Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Pema Chodrun The Fine Art of Failure.
Seated Buddha Afghanistan

For writers--The Fine Art of Failure. 2-22-2023

Matthew Arnold:

-Matthew Arnold: Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun to have lived light in the spring to have loved to have thought to have done. To have advanced true friends and beat down baffling foes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Guerilla warfare --wiki

Guerrilla tactics are on intelligence, ambush, deception, sabotage, and espionage, undermining an authority through long, low-intensity confrontation. It can be quite successful against an unpopular foreign or local regime, as demonstrated by the Cuban Revolution, Afghanistan War and Vietnam War. Strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare - Wikipedia › wiki › Strategy_and_tactics_of_... Image result for Guerilla warfare tactics and strategie Image result for Guerilla warfare tactics and strategies

Sun Tzu--The Art of War

1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. 2-21-2023

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Art--Diego Riviera may have helped Frida Kahlo die --

John Donne--Death be not proud.

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud By John Donne Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

A hymn my father used to sing sometimes --

Schubert's Ave Maria--this was the only piece of classical music I had ever heard in Burma--and that was on a 78 rpm record--

One of the poems my father used to read to me--

IF I SHOULD EVER BY CHANCE Edward Thomas IF I should ever by chance grow rich I'll buy Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch, Roses, Pyrgo, and Lapwater, And let them all to my elder daughter. The rent I shall ask of her will be only Each year's first violets, white and lonely, The first primroses and orchises-- She must find them before I do, that is. But if she finds a blossom on furze Without rent they shall all forever be hers, Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch, Roses, Pyrgo and Lapwater,-- I shall give them all to my elder daughter. (All I shall give to my elder daughter.) cheers km 9-24-2022

My Father Sithu U Kaung

I intend to spend a reflective day, writing the final chapters of the novel I am currently writing. In the past, on each anniversary, I tried to do something significant, such as a poetry reading (in Ann Arbor,Michigan) going to a hidden garden on Penn Campus, publishing a novel. Today I baked bread. My/our grandmother May May Gyi saw the last king of Burma Thibaw being taken away to Ratnagiri on the W coast of India, when she was a girl of 13, swimming in the Irrawaddy River. She named him U Kaung after the Kinwun Mingyi, who was King Mindon's (Thibaw's father's) first ambassador to the West. I don't really know enough to write a non-fiction biography, and I really don't want to. I have some fiction fragments on paper that I am trying to look for. It's so aggravating. Lib of Congress photo--Head of Educational Mission to N and S America. 2nd from left.
2nd photo,with Fulbright Committee--L to R best friend U Cho, Lionel Landry, Dr Htin Aung, U Kaung only woman in photo--Miss Geiger, to her L Sao Sai Mong. Bank note signed by "Maung Kaung" as head of Burma Currency Board. Book of essays, obits etc written by his friends and colleagues, collected by my brother, Dr Thaw Kaung, 2004.Centenery first edition. kmk 2-19-2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Inge Sargent/Hsipaw Mahadevi--docudrama--Twilight over Burma.
Mucho thanks to "friend" who found and fwd-ed this. 2-18-2023

UN Teaching Module #4, Illicit Market in Firearms-- Firearms serve multiple purposes. They are not only a profitable trafficking commodity but, first and foremost, a tool to consolidate power and to commit violent crimes. As Salcedo-Albaran and Santos (2017: 10) point out, “Like drug trafficking is a catalyst criminal activity worldwide due to the high level of profits it produces, firearms’ trafficking is a pivotal criminal activity worldwide due to the high demand in several criminal hotspots.” The illicit manufacturing, acquisition and trafficking of firearms also functions as a market commonly known as the ‘illicit global market’. Griffiths and Wilkinson (2007: 25) suggest that “(t)he illicit global arms market today works like any other largely free and unregulated system, driven by the dynamics of supply and demand. These are still dominated by relatively low loss-adjustment calculations set against the possibility of detection, interdiction, asset confiscation, accidents or non-payment risk. Clandestine arms supply is an evolving business and those involved in it have introduced innovative solutions to guard against financial loss.” While the illicit market is similar to the legal market in many respects, it operates according to other types of principles, the first and most obvious being that the nature of the illegality shapes the behaviour of the actors in the market.

Starbucks Frappucino may contain glass --300,000 bottles recalled

Copied and pasted fr Irrawaddy--Chin State, gold, pagodas, wedding--more bizarre by the minute--

following in footsteps of "Million Gold." "When do you expect a victory? It depends on how much we are unified, militarily and politically. If we are more united in cooperation, we will win quickly. The revolution depends on our abilities. Do you have a message for the people? For two years the regime has been struggling to be recognized internationally as a legitimate government but it has failed. The junta is making the country a failed state. All revolutionary forces need to keep fighting until the end. Our victory is close. We need to increase our attacks. Don’t get depressed. We must win." + Queen of Belgium in Cox's Bazaar, Rohingya Aid. Copied and pasted from Irrawaddy--

Poisonous Mushrooms N America + what to do in case of accidental poisoning --Johns Hopkins Medical Center--if links don't work copy and paste link into Google search engine Know which plants or flowers are poisonous. Don't touch or eat wild material you are not sure of. 2-18-2023

Udvar Hazy Space Flight Center--

Derrik Addams--artist Black Joy

Monday, February 13, 2023

Wapo--CDC says teen girls--

Centers For Disease Control, USA says teen girls caught in depression and suicidal thoughts--how it must be in Burma where rape is endemic-- SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN TALK TO THEM.

I'll get A Plan for Democracy and Development (Burma) to you in small parts--as this blog messes up the formatting.

Bear with me-- a little busy right now.

SST with Mrs Inge Sargent--c.2000

K.M.Kaung--dancing like a Peacock and Koel Bird. Top review from the United States MW 4.0 out of 5 stars Stories of Tragedy of Refugees in Thai-Burma Border Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 4, 2014 Ms. Kaung's book " Dancing Like a Peacock and Koel Bird" comprises of two short stories about the Burmese refugees living and eking out an existence in the Thai Burma border area towns. The stories are probably based upon real events ( with fictional names) , since as a Burmese national , I keep hearing stories like these about the one million refugees living in that area in camps and shanty towns. A good book that I recommend to anyone who might be interested in the plight of these refugees.

K.M.Kaung--Official Website--

Kirkus Review of my novel Wolf: A Novel of Love and Betrayal by K.M.Kaung--link below

My novel Wolf--by KMKaung--available on Amazon--

From AlJazeera--Burma

| Conflict Myanmar military expands martial law in strongholds of resistance Expansion of martial law in 37 townships indicates the military is looking for new ways to crush resistance to its rule. Published On 4 Feb 20234 Feb 2023 Myanmar’s military has imposed martial law in strongholds of anti-coup resistance which will see people accused of everything from treason to “spreading false news” being tried by military tribunals. In the 37 townships affected by the new measures announced in state-controlled media on Friday, no appeals will be allowed for convictions handed down by military tribunals, except in cases where the death penalty has been imposed, and which must be approved by military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. Keep reading list of 4 items list 1 of 4 Myanmar anti-coup forces retain optimism in face of air attacks list 2 of 4 Timeline: Two years of killings and arrests since Myanmar coup list 3 of 4 New Myanmar sanctions imposed as anti-coup activists plan action list 4 of 4 Myanmar invited to Asian military meeting co-chaired by US end of list The announcement appears to indicate that the military is looking for new ways to stamp out resistance in areas where people have taken up arms to fight against its power grab two years ago. Expansion of martial law was required “to exercise more effective undertakings for ensuring security, the rule of law and local peace and tranquillity”, the state-run newspaper said. Under the harsh new measures, military tribunals will hear criminal cases ranging from high treason to a ban on disseminating false news, which the army has already used to jail dozens of journalists. The 37 townships affected by the imposition of martial law are located across eight states and regions – Sagaing, Chin, Magway, Bago, Mon, Karen, Taninthayi and Kayah. The military has been engaged in regular clashes with the anti-coup People’s Defence Force, the armed wing of the opposition’s underground National Unity Government, in the new areas to come under martial law. At least 11 other townships – six in the country’s main city and commercial hub Yangon and five in the second city, Mandalay – were already under similar military legal jurisdiction. On Wednesday, the military announced it has extended the state of emergency it imposed at the time of the coup, a move that is likely to delay a general election that it had said could be held by August. The military said it was necessary to extend the emergency for six months because the country was in an abnormal situation and more time was necessary to prepare for peaceful and stable elections. Sign up for Al Jazeera

Meet Myanmar Now, if you haven't already--

Notice--Links do work--even if show only in black font not red--click "Open Link"

not usual two clicks on link. Tech is so tricky.

