Thursday, July 30, 2009

Honoring Daw Suu on eve of her "sentencing" in kangaroo trial -



Bird (starling) caught in an airport -- Photo Copyright Kyi May Kaung

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Free Aung San Suu Kyi demonstration in NY today -- Thursday July 30.


Free Aung San Suu Kyi "Arrest yourself" T-shirt from US Campaign for Burma -- photo Kyi May Kaung.

Urgent: Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi - Protest Thursday at 4:30P

Thursday, July 30, 2009 9:42 AM

Please Spread The Words!!!

Dear all,

As you all know, SPDC's judges are set to announce the verdict for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi this Friday. We are hoping for positive result but not likely. Thus, we call on you, everyone, to join us tomorrow (today), Thursday, protest at the SPDC Mission to UN, in New York.

Let us all not wait until Friday for the junta to announce their illegal verdict on Burma's democratic leader. This is our last minute request made to Burma's junta for freedom and safety of our leader before it amounts to world's pressure.

Where ever you are...let us all join hands in spirit by protesting at the embassies of SPDC worldwide or any where appropriate for the release of Burma's 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

If you are in New York City please join us as scheduled below.


When: Thursday, July 30 at 4:30PM

Where: SPDC Mission to U.N.
10 East 77th Street
New York, NY 10021

Should you have any questions please contact - 646-643-8689, 917-797-2134


Best,
Moe Chan

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Naomi Lazard -- nothing lost in translation --



Refugee Mural in Silver Spring, MD -- Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Naomi Lazard is a wonderful, sensitive translator and poet.

When reading her translations of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, I feel just as if I am reading the original.

Same is true of Maureen Freely who translates Orhan Pamuk's books, and

Howard Goldblatt, who translates from the Chinese.

Would that everyone could find such wonderful translators.

Kyi May Kaung.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Burma prepares to import onions -- story from Irrawaddy.

Well, well, they can import onions, they have an estimated $5 b reserve from natural gas sales.

This story is typical of Burma's command economy.

Kyi May Kaung.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Anna Akhmatova -- Russian poet of the 1920s and 30s

Note posted to Wom_Po (Women Poets)

Thanks for posting.

I can relate to her, as Soviet purges, conducted by Josef Stalin, were so similar to what is happening now in Burma.

Yes, who is the best translator is very important.

I much prefer the first version -- "and God in fact did not save us" by Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward.

If I remember right, Max Hayward is a famous professor of Russian literature.

I think he came to a book launch in about 1994 to the University of Pennsylvania, where Yevtushenko also came to launch the bilingual anthology of Russian poetry, that Jackie O. helped to facilitate.

I remember it because Yevtushenko asked about Aung San Suu Kyi.

Kyi May Kaung

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Burmese foreign minister flounders in Phuket.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/opinion_story.php?art_id=16387

Like the way you used f-s and f sounds in Phuket, Yeni.

"found himself floundering, fending off diplomatic pressures and fielding press conference questions"

Flounders are fish that swim flat on their belly.

SPDC delegates deserve to go from frying pan into the fire.

Kyi May Kaung.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Australian think tank warns of Jakarta blast a day ahead

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090717/ap_on_re_as/as_indonesia_explosions

The Burmese generals have said in the past that they favored Indonesian style "guided democracy."

A "transition meeting" was allegedly planned in Jakarta.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Comment I left on Irrawaddy site -- opposition says Ban should make sure 2010 is free and fair

NLD is absolutely right.

UN should not keep talking as if 2010 "election" is OK.

Do we forget so fast about referendum in 08 (last year) held while country was reeling under Cyclone Nargis?

UN is responsible -- even before 08 it kept talking (and promoting) 2010 as if it were legitimate.

Why does everyone have so much trouble calling it the farce it is?

Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Burmese democratic PM in Exile says "Junta is playing a game." from Irrawaddy

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=16328

Thank you for speaking out. I hate to say I told you so, and I still hope all those efforts were not wasted.

Someone wrote earlier -- "perhaps (the junta) did not get the memo" (about need for dialogue).

We may be back to square one or even less.

Blog text copyright Kyi May Kaung

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Burmese Ambassador -- 19th century painting in Freer Gallery --

http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/singleObject.cfm?ObjectNumber=F1968.5

Apparently by an India artist painting in a western style.

Burma and India are on good terms again now, and Burma between 1886 and 1937 was part of British India.

Kyi May Kaung

Fenton's = Mrs. O's jewelers --

http://www.fentonusa.com/#/collections

Try not to drool ladies.

kmk

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Unholy alliance of Burma and N. Korea a threat,

but turnaround of ship bearing armaments to Burma a victory for sanctions.

Editorial from Bangkok Post.

from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's pages



A victory for UN sanctions

The long slow voyage of the North Korean tramp steamer Kang Nam 1 has ended right where it began. In a Pacific trip of more than two weeks, the North Korean vessel made no port calls as it sailed from Wimpo to the waters of our region, and back. Ship and crew never touched land, dock or offshore berth. Pyongyang officials have not commented, but for most of the rest of the world, this oceanic "dry run" should be rated as one of the most successful delivery trips ever. United Nations sanctions and the US diplomatic strategy of President Barack Obama deserve the credit.

The trip of the Kang Nam was the first test of new and stronger prohibitions slapped on the North Korean regime. In a rare, unanimous vote, the UN Security Council took note of an underground nuclear test by North Korea last month, and ballistic missile firings in April. The stronger sanctions specifically authorised all UN members to follow any North Korean transport suspected of carrying arms, weapons parts or banned technology. They do not permit boarding of vessels on the high seas - an act of war - but that played into Mr Obama's hands.

When satellites indicated the Kang Nam was loading weapons bound for its fellow rogue regime in Burma, a US destroyer waited for the vessel in international waters. As the Kang Nam sailed, the Americans followed, usually staying within sight and reminding the North Koreans of surveillance. The original voyage was to take the ship to Singapore for refuelling, and then on to Burma. Mr Obama's administration contacted countries along the voyage path, winning agreement from each that customs officials would conduct a thorough search if the Kang Nam stopped in their waters.

With no way to hide and nowhere to run, the Kang Nam headed back to North Korea. On a one-time basis, that made the sanctions a success. But Pyongyang, if anything, has become more recalcitrant. While its cargo ship sailed to nowhere, the regime fired seven more ballistic missiles. It also promised a nuclear test for July 4, the US national day, although that turned out to be mere bluster. It will probably try to ship its cargo by land to Burma, and China must be prepared to intercept any contraband.

In fact, UN members now must put even more effort into enforcing the sanctions on North Korea. At the same time, they must remind Kim Jong-Il how to get out of its isolation through talks. The six-party commission on North Korea is ready to meet. And the Koreans should join the Asean-sponsored talks in Phuket, where many other members of the Regional Forum will tell them to stop their senseless nuclear weapons armament.

While the Obama administration has helped to elevate the overall North Korean intransigence from unilateral threats of violence to international diplomacy, there is a more urgent concern in this region. North Korea and the unfriendly regime in Burma are up to something, and are trying to hide it. North Korean advisers have been photographed at the sites of massive construction work in Burma. There are fears that Pyongyang is building a nuclear site in secret, or even mining uranium.

This unholy alliance of Burma and North Korea is a regional threat because of its secrecy. If Rangoon is buying major weapons systems from Pyongyang, as the Kang Nam incident indicated, Asean must be told. North Korea certainly has no right to draw this part of the world into its nuclear trafficking. The UN must continue efforts to thwart such divisive secrecy.

Editorial (Bangkok Post)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fiction -- genre - length

I don't read much young adult genre work, so could not say about length.

But generally, literary fiction is also getting shorter -- compared to say Dickens, or Exodus by Leon Uris or Aztec by Gary Jennings (which I am reading now) which is a bit like the first edition of Les Miserables -- I skipped all the chapters that weren't story (alternate chapters are essays -- Victor Hugo was a committed commentator on his life and times.)

Reading Aztec, I skipped all the "letters" from the "bishop" and only read the Aztec parts -- and I skipped parts where the descriptions were lengthy.

Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinwa Iweala is a good example of a prose poem-like novella.

It does not have much plot, but has a distinctive and engaging voice.

Some of my longer short stories are abut 30 - 40 pages.

I don't think we should limit ourselves with "I would write this genre but" -- or "I only write --"

It's like people asking me "what do you paint?" or "in what medium."

I don't see why I should stick to one thing. Gunter Grass and the Chinese Nobel Laureate also do visual art.


Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Mizzima vd interview of Dr Sean Turnell on Burmese economy --

http://dassk.org/

These ASSK pages are very good, I saw here also a DVB interview of Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein on the Korean tunnels and Richard Gere's review of Burma VJ.

I don't know why the site has different videos on the front page every time I open it, even a few seconds apart, but I guess if you look often, you won't miss anything.

km

Review of The Philanthropist -- Burma episode --

http://www.tvovermind.com/tv-news/the-philanthropist-season-1-episode-2-myanmar-recap/6110

For those of you outside USA -- this text review and plot summary may be helpful. I'm told video can't be viewed in Thailand, maybe because of copyright issues?

I wish they'd fix the language though -- it is not Burmese at all!!

Kyi May Kaung

Video from BBC Hardtalk 2007 -- Kyi May Kaung vs Derek Tonkin on Sanctions and Burma

HARDtalk - Derek Tonkin; Dr Kyi May Kaung ( Episode 443) at LocateTV.com

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

More on Mr. Ban's failed visit to Burma from Bangkok Post and DVB --

EDITORIAL Bangkok Post --Humiliation of UN chief


The Burmese military junta stripped away the pride of the United Nations during the weekend, but the UN was a too-willing accomplice. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spent two fruitless days on an impossible mission. He not only failed to secure the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but also refrained from even the most mild criticism of the regime that has locked her away on trumped-up charges. Then, in a final humiliation of the visitor, the ruling Burmese generals guided Mr Ban into a meeting with ''former armed groups'' now intimidated into acting as shills for the regime.

The United Nations, and Mr Ban himself, billed the visit to Burma in somewhat glowing terms. Their theory was that the presence of the secretary-general in Burma would create a moral facade. The importance of his office, Mr Ban apparently believed, would convince or shame the generals into changing 47 years of iron-fisted control. They would release Mrs Suu Kyi and hundreds of other political prisoners and agree to accept a political path to democracy. The reality was that the dictators stayed on the course they have repeatedly announced and enforced with the blood of thousands of Burmese citizens. Mrs Suu Kyi remains jailed, as do all other political prisoners, and Burma remains under the boot of the military regime.

Mr Ban and his aides at the United Nations had plenty of warning that the secretary would become a pawn rather than a peacemaker. His decision to visit Burma and plead for Mrs Suu Kyi was doomed from the start, and it is disturbing that he could not see it. His cheerful optimism last week seemed to be a denial of the task that lay ahead. He did not go to Burma to demand freedom for thousands of battered and unjustly imprisoned citizens; he went to beg for them.

It is not that Mr Ban failed to win freedom for Mrs Suu Kyi and 50 million fellow Burmese. It was the manner of his failure that let down the free world and caused Mr Ban and the UN to lose face. The UN chief said as his ill-fated trip ended that he was ''deeply disappointed' ' in failing to win so much as a prison visit with Mrs Suu Kyi. There were no sharp words about her jailers, no criticism of the system they impose at gunpoint.

Mr Ban had a rare opportunity to shed light and show the world how violent and unjust the Burmese generals have made their country. Instead, he was convinced or tricked into attending a fake event to boost the prestige of the junta. Prime Minister Thein Sein ushered the visitor into a meeting of former opponents of the regime. These groups, including political parties and former armed rebel forces, have been crushed and intimidated at gunpoint. The junta has coerced or forced them into supporting the regime's so-called ''road to democracy'' sham, which will climax next year in a carefully controlled referendum to perpetuate military rule in Burma forever.

There was never much chance that Mr Ban would succeed at gaining freedom for Mrs Suu Kyi or the other political prisoners. Nor was there a chance that the generals would heed the prestige of the UN and switch from brutal dictatorship to democracy. But Mr Ban did have a rare chance to stand up to the junta. He did have an opportunity to speak the truth. By confronting the junta, he would have earned huge respect for the United Nations and provide hope to the people of Burma.

Instead he has reduced the plight of that sad country to more routine diplomatic failure. http://www.bangkokp ost.com/opinion/ opinion/19750/ humiliation- of-un-chief
============ ==
British PM threatens fresh Burma sanctions

July 6, 2009 (DVB)–British prime minister Gordon Brown has said that Burma may be subject to new sanctions following a fruitless visit by UN chief Ban Ki-moon in which he was denied a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi.

The UN Secretary General left Burma on Saturday after a two-day visit aimed principally at securing the release of political prisoners and instigating dialogue between the Burmese junta and opposition groups.

Neither was achieved, however, and Ban Ki-moon yesterday expressed his “deep disappointment” over the denial of a request to meet with opposition leader Suu Kyi, who faces up five years imprisonment on charges of breaching conditions of her house arrest.

Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, Gordon Brown said he hoped there was “still the possibility of a change of approach from Burma”, but acknowledged that the regime there “has put increased isolation - including the possibility of further sanctions - on the international agenda”.

Burma is already subject to far-reaching sanctions from Western countries, including the United States and European Union.

It is their alliance with a handful of other countries, most notably China, however, that observers say are weakening the efficacy of sanctions.

It is also this relationship with China, and to an extent Russia, that has denied the UN Security Council any sway in the country, with China on several occasions vetoing UN resolutions to pressure the regime to end human rights abuses against civilians.

A Security Council diplomat yesterday told Reuters, on condition of anonymity, that “China knows the council will have to look again at Myanmar [Burma]”.

Prior to Ban Ki-moon’s visit, both members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party and human rights groups had warned that the visit could lend legitimacy to the regime.

On Saturday the UN chief told a pres conference in Rangoon that Burma’s human rights record was of “grave concern”, but added that his failure to meet with Suu Kyi “should not be the benchmark of success or failure” of the trip.

Reporting by Francis Wade http://english. dvb.no/news. php?id=2685

Sunday, July 05, 2009

July 19 book launch -- Kyi May Kaung's short story, "No Crib for a Bed."

On Sun, 7/5/09, Nita Congress wrote:

Date: Sunday, July 5, 2009, 3:21 PM

richard peabody will launch his latest anthology of dc women’s fiction (featuring our own kyi may kaung, who will read from her work) later this month; i will be there and look forward to seeing many of you there (buying lots and lots of copies!) as well. here are the details:

Politics and Prose

www.politics-prose.com

Richard Peabody and Contributors
Sunday, July 19, 5 p.m.
Gravity Dancers
(Paycock Press, $18.95)
Join Paycock Press impresario Richard Peabody, publisher of Gargoyle magazine and the recent Stress City: A Big Fat Book of Fiction by Fifty-one D.C. Guys, as he and some of the area’s finest women fiction writers introduce Paycock’s latest anthology of local short stories.

Michelle Brafman will serve as M.C. and host the following authors:

Maud Casey
Ellen Herbert
Kyi May Kaung
Raima Larter
Molly Woods Murchie
Judith Turner-Yamamoto
Paula Whyman
Joyce Madelon Winslow
Laura Zam

Burma and Ban Ki-moon: Is this the End Game by Kyi May Kaung.

written on Friday. Since then Mr. Ban's mission has failed. See news items. kmk

Burma and Ban Ki-moon: Is this the end game?
By Kyi May Kaung.

In a game of chess, Russian Grandmaster Gary Kasparov says that the end game is when there are very few of both white and black pieces left on the board, and therefore the options are limited. The king is hemmed in or checkmated. (Gary Kasparov, How Life Imitates Chess, 2007).
A chess king after all can only move one square at a time in any direction, and is pretty much behind this wall of other pieces, some of which are considerably more powerful (can move better and knock out opponents better) than the king. For instance, the bishop (representing the church or religion) and the queen (brilliantly powerful, able to move like a bishop as well as like a castle) have more power and maneuverability than a king or a head of state. Pawns, like the people of Burma, are pawns and only if they survive to march across the board can a chess player claim a new queen for a pawn. Clearly, in the Burmese case, the people of Burma are the pawns of the junta, some conscripted and literally forced to walk in front of the Burmese army as human mine sweepers. This has all been well documented over 20 years, through refugee testimonials put together by very reputable human rights groups.
The Burmese pro-democracy struggle against the military junta, the Orwellian “State Peace and Development Council,” has many analogies to the game of chess. The SPDC has brought about neither peace nor development. Previously, its name was even more sinister – SLORC or State Law and Order Restoration Council. But at least the old name was more accurate than the new one. SPDC is all about perpetuating its own power. “Law” is what it writes down as “laws” – but the Burmese people have never had any input into these so-called laws. Case in point, in the early 1960s, Ne Win recalled home the infamous Dr. Maung Maung, a legal scholar, from Cornell University, to single-handedly write the “laws of Burma” for him. Maung Maung was nothing but a stoolie scribe.
Ne Win, the granddaddy of all the present generals, was said to have often played chess. It’s not clear whether he played Burmese chess or western chess, which may be different in its rules or chess pieces. But it is known that generally he played with his guards or subordinates. After all, under a military dictator, the whole country is pretty much the general’s or generals’ subordinates. Subordinates can’t play to beat the general, however brilliant they are. If they win on the board, they might lose their lives. For one thing the power balance is stacked too steeply on one side.
In our Burmese pro-democracy movement, our own leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, is playing the role of both a chess king and a queen.
But sadly, because of this uneven or asymmetrical power balance, in which the junta has allowed itself underhand and back-stabbing “dirty moves” which are neither truly legal (not coming from the people) nor ethical, Daw Suu and the National League for Democracy have all been hemmed in both physically and metaphorically. Daw Suu’s and the NLD’s options and freedom of movement, physically and in the policy sphere, have been progressively circumscribed over the years. She has spent 14 of the last 20 years under some form of arrest and now she is in the infamous Insein Jail, that foreign correspondents sometimes mispronounce as “Insane.” Even during her brief periods of relative freedom, she was harassed in many different ways, including having her railway carriage disconnected, being stranded in the countryside for days without any toilet facilities or clean water, having an army officer point a gun at her and threaten her and having her motorcade attacked by junta thugs in the Depayin Massacre, which took place near Depayin in central Burma, on May 30, 2003. Her current round of arrest started then, as did her deputy U Tin Oo’s.
http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=12393
Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy’s principal strategic advisor, U Win Tin, was 19 years in jail, sometimes in solitary confinement and in a dog cell, despite his advanced age and poor health. Recently freed, he has always very bravely and loudly spoken up for Daw Suu, Freedom and Democracy, but he recently told a reporter that he was evicted from his home while he was in prison years ago, and now cannot rent a place, as the landlords get nervous. He says he does not know how much more of this he can stand. In a recent photo he looked red-eyed and tired.
Other NLD supporters have died, some in prison. There are at any one time in Burma, over 2000 political prisoners. In Burma you can be imprisoned for a joke, for saying something like “Last night during a storm lightning hit the tallest tree.”
Since the Saffron Revolution of 2007, when Buddhist monks peacefully walked on the streets chanting the Loving Kindness or Metta Suttra, and the disaster of Cyclone Nargis hitting the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008, many monks and people who tried to help storm victims during the Cyclone, have been imprisoned, given very long jail terms and sent to prisons in remote towns in the Burmese gulag.
Over these 21 years since the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 1988, we have seen the democratic opposition’s numbers depleted by death, attrition and imprisonment. Overseas, the various groups jockey for position and attack each other incessantly, except in perceived times of crisis such as the present. Then at least they have the good grace to pull together, one thinks.
On the other hand the junta has become increasingly sophisticated as well as brutal and nasty. It has added cyber warfare and computer hacking to its skill set.
In this latest move by the junta’s savvy Sr. General Than Shwe, said to have been trained in psychological warfare under Ne Win, and actually said to be able to speak English quite well and use the computer, despite his taciturn look; Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with harboring an uninvited guest because a middle-aged American Mormon and depressed drifter named John Yettaw, swam to her house and was allowed to stay there by Suu Kyi and her two maids for 2 nights because he pleaded he was tired and had diabetes.
A well-regarded Burmese blog has an audio recording of the taxi driver who said he took Yettaw to Suu Kyi’s house, saying the guest went to the compound by way of the gate house – not swimming across Inya Lake, as the junta charges. His ex-wife told a reporter that he is a timid type and physically unable to swim that far. The Irrawaddy magazine, based in Chiangmai, Thailand, consulted with a scuba diving expert from PADI, who said that all the items that Yettaw is said to have left at Suu’s house, including two chadors and books, would have weighed him down and the home made flippers he used would not have worked very well. The PADI representative said that Yettaw would have had to have been a tri-athlete, to be able to pull that off.
http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=15764
Many people think of Sr. Gen. Than Shwe and the other generals as uneducated buffoons. But in practice, they are very savvy in how they deal or don’t deal with pressure from overseas groups and the foreign media. They know very well that if they make a few token “concessions” and lay low, the perpetually distracted international media will move on in a few days to some other issue.
Just see how news of the Iranian dissidents, dying for their freedom on the streets of their major cities, has been overshadowed by the media blitz over Michael Jackson’s death.
In 2008, Than Shwe played a successful cat and mouse game with the U.N. and the international media, denying access to aid groups during the Cyclone, and then allowing minimal access. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary General, was finally allowed in, but shown only show tents in a show camp, occupied by maybe show cyclone victims, a really perverted Potemkin village. In any case most of the aid delivered has probably disappeared. No way was the junta going to allow the USS Essex to dock in Rangoon to deliver supplies.
http://www.essex.navy.mil/default.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Essex_(LHD-2)
Financially, the junta is now flush with cash, receiving $1 to 1.4 billion from natural gas sales, mostly to Thailand.
http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/pdf/Archive/Soc/soc.culture.burma/2008-05/msg00035.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs4/Gas_Attack-Sean_Turnell.pdf
It has money to spend, which it has spent on the Sr. General’s daughter’s wedding, private accounts in places like Dubai, and on the repressive mechanism (it has had a regular army of 500,000 since the late 80s, some of them forcibly conscripted children or adult civilians of both genders), a new capital city called Naypyidaw or King’s Royal Abode (the wags call it Naypudaw or “Hellishly Hot Place”). Besides this unnecessarily large standing army, the junta also uses Hitlerite Brown Shirt type organizations called the USDA (Union Solidarity and Development Association) and the Swan Arr Shin (Possessors of Strength) which it used to beat up and terrorize citizens in 2003’s Depayin Massacre, during the 2007 Saffron Revolution and in 2008, to block aid from reaching the storm victims in the Irrawaddy Delta.
It has just emerged that N. Korea has helped build tunnels in Naypyidaw, replete with a watchtower “tree” above ground, air vents and booby trap holes lined with punji sticks. Punji sticks are sharpened bamboo spikes smeared with human excrement, a kind of poor man’s biological weapon, in use at least since World War II.
The existence of N. Korean built tunnels in Naypyidaw and in the Shan States in Burma has been reported by veteran Burma and Asia expert Bertil Lintner.
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/burma/burmatunnels-06182009131301.html
Recently (July 1), the North Korean ship, Kang Nam I, the first vessel monitored under U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing the regime for conducting an underground nuclear test in May, and allegedly carrying weapons to Burma, is now reported to have turned around and headed back north.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/01/north-korean-ship-may-hav_n_223697.html
Into this murky and complex soup, one U.N. Secretary General falls.
Mr. Ban seemed to head to Burma with high hopes and little else, says Larry Jagan in Mizzima, a Thailand and India-based Burmese dissident news organization.
http://www.mizzimamedia.com/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2347:un-chief-heads-for-burma-with-high-hopes-and-little-else&catid=4:inside-burma&Itemid=3
Ban Ki-moon is in Burma now over the 4th of July weekend, but it is uncertain whether he will be able to see Suu Kyi and the NLD, though the NLD has said they have a scheduled appointment. It is even more uncertain whether the Sr. General will even give Mr. Ban the time of day. However, no one is placing much hope in Mr. Ban, even if he goes talking as he does now of national reconciliation and freeing all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124647558411281981.html
As for the U.N. Special Envoy for Burma, Mr. Ibrihim Gambari, Burmese have even less hope in him. Allegedly, they call him kyauk yu pyan, “take gemstones (as gifts from the junta) and go home.” Apparently, the Burmese junta routinely gives Burmese gemstones such as rubies and sapphires to visiting dignitaries as gifts. In fact, a friend of a friend was shown these “gifts” received by a U.N. or World Bank official. If the “gifts” influenced the outcome of the visit or the behavior of the guest, then of course they are bribes.
We are now in the frustrating and unhappy position of not being able to do much about Burma, except perhaps continuing to raise a well-justified stink. Or super stink. The SPDC is said to have been surprised by the intensity and scope of the worldwide protests against Suu’s continued and illegal detention.
Free Aung San Suu Kyi, all the political prisoners and Burma!

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.) is based in the USA and most recently worked for the Burmese democratic government in exile as a senior researcher and analyst. Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Ban Ki-moon's visit to Burma a failure -- Brown blames Burmese generals --

Brown attacks Burmese leaders

Gordon Brown has attacked Burma's leaders after they refused to let UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Prime Minister, who has been a vocal campaigner for her release from jail, spoke out after Mr Ban's two-day visit to the country ended without progress.

Mr Brown said: "The UN Secretary general was right to go to Burma. he gave powerful voice to the UN's core mission - our collective commitment to humanitarian relief, democratic governance and human rights.

"But it is a measure of the obstinacy of the Burmese regime that they have once again failed to respect those principles, and failed to properly respond to the international figurehead who best embodies them.

"We await the Secretary General's report. I hope that there is still the possibility of a change of approach from Burma but if not, my sad conclusion is that the Burmese regime has put increased isolation, including the possibility of further sanctions, on the international agenda."

Mr Ban said he was "deeply disappointed" after Burma's military ruler said he could not see Suu Kyi because she was on trial.

© Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.
http://itn.co. uk/604cd6075c0e8 25076015c938cc4c 1e3.html

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July -- let's celebrate America --

I am reading David McCullough's 1776

And it seems there is also a musical,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HD1x_kZRQQ

"Sit down, John."

which features John Adams too -- and I think scene in U Tube is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I did not know the Liberty Bell used to be up in the attic.

Kyi May Kaung

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Blog from a photographer who visited the late Michael Jackson's ranch -- Neverland -- at night.

http://www.terrastories.com/bearings/goodbye-michael-jackson


Originally published in 2008.

Truly bittersweet.

Yet this man appears to have understood MJ and the idea of Neverland better than anyone else.

Kyi May Kaung.

US sanctions related to Burma-N. Korea arms deal

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=16251