Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kyi May Kaung's short story from 1956

Dear Reader/s,

I have only a pdf copy which I could not upload, so I am afraid you will have to wait till I have time to type it up again.

A short teaser:

"K" or U Khin Zaw did comment at the time that it was "almost Chekovian in its human interest."

I was a teenager when I wrote it.

Kyi May Kaung.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kyi May Kaung's bio from SULU DC site

With a doctorate in Political Economy from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Kaung first started writing poetry in a great binge in the mid-90s when she realized return to Burma would be impossible. Kaung’s poetry addresses the many horrible and heartbreaking things about current day Burma, including the rape of the environment and rape as a weapon of war. At times intensely personal as well as vivid, her poetry manages to convey what “dry statistics” and a plethora of human rights reports cannot. Kaung also writes fiction and non-fiction and paints.

So far 57 signatures on our donate 52 Merchant St, Rangoon, former US Embassy to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD site

Thank you and please help us make our goal of 1000 signatures.

Kyi May Kaung

My lost translation of my cousin Min Shin (U Win Maung's) short story

ma shii khoe noe

Sculptor Donald Judd's works in steel and plywood

US shutters Libya embassy

Nana Muskourie sings Ave Maria

Why we call Impressionist paintings impressionistic

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dylan Thomas walking tour of Greenwhich Village NY

Carl Sandburg reads The Sea Wash

New video about famous Burmese comedian Zarganar, sentenced to 33 years

for "crime" of helping victims of Cyclone Nargis - probably not been charged with anything.

Related interview of film maker - "Speaking to the People's Loudspeaker."

Archived video

Beggars' Convention. Archived video from Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, Norway.

Unofficial summary, translation kmk

Chairman of Beggars comes in -
his gaungbang za - end of turban falls off

followers start applauding before he has said anything - "would have to applaud anyway."
- we are working for the welfare of beggars and perpetuation of beggars.
- "What is definition of thu taung sar - tha ta sa (acronym)

"Important to splice in some words and phrases in English."

"Beggar is someone who begs out of need."

The beggars are all lepers with bandaged hands.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cambodian survivor, the late Dith Pran's New York Times obit

Read the related articles and make sure to see The Last Word, a video made when Dith Pran was dying of cancer.

Kyi May kaung

Reviewing Burma's Human Rights Report by Ko Bo Kyi of AAPPB

Reviewing Burma’s review
By Ko Bo Kyi

The detention and torture of political prisoners, the persecution of ethnic and
religious minorities, and the sexual violence in ethnic areas are but a handful
of human rights abuses that the people of Burma face on a daily basis.
The list is well known and in no way exhaustive. It names just a few of the many
well-documented human rights violations committed by the military regime of
Burma, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). These abuses were put
firmly on the table at Burma’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN
Human Rights Council (HRC) on Jan. 27; abuses, which the military regime refused
to discuss seriously. Instead, the regime dismissed all allegations concerning
these rights abuses.

The junta insisted that Burma is a country with a newly elected parliament, the
result of an election “free from vote-rigging and violence or any kind of
intimidation.” In the generals’ Burma: “Freedoms of expression and religion are
fully guaranteed”; “Women enjoy full and equal participation in public life”;
and “Allegations of sexual violence against ethnic women and children are
baseless … aimed at discrediting the Myanmar Armed Forces.” In this Burma, peace

The disingenuous response by the SPDC’s representatives is nothing new; time and
again the SPDC fails to discuss in a realistic way its human rights record.
Instead it chastises those countries that shed light on the problem as being
politically motivated and attempting to discredit them. Any problems it does
acknowledge, it blames on sanctions. At the UPR, the Burma representative argued
that human trafficking is an outcome of sanctions. Sanctions are not causing an
increase in human trafficking. Rather it is the regime’s own economic
mismanagement, gross military expenditure and discriminatory policies. Sanctions
are not hurting the people; the regime is.
Claims made at the UPR echo claims made at the UN General Assembly and other
international forums. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the SPDC
repeatedly denies the existence of political prisoners, stating simply that
there are only criminals in Burma’s prisons.
Not only did the Director General of Prisons, Zaw Win, deny the existence of
political prisoners at the UPR, he also refuted claims of torture and
ill-treatment. Evidence collected by the Assistance Association for Political
Prisoners (AAPP) shows that torture is a cultural norm among the military,
police and security officials. Over the years, AAPP, other NGOS and the UN have
documented hundreds of cases of torture experienced by political prisoners.
The effectiveness of the UPR depends on “the willingness of countries to be open
to genuine scrutiny,” said former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise
Arbour. However, when confronted with its human rights record at the UPR,
Burma’s military regime responded with defensive rhetoric, fabrications and
denial rather than engaging in a meaningful debate to improve the situation on
the ground.

Deeply troubling is the number of governments that are complicit in this denial
by engaging in meaningless praise, which does nothing to promote human rights,
deter future violators or protect the victims. Rallying behind Burma, were the
usual suspects: China, Cuba, Vietnam and Sri Lanka among others. China, in
predictable fashion, praised Burma’s “efforts to promote national reconciliation
and democracy.”
While the UPR offers an unprecedented opportunity to hold the human rights
practices of every country open for public examination, it has also proven to be
a flawed process, easily hijacked by countries seeking to shield each other from
criticism. The UPR shows us as much about the other participating countries and
their geopolitical positioning as it does the country under review. The member
states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) made meek
suggestions, encouraging remarks and congratulatory statements.

Burma, which sent more than 25 high-level officials to Geneva, attempted to pad
the speakers' list with sympathetic states. The speaking order illustrates this.
Of the first 20 countries, only four critiqued Burma’s human rights record.
The practice of autocratic states banding together to block the scrutiny of
their records is nothing new, and was one of the main criticisms of the
Commission of Human Rights (the former HRC). Regional powers battling internal
conflicts of their own—such as Russia with Chechnya and China with Tibet—are
reluctant to press upon other less powerful countries in their regions the very
standards they routinely fail to meet themselves.

Yet the UPR did offer a rare chance for some governments to directly challenge
SPDC on its poor rights record.

A number of countries embraced the true spirit of UPR and included in their
interventions constructive criticism, presenting concrete steps for the SPDC to
reach tangible goals.
New Zealand suggested repealing Article 445 of the constitution, which grants
total immunity to state and military personnel for criminal offences. The US
urged the regime to legally recognize the NLD and to begin a dialogue of
national reconciliation. A number of states recommended the SPDC immediately
release all persons currently detained for their peaceful political activities.
These voices fell on death ears. On Jan. 30, the SPDC indicated the
recommendations they would accept and those they outright reject. They accepted
64 recommendations, rejected 70 and are still considering 46. Those rejected
tended to include the following words or phrases: political prisoners, impunity,
International Committee of the Red Cross, crimes against humanity, independent
investigation, inclusive dialogue, the NLD, and the Rohingya.

The success of the UPR can be measured by the extent to which it inspires a
country to alter its actual human rights practices. With countries such as
Burma, which are vehemently opposed to any external interference, there is an
obvious limit to what the UPR and the HRC can practically accomplish.

Sadly, there is not much other states can do when a government digs in its heels
at these review sessions. There is no enforcement mechanism, and if a state
refuses to accept even a single recommendation, that's that. But, importantly,
the UPR unmasks countries for what they are and confirms to the international
community the real level of a state's commitment. Burma failed the test, and
governments must acknowledge this.

Blatant denial in the face of harrowing human rights conditions instills a sense
of urgency to ensure that the HRC strengthens its mechanisms, including
safeguarding the mandates of their independent experts. Without the Special
Rapporteurs, countries like Burma will fall further under the radar, especially
when the periodic nature of the review is considered. Burma won't be reviewed
again until 2015. In between UPR sessions, states must keep the spotlight on
grave human rights offenders in other ways.

A state has a responsibility to protect and provide for its citizens. In Burma,
the very state, which is responsible for protecting its citizens, becomes the
abuser; therfore victims can only turn to others to seek protection.

UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Quintana, in his last General Assembly report,
placed responsibility for the fate of the Burmese people in the hands of others.
“The international community must stand ready to help and support the people of
Myanmar as they undertake these steps,” he said, before adding: “If the
government fails to assume this responsibility, then the responsibility falls to
the international community.”
At the UPR, the SPDC representative concluded: “There is no impunity in Myanmar
… Citizens, military and police personnel are not above the law, and action will
be taken against them when law is breached.”

But we know that action is not taken against officials for crimes committed. No
action was taken to punish the individuals who tortured to death a 30-year-old
NLD member, Aung Hlaing Win, in May 2005. For seven days and seven nights, he
was tortured until he died. His broken body was never returned to his family. It
was cremated before they could see it. The authorities claimed his death was a
result of pneumonia, however the forensic doctor testified that there were 24
external and internal wounds on his body, including broken ribs, punctured lungs
and a punctured heart.
Aung Hlaing Win is not alone; at least 146 political prisoners have faced a
similar fate. Instead of justice and truth, their families are threatened,
intimidated, bribed and silenced. They just want answers, the chance to grieve
and heal. But the military regime won’t provide them with answers. Without the
truth, there will be no justice, and impunity will prevail.
The Burmese regime’s dismissal of any criticism of its human rights record, its
flagrant disregard for even elementary international human rights norms, and
with it an unashamed disregard for the value and dignity of its own people,
underscores the urgent need for an independent investigation into the gravity of
the crimes taking place in the country.
In March, the Special Rapporteur will again deliver his annual report to the
Human Rights Council and the Council will have the opportunity to respond.

Let us ensure this opportunity is not a wasted one. The international community
has long been aware of the systematic nature of the rights violations committed
in Burma, and it is time they started to investigate them. Mere rhetoric is not

Bo Kyi is joint-sectary of a Burmese human rights group, the Assistance
Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP), based in Mae Sot, Thailand. He
went to Geneva to lobby at the UN Human Rights Council in January.

Burl Ives-Ave Maria