Junta says Phyo Zeyar Thaw supplied weapons to PDF--may or may not be true.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Sorry, link did not work--Try to Google--

Inge Sargent, Boulder daily Camera, obit. Thanks

Trying to make this link work--Inge Sargent obit

Boulder Daily Camera--obit--Mrs. Inge Sargent (Hsipaw Mahadevi)
She was 91 Typo "1951" Rest in Protest, Dear Ma Ma (Elder Sister) Inge and Tad. 2-12-2023

A Plan for Democracy and Development in Burma by Kyi May Kaung et al --2008-2009

Appendix 2. Manifesto of the Burmese Democracy Movement: Task Force for an Inclusive Political Process by 2010 Also called— NCGUB (national Coalition government of the Union of Burma) — A Plan for democracy and development (final title) Alternative title: NCGUB— Our Vision and our plan.   Images from the Internet, mostly Wikipedia, public domain. In sequence, hot air balloon over ancient city of Bagan. Captured Mon King Manuha and Queen, 10th century, Bagan. Capture of a wild elephant, Burma, c. 2014. White elephant in Naypyidaw or Naypyitaw (NPT) “The Kings’ Royal City” built from scratch in 2005 in the paddy fields, somewhat like Brasilia. In that fake city, they then built a fake parliament for a fake democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi, a collage made partly of Burmese inflated currency by Zwe Yan Naing, c. 2014.   Apparently based on a famous photograph of Aung San Suu Kyi by Nic Dunlop.  Draft 3-17-09 Burma faces three major ongoing crises: A Political and/or a Constitutional Crisis, a Socio-Economic Crisis, and a Humanitarian Crisis. Political developments inside Burma, including the handing down of harsh prison sentences to monks, democracy activists, and politicians as well as the continuing rejection of international demands for political reform, indicate that the Burmese generals will not be retreating from their scheme to legitimize military rule in Burma unless they face concerted action from the democracy forces at home and abroad as well as from the international community. The Burmese generals' headstrong push to hold elections under a constitution unilaterally written without the participation of major democratic and ethnic political parties will entrench dictatorial rule by the incumbent corrupt military regime for generations. This process needs to be stopped. The National League for Democracy and the pro-democracy forces would like to see the return of Democracy to Burma as soon as possible. 2. A Transitional Package for the Emergence of an Inclusive Political Process in Burma by 2010. The leadership of the democracy movement inside the country believes that the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma and the democracy movement outside the country should take a lead in creating more political space inside and strive to bring change to the country with the support of the international community. Given this new responsibility, organizations in the democracy and ethnic movements in exile will work even more closely under common work programs and pursue common objectives. Their tasks in the next months especially before 2010 will be enormous, making preparations to improve the capacity of the movement in exile as well as inside the country, providing training programs to leaders and grassroots personnel, unifying visions of different components of the movement, projecting common objectives, and framing a working plan. 3. A Strategic Action Plan being prepared with the help of exile politicians, legal scholars, economists, a human geographer and a civil-military relations and other Burma experts and will include: A Constitutional Framework Electoral Law and System A Transitional Economic Plan A Security Review National Reconciliation Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in a New Administration, when Conditions are Normalized. 4. In Burma, the polity and the economy are closely linked to form a political economy that is highly dysfunctional. Between the first coup by the Revolutionary Council in 1962 and the beginning of the clampdown on the mass pro-democracy movement on September 18, 1988, when SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) was formed, Burma had a socialist economic system with a one-party military government. The Burma Socialist Program Party laid down much of the economic system that was in place in 1988 when SLORC initiated an "open economy." Since 1988, a bizarre and even more distorted economy has appeared, with the state playing a major role and its expenditures financed by the highly destructive expedient of printing more money, as well as selling off the country’s natural resources. The inflation rate is currently 50% per annum, the highest in S.E.Asia. The Constitutional Framework -- Underlying Principles & Basic Conditions 5. Introduction The issue of constitutional settlement lies at the heart of Burma’s national reconciliation. Burma has amassed significant “constitution capital”, despite being without a constitution for nearly thirty four years since Independence and over sixty years of civil wars and conflict. Despite this, constitutional advance eludes us. This cannot be secured without addressing the fault lines through talks, and constitutional conversations or constitutional review. The two fault lines (areas of contention where dialog is likely to fall apart) are: Federalism, endorsed by the NLD, the Ethnic Nationalities and large numbers of pro-democracy parties and The role of the military in national politics. In general, the pro-democracy groups including the Ethnic Nationalities want a decentralized federal union, civilian government and a parliamentary system with a president, in some cases with particular reference to Ethnic and States Rights. Key Stakeholders NLD, UNLD, SNLD, EN Ceasefire Groups, KIO, UNA, NCGUB, NCUB, DAB, ENC, KNPP, SSA etc. SPDC, UWSA etc. The SPDC (State Peace and Development Council, successor of SLORC) wants a unitary, centralized administrative state, a (military) president and a leading role for the military in parliament, the government at all levels and in the presidency and a parliament comprised of two houses at central level, but to sit jointly for a number of key state law-making powers, similar to the People's Assembly of the Peoples Republic of China. The SPDC drafted a national constitution that reflects the type of state they desire. They plan to implement this constitution after the 2010 "elections" which they also plan to hold. Our task is to provide a scenario whereby constitutional advance might be made, given the tight constitutional constraints circumscribed by the SPDC's draft state constitution, its seven step road map to a disciplined democracy , its tight hold on the levers of state and economic power, the incarceration of key political leaders, and the draconian laws that curtail basic freedoms, and a modus operandi of command and control and political paranoia on a grand scale. The SPDC Constitution—unresolved issues. The SPDC’s constitutional framework, contained in its seven-step roadmap, adds to neither the capital nor the advance of a constitution. The SPDC’s constitutional framework does not seek to resolve competing ideas on nationhood, identity, language, political and economic systems and which moral values should be promoted or disavowed. The SPDC’s constitutional framework does not seek to resolve the constitutional fault line running through the political heart of Burma, marked by secession, federalism, and the Tatmadaw’s constitutional role in national political life. Secession is now dead - a major constitutional advance on the part of all the Ethnic Nationalities, but federalism-desired by democratic groups and Ethnic Nationalities, seen as the best approach to a multi-ethnic-diverse nation, and detested by the Tatmadaw leaders seen as the disintegration of the nation, remains unresolved. The SPDC say that the National Convention’s constitutional principles, that mandated Rangoon as the capital, cannot be changed, but did so without comment, when they changed the country’s capital from Rangoon to Naypyidaw. The draft constitution says that it will apply as soon as approved through a referendum and the SPDC agreed with NC delegates to postpone its implementation until after the 2010 election. The SPDC’s constitutional framework, incorporating the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law (14/89), Declaration 1/1990, National Convention Orders, Working procedures, & Rules, Order 5/96, Seven-Step Roadmap to Disciplined Democracy, the 54 Member Technical Drafting Committee, 2008 referendum, and the planned 2010 elections fails the legitimacy tests of rightful architects, rightful process and rightful design. This leaves the SPDC’s planned 2010 elections in “legitimacy limbo”. Credibility however, can come through constitutional review. Calls for Constitutional Review The clarion call by all parties, except the SPDC, is and remains constitutional review. For a transition to take place that has some chance of sticking, constitutional review is essential. It can be best approached by recalling the constitutional capital that has been amassed, scope out where the country wants to be now and in 10 to 50 years. For example, it would be good to be peaceful and prosperous and as General Than Shwe says, when referring to the constitutional referendum and the 2010 elections, for Myanmar to hold its head high in global society. In seeking constitutional review it is essential to promote just that to enable a transition. It can include a constitutional implementing team, necessary to implement the country’s constitution, to include sunset and sunrise clauses and the mechanisms of machinery of state, that will be needed in a new state structure. This requires an electoral law system to be established that will include amendments to the political parties’ laws, or new ones. (See also the section on Electoral Laws). All major groups directly involved continue to call for any transition process to be inclusive, i.e. to have talks and for constitutional review. (See attached comments) All major groups denounce secession. (See their respective draft constitutions) All major groups, except the Tatmadaw, desire a constitutional framework that incorporates a form of Federalism. It is important to understand and recognize the “legal” genesis of the SPDC’s National Convention (NC) found in Declaration 1/1990. It is critical for three reasons: (i) All parties agreed to work with it, albeit reluctantly, including the