Thursday, May 28, 2009

From Mizzima -- latest -

Sketch of Daw Suu's show trial from Mizzima -

A sketch of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s testimony at the special court inside Insein prison. Illustration: Saimayku

Former UN Special Rapporteur for Burma Paulo Sergio Pinheiro speaks out strongly for human rights in Burma.

The New York Times
May 28, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor
End Burma’s System of Impunity

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent 13 years under house arrest in Myanmar. This week, the Burmese junta is likely to extend her detention for up to five years under the trumped-up charge of allowing a visitor into her compound.

During eight years as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, I repeatedly called on the Burmese junta to release Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s 2,100 other political prisoners, to no avail. It is imperative that she be released immediately for the country’s process of reconciliation to move forward.

But while Suu Kyi has deservedly received a great deal of international attention over the past two decades, Myanmar’s ethnic minorities — more than one-third of the population — have suffered without international outcry. For Myanmar’s process of national reconciliation to be successful, the plight of the minorities must also be addressed.

Over the past 15 years, the Burmese Army has destroyed over 3,300 villages in a systematic and widespread campaign to subjugate ethnic groups. U.N. reports indicate that Burmese soldiers have frequently recruited child soldiers, used civilians as minesweepers and forced thousands of villagers into slave labor.

An official policy of impunity has empowered soldiers to rape and pillage. According to one account, in December 2008 a Burmese soldier marched into an ethnic Karen village in eastern Myanmar and abducted, raped and killed a 7-year old girl. Authorities refused to arrest the soldier; instead, officers threatened the parents with punishment if they did not accept a cash bribe to keep quiet.

In 2002, I received a report about 625 women who were systematically raped in Myanmar ’s Shan State over a five-year period. There was not a single account of successful prosecution.

I repeatedly documented the military’s many abuses in reports to the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. My work is only one example of U.N. efforts in Myanmar — since 1990, U.N. representatives have visited the country 37 times in an attempt to facilitate dialogue and promote human rights.

They have exhausted all domestic and diplomatic remedies without achieving human rights protection and national reconciliation in Myanmar. And while the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights Council have passed over 35 resolutions regarding Myanmar, the U.N. Security Council has yet to pass a single one. The United Nations will not be successful until the Security Council acts to directly address our stagnant efforts.

It is clear that the attacks in Myanmar will continue. It is equally evident that the country’s domestic legal system will not punish those perpetrating crimes against ethnic minorities.

It is time for the United Nations to take the next logical step: The Security Council must establish a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity and impunity in Myanmar. The Security Council took similar steps with regard to Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The situation in Myanmar is equally as critical.

Creating a commission of inquiry will accomplish three important goals:

First, it will make the junta accountable for its crimes with a potential indictment by the International Criminal Court. Second, it will address the widespread culture of impunity in Burma. Third, it has the potential to deter future crimes against humanity in Myanmar.

For two decades, ethnic minorities in Myanmar have suffered while our diplomatic efforts failed to bear fruit. The time has come for the Security Council to act.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro was the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar from 2000 to 2008.

Aung San Suu Kyi trial orchestrated by junta has strengthened pro-sanctions lobby --

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama and Burmese Monks call for unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi --

Aung San Suu Kyi in ethnic dress. From Internet.

U Zin Linn's account of his time in prison with the most admirable U Win Tin, one of Aung San Suu Kyi's closest associates.

Alice Walker's letter to Aung San Suu Kyi -- from Feb 2009.

Foreign Diplomats and Journalists Remain Standing at Suu Kyi Trial --

My Painting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She looks out from a barred or shuttered place, a scarf with a shortened list of all her achievements hanging from her hair, like the signature golden padauk flowers she often used to wear in happier days. She sees the Shwedagone Pagoda as it was after World War II (from a photograph now in public domain). Due to the perspective the Naung Daw Gyi (Elder Brother)pagoda,which is much smaller, constructed before the main stupa as a model, appears bigger in this picture, but bends over in concern. Because of War, the finials or htis on these pagodas are crooked. Someone has placed a sun umbrella on the left -- as there is no money for a real hti.

This blog text, painting and photo of painting Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

News item from The Irrawaddy:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dr. Hamid Akbari's translation of Aung San Suu Kyi's poems into Persian

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi -- when she was released in 2001

Her house --

From Dr. Akbari, who has convened several seminars and conferences on Burma at NEIU, Chicago.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma: A Caged Bird of Freedom who will eventually lead Burma to Freedom and Democracy.

