speculation she may be dissatisfied with the United Nations' unsuccessful efforts to bring about change in military-ruled Burma.

National League For Democracy spokesman Nyan Win criticized Gambari for failing to meet General Than Shwe and being unable get any commitments from the regime to start talks with the opposition toward a national reconciliation.


Gambari Burma Mission Not Accomplished, UNSC should intervene more directly

Mon, 2008-08-25 03:34
By Zin Linn, Burmese Journalist in exile

Bangkok, 245 August, ( UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari's latest shuttle diplomacy ended in disappointment. He could not meet senior leaders of the ruling Junta. And also the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. When Gambari flew in, expectations ran very high.

The visit came at a time optimism was waning about talks between the Nobel Laureate and the Generals who had unveiled a new statute after staging a referendum in May. The international community hoped that he would succeed in persuading the military to open a genuine political dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic groups to create a national reconciliation process that could lead to a genuine democracy.

Gambari failed to have meetings with the senior general. The Nobel laureate was to meet him on Aug20. But she did not 'show up'. The meeting was organised by the Junta. Obviously, Suu Kyi did not want Gambari to overstate that his mission was going well.

This was Gambari's fourth trip to Burma since the deadly crackdown on anti-government demonstrators led by Buddhist-monks last September.

Burma came under military rule in 1962. The regime has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the world's worst human rights violators. It brutally suppressed pro-democracy movements in 1988, May 30, 2003, Depayin conspiracy and Saffron Revolution in Sept 2007. There were many more sporadic crackdowns. The junta has arrested over two thousands political dissidents including Suu Kyi, who has been confined to her residence for most of the last 19 years.

The regime has held a unilateral referendum at gun point on May 10 and 24 this year and pronounced mandate for the statute which made the military the final arbiter of the destiny of the Burmese people. The new elections planned in 2010 will legalize military rule. Needless to say, the processes will not be free and fair. Just like the referendum held at gun-point. The socio-economic atmosphere is deteriorating. The junta will not be able to manage the socio-economic situation, which is deteriorating fast. It will soon come face-to-face with a "desolate" future if it continues to reject the national reconciliation process being urged by the opposition the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA).

NLD and UNA point out that the 'ratification' of the constitution staged by the Junta is invalid. Both assert that the ratification was carried out against the will of the people and without observing internationally known norms for referendums. The junta does not show respect the statement issued by President of the UN Security Council issued in October, 2007. The regime also has also negated successive resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) calling for return of democracy in Burma through a tripartite dialogue between the Junta led by Senior General Than Shwe, democratic forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of ethnic nationalities. From turn of events it is clear that Yangoon has no plan to heed the UN call and to release political prisoners, which is a pre-condition to facilitate the tripartite dialogue.

These realities and Junta's adherence to the Seven-step road map towards 2010 elections make the Gambari mission almost nonsensical. Also bring upfront the question: Is Ibrahim Gambari the right person for the delicate job in Yangon.

Pro-changer's reply is a resounding no. "No he's disqualified."

Gambari cannot hope to achieve a breakthrough when he obeys regime's to-do list and spends most of the time with pro-junta groups or their puppets. He should demand to meet the representatives of the group of 92 MP-elect, who had sent letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council. And he should, at least, urge the junta to release two of the group- U Nyi Pu and Dr. Tin Min Htut, who were arrested on 12 August. At least three prominent members of these MPs who are denied their rightful place in Parliament, U Pu Chin Sian Thang, U Thein Pe and Dr. Myint Naing, are accessible in Yangoon but the UN Special Envoy did not try to contact them.

Instead, Gambari met with the leaders of the ruling junta which has identifies itself as the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). It is a gang similar to Hitler's 'Brown Shirts', which carried out an assassination attempt on Nobel laureate Suu Kyi on May 30, 2003. Scores of her supporters were slaughtered during that pre-meditated attack.

What was more, when UN envoy met with the NLDs, he told them the 2010 elections would be free and fair. But when asked for his 'opinion' on the 1990 elections, he ducked for cover. Furthermore, he even did not recognize the purpose of his current mission was to facilitate resumption of a political dialogue that was postponed in the wake of a cyclone.

Hopefully, Ibrahim Gambari will re-evaluate the purpose and direction of his mission as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy. He should not consider advocating or supporting the military dictators' sham constitution and sham 2010 elections. It will damage not only his mission but also the dignity of the world body.

Is it too much for the democratic forces in Burma to expect that the United Nations will quickly come to grips with the Yangon crisis in a more direct manner?

Zin Linn: The author, a freelance Burmese journalist, lives in exile. He is vice-president of Burma Media Association, which is affiliated with the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers.

-Asian Tribune -

NCGUB: Burma Situation Update -- August 2008

Published by the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
August 2008

A 'Major Disappointment'

Mr Ibrahim Gambari, UN special envoy of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, departed with a deep disappointment, both for the United Nations that he represents and the ethnic nationality and democratic parties inside Burma which had pinned hopes on him to overcome the political stalemate in the country.

Leading members of the ethnic nationality and democracy movements like Pu Cin Shing Thang of the United Nationalities Alliance and U Nyan Win of the National League for Democracy (NLD) expressed their disappointment when the UN envoy made a favorable reference to the 2010 election that the military junta was preparing and said they want the UN envoy to adhere to the mandate given him by the resolutions of the UN General Assembly via the UN Secretary-General, which generally can be interpreted as reopening of talks between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the military junta to bring national reconciliation and democracy to the country.