NLD. (ii) It repeats the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law (14/89) at Chapter 2, Section 3 stating: “The Pyithu Hluttaw shall be formed with the Hluttaw representatives who have been elected according to this law from the constituencies.” (iii) Declaration 1/1990 further states at Section 20 that those elected in the 1990 elections have the mandate to prepare the country’s constitution, “Consequently under the present circumstances, the representatives elected by the people are those who have the responsibility to draw up the constitution of the future Democratic State.” (NC started with approximately 15 per cent of MPs, and finished with approximately 1 per cent of MPs) It further sets some limiting conditions, but these representative fundamentals remain unaltered (iv) NLD have said they want to convene the Parliament to have constitutional review. Refer to Declaration 1/1990 and at least have regard to it, to launch talks re. constitutional review 8. What the draft SPDC constitution does and does not do. It does contain a few good points, the common law writs and such, but these are overwhelmed by its comprehensive fatal flaws. It does – These provide amnesty for any crimes committed for the current government/Tatmadaw leaders gives the Tatmadaw a leading role in parliament, the executive and the presidency mandates a presidential system of government creates three parliamentary chambers at national level: The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (national parliament), the Pyithu Hluttaw (people’s lower house) and the Amoytha Hluttaw (Ethnic Nationalities upper house) but it gives the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw its own constitutional competence and legislative standing-similar to a Peoples Republic of China People’s Assembly, as well as competence to deal with deadlocked bills and so on, and it also sits as the electoral college to elect the President provides for a maximum of one session per year for the parliament establishes a constitutional tribunal that has the power to give opinions before the fact and review of parliamentary legislation, as of right. shapes the state through the narrow prism of the SPDC’s state ideal as being led by the Tatmadaw mandates a national culture imports the three national causes into every area of life, including political parties maintains sovereignty of the rulers incorporates the Tatmadaw command and control modus operandi into the state structure further entrenches the centralization of the executive to the capital (Rangoon) as well. limits the functions and power of the Ethnic Nationalities in legislative bodies to a few Ethnic Nationalities specific areas charts a transition from a Tatmadaw administration to a civilian administration. However there is a constitutional caveat on this, also implied in point seven of the seven-step roadmap Most importantly, the SPDC Constitution does not -- include popular sovereignty include the people’s aspirations, made clear in 1990 and in the National Convention and other fora resolve the fundamental national political problem manifested in Federalism, and Ethnic Nationalities needs allow political freedoms seek to resolve the Ethnic Nationalities needs seek to reconcile differences and or embrace diversity recognize the state as being one of multi-ethnicity and political diversity give amnesty for political actors other than the SPDC/Tatmadaw provide for state and region constitutions And these are, in the words of our constitutional expert, truly fatal flaws. A true Constitution must guarantee the following Bill of Rights 9. Human Rights Guarantee Human Rights Strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. A Human Rights Committee should be established. It should be responsible to the highest legislative body to prevent government from abusing power and violating citizens’ rights. A democratic Burma with its Constitution must guarantee everyone’s personal freedom. Release all prisoners of conscience and political prisoners. All of these individuals and their family members have been treated as criminals because of their thoughts, speeches, writings etc. The state should grant Reparations. A Truth Investigative Commission could have a mandate to find facts about injustices and atrocities and determine responsibility for them, uphold justice and seek social reconciliation. Freedom of Expression, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to Form Groups and Freedom of Religion and Language and the Right to Own Property and Freedom from Arbitrary Confiscation, Land or Cultivators' Rights etc.. are crucial. Note added by KMK: Laws have been enacted against the Rohingya, a subset of Burmese Muslims, because basically the junta wants their land (Arakan Coast) for an oil and gas pipeline called the Shwe Pipeline, to Yunnan in China. 10-19-2016 Accessed 10-26-2016 10. Political/negotiation process: Principle demands During the build-up to the 2010 election there must be an inclusive political process. Only then can the de facto become the de jure. The SPDC can become truly legitimate, if it agrees to a Real Democracy. Recently released long-time political prisoner, who was held for 19 years, U Win Tin, says the relevant slogan is – "Suu, Hlut, Twé, Hpwè." Suu or Aung San Suu Kyi and the political leadership; NLD, 1988 generation leaders etc. must be free. Hlut or Hluttaw (Parliament) must meet and be functional. (In 1998, Aung San Suu Kyi formed the CRPP (Committee to Represent Peoples Parliament) due to the SPDC's exclusionary actions. Twé or Twé Sone Sway Nway Pwe (Political Dialogue) Hpwè or Freedom to Organize. 11. Basic Conditions which need to be satisfied: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners need to be freed and assured of their personal security and given space to carry out their political and party duties for all time. Kangaroo courts need to stop and be under an independent judiciary system. 12. Approach: Openness – with media etc. and Re-structuring. Burma is now a strictly closed and oppressive system, with bloggers, citizen journalists etc. given long arbitrary prison sentences in show trails in kangaroo courts. This needs to stop and the executive and judiciary branches of government set apart from each other. Political changes and economic changes need to proceed in tandem. The Constitutional Framework 13. The Burmese Democracy Movement cannot accept the SPDC Constitution. Basic Human Rights are not guaranteed. Principles of equality and popular sovereignty are ignored. Military supremacy will be exercised. The rule of law, which is a major foundation for economic development, is ignored. Economics in the SPDC Constitution is "handled" in a very domineering way – that SPDC "owns all resources below and above the ground!" This needs to be changed. Existing unjust laws will remain in force and more unjust laws will emerge. The Judiciary will be under the direct control of the Executive and Justice will be denied. Self-rule and shared rule for the ethnic nationalities will not be a reality. The Executive is the focal point of the Constitution, and the President, together with the Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, will exercise rigid centralization. Institutions that could balance the power of the Executive are absent. There is no flexible amendment clause that can provide space for further constitutional evolution in accordance with the desire of all ethnic nationalities of Burma to rebuild the country as a Federal Democratic Union. 14. Basic Principles of a Constitution: A federal system. Limited government, checks and balances, a government of the people, by the people, for the people. A level playing field. No one is above the law. An independent judiciary. A free press. Reduce central control and unduly centralized management and administration. The central government must be checked by built-in institutional balances. An Interim Constitution should reflect these basic conditions: Legislative and executive bodies should be designed based on shared responsibilities. As the role of the Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) will be acknowledged, so also the Tatmadaw must reciprocally acknowledge the role of elected representatives of the People in making decisions. The interests of ethnic nationalities, in harmony with the interest of the whole country, must be accommodated. Fundamental rights of ethnic nationalities must be constitutionally guaranteed, at minimum, rights for protection and promotion of literature and culture, as well as non-discrimination based on ethnicity must be assured. Fundamental freedoms and basic human rights of the People must be constitutionally guaranteed. There must be constitutional provisions, which protect an independent judiciary and equality of all before the law, and the guarantee that the rule of law will prevail. The Constitution-making process should provide an opportunity to continue the national dialogue for Transition. There must be flexible provisions for constitutional amendments to provide space for constitutional evolution in harmony with the times and political developments. 15. Recommendations for the International Community The international community should encourage SPDC To ensure an inclusive, participatory and transparent constitution-making process To initiate a constitutional review process which has already been drafted and published, with a view to finding common ground that reflects the People's Will. Release all political prisoners (including ethnic leaders), lift restrictions on political parties (including ethnically based parties) to allow them to re-open offices and operate. Lift restrictions so people can express their opinions. End hostilities in minority areas and allow representatives to enter the process. Amend the provisions which prevent Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from standing for election in 2010. Ensure international standards for a free and fair election. Allow independent international observers. Points from the CRPP We need a new legal system that comes from the people and the Hluttaw (Parliament) now represented by the CRPP. A Bill of Rights. A Democratic Process of making Laws of the People, by the People, for the People. 16. CRPP Recommendations With regard to Parliamentary Committees, the CRPP recommends. A Scrutiny Committee (to examine) "guarantees, promises and undertakings given by" the SPDC. The SPDC has been notorious in its manipulation of the entire process by which it has been attempting to legitimize itself. The States/Divisions Committee needs to work on development programs. Parliamentary sessions must be held in Rangoon, which is the natural historical, economic and political capital of Burma. In 2005 the capital was moved. Geography and an oppressive, perverted "city planning" has made Naypyidaw an isolated, centrally controlled place where political activism is impossible. There needs to be public education in democratic due process. 17. Recommendations in Agricultural Rights Notification No. 4/78 should be abrogated immediately and entirely. On paper, the 1963 Cultivators' Rights Protection Law prohibited issuing warrants, confiscating land and farm animals etc. This law has been repeatedly and seriously violated. Any new government should ensure laws such as these are abided by. One law provides protection for money-lenders. As the CRPP notes, "This is not the kind of law that protects farmers' rights." What is essential is legislation that will protect farmers from laws and orders which deprive them of their rights and a law which will shield them from all forms of oppression. Restoration of grazing lands. Rights on alluvial lands (Myay-nu-kyun) which currently are only for one year need to be much more secure. Although the state is the ultimate owner of all land, farmers need the right to cultivate, transport, mill, store and sell their products freely. Enact legislation so cultivators have rights to land ownership and can transfer or pawn their land. Legislation to prevent the return of big land owners. Big landowners (oligarchs) are already coming into existence again in Burma. Prices, banks and markets – see the Economics section of this Plan. Organize, expand and modernize the Land Records and Settlement Department, originally formed in the colonial period. 18. Labor Laws and Rights Between 1948 and 1962, there were a total of 30 different labor laws. Outdated Agricultural Workers and Wages Act of 1948-49 needs to be reformed and modernized. In trying to make the Union of Burma a parliamentary democracy, there needs to be conformity in every respect with the international community especially as an integral part of the United Nations. We must not be at odds with the ILO where labor issues are concerned. 19. Federalism, States' or Ethnic Rights To create unity and solidarity it is essential to adopt and practice a democratic system and multi-nationalism in accordance with the spirit of the historic Panglong Agreement. For instance the conditions under which the Shans joined was to join under a union/federal system, to have equal rights and status, Shan States must be given unfettered self-government, to be given the right to secede at any time if so desire. These basic rights are likely to become explosive issues. CRPP mentions "a sufficient population" and the SPDC "constitution" also talks about "size of population" without mentioning the exact size of the population (when a separate state will be allowed). Leading democratic politicians have said that the Wa state, where the Wa have been given the right to bear arms and tacitly engage in opium and methamphetamine production, is likely to become a problem. On Feb 24, 1962, ethnic nationalities representatives pointed out the shortcomings of the 1947 Constitution and proposed a change to Federalism. The army seized power under the pretext that it would lead to the Union's disintegration and that the Shan States was arranging to secede. The military erroneously looked on itself as the savior and natural ruler of the country and their propaganda emphasized this. In fact, what they established was a political policy based on militarism. From 1962 to 1988 they governed the country under the cloak of socialism with a single party dictatorship. 20. General legal recommendations Legislative transparency and awareness campaigns of new (democratic) land tenure arrangements. Subsequent legislation that is clear and transparently enforced through independent processes, including specialized courts. Complement land title with other reforms, efficient and independent judicial systems, reformed financial laws, install bankruptcy and foreclosure laws etc. Ensure formal laws are consistent with local social and cultural values. Property Laws need to honor original ownership before 1962. There has been widespread talking over of private property both by the military government and other military connected individuals, in both rural and urban areas. B. Electoral Law and System 21. Genuine elections are not just a technical exercise. They are a fundamental human right linked to a broad array of institutions and the ability of citizens to exercise civil and political rights. Elections are the periodic test of the strength of democratic institutions. Elections are a vehicle for citizens' participation in the political process. Elections are part of making democracy deliver a better quality of life by linking voters' interests to the act of selecting a candidate, party or policy through public discourse. 22. Contortions or distortions in electoral law and system to unfairly benefit certain political interests which can happen through show or sham elections, sham referendums, electoral fraud, gerrymandering (setting voting districts or borders to favor certain political parties or interests), ballot design, faulty vote counting, voter registration fraud etc.and should be eliminated. 23. Burmese electoral laws under military regimes First principles regarding electoral laws are that Citizens' Rights, not State or Corporate Rights should be protected. In Burmese electoral laws under successive military regimes we find that state's rights are constantly defined, demarcated and mapped out to protect the regime's own interests at the expense of individual and group rights. For instance, the 1975 (election) law, is clearly titled, State Protection Law, Pyithu Hlutta Law No. 3, 1975, and talks of the regime's usual obsessions about "infringement of sovereignty and security of the Union of Burma . . . threat to peace of the people. . . threat of those desiring to cause subversive acts, etc." These kinds of "laws" and biased and paranoid language have no place in a real democracy. Article 3 even talks of "protecting in advance!" against "threats to security" by which one presumes it means "protective custody" a.k.a. arrest and imprisonment. The 1975 law said it could "declare a state of emergency for any territory in the country"and "may, if necessary, restrict any citizen's fundamental rights in any territory on the Union of Burma." In reality, rights are routinely abuses everywhere in Burma and it is chilling to read it in legal language. Such language as "necessary restriction" is used in this law and Article 11 mentions restriction of activity in designated territories, "designation of place where person – is to reside" "denial of travel" and "denial of possession of specific materials." The 1988 New Elections Commission Law established the figurehead commission for the 1990 elections, which turned out to be free and fair, in which the NLD won. This was in spite of the SLORC Law No. 6/88 of Sept. 30, 1988 which attempted to restrict formation of organizations and parties and asserted control by the Ministry of Home and Religious Affairs. Years after the NLD victory and even after SLORC clearly did not transfer power, in 1996 it out put a retroactive law "safeguarding the state from the danger of subversive elements." For its upcoming 2010 elections, the SPDC has not yet announced an electoral law, but it has already unilaterally held a referendum, days after Cyclone Nargis hit, and also "rigged" the Constitution so that Daw Suu is de-barred from standing for election. 24. Recommended electoral law reforms In addition to necessary constitution review and review of electoral procedures, we recommend electoral reform. Some recommendations are: Those that improve the expression of public desires in the voting process and reduce controls or restrictions biased towards reducing participation of true democratic forces and increase participation of pseudo-parties or regime-sympathetic "parties." A number of these have already been formed. Fool-proof vote counting procedures, preferably electronic, run by international agencies. Appropriate ballot design and voting booths. In 1990, there were reports of booths in which outsiders could observe how each individual voted because there was a gap in the curtain of about 6 inches from the floor, and the 2 ballot boxes were placed so far apart. Safety of voters and election workers needs to be strongly assured. Monitoring by United Nations Fair Elections Commission, International IDEA, National Democratic Institute and other volunteer international observers, entry visas for international media and right to travel all over Burma during the election. Use of UN Standards for safety of citizens, coercion, scrutiny and eligibility to vote. Extend and expand electorate to include political prisoners, Burmese overseas, Burmese migrant workers all adult members of all ethnic groups including the rohingya and Burmese minority groups in exile. Review definitions of "refugee" "citizen" "right of return" etc. Open and transparent process throughout. This time after going through another "SPDC charade" the SPDC has to honor the results if pro-democracy parties win. Before the elections it has to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, assure their safety and guarantee freedom of organization, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression. Before the elections, there has to be an open and inclusive constitutional review process. . C. An Economic Plan: Stabilization and Structural Change 25. So far, only token “economic reforms” have taken place. Major reforms are still needed. Burmese economists and political leaders support free trade and an open economy. The NLD is not advocating removing sanctions. Free trade and sanctions are not mutually exclusive. Sanctions have already been focused into financial sanctions. The main economic problems (in the agricultural sector, which is predominant) are: Monopoly of rice export by the government, non-ownership of land by farmers and annual permit required to farm, quotas demanded by government and local authorities at prices lower than market rates, lack of fertilizers and fuel and lack of a modern agricultural credit system. The "open economy" SLORC declared in 1988 was an improvement over BSPP

Short story--The Scholar--based on Professor Gordon H. Luce--by Kyi May Kaung--c. 1975. Thanks to Persons who found this for me.

The Scholar by Kyi May Kaung He was sixty years old when I first met him, already internationally renowned, nationally recognized, and at the height of his profession. I was then fourteen or fifteen—at the awkward age between childhood and adulthood—with a vague idea that I could write. How I came to know him was that my father decided one day I should meet his Saya, and we went to his house one Sunday, and thenceforth I could claim to have known an exceptional person. * The first time I was taken to meet him—Father parked the car under the line of gangaw trees near the Rangoon University Gate on Inya Road, grabbed his golf club out of the back seat, and we went into the house. (In those days I often took walks with my father around sunset, between 5 and 6 PM, on which Father would point out the trees, such as the padauk, which he said he had just fallen in love with. For protection, he always brought along one of his golf clubs.) It was certainly an unassuming room, sparsely furnished, even a little on the untidy side, but the walls were covered with glass cupboards full of books. Sayagadaw came out smiling from the kitchen, and said “Go on up stairs. He’s in the big room to the right.” Sayagyi was there writing at an old wooden table which must have been a dining table once, but was now covered by sheets of paper, photographs, some old wood carvings and a black telephone. Father at once began to tease him affectionately for working on Sunday, and he began to talk about his book, and to complain about his publishers. Then he saw me looking at the carvings, and quite abruptly, as if he'd known me all his life, he began to talk about the carvings and to show me the photographs. They were in black and white of the Bagan temples and of various pagodas and monasteries in Burma. When he talked his eyes lit up and he no longer looked old, in spite of being frail, white haired and thin. He didn't seem to mind being interrupted at his work at all. He just left the half-written page there on the desk, and gave his whole attention happily to us. And he didn't ask the inane questions that adults usually ask either. Such as, "How is school?" * If Father had had any trepidation that the visit might not be a success, he need not have worried. Next to Father, of course, I had never been so entranced by anyone before. Father used to say Saya Luce was a lousy lecturer; he digressed too much, and he had so much to say, that students often lost the trend of his lecture. And maybe it was a justified criticism. I went to hear him read a research paper once, and it was much too erudite for me. But his drawing room manner was quite different—or I could say his office manner; for over the years I began to join the hordes of his students, who would drop in to talk to him in his office; and that was how he got no work done during office hours and did much of his work at night. At such times, he was a natural leader of the conversation, a perfect Teacher. He exemplified in practice St. Thomas Aquinas’ principle of education. “You do not shout and bawl at the student to come over to you. You do not call him a fool. You take him by the hand and starting where he is, bring him over to you”. And this Sayagyi would do with infinite patience. Especially after Father died, I got to know him much better. For one thing I got into the habit of going to Sayagadaw for personal advice. She was the most practical of people and she liked to paint. She taught me how to use tempera. But usually she was too busy to take up her hobby. Naturally, with such an unworldly husband, all the practical burdens of life were hers. She saw to the money side of things; that their house was built; that their children and grandchildren were well. Once I asked her on hearing that Sayagyi had been offered a professorship abroad, why they didn’t go to live there for awhile, just for a change maybe. She just smiled and said, "You know he’ll never leave Burma; he spent his younger days studying in the West, and he didn’t like it”. And if there was regret in her voice, I did not detect it. And it was true. For someone who was sent off by his parents to study in England at the age of ten and came back from King’s College at twenty, he was the most Burmese of men. He could talk for hours on end on Burmese music and art, and up to a year before his death he used to go to nightlong pwes—much to the anxiety of Sayagadaw. Though he was a great art lover, and certainly had the opportunity to acquire many priceless pieces, he never encouraged that acquisitive Western mania of antique collecting. The pieces he needed to study, he only kept for a short time, before returning them to the Museum. Often when he went on tour, he was given antiques as presents—these he gave away again to monasteries and museums. One thing he loved was looking at Buddha images. Once I told him I was looking for a Buddha image for worship at home. I didn’t fancy all the modern ones, they were not worthy of veneration. He looked at me and said “So you are looking for a Buddha with a serene face too, are you? I'll find you one". On visits to the pagodas he would point out the Indian features of the images, the serene smiling faces, the flowing robes, the glittering gold and glass ornamentation of the buildings housing the images. And he was a very good story teller, as befitted a writer of his talent. One has only to read his short stories and plays to realize that their appeal is timeless. And children all over Burma still sing his nursery rhymes in Primary School. * Before I knew better, I used to think that he needed little effort to produce those perfect pieces, for the effect they had on the reader was certainly light and effortless. Then I realized that being the perfectionist that he was, he took great pains to create just the effect that he wanted. He always meticulously used the right word—and often in translating his own poems from Burmese into English, he would rewrite so as not to lose the cadences of the original. In fact, at times, he was meticulous to the point of fussiness. After he had twice revised the major work of his lifetime, Father took it from him to the printers, “Otherwise your magnum opus will never get published,” he used to say to his Sayagyi—to a not too happy reaction from the old man. * For a person so averse to travel him¬self, so happy just to be left alone to work, Sayagyi was always eager to urge others to travel. When I got married, he did not like it too much—one reason being that I should have seen more of the world before “settling into domesticity” at he put it. Nor did he much like my four years at Rangoon University. “Phases of study¬ing and no output” he called it. Others he always urged to observe better, to enjoy life, to do what one could. Often he would stop on our walks together to point out sunset clouds, the golden Shwedagon against stormy grey skies, the grace of a padauk tree. In his later years he became the brunt of much jealousy and ill will; for academics are as vicious as anybody else when they fight. To these attacks he did not react at all, and when many of his eminent colleagues rushed to his defense, he stopped them. I have never before or since met anyone so self-sufficient, so self-controlled, endowed with khanti-parami or Tolerance. * From him also I learnt that it is not by accident that subjects are called “disciplines”. He was most true to his discipline. In his subject matter, he took pains always to start from the groundwork up—the arduous work. And with himself he was even more disciplined. For a person who loved his family so much—his son and daughters, he could not be disturbed in his nightly writing hours. * If one visited his house during these times, one would find the house quiet—he in his working room upstairs, the door closed. But with others he was not a strict disciplinarian. Anyone could walk into his office to see him any time, and if one worked reasonably hard, about one tenth as hard as he did, he was quite satisfied. And he was the gentlest of critics, always mentioning the good points of anything he was shown, before he quietly told you what was wrong. For instance, he would admire the brilliant colors, the general effect of a painting before suggesting diffidently, “But don’t you think the perspective is a little wrong?” * I think sometimes that the reason he was later attacked so viciously was because he got on so well with the past and present leaders of the country; and his work was always so well received at home and abroad. It is an enigma how so apolitical a person as he could yet have had many personal friends in the political arena. But then he was always a steadfast friend, regardless of whether one was an eminent personage or a bruised and crying child. And it was quite true to say that he was apolitical. It wasn’t that he took no interest in, or was never worried by, the trend of current affairs. It was just that he preferred to think and to live in the thirteenth, or preferably the eleventh century—he was literally born several centuries too late. I once said to him, referring to the time when he had been in China in the 1950s, “It must have been an interesting time.” He laughed and replied, “History is only interesting when you read about it. In practice it is very uncomfortable to live through a period of great historical changes." And if some needed to be devious to rise in the world, he did not. He was the most transparent and charitable of people. What another author, Francis Bacon, wrote of a 17th century scholar in one of his famous essays fitted him to a T. His mind was like a beehive under glass—one could see all its workings and all the honey in it. Testimony to his kindness was the neighborhood children to whom he gave the run of his house. They were always running in and out of his home—and eating whatever food there was. Both Sayagyi and Sayagadaw never said a word of reproach, and the children certainly made a shambles of their home. Often I met at their house orphans of various ages, whom they were either seeing through school, or for whom they had arranged jobs and marriages, and who came every year at Thadingyut to pay their respects. As the attacks on him left him unperturbed, so also did the praise and recognition. One day his picture would be in the papers, attending a State dinner, or sitting with visiting dignitaries. The next day he would be walking casually on campus, on Bagan Road—stopping to joke with the buthigyaw (fried gourd) vendor. * Before I went on a scholarship, I went to see him. He was looking thinner than usual, and a bit tired. But he felt well enough to give me a list of things I should take pains to observe, places I should see, some of his friends I should go to visit. I remarked on his thinness. I asked him how he felt but all he said was, “I’ve the one volume still to write. I can rest afterwards. After all, at this age, one does have one foot in the grave (thin kyaing ta hpet hlan ne pyee). One can’t expect to feel as good as new”. Sayagadaw said that he should be resting, but wouldn't. I saw that she had been writing as he dictated, something he never did before. He always preferred to write everything out in longhand himself. * Christmas 1970, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the Burmese Embassy to read the Burmese newspapers and get myself up to date. In the third copy of the Kyemon (The Mirror) that I picked up, was Sayagyi's name in the obituary columns, and eulogies in all the Burmese papers. But why should I have assumed that like a national monument built of stone, he would survive forever? I could imagine the hundreds who must have attended his funeral, how distraught his family would be. I remembered what he used to say, “How much better death in old age with one's achievements behind one, than to be cut off in youth?” I wondered if he had had time to finish his memoirs. * In March, Sayagadaw replied to my letter of condolence. She was answering each letter personally, and that itself must have been a sad and massive task. She wrote that the doctors had told her that his cancer was terminal four months before he died; and that she and the children had kept it from him. But of course, he had not been fooled, and if he had not realized his own condition, he must have seen it in their faces. For, she wrote, since then he began with his usual care, to put his affairs in order. This had not taken long. As we all knew his estate was modest. Then he had taken care of the "odds and ends" she wrote. He arranged for charities; for gifts for his many adopted children. He arranged everything in advance for his own funeral, down to writing the funeral notices beforehand—he did not like to trouble others. In order not to distress his wife more, he secretly told his children of his wish to be cremated. * Since their Rangoon house was now too big, Sayagadaw wrote, she was going to Mandalay to live with her married daughter and grandchildren. She would be happier there with her grandchildren, I thought, than in that big and now empty house. She wrote that she now had time to take up religious pursuits. The stress and strain of her husband's illness and death were over. In a postscript she wrote, there were some things he had wanted distributed to friends whom she would leave in Rangoon; would I go and get the box for me when I got back home again? * Six months later I was home again. About one month after that, I remembered to go and collect the posthumous gifts from Sayagyi. There had been over a hundred cardboard boxes, the lady to whom they had been entrusted told me, but most had been taken away. There were only a few boxes left when I went. In a short while I found the box labeled "for Kyi Kyi", thanked the lady, and came home. * In the box were six pipe bowls, the kind that farmers ploughing often turn up in the fields around Bagan. A note in the box (written in a childish hand, with some spelling mistakes—one of Sayagyi’s little neighbors must have written it down for him) explained that the pipes were technically not considered antiques, so I could safely keep them without feeling I was committing a crime. Then carefully wrapped in tissue paper was an old lacquer bowl. It was chipped here and there, but the red lacquer with the etchings of the twelve-seasons were still very beautiful. The note explained that it had belonged to Saya's mother. Somewhere in the bowl, the note said, was a secret ywé seed? Ywé seeds are usually bright red, a little smaller than tamarind seeds, and used by Burmese goldsmiths to measure gold. The only time I had ever seen ywé seeds was when I went to get a ring reset that I had received as inheritance from my husband’s side of the family. It was the only thing we ever got from his father, and it was to become the only thing I ever got from him, but I did not know it then. I shook the bowl, and sure enough, something inside rattled. My sons were very much intrigued. I had all I could do to make them stop shaking that bowl. Then there was a copy of the first edition of the nursery rhymes. And last, a seated image of the Buddha carved from padauk. This was no antique—in fact the carving was quite new, the reddish wood still sweet to smell; the carving was quite rough, except for the face. In carving the robes and the torso, the carver's hands must have slipped. The wood had chipped off more than the chisel had intended. But then padauk is a notoriously hard wood to work. But none of this detracted from the serenity of that Face. I referred back to the note "The Buddha was carved by a blind man from Pegu" it read. When was it we discussed Buddha images? I tried to remember but couldn't—it must have been at least a decade ago. How characteristic that he should remember, and concern himself for others even when near his own end. I look to my Buddha quite often, more often when I am unhappy or angry. Strangely it seems to me, every time I look at it, some of its calm remains with me. It's curious. I am not normally what one would call a religious person.

Zoya Phan meets King Charles --

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Arts and Crafts--making Japanese kendo (martial arts) equipment by hand-- I'll soon be as old as this fine craftsman, and I'll keep making things too. km 2-8-2023

Springlike weather + Dallas serial murders--23 older women living alone--

Went out. Tried to send wire to Bangkok for a book--but need to go again tomorrow. Had dinner--with very good brown bread w some choc in it. Flower buds out. Remembered Inge Sargent who one year told me climate expert she spoke to said, with global warming,"Spring will get earlier and earlier." Black waitress very sweet, built like a tank or a football player. With corn rows. Reassured me "They're making new bread right now," gave me a box of that very nice chocolate flavored bread. Restaurants and stores struggling to survive. Kinkos (copy shop) still open. Read an article in AARP magazine of serial murders in Dallas of senior women 23 twenty three of them--horrific. Cover up by buildings. kmk 2-8-2023

Bertil Lintner--on death of Inge Sargent--former Hsipaw Mahadevi, Burma.

A must read--New Yorker article on attack on Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Humor, from me, from 2011--when Burma was "opening up."

Copyright Kyi May Kaung VOA inside Burma: In a white jumpsuit like Christianne Amanpour This week saw the first ever TV broadcast from inside Burma, by a Voice of America newscaster. In living memory, at least in my living memory, this has not happened openly before. Foreign correspondents routinely need to enter Burma (oops, the official name is Myanmar, often mispronounced “Mee ahn mar” – so sorry, but the word, imposed top down by the junta, sticks in my throat) declaring themselves paint salesmen or just plain tourists, on their visa application forms. So it was with surprise and some incredulity, that I watched the videos posted U Tube style at the VOA link above. What’s this thing with international women correspondents and jump suits? See “Kyra Phillips dons a khaki jumpsuit and goes to Iraq.” Technically, a jumpsuit is all one piece, and so makes peeing in a developing country which might have challenging toilet arrangements, well, challenging. You have to virtually undress to pee and do more, called Number Two in Burma, in a jumpsuit. The late dictator, General Ne Win, was known as Number One – no, seriously, he was. Harpers Bazaar says what Amanpour wears on air is a safari jacket (which has two separate pieces which aren’t sewn together). Believe me I know the difference. In Burma I sewed all my own clothes and still make all my own tops and jackets. So we see this VOA correspondent with short, black, probably black-dyed hair, and in a white western-style pants suit in the new Burmese (since 2005) capital of Naypyidaw (King’s Royal City) in the middle of Burma, which is very dusty and hot. Burmese, who are known for their wit and insouciance, call Naypyidaw – “Nay poo daw” – the royally hot place, and it sure is. Here is an internal monolog, imagined, of what might have gone through the correspondent Khin Soe Win’s head as she packed and waited for her Burmese visa, which was late, so she was not in time for new special envoy Derek Mitchell’s press conference, just before he left, at Rangoon International Airport: “It’s hot – my legs need to be covered or other Burmese will consider me a fallen woman. I can’t help it about my short hair. I need to be properly dressed as a U.S. government employee. I need to be up to international standards.” Khin Soe Win is a VOA News Editor a former Burmese diplomat who defected during the 1988 uprisings, and a daughter of the late Colonel Htun Aung Gyaw, a well-known colonel from the Ne Win era. There is no doubt that her family connections, Department of State intervention behind the scenes, and Derek Mitchell, helped get her and her videographer Zin Latt Aung their coveted Burma visas and entréz to Naypyidaw. In the interview, the democracy leader and 1994 Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, continued on the theme of “there is potential for change, but I would not say we have changed already”. The newswoman tried to put words into Daw Suu’s mouth – saying “as we now have a civilian government --” Daw Suu looked sharply at KSW, known in Maryland as Aunty Lone or Roly Poly, and then apparently decided to let it pass. It is after all a Potemkin capital, a Potemkin “democracy” and a fake everything else, and the photo opp. has all the ambience of a western movie set, complete with youngish army officers leering at KSW and empty roads waiting for a high noon shootout. But at least VOA knew to treat Daw Suu with respect. The reporter changed into a conservative Burmese skirt when interviewing Aung San Suu Kyi at her home and didn’t try the rapid fire hard ball questions that other ill-advised Burmese of questionable loyalties had tried in the past. As for the rest, we will see what we will see. *

Quote fr Salman Rushdie fr wiki--"We need to re-examine the stories in which and with which we live--

Rushdie is a critic of moral and cultural relativism. He favours calling things by their true names and constantly argues about what is wrong and what is right. In an interview with Point of Inquiry in 2006, he described his view as follows:[151] We need all of us, whatever our background, to constantly examine the stories inside which and with which we live. We all live in stories, so called grand narratives. Nation is a story. Family is a story. Religion is a story. Community is a story. We all live within and with these narratives. And it seems to me that a definition of any living vibrant society is that you constantly question those stories. That you constantly argue about the stories. In fact the arguing never stops. The argument itself is freedom. It's not that you come to a conclusion about it. And through that argument you change your mind sometimes.… And that's how societies grow. When you can't retell for yourself the stories of your life then you live in a prison.… Somebody else controls the story.… Now it seems to me that we have to say that a problem in contemporary Islam is the inability to re-examine the ground narrative of the religion.… The fact that in Islam it is very difficult to do this, makes it difficult to think new thoughts.

Salman Rushdie--Victory City I think it's NY City. I liked Joseph Anton and Haroon and the Sea of Stories best. Finished before the stabbing, he still has a rollicking, lively tone and "endless imagination" this one with a Hindu vibe. A bit like Ka. km 2-7-2023

Obituary of Howard "Tad" Sargent, husband of Inge Sargent, former Hsipaw Mahadevi

Monday, February 06, 2023

Former Hispaw (Thibaw) Mahadevi, Inge Sargent has passed away--

I think she gave up hope after her husband Howard (Tad) passed away, I Iast saw them in 2016. A very strong woman, she spoke German, English, Thai, Burmese and Shan and identified completely with the Shan people. I interviewed her 3 times, the last time when Aung San Suu Kyi's husband Dr.Michael Aris passed. At that time she told me, in Burmese, "I am Buddhist now. All my thoughts are calm." She kept asking what happened to her first husband, Hispaw Sawbwa Sao Kya Seng, who died in 1962, shortly after NW's (second) coup, of torture, in prison in Bahtoo Myo. She also told me in 2016, "I have had two excellent husbands, some people can't even find one." Such an inspiring, brave, beautiful person to have met. Read her book,Twilight over Burma. I thank Tad and Inge for their hospitality. For their work for Democracy In Burma, for their help for the Shan people, and for their support for women raped by junta soldiers. It was my honor to meet you. Sincere Condolences to her Family and folks working in her non-profit. Thanks to folks who drove me to see her. Rest in Protest. KMKaung 2-6-2023

Ukraine hit teams working across Russian border, in Russian territory.

Chinese actor- Hu Ge--sounds seriously overworked-

Chinese actor Hu Ge—sounds seriously overworked. Amazing body of work, was in serious accident. Hope he does not die like poor Godfrey Gao, who had a similar meteoric career. Most artistic creative people are traumatized. That's why there are so many suicides. We who look at, buy, read, watch their life's work, are similarly looking for Escape-- and they are fulfilling our dreams through the market place. And what about all those workers who set type, format books, sweep the floors, lay the bricks, sew the seams?? It's a kind of forgetfulness drug. It's sad but true. Just a thought. kmkaung 2-6-2023

Chinese C-drama --Nirvana in Fire--police procedural Generally I don't like plot-dependent murder mysteries but this one Nirvana in Fire is beautifully written and cast-- based on novel by Hai Yan, script (difft) also written by Hai Yan-- featuring the actor with the beautiful sensitive face and hands Hu Ge? and best, the little boy his bodyguard who fights 10 assassins with his bare hands and goes flying through the air, and eats sour green plums? 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Of course you shld start from ep 1-- also the dubbing, and/or sub titles are pretty good. I think it's more fiction and wire kungfu than real historical fiction but fact is boring and so depressing, right? I can't figure out why Turandot-like princess disappears but Prince Jing is nice. The cuts between scenes go very fast as the Advisor is advising in real time, so it's like what he advises has already happened. Female skeletons in a well, a brothel where a murder takes place etc. I think in the end the princes will kill each other and Prince J will become king, but I am not sure if Princess Nihuang will marry Jing or the Advisor, who didn't get the wolf girl in Sounds of the Desert either. Hu Ge played a man in a wheel chair on a camel on the Silk Route in the Gansu Corridor, in that series. In that movie Eddie Peng played General Hu Quobing who in real life Han Dynasty was king's male lover and died on battlefield fighting the Xiongnu (Huns). That novelist said she wrote it to extend HQ's life, which makes sense to me at least. We'll see. kmkaung 2-5-2023

Sunday, February 05, 2023

From The Guardian--obit Pervez Musharraf

Links to my books published on Amazon, including Rohingya Activists' Handbook.

Jewish survivor of Holocaust: "If I survive, I will paint."


Thank you.

We must all tell the story in our own ways.

In July I had exhibition of poetry and my B and W portraits incld of Zelensky.

Yesterday I drew 17 year old Spider killed in Sagaing.

Akhmatova was asked in line in prison if she could describe this--

she nodded.


aunty km

Dear All, A New York Times obituary of a Czech Jewish survivor  of 4 SS-run camps including Auschwitz.   Over the last 20 years since my  German friend took me on a visit to Dachau, the very first Nazi concentration camp on the outskirt of Munich, Bavaria, I have visited half dozen infamous camps in specifically Poland and Germany, including the most horrid place Auschwitz. The sight of chimneys, crematoriums, gas chambers, mass graves, as well as the victims' barracks get etched into one's memory.  The rage against the uncaring states ("state actors", so-called) -- God forbids that states adopt kindness and compassion, if you ask Mr Kissinger for wisdom of his statecraft! -- ,  and the acute pain of hearing from the museum guides the heart-wrenching tales of the SS victims' subhuman existence,  witnessing the physical conditions of their barracks and works , the sight of furnaces, electrified barbed wire fences, the sight of descendants of the perished victims and survivors in these vast killing fields in Germany and Poland are typical and recurring sensations I have felt every time I step into the compound of these museums.  This obituary resonates with me.    Every time I hear the word The Shoah or the Nazi genocide of the Jews I can't help but make a sad and rage-filled link between it and the present day Israel - the officially Jewish State with echoes of the ideology that served as the foundation of Nazi Germany.     It is, i am so painfully aware, that a highly morally  hazardous act to draw a comparison between Far Right Israel of 2023 which has as a matter of policy kept barely alive a few million Palestinians in the vast open prison called West Bank and Gaza, and the Nazi policies.   I have seen with my own eyes the triumphant display of Israeli flag by young Israeli visitors on a state-supported tour of Auschwitz (and other death camps) who wrap themselves in the flag while posing for selfies on the train tracks at the Death Entrance of Auschwitz.   I fail to understand via rationality why a population that has suffered so much systematic persecution  - and even attempted extermination - in both the Christiandom of the Old Europe    and the Enlightened Europe of Science and Renaissance have become so racist, so hateful, so vile and so inhuman towards the native population of Palestine - the Arabs of Palestine.    The rhetoric of "we have been here for 3,000 years" - often straight from the mouths of the Jewish Americans who emigrated from Brooklyn, New York is hardly any justification, intellectually or morally, for the heinous policies and acts of The Jewish State.    I stopped dialoguing with any Jewish friends of mine whose "Israel, Right or Wrong" stance forecloses any possibility of a meaningful dialogue over the subject.  Over the years,  I have lost quite a few friends and colleagues who assume that irrational attachment to something which is not exclusively theirs.     One day after the Soviets' liberation of Auschwitz - 27 Jan. - I found myself sitting in an airport cafe with two young Israeli women - in their mid-20's, my older daughter's age really - as we were all waiting for our flights to Bangkok on 2 different airlines.    They identified themselves as recently discharged IDF officers - one served for 4 years as a commander trainer and the other, an IDF spokesperson and news producer.  One identified herself as being on the Left, and the other , on the Right.  They were travelling together as friends.  I held my views of Israel to myself and I let them speak about their experiences, observations of their country's situation.    I enquired about the peace movement among Israelis.   The ex-spokeperson of IDF tensed up, and answered, "We live in peace.  IDF protects us", only to contradict herself in the course of the 30 minute conversation:  "they killed 7 people (Israeli) yesterday at a synagogue which was 2 minutes away from where I used to live)."   She went on to say that, "Israel has no partner for peace" among the Palestinians. She called Palestinians and their orhanizations "terrorists".    She insisted that Israel is "secular and modern".  And that all these international accusations of Israel being racist/apartheid or demolishing of homes of "terrorists" nothing but "smear".   The other ex-commander with her less fluent English chimed in occasionally, using her smart phone to translate her Hebrew expressions into English.   I asked if they were aware that Likud Party had terrorist origin and the founding father David Ben-Gurion would order his men to line up scores of original residents of Palestinian villages and mass-execute them - with the purpose of terrorising the Arab inhabitants from ever returning to their places of origin.   Of course, their indoctrination as Israeli or IDF officers did not correspond to or was not  based on verified historical facts.    One of the two had vacationed in my wretched racist land of Myanmar, and she raved about her beauty and loveliness of Burmese people, my people.   I interjected and said, "we call ourselves Buddhists and we perpetrated genocide against Muslim Rohingya."   But, alas, none of my words of facts registered with the one who spent 3 weeks in Myanmar.    She wanted to keep her traveller's memory of Myanmar as a "wonderful" tourist paradise.  The word genocide obviously did not mean anything to her - 1  day after the anniversary of Auschwitz liberation.    I was not disappointed by the complete Zombie-like character of our chance conversation.    I just felt despair and pain - that a people who sufferings have been so well-remembered, memorialized and commemorated and a state that has more than implicitly justified its really diabolical and violent nature of foundation have shown absolutely no humanity towards the sufferings of other fellow human populations.     David Reiff, the son of the late Susan Sontag and the famed  scholar of humanitarian industry, was actually right when he said, "Never again!" simply means never again shall the Jewish people be subject to genocide in Europe.  But this indifference to human suffering is not exclusive to Israel.    Much of Asia were sites of genocides, legally recognized or not.   Asians and Asia are doing no better      What a sad civilization!!      Have a good day!   Zarni p.s.  today is the  5th anniversary of my historian and educator mother's passing.   So, I am including a quick note of remembrance on the special day , for me.      

Fred Terna, Creator of Fiery Holocaust Paintings, Dies at 99

A prisoner at Auschwitz and three other camps, he dealt with his trauma in semiabstract art that depicted crematories, ovens and chimneys.

Fred Terna wearing a long blue smock with paint stains over a white shirt. His hands are behind him and he is looking at the camera. Behind him are several colorful paintings.
The artist Fred Terna in his Brooklyn studio in 2015. “How does one paint the near certainty of violent personal annihilation?” he once asked.Credit...Daniel Terna
Fred Terna wearing a long blue smock with paint stains over a white shirt. His hands are behind him and he is looking at the camera. Behind him are several colorful paintings.
Feb. 4, 2023

Fred Terna, an artist who tried to exorcise the psychological trauma of his imprisonment in four Nazi concentration and labor camps with semiabstract paintings that depict fire, ashes and chimneys, died on Dec. 8 in Brooklyn. He was 99.

His son, Daniel, confirmed the death, which was not widely reported.

Mr. Terna’s art became his Holocaust testimony. In acrylic works like “In the Likeness of Fire” and “An Echo of Cinders,” he painted in reds, yellows, oranges and blues to illustrate the flames that incinerated Jews in crematories. In some paintings, he used sand pebbles to represent ashes.

“I know how the fire of a crematorium chimney casts flickering light on a barrack wall,” he wrote in 1984 for the Berman Archive at Stanford University, which documents American Jewish communities. “How does one paint the near certainty of violent personal annihilation? How does one paint, and then make a viewer want to stop, to look at a canvas, to react to it?”

He added, “As there are fewer and fewer of us, I feel the increasing weight of the promise we made to each other in Auschwitz, in Dachau and in so many other places:

“If I survive, I will tell what it was like. I paint.”

A painting showing a long streak of red topped with outlines of circles, one of which is filled with more red paint.
Mr. Terna’s “Ascent in Fire” (2003). “I’d call his work representing the Holocaust beautiful even if the imagery is not beautiful,” one curator said.Credit...Fred Terna
A painting showing a long streak of red topped with outlines of circles, one of which is filled with more red paint.

“An Absence in the Fire” suggests an open door into an oven, in which a figure appears to be aflame. “Lasting Drift,” painted mostly in shades of black and blue, shows a chimney belching smoke, with small sticks in the foreground that represent bones.

“I’d call his work representing the Holocaust beautiful even if the imagery is not beautiful,” Suzy Snyder, a curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, to which Mr. Terna donated two dozen works, said in a video interview. In the same interview, Fred Wasserman, another curator, said, “I don’t think his work looks like anything else in our collection.”

Daniel Terna said that even when his father’s work was lighthearted, his paintings still evoked fire. “With greens and blues,” he said by phone, “the form of flames was still there.”

A painting with a deep bluish background and orange paint in the shape of flames, topping a dark rectangle, with geometric orange shapes at the bottom.
“In the Likeness of Fire” (1983).Credit...Fred Terna
A painting with a deep bluish background and orange paint in the shape of flames, topping a dark rectangle, with geometric orange shapes at the bottom.

Writing in Bomb magazine in 2016, the critic Stephen Westfall noted that one of Mr. Terna’s paintings depicts what looks like a white snow patch or pond surrounded by light brown earth. But, he wrote, “The image actually derives from a snow-covered pit of corpses.”

The anger that Mr. Terna felt at the war in Ukraine led him to create another flame-themed painting last year. “Putin’s moves just triggered that in him,” his son said.

Bedrich Arthur Taussig was born on Oct. 8, 1923, to a Czech family in Vienna. His father, Jochanan, known as Jan, worked in the maritime insurance business. His mother, Lona (Herzog) Taussig, was a homemaker.

Fred, his parents and his younger brother, Tommy, soon moved to Prague, where Fred’s mother died of pneumonia in 1932. With the threat of Nazism growing, Fred’s father changed the family name to Terna to sound less Jewish.

But the Ternas were not safe. After the German invasion of the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939, Fred was expelled from high school in Prague because he was Jewish. His father sent him into hiding to a farm outside Prague, where he stayed until the fall of 1941.

But when the Gestapo learned he was there, he was sent to the Lipa labor camp in Prague; after two years, he was moved to Theresienstadt, also in Czechoslovakia, which was a ghetto as well as a transit, labor and concentration camp. His father and his girlfriend from Prague, Stella Horner, were also there.

A canvas of dark colors, with red at the top, blue in the center and black at the bottom. a faded rectangle is visible toward the left.
Mr. Terna’s “Lasting Drift” (2015) shows a chimney belching smoke.Credit...Fred Terna
A canvas of dark colors, with red at the top, blue in the center and black at the bottom. a faded rectangle is visible toward the left.

Although he was untrained, Mr. Terna began to draw at Theresienstadt and became part of a group of artists there who scrounged for good paper and any raw material they could turn into ink. He buried his sketches of everyday life there in a tin box under the barracks floor.

Before being deported to Auschwitz in September 1944, Mr. Terna gave his drawings of everyday events, like people lining up for soup, to another prisoner, believing he would never see them again. He had spent only two months in Auschwitz when he was deported to Kaufering, a subcamp of Dachau. After an unsuccessful escape attempt, he was liberated by American troops on April 27, 1945.

Sick and weighing only 70 pounds, he convalesced at a hospital, where he began painting scenes from Auschwitz, as well as landscapes.

“Much later, looking at my landscapes I noticed that there were walls and fences in many of them,” he was quoted as saying by the Defiant Requiem Foundation, which honors the prisoners of Theresienstadt. “It taught me that the memory of the Shoah was a part of me, and that it would not go away, and that I would have to live with it.”

His father died in Auschwitz, and his brother died in the Treblinka extermination camp.

After returning to Prague, Mr. Terna reunited with Stella Horner, his girlfriend. They married in 1946 and moved to Paris, where he studied art and worked as a bookkeeper for the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish relief agency. They left for Canada in 1951 and later moved to Manhattan. (They would divorce in 1975.)


Mr. Terna was not part of the Abstract Expressionist movement that had taken hold after the war, but he adapted it to his artistic vision, particularly in his use of sand and pebbles to create texture in his canvases. In addition to his Holocaust art, which he began in the 1980s, he painted circles as symbols of life’s continuity and representational pieces depicting angels and biblical stories like that of Abraham and Isaac.

Mr. Terna as a younger man wearing a suit and tie and lying in a grassy field while propping himself up on one elbow and looking at the camera.
Mr. Terna in 1946. He began to draw when he was a prisoner at Theresienstadt, and he buried his sketches in a tin box under the barracks floor.Credit...via Daniel Terna
Mr. Terna as a younger man wearing a suit and tie and lying in a grassy field while propping himself up on one elbow and looking at the camera.

He never became famous, but he made a living as an artist, with occasional freelance jobs like designing wallpaper. “He sold his paintings at frame shops, to people in the neighborhood, to therapists looking for paintings in their offices,” Daniel Terna said.

In addition to his son, Mr. Terna is survived by his wife, Rebecca Shiffman, a child of Holocaust survivors, with whom he lived in Brooklyn.

After he and Dr. Shiffman, the director of maternal fetal medicine at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, married in 1982, they spent their honeymoon in Israel and visited a kibbutz that had a museum dedicated to the memory of victims of Theresienstadt.

Mr. Terna had been searching in libraries and archives for his drawings, which he had not signed because he did not want to be identified.

In 2017, in an email to a German researcher, he recalled his thoughts before visiting the museum: “If any of my work survived, it probably is ascribed to another artist. If that was the case, I would be satisfied. The record is more important than the originator.”

The record, at least a small part of it, had survived.

“The curator did not know specifically what was in storage, but allowed Fred and Rebecca to look through the boxes,” Julia Mayer wrote in “Painting Resilience: The Life and Art of Fred Terna” (2020). “In the middle of a file of unidentified art, they found six of Fred’s works.”

Richard Sandomir is an obituaries writer. He previously wrote about sports media and sports business. He is also the author of several books, including “The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic.” @RichSandomir


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