Slorc-run papers revive anti- Suu Kyi campaign
August 4 , 1995
Three weeks after they surprised the world by releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from house detention, Burma’s military rulers have renewed their propaganda war against the popular opposition leader.
An article in Tuesday’s edition of the official New Light of Myanmar indirectly criticized Suu Kyi and suggested the military rulers have no intention to relax their iron-fisted grip on the country.
The article’s author, U Phyoe, said that “an ordinary Burmese has other things in mind despite their usual rhetoric of forgiveness, unity and cooperation.
“Unlike [karen insurgent leader] Bo Mya and drug warlord Khun Sa, this ‘person’ has urged the international community to wait first to see if the junta is laying the groundwork for democratization and national reconciliation before resuming aid toBurma,” the article said.
“This person is jealous and envious of Slorc’s achievement,” the article noted. “It is the 45 million people of Burma who are going to directly benefit from such foreign assistance,” it said.
U phyoe said that “several sympathetic countries in the east” were getting ready to help. However, the writer seemed to overlook japan, may start giving assistance only because the junta has released Suu Kyi.
He also said that Slorc was doing I ts best to bring its diverse national groups together. “The only government capable of really achieving so much progress swiftly in promothing the people’s living standards, in developing towns and the countryside… is the present government,” he wrote.
The article appeared the same day as Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw resiterated Rangoon’s position that Suu Kyi had no future in domestic politics. Speaking at thi s week’s Asean annual meeting of foreign ministers in Burnei, he said that Suu Kyi’s marriage to a foreigner and certain “foreign assistance” she has received were likely to p reclude her from every participating in politics.
A constitution being drawn up by a military-appointed body contains a clause barring anyone married to a foreigner from taking part in politics. It also guarantees the military a “leading role” in politics.
Media sources in Rangoon also reported that some person known to be “anti-Suu Kyi” are planning to release statements and articles in the state-run newspapers and television. Private magazines whose editors sought to interview Suu Kyi have also been threatened with closure, they said.
The apparent campaign to undermine Suu Kyi’s political popularity coincided with an increasing number of outing by high-ranking junta figurs.
New education minister U Pan Aung, has been touring and inspecting school in Rangoon, telling teachers to keep students in the classrooms and to stay away from politics. A student said U Pan Aung told them not to visit “the house” at University Avenue, a refernce to Suu Kyi’s residence. But a Rangoon source said many students have already been three.
U Pan Aung was accompained on his visits by powerful military intelligence chief, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, who is also chairman of the Myanmar Education Committee and a patron of the Leading committee for the celebration this year of Rangoon University’s diamond jubilee. Khin Nyunt himself is an alumnus of Rangoon University.
After his visit, photo of Khin Nyunt posing with fellow alumni and new students at Sagaing, Bago and Inwa halls started appearing in state-controlled newspapers. But most students said they did not pose willingly with Khin Nyunt. “We are afraid that we would be punished if we refused,” said a student. Up until her surpris release, University students had been planning to stage demonstrations and street protests this momth. But many have since decided to wait and see what happens next. “We should heed what Daw Suu Kyi said to the street,” a student in Rangoon said.
Other senior members of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), including Vice-Chairman Gen Maung Aye and Secretary Two Lt Gen Tin Oo, paid visits to upper, central Burma and the Irrawaddy delta regions.
Stat-controlled newspaper have bee3n filled with reports on th activities of the top brass. One Rangoon resident said Slorc’s leaders have been visiting and inspecting the same areas.
“Now that Daw Suu Kyi has been released, they [Slorc leaders] are busy brushing up their image,” said another resident.
On July 10, the day Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, Slorc Chairman Senior Gen Than Shwe addressed the opening ceremony of the Management Course No 6 for Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) Executive Committee members in Rangoon, which Slorc established in 1993. It is a massbased organization, which could be transformed into a political party. Some branded it as similar to Indonesia’s of 1.67 million out of the nearly two million candidates who have expressed interest have been able to meet all eventualities because of its love for the nation. Recently, 22 USDA members were sent to jakarta, Indonesia to attend a youth festival.
Two days before the release of Suu Kyi, the New light of Myanmar ran a series of articles on the “Destiny of th Nation 24.” The author, usuing the penname Nawratha and believed to be a military intelligence officer, implied that Burmese were delighted to see the meeting between Suu Kyi and Slorc leaders in 1994. “The masses were delighted to see some footage of this meeting in anticipation of a solution to the crisis.” It descussions the second meeting, wh ich was held on Oct 28, 1994, as focusing on “discussions between the Na-wa-ta (Slorc) leaders and Daw Aung San Su Kyi that would surely contribute to national reconciliation.”
However, Nawratha said all hopes were dashed when a press statement from Suu Kyi appeared in Bangkok in January, 1995 shortly after her husband Dr Michal Aris visited her.