Hello to my dear friends. I know we are all disturbed by the news from Burma about our valiant and wise Lady. However, looking at her through pictures on TV, she seemed quite resolute. In fact, I have already sensed that the Generals are crumbling in front of her unwavering strength. I just wanted you all who do so much for our dear Burma and the Lady of democracy and freedom know that I have been working as much as I could as well. I have also translated two of her poems in Persian (In the Quiet Land and Free Bird Towards a Free Burma) with a few introductory words encouraging action by Iranians against the Junta in the countries they live, which I have widely sent to Persian Websites (see the Persian text below and some of sites below).

I would appreciate it if all of you, especially Kyi May to relay to the Burmese Freedom Fighters and NLD that the democratic movement of Iran and Iranians (not the Islamic Republic) support NLD and the Lady.

We all know that the Junta will crumble sooner rather than later.


Some Persian Sites that display the translation of poems:

((پرواز پرنده ا ی آزاد برای آزادی در سرزمین خاموش برمه))

دو شعر از آن سان سوچی

(رهبر لیگ دموکراسی برمه و یگانه برنده ی جایزه صلح نوبل که زندانی است)

برگردان از حمید اکبری

یادداشت: چند روز پیش حکومت نظامیان برمه خانم آن سان سوچی، رهبر لیگ دموکراسی برمه، را به بهانه واهی نقض مقررات زندان خانگی اش به زندان مخوف ((اینسین)) در رانگون منتقل و از روز دوشنبه، ١٨ ماه مه، نمایش محاکمه ی او را در پشت درهای بسته و بدون حضور وکیلش آغاز کرده است. نظامی ها خانم سوچی را متهم به پناه دادن به یک مهمان ناخوانده آمریکایی که ظاهراً دارای تعادل روانی نیست، اعلام کرده اند. در طی نوزده سال گذشته، خانم سوچی سیزده سال از عمر خود را در زندان خانگی و در شرایطی دشوار توام با تنهایی و بیماری بسر برده است. قرار بود که در اواخر ماه مه امسال مدت غیر قانونی شش سال زندانی متوالی او به پایان برسد. بنابراین آگاهان معتقدند که ماجرای انتقال خانم سوچی به زندان ((اینسین)) که اسارتگاه دو هزار زندانی سیاسی دیگر نیز است و محاکمه ی وی، بهانه ای برای ادامه ی زندانی کردن خانم سوچی است. لازم به اشاره است که جمهوری اسلامی از اندک حکومت های پشتیبان نظامیان برمه در جهان است و نه تنها هیچگاه معترض به رفتار آنها با رهبر آزادیخواه برمه نبوده، بلکه در صدد برپایی سفارتخانه در رانگون برای نزدیکی بیشتر با حکومت نظامیان است (در حال حاضر، سفارت جمهوری اسلامی در تایلند مرکز ارتباط سیاسی و تجارتی حکومت ایران با برمه است). شایسته است که ایرانیان آزادیخواه نسبت به اقدام اخیر نظامیان برمه علیه خانم سوچی و نیز سرکوبی دموکراسی خواهان برمه از طریق مراجع بین المللی، اعتراض نمایند.

((پرنده ای آزاد بسوی برمه ای آزاد))

وطنم …

در آنجاییکه زاده و بزرگ شدم

روزگاری زیبا و گرمابخش بود

و اکنون، غرقه در وحشت و تاریکی است

خانواده ام …

دلبندانی که درکنارشان رشد کردم

روزگاری سرشاد و سر زنده بودند

و اکنون، با ترس و ترور زندگی می کنند

دوستانم …

آنهایی که یار زندگانی من بودند

روزگاری پاکدل و شاد بودند

و اکنون، با قلبی زخمی زندگی می کنند

پرنده ای آزاد…

تازه رها شده

از قفسی که روزگاری را در آن گذارنده

اکنون، با برگ زیتونی در منقار

بسوی سرزمینی که به آن عشق می ورزد

در پرواز است

پرواز پرنده ای آزاد بسوی برمه ای آزاد

((در سرزمین خاموش))

در سرزمین خاموش، هیچ کس نمی داند

که آیا کسی برای پی بردن به رازهایی که بتواند بفروشد

به گوش نشسته است.

مزد خبرچینان، خون های ریخته ی در این سرزمین است

و هیچ کس را یارای گفتن آنچه ظالمان برنمی تابند، نیست.

در سرزمین خاموش برمه

هیچ کس نمی خندد و هیچ کس را یارای اندیشه ی آزاد نیست

در سرزمین خاموش برمه،

ناگفته ها در سکوت مردم رساست.

در سرزمین خاموش، هیچ کس نمی داند

سربازها چه هنگام

برای بردن آنها خواهند آمد.

