Commentary: Longing for my home


(Mizzima) – On the 14th Waxing of Kasone, the moon looks down on our refugee camp and splashes its light upon us. The breeze blowing from Noe Boe Mountain just after the rain brings the scented smell of earth. I recollect Myoma Nyein’s ‘Let’s stay two of us alone under the moonlight’, thinking of the Maha Myaing forest and the reflection of moonlight in the Irrawaddy.

But there’s no chit-chat under the moonlight here. There’s no spacious ground for us to freely enjoy. There’s no one roaming after 9 o’clock in the night as a standing curfew is imposed. Everybody in the refugee camp has to stay in their huts. Some try to fall asleep, while some who cannot sleep try to interpret the lyrics of Myoma Nyein’s ‘Two of us alone’. In this way, the entire refugee camp is silent and quiet and eventually falls asleep as the full moon slowly rises.

Under such moonlight my son and I once slept on a riverboat on the Chindwin after visiting Kalemyo prison to meet my imprisoned husband. The waves on the river rocked the boat which lulled to sleep my son. Though my son fell asleep I could not sleep on that night because of worrying about my beloved husband languishing in jail and our future. I cried silently. The thought of being unable to look at the moon and my husband from the same roof deeply hurt me. The full moon of Tazaungmone (November) only worsened my pining and longing.

Small huts lined the banks of the Chindwin in the reed forest; the lanterns on fishing boats flickering in the dark. Zats (theatrical companies) were performing their dances and drama so the boatmen informed us that we would make a stopover to enjoy the festival. Passengers heartily welcomed the news. But the deeply wearied mother and son could not enjoy the Zats. I stayed to spend the night on the boat along with the old women.

In the monsoon season, travelling the Chindwin is perilous because of the notorious whirlpools. Boatmen run their engines slowly when they reach these whirlpools and passengers pray to gods and deities for their lives, feeding all the water creatures inhabiting the depths to insure safe passage. Continue reading “Commentary: Longing for my home”

U Win Tin unhappy over EU parleys with junta

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Though European Union’s extension of its existing economic sanctions against Burma for one more year was welcomed by the National League for Democracy (NLD), Win Tin, a senior leader  was unhappy with its decision to continue parleys  with the junta.

“When we wanted them to apply more pressure on the junta, they still wanted to talk with the regime. We are unhappy with this,” Win Tin a Central Executