Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Judgement at Nuremberg--the movie and the book-

I just watched Judgement at Nuremberg, starring Alec Baldwin.
There are substantial differences from the facts in the non-fiction book.

1.  The real Jackson resigned early in the process and completely disappeared from the trial.
2.  There was a secretary but no mention of a love affair.
3.  The hangings were not as neat as depicted, but were botched, just as the hanging of Saddam Hussein was.

I don't know how a movie can stray so far from the facts which the original author has tried so hard to convey.

Joseph E. Persico's book was exhaustively footnoted.

But Herman Goering's attempts to sabotage the trial are accurately depicted.


Bangkok Travel Advisory--don't go there, from Australian govt--[1410688495849822]&action_type_map=[%22og.recommends%22]&action_ref_map=[]

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Libya--Gaddafi rape victims to be compensated --

Day of change in Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko released after 2 1/2 years, presdt Y on the run

Comment from George Orwell's FaceBook page on Shooting an Elephant

Paddy Tinsley "Shooting an Elephant" is an essay by George Orwell, first published in the literary magazine New Writing in the autumn of 1936 and broadcast by the BBC Home Service on October 12, 1948.

The essay describes the experience of the English narrator, poss
ibly Orwell himself, called upon to shoot an aggressive elephant while working as a police officer in Burma. Because the locals expect him to do the job, he does so against his better judgment, his anguish increased by the elephant's slow and painful death. The story is regarded as a metaphor for British imperialism, and for Orwell's view that "when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys."[2]

Me reading my poem Poetic Justice, from 1998--

Me reading my poem Poetic Justice, in video by Lisa DiLillo Tongues don't have Bones.

I like this version the best too--it was the first version that Lisa made.  Lisa, Thank you.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Burma's slow burning genocide on the Rohingya (a subset of Burmese Muslims)--from Dr Maung Zarni

  1. "Never again!"??? @drzarni The slow-burning #Genocide of #Myanmar's #Rohingya". UN, US, UK, EU, ASEAN culpable. Have we no human norms?
  2. #Myanmar's slow-burning #Rohingya #genocide @FCCThai 25Feb 1030 hr Come see, & hear about #genocidal INTENT @nslwin
Matt Smith, formerly Human Rights Watch researcher and author of the HRW report on the Rohingya ethnic cleansing in June and Oct 2012, -- - will be presenting the findings of his independent investigation of the leaked official Myanmar documents 

These leaked documents are said to have established the state's policy , in writing, - at both local and national levels - of discrimination, persecution, abuse and otherwise destruction of the ROHINGYA as a group, a community and a people in Western Burma.  

For time, date and venue - see the attached PDF. 

The government's official estimate puts the number of Myanmar's Rohingya at about 1.33 million.  Only 40,000 hold citizenship or any legal documentation.

Out of the 5 genocidal acts spelled out clearly in the Article 6, Rome Statute (july 2002 and 1948 Geneva Convention on the Crimes of Genocide), successive Burmese military governments since in 1970's have, verifiably, guilty of 4.

The predominantly Buddhist society at large - the one that taught me the virtues of Metta (Buddhist term for 'universal loving kindness') is secondarily murderous towards the Rohingya through their popularly genocidal speeches, ideas, attitudes etc.

I have co-authored a baseline study of the Rohingya persecution based on the findings from a 3-full year empirical research  on this issue, interviews with the Rohingya, communications with ex-Burmese military officers including junior generals, religious leaders, human rights researchers, etc since 2011.  

The said study (27,000-words) will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal (Spring 2014), the University of Washington Law School - see 

For those of us who have systematically studied the Rohingya persecution over at least 3 and a half decades, the above-mentioned leaked official documents only reinforce and lend further credibility to our definitive conclusion. 

The question is NOT whether Myanmar is committing a genocide against the Rohingya, but rather why has the international community, so-called, opted to NOT call the plight of the 1.33 million Rohingya by its proper name: genocide or more accurately, a slow-burning genocide.

If you think the terms genocide or the slow-burning genocide are nothing but an activist spin to get the world's attention just have a look at the objective facts on the ground, which result from the official state policies - that is, THE INTENT:


in the two largest pockets of Rohingya in the country - Buthidaung and Maung Daw, the doctor patient ratios are estimated to be:  76, 000: 1 (doc) and  83,000: 1 (doc)  (national and local/provincial ratios are about 375:1 and 550:1 for non-Rohingya

1. B

The Rohingya are NOT allowed to train in medical field, or any other professional disciplines.
2.  60,000 Rohingya children are not registered - in direct violation of the Right of the Child to have a nationality at birth.  

3.  infant mortality rate  and the mortality rate among children below 5 among the Rohingya children are also twice or thrice national average. 

4.  over 80-90% of the Rohingya adults are illiterate in a country which won a UN-award for the eradication of illiteracy among adults.   They are by and large denied access to schooling. 

5.  over 140,000 are placed in semi-concentration camps where extraction of forced labor is rampant, sexual violence, summary execution and extortion are norms.  
6.   out of a myriad of Burma's ethnic groups, the state has developed and attempted to enforced ethnic population control as a matter of policy, ONLY AMONG the Rohingya - both through severe marriage restrictions and in many cases forced sterilization

7.  law enforcement agencies throughout the Rohingya regions of Western Burma enjoy TOTAL AND BLANKET IMMUNITY from whatever persecutorial acts the former may engage in - rape, gang-rape, execution, abduction, daily abuses, threats, intimidations, etc - 24/7 and year round.

8.  the Rohingya who are NOT put in the semi-concentration camps have been living in a total of 11 security grids with heavily armed guarded posts, and their physical movements even between one community to the other are closely monitored, controlled and forbidden at the pleasure of both central and local state authorities.  

9.  Myanmar governments regularly deny any wrong doings while covering up its mass atrocities against the Rohingya and disposes countless number of dead bodies of the murdered or slaughtered Rohingya - male, female, children and elderly

10.  empirically, Myanmar governments, in  close collaboration of the local Nazi-inspired segments of the Rakhine Buddhists and backed by the popularly genocidal Buddhist public, have long attempted to deny, restrict or otherwise make it difficult for the delivery of any humanitarian aid, including basic survival food, to the Rohingya.

11. these Myanmar governments are found to be engaged in a pattern of systematic and verifiable attempts aimed at the destruction of the social and economic foundations of the Rohingya community at large over the past nearly 40 years.  

12.  the destruction of the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part, began with Burma/Myanmar government's deliberate erasure/destruction of their identity, both self-referential and formerly officially recognized, as ROHINGYA - as early as 1982.  (through the Rakhine-nationalist-inspired Citizenship Act of 1982 enacted under General Ne Win's one-man dictatorial rule - 1962-88).

12.  Talking about them as simply 'citizenship-less' or 'stateless-people' is to look at the symptom of the state-sponsored slow-burning genocide which began in the late 1970's with the first state-directed large scale wave of repression of the Rohingya.  

13   No UN agencies, no foreign power, 'Eastern' or 'Western', no multilateral organizations, no reputable academics or lawyers are calling the Rohingya genocide a genocide - because, as Human Rights Watch's 12-page report in 1993, put it - and I am paraphrasing it - there is no strategic gains or commercial benefits from ending the Rohingya's suffering!

Successive waves of ground staff of international and UN agencies, especially those with even the rudimentary understanding of the Genocide Convention - KNOW first hand this:  what they have witnessed about the plight of the Rohingya most definitely amounts to a GENOCIDE.  However, as a matter of policy, UN gags its staff, both local and international.

The United Nations agencies around the world are well-documented to trade their silence in exchange for  access to the country - access to do what?  put a band-aid in a cancerously genocidal context???  

Now thanks to FortifyRights and its founder Matt Smith, the world will see first hand the documentary evidence behind the Rohingya genocide.

The world, especially the governing global institutions, must bear the responsibility to protect the 1.33 million Rohingya when Myanmar itself is the main genocidal perpetrator.  
Further, the new documentary evidence should reshape or re-shape significantly the argument about the Rohingya - from the simply 'religious' or 'sectarian' to the GOVERNMENT(s) of Burma or that the violence against the Rohingya is an unfortunate but 'not unnatural part of any democratic opening of formerly closed societies - the argument that has been put into circulation by individuals, governments and organizations (for instance, the International Crisis Group, Indonesia, etc. ) that want to cozy up to the Burmese regime which is neither democratic nor transitional - in any meaningful sense of the words.  

That means the partnering foreign governments and businesses, UN agencies, international financial institutions can be considered, in theory and practice, culpable - BOTH the Obama Admin and David Cameron government, for instance and complicit in the genocide of the Rohingya. 

Never again! will remain a cheap slogan as long as the international community, especially those who run global governing institutions, look the other way when ending the genocidal plight of the Rohingya is considered to have no strategic or commercial value.  


Highly recommended--Democracy Now--celebrating 19th anniversary

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Against Genocide in Burma and elsewhere--One Million Bones Exhibit on the National Mall, Washington DC

June 2013

Knead well and let rise in a warm place--by Kyi May Kaung

Knead well till smooth and let rise in a warm place.

I decided to make bread today.
So I mixed the dough and kneaded it
and now the timer is on and it is rising
in a warm
place--my kitchen. 

But don't ever buy the cheap plastic wrap that says
"Easy to take off roll"
that means it will stick all over
you will cut your fingers on the steel razor edge of the
cardboard box
and you may have blood flavored

Also I can't get over CE saying she is the goddess of bread and what I described in Wolf was a cake, not a bread.

A love of bread and the ability to make bread does not depend
on skin color.

Enough said.

Copyright KMKaung

Irrawaddy Lit Fest denied pagoda venue--

My comment left on Irrawaddy site:

The 80 writers and poets have a point. I myself tried both years to get invited, only to receive brushoffs. The bottom line is the Burmese junta does not like prose writers and poets. This is just the latest sign of the general tightening trend, as witness the restricting of visas for foreign correspondents. Most likely there won't be a lit fest next year, 2015, assigned "election year" So what's new, pray tell?


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The book description for my novel Wolf by KMKaung

The book description for my novel Wolf by KMKaung
Wolf is about a fictional hero, Mothi Awegoke, of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising in Burma, in which an estimated 3000 people were killed.  This was a year before Tienanmen in China.
The novel begins on the first day of the clampdown as Mothi Awegoke is fleeing the agents of the junta.
A young woman saves him, but in return she wants something from him too. 
This seems to be the pattern of his life, as he veers between sometimes overwhelming international acclaim, and having death threats placed upon him.  Important events such as the demonetizations, when some bank notes were declared not legal tender, and the anti-Chinese riots of 1967 and Mothi's encounters with the General Bright Sun are woven into the narrative. 
The women in the story are very strong, his mother, his sister Inn Inn, his savior Thuzar, his Chinese neighbor Miss Rose, his American lover the photo journalist Felicity Harwood, the Thai journalist Ongjit. 

But everyone except Miss Rose, the little stranger girl in the crowd and his immediate family seem to have their own agendas. 
His life seems to be getting happier when there is another major upset, of a more personal mature. 
This time it's a bit harder to pull himself back together.
I wrote this novel because in the years that I lived in Burma, studied Burma as an academic overseas, and worked for Democracy, I heard so many stories that needed to be told, in fact were crying out to be told. 
I hope you laugh and cry with me through these pages. 
In the end, this novel Wolf is about love and human beings' love for each other, in the direst of conditions, where love is sorely tested and evil seems to hold sway.

My exactly 299 word pitch for my upcoming novel Wolf--

Hor hè hor hè hor hè.
Mothi gasps for breath, panics as he runs from the Military Intelligence.
It is the first day of the infamous clampdown on the Burmese pro-democracy movement of 1988.
Gunshots and screams come from the direction of Sulé Pagoda Road.
It smells of blood and dust.
Thus begins Mothi Awgoke’s journey into exile on the Burma-Thai Border.
He can travel everywhere but to his beloved native country.
At the height of international attention on the Burmese plight, under the military junta in its 26th year of stranglehold on Burma, he even manages to go on a 21 nation tour. 
Now Mothi needs to leave.
He has already been arrested. 
But the secret agents only knew the name on his National Registration Card, not his nom de guerre.
As he runs near Bogyoke Market, a girl in a white Mercedes screeches to a halt, tells him to jump in.
The automatic locks on the car doors click shut.
He has never been in a luxury car.
Never before has he encountered an automatic lock.
Is this woman an MI?
Thus begins Mothi’s journey into the unknown. 
Strangers help him.
But it’s not all hunky dory; not all romance and excitement.
Betrayal stalks him, sometimes gets him.
Will he at last find peace, marry, grow old?
Elegantly written over half a decade, based on extensive research and eye witness reports, Wolf:  A Novel of Love and Betrayal is the first ever fiction piece set in contemporary Burma.
A vivid surreal world, where everything is magnified as Mothi operates, often in crisis mode, against those who would like to shut him down for good.
A political thriller and a cross-cultural romance, Wolf grabs you by the collar and never lets go till its surprising dénouement.

Interview of Burmese-born poet Ko Ko Thett --

Bringing back up front. 

This interview of poet Ko Ko Thett is exceptional.  It brings out all I think will happen in Burma, that I have been thinking without (being able to go) going there.  Thank you.

pyinyar shii twe kyii tar
pyae kyii tar te hman te.

A wise person thinking it through
is more accurate than running to take  a look. 


Kokang is not part of Shan States, Burma --

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Holy cow!" says Congressman Dana Rorhabacher, "You don't know the answers to these questions?"!854D3A1A-DBFE-4A78-8494-4E0422568E19

Burma Studies Group scholarships--

February 17th 2014

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It certainly has been an exciting year to be doing work and research in Burma/Myanmar, and we have much to look forward to in the coming year.  

AAS 2014

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at this coming year’s Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Conference in Philadelphia (March 27-30th 2014). There is quite a selection of panels on the program this year - a total of 36 Southeast Asia-related panels – three of which are specifically about Burma/Myanmar, including our BSG sponsored panel, organized by Christian Lammerts, “Connected and Local Histories of Arakan: New Textual and Epigraphic Studies.”

BSG Business Meeting at the AAS

The Burmese Studies Group business meeting will be convened at the conference hotel (Philadelphia Marriott Downtown) on Friday (9:00pm March 28th in Meeting Room 406. Members and attendees of the AAS are welcome to attend and join the BSG.

Draft Agenda
·        Approval of the 2013 Minutes
·        Report by the Ex-Com (Initiatives and Finances)
·        Report by the Center for Burma Studies
·        Report by the Journal of Burma Studies
·        Report on the International Burma Studies Conference, Singapore
·        Election BSG Officers 2014

Please submit items to be included in the agenda by 10th March 2014 to the Ex-Com (,, ).

Burma Studies Group Travel Award 2014

In support of excellence in scholarship on Burma/Myanmar, and to increase the participation of junior scholars, the Burma Studies Group (BSG), is pleased to announce the launching of the Burma Studies Group Travel Award.

The BSG invites applications from individuals who will present a paper on Myanmar at the 2014 AAS Annual Conference in Philadelphia. This year, up to three (3) awards of $200 will be given to assist eligible individuals in defraying travel costs to the conference. Applicants must personally deliver their presentations at the conference to receive their award.

The BSG Ex-Com will select awardees using the following criteria:

       Excellence: peer review/acceptance of the paper by AAS Conference Committee. Excellence is prioritized over financial need; accepted works that are part of organized panels are also prioritized over individual papers. Applicants may indicate additional measures of scholarly merit such as a related publication/exhibition/other media not otherwise indicated in the paper abstract.

       Myanmar themes/topics/issues: The entire paper or a significant portion must be devoted to Myanmar material, regardless of discipline. For comparative works/case studies/multiple foci, the Myanmar dimension must be evident, as demonstrated by title and abstract published in the AAS program.

       Impact: the award should not be relied upon to cover all participant costs of travel but help defray customary conference expenses. Applicants are asked to briefly state other funding sources applied for and received, if applicable (such as the AAS Graduate Student Stipends, AAS LDC awards, own institutional or grant support, etc).  Awards are not normally expected to exceed AAS Graduate Student Stipends (currently pegged at $200 in 2013-2014) but unlike the AAS, has less restrictive residence requirements. No financial report is required.

BSG Election 2014

As most of you probably remember our team of co-chairs (Jane Ferguson and Maitrii Aung-Thwin) and Secretary (Christopher Miller) were elected at the BSG meeting in 2011 to serve a three-year term. Please do start thinking of candidates to nominate to continue the work of the BSG for the next three years.

According to our Constitution (a link to a copy can be referred to at the BSG website:, under “An Open Letter”),

·        Officers and all committee members in good standing of both the AAS and BSG can be nominated or self-nominated for the election. 
·        Officers can only be elected by those present at the business meeting of the AAS.
·        Each person elected as an officer of the BSG shall serve a three-year term. Each officer will be eligible for re-election to a three-year term after which they will not be eligible for a consecutive term in office.
·        Nominations with a brief profile are welcomed by 15th March 2014.  We will circulate the names and profiles shortly thereafter. 
·        Nominations by standing members will also be accepted at the meeting itself.

International Burma Studies Conference in Singapore

The biennial International BSC Conference, “Envisioning Myanmar: Issues, Images, Identities” will take place August 1st to the 3rd, at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore.  The conference will be convened by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (NUS), and the Center for Asian Legal Studies (NUS).

The link to the temporary event page is as follows:

The conference website will go “live” in early March for conference details.  Please register and book your accommodations early.  There is a limited amount of space for attendees and participants.

Thank you for all of your work and interest in our group, and looking forward to seeing many of you in Philadelphia!

Best wishes,

Maitrii Aung-Thwin
Jane Ferguson
Christopher Miller

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What my upcoming novel Wolf, is or is not about --

Htay Tint Poe Ziwa What my novel Wolf by KMKaung is and is not--

1.  It is a novel, not a factual account.
2.  It is not "about 1988".  The novel begins on the first day of the clampdown and continues to about 2010 approximately.
For a blow by blow account of 1988, Bertil Lintner's excellent Outrage already exists.
3.  It is not a biography of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-- there are several bios already, the ones I like best being by Whitney Stewart and the one by Peter Popham
4.  As a novel, it follows a group of fictional characters as they try to go about their lives.
5.  I made the hero older than the usual 1988 generation as only then could I weave in earlier political watershed events so that it shows how his rebelliousness was formed.
6.  It is not a history of the overseas Burmese Democracy Movement.  Though I have looked on as a close bystander and fellow traveler, I would not consider such an assessment even though I have written short political commentary pieces.
7.  Real people appear in very short vignettes or cameo roles.
--The scenes with U Ba Nyein and U Chit Hlaing (Ko Ko Maung) I witnessed myself.
--The scene with Daw Suu giving a public speech is based on news photos.
--I was at a dinner at the then Govt House the year after Gen. Ne Win beat up a member of the Rangoon Univ. staff.  I was an invited guest because I defended my MA Thesis in Economics, on project selection in Poland and the interest rate, that year, and they invited everyone who had obtained an MA that year.

One thing you need to know is, you don't "own" Burma or the Movement or how the events are depicted.  If a French movie director can make a movie about The Lady, a Burmese-born writer can also write about her country of origin.
It is unfair to critique a book based on what you think it is about, without having read anything other than the short excerpts I have extracted and published here on FB.  
At least have the good grace to buy it when it comes out and then read it.  Then you can trash it anyway you wish.

21 formal reviewers really liked Wolf.  In class 13x4 classmates plus the members of 2 writers groups, totaling nearly 60 writers and analysts, not just "readers", liked it.  The 21 reviewers included about 5 Burmese including an anonymous reader inside Burma who read it in 2 days, and 2 bestselling authors (on the NYTS list, not in the Burmese market).  No one was paid by me or the publisher.

I included notes in a Q and A section at the back of the book.  Since it is my decision, I am not going to release that until the book is published.
I also included a note on the most controversial of the events, and end notes (as I did not want footnotes) on the sources for some pieces of info.

Some of my sources will always remain confidential.

As a genre, it is creative non-fiction or an historical novel, like John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and almost all of Michener's novels.

It is NOT a personal or personalized history of Burma like Thant Myint U's River of Lost Footsteps.

As to how I created the characters, you can see them later in the Q and A section of Wolf.

As to how I created conflict and climatic scenes, I read a lot of movie scripts on line.  I worked 3-4 years at Annenberg Center Theatres in Philadelphia just to see the plays and study them, and I wrote a play, Shaman, to learn how to write dialog and to move the action along fast, not to mention how to scene.

Shaman was a Pew finalist script the year it was written and was praised by renowned playwright Edward Albee.

I am particularly pleased that Albee liked it, as the fight scenes between Inn Inn and her party cadre husband are based, if not on the letter, on the emotions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf.

I based some of the scenes involving corpses on first person accounts told to me in formal interviews or in private conversation.

As to the non-question, "Aunty, your writing is full of corpses," I have nothing to say. 

Life is full of dead people. 

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

posted on my Facebook pages.

A Great Publisher, of Ralph Nader and others, dies aged 92

Burl Ives-Ave Maria