[در سرزمین خاموش،]

چینی ها به دنبال جاده هستند و فرانسوی ها نفت می خواهند

تایلندی ها به دنبال بردن الوارند و نظامی های برمه به دنبال بردن غنیمت ها …

در سرزمین خاموش…

در سرزمین خاموش، هیچ کس را یارای شنیدن

آن کس که با قتل خاموش شده،

و با ترس مرعوب شد ه،


اما، با همه ی این ستم ها، آزادی بانگی است

که ریای دروغگویان را آشکار می سازد

وهیچ هواری خاموشش نتوان کرد.

Persian translation copyright Hamid Al Akbari

Presdt Obama extends US sanctions on Burma --

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Washington Post urges release of Daw Suu's doctor -- Daw Suu and others -

Engage With Burma?
Sure, but not just with the generals

From the Washington Post.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

AT FIRST GLANCE, the stars seem aligned for a new era of U.S. engagement with the dictators who run Burma, the Southeast Asian nation of 50 million people also known as Myanmar. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has ordered a review of U.S. policy. Several humanitarian organizations are pushing hard for change, arguing that the regime has modified its behavior since infamously barring aid after a devastating cyclone a year ago. United Nations officials are always eager to conduct more diplomatic missions, the meager fruits of past efforts notwithstanding.
There's just one problem: Burma's maximum leader, Gen. Than Shwe, doesn't seem to have gotten the memo. While advocates of engagement insist that the regime has changed its stripes, in reality it is constantly finding new ways to shock the conscience. The latest reminder of its nature is the detention of Tin Myo Win, the personal physician of Burma's democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
A little background: Aung San Suu Kyi, 63, is the daughter of the hero of Burma's battle for independence from colonial status. In 1990, when Burma's ruling generals imagined they were popular enough to win an election, she led her political party, the National League for Democracy, to a resounding parliamentary victory, though she was even then under house arrest. The generals nullified the election and arrested many of Aung San Suu Kyi's followers. She has been held incommunicado and under house arrest for most of the time since, even as she won a Nobel Peace Prize and continued to espouse nonviolent change. In recent days, she has been reported to be ill, and -- until his arrest -- her doctor had been the only visitor she was permitted.
Burma's junta has drafted a new constitution and is planning to stage elections in 2010 that it hopes will legitimize military rule. The pro-engagement campaign in Washington is urging the Obama administration to take those elections seriously, even if Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy are excluded. We think Desmond Tutu, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, showed a better understanding, in a Post op-ed last month, when he urged the administration to energize its diplomacy on Burma but also not to marginalize that country's democracy advocates -- as many as 2,000 of whom languish in terrible prisons. "[T]hose who support or have resigned themselves to their government's approach are free to speak out," he wrote. "This repression cannot be rewarded; the voices of those it has silenced must be heard as if the walls of their jails did not exist."
So, by all means, the administration should engage with Burma's leaders. But it should insist on the ability to engage with all of them -- including those now behind bars. A good start would be to insist on the release of Tin Myo Win and on freedom for his courageous patient.

White House poetry jam --

Is there a doctor in the house, not in Burma -- by Jack Healey --

From Huffington Post.

I interviewed Jack Healey in 1999 after he had come back from the visit he described, and he told me that he had seen many world leaders, but he was the most impressed by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Jack Healey is a former head of Amnesty International and pioneered celebrity concerts for human rights,

He produced a music CD in honor of Daw Suu.

Kyi May Kaung

Junta allows Aung San Suu Kyi to see doctor --

Derek Walcott withdraws from Oxford poetry professor race -- after sexual harrassment claims re-emerge --

Strange that he did not deny the claims when book first came out or sue for libel.

How one person can make a difference -- David Suzuki interview --

I remember when I first read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring --

Kyi May Kaung

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Richard Peabody's anthology of DC women writers' work -- Book launch July 19th, 09. Mark the date.

Woman sheds veil-oil on canvas-12x24" Sold. Painting and photo copyright Kyi M. Kaung.

Gravity Dancers book launch is set for Sunday July 19th at Politics & Prose at 5pm. Spread the word.

I have a short story "No Crib for a Bed" there --

Kyi May

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Adorno and Paz: Two Visions of Modernity by Oliver Kozlarek

Old white tulip in the rain -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Tags -- culture, nationalism, tradition, modernity, progress, development, authenticity, political theory, poetry, moments, Buddhism.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Since story of man swimming to Daw Suu's house first appeared in Myanmar government newspaper, it is being treated as not credible --

It does sound like the stuff of fiction, but who knows?

American tourist swam to Aung San Suu Kyi's home --

60 British MPs call for UN inquiry into Burmese military's crimes against humanity


For Immediate Release

07 May 2009


Over 60 British MPs are calling for a United Nations (UN) commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma, just two weeks before Nobel Laureate and democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is due for release from house arrest.

Former Foreign Office Ministers, Ian McCartney, MP and Keith Vaz, MP join over fifty other MPs in signing an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by John Bercow MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, to express their profound concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma.

EDM 1336 urges the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect in relation to a campaign of ethnic cleansing Burma’s military regime is carrying out against its ethnic nationalities.

The Burmese junta’s policies include the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, the use of human minesweepers, child soldiers, and the destruction of over 3,300 villages in eastern Burma since 1996, in addition to the imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners. Attacks on civilians have also resulted in the internal displacement of one million people.

John Bercow MP said: “I have visited the ethnic peoples on both the Thailand-Burma border and the India-Burma border with CSW, and have been shocked by the horrific stories I have heard from victims of this barbaric regime. I have sat face to face with victims of unspeakable torture, including women and children who have seen their loved ones murdered. They have looked me in the eye and pleaded for the world to hear their cry. It is time their cries were answered and the junta's crimes investigated. The people of Burma urgently need the freedom and justice they have been denied for so long."

Alexa Papadouris, CSW's Advocacy Director said: “CSW strongly urges the British Government and other Governments to take this call seriously and to initiate a commission of inquiry into the junta's crimes against humanity. We will not stop campaigning and we will not stop speaking out until the suffering in Burma is over and all Burma’s people are free.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Theresa Malinowska, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on email theresamalinowska@ or visit uk.

CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

Note to Editors:

1. The full EDM text reads: That this House expresses profound concern at the desperate and deteriorating human rights situation in Burma; condemns the continuing widespread and systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, torture, forced labour, forced relocation, religious persecution, forcible recruitment of child soldiers and use of human minesweepers by the military regime; further condemns the military offensives in eastern Burma, including attacks on civilians, resulting in the internal displacement of one million people and the destruction of more than 3,300 villages in eastern Burma alone, and the imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners and continued detention of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi; calls on Her Majesty's Government to draw these gross violations of human rights to the urgent attention of the UN Security Council and the Secretary-General; urges Her Majesty's Government, along with other governments, to propose the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma; and urges the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect in relation to the crisis in Burma.

2. To find out more about CSW’s Change for Burma! Campaign and to watch an interview with John Bercow MP, please click here.

3. To sign a CSW supported online petition led by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners and the Forum for Democracy in Burma, calling on the UN Secretary-General to make the release of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners a personal priority, please click here or visit www.changeforburma. org


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Very interesting integrated poetry translation process --

I've done reading poems -- musicians composing on the spot and me choosing poems in response,

and also a "woven" or braided poetry-music piece with my poem Pele and Don Grusin composing and playing the music on stage,(none of us had met each other, or knew each other or our work before the first session) in Boulder CO in 1997. Red Holloway and Dennis Brutus also participated. Dennis was delayed by a snowstorm in Denver, then stepped in and started reading "seamlessly." Before Dennis arrived, I was the only poet and had to keep the ball in the air. Session was moderated and facilitated on site by a professor of English who did a great job of gently pushing us to take artistic risks.

Kyi May Kaung.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert -- Some thoughts on writing --

Just write and put it out there.

Kyi May Kaung

Wang Ping -- Poems from China --

Boston Globe -- Burma needs Obama's Help.

I've about had it up to here with soft pedal approach.

I agree with Boston Globe.

Good that NLD also came out strongly when it had it's meeting under hazardous conditions recently.

We need to strongly support people who risk their lives inside Burma to be free.

This is not a game for "rich young men to play" or a westerners' parlor game.

This is people's lives and futures.

Kyi May Kaung.

The Sartorialist

One of my fave blogs, spiffily dressed in Sydney, etc.

Always makes me happy to see these beautiful photos of beautiful people in the world's great cities.

Long live the cities.

Kyi May Kaung

La Bloga interview with "Mexican writer" Juvenal Acosta

I struggle with this "Burmese writer" label daily.

I know many Burmese literary lions, especially the males, don't think of me as " a Burmese writer" because I write in English and they read little in English.

I write pieces mostly set in Burma, but also set elsewhere, why not?

I resent being pushed into a box.

In one of Rushdie's novels, someone criticizes his hero character as "You wrapped in your foreign language like a flag."

Blog comment copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Poem by Juvenal Acosta -- from The Red Room

Burl Ives-Ave Maria