The democratic opposition has made it very clear from the onset that it was neither recognizing the constitution that the military junta has drafted through its own convention nor the referendum which was held to approve that constitution since it was, to say the least, fraught with fraudulent practices on a national scale and conducted while people were busy coping with natural disasters caused by Cyclone Nargis in May.  In fact, during his March visit this year, Mr Gambari offered to have the referendum overseen by international monitors but it was rejected by the junta.  The generals also publicly rebuffed the UN envoy's call for political reform then.

Unlike previous visits, Mr Gambari's trip to Burma this time did not invoke a lot of interest from the ethnic and Burmese organizations in exile.  This is probably because their expectations were not very high given the fact that the United Nations does not have enough clout to sway the Burmese generals or a stronger backing from the UN Security Council.  They were also skeptical about the sincerity of the military junta which has until now been playing along with the United Nations to avoid stronger international pressure.

That sentiment obviously was not shared by the ethnic and democratic political parties inside the country which had to a certain extent banked on the UN facilitated process to reach a resolution out of the political stalemate.  The strong reaction to Mr Gambari's expressing support for the elections took away whatever confidence they had in the process.  They openly criticized the UN envoy this time while Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also refused to meet him.

Another reason that political parties in Burma reacted to the UN envoy's "unbecoming behavior" was because they felt that Mr Gambari was spending too much time accommodating the wishes of the Burmese generals.  He was visiting cyclone-hit areas, meeting lower level junta officials and leaders of junta-affiliated and junta-sponsored organizations, partaking in other junta suggested activities while at the same time totally neglecting the legitimate ethnic and other political leaders.

Mr Gambari, however, did meet with the elderly executives of the National League for Democracy twice -- the first time for only 20 minutes and the second time, only because Daw Aung San Suu Kyi declined to meet him. 

Time to Review UN's Role

Given the fact that the supreme military leader, Than Shwe -- the only decision-maker in Burma -- did not meet him again and made the UN envoy waste his time in Burma with trivial pursuits, it is time for the United Nations to review its approach regardless of Mr Gambari being considered "an old hand in dealing with military dictators".  The bottom line now is that the United Nations is not making any headway and the Burmese military junta is not budging from its position as reflected in the statement of Information Minister and member of the junta's "Spokes Authoritative Team" Kyaw Hsan who told the UN envoy that the junta "being the Transitional Government, our Government will continue to implement the seven-step Road Map in accord with the mandate of the people.  We cannot accept any attempt to jeopardize or harm our process.  We will oppose and wipe out those attempts to jeopardize or harm the Constitution."

Mr Gambari said he came to Burma with the following objectives:

(1) To gain freedom for all political prisoners, including U Tin Oo and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; (2) To endeavor to start direct talks between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the junta;

(3) To endeavor to resolve economic problems of Burma;

(4) To have a permanent liaison officer of the UN Secretariat in Burma; and

(5) To inform that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be visiting Burma in December.

To these proposals, Mr Gambari received only noncommittal responses.   Regarding the case of political prisoners, Kyaw Hsan said "the government always has a tradition to do so".  On the resumption of talks, he told the UN envoy, "In recognition of your discussions, talks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be held in line with the previous procedures".  In other words, the NLD leader will have a chance to meet with Liaison Minister Aung Kyi and the talks will be dragged on without any result.

Concerning Mr Gambari's remaining three points, Kyaw Hsan said:  "At present, the transition to democracy is being implemented with the timeframe in Myanmar as wished by the UN and international community.  Hence, we assume that now is the prime time for the UN and international community to lend a helpful hand with goodwill as regards Myanmar's affairs ….. I would say the UN including you should extend a helping hand for peaceful and successful transition to democracy in accordance with the people's desire."

Hence, the least that Mr Gambari can do at this stage is to objectively view the true situation in Burma even if that means he will have to stop being a diplomat for a while.  The democracy movement does not recognize the present, flawed constitution that favors military rule and is difficult to amend unless supported by the military but the junta is going ahead with the election on the basis of that constitution at all costs.

If things are not working out in Burma, it is imperative that Mr Gambari spells it out openly and let the international community do the rest.

UN Victims of Military 'Voodoo'

Unbeknownst to the UN Special Envoy Mr Gambari and UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon, they have been the victims of a voodoo jinx that the Burmese generals had initiated..

When the two UN officials visited Burma separately, they were taken on a guided tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, particularly to a chosen site, where they were introduced to a "Buddha" image.  Burmese dailies carried pictures of both UN officials paying their respects to this special image -- an image sculpted to look like Senior General Than Shwe (see pictures).


The superstitious Burmese generals believe that these two UN officials must be jinxed into feeling inferior to Senior General Than Shwe before they meet him. 


Dirty Tricks


Another leader of the democracy movement has fallen victim to the "Dirty Tricks" Department of the military junta.


U Aye Thar Aung, secretary of the Arakan League for Democracy, and member of the Committee Representing People's Parliament, constituted by MPs-elect, to represent them before the Parliament can be convened, was purposely tripped while he was trying to get off a bus.  He luckily escaped with bruises on his hand and knee when he tumbled.


The man who tripped him was described by U Aye Thar Aung as his "constant companion" -- a person assigned by the military to follow him wherever he goes -- who is about 20 years old and he evidently did not like U Aye Thar Aung wandering about the city seemingly without any work, which he complained to the neighbors of U Aye Thar Aung.  The young thug decided to put an end to the democracy leader's roaming days.


This is not the first time that a blatant attack on MPs elect has taken place. U Than Lwin of Madaya, MP-elect of the National League for Democracy, was punched in the eye with a knuckle-duster.  U Than Lwin who is now being detained is reported to be losing sight in that eye because he has not received any medical treatment in prison.


Similar physical assaults on other NLD members have taken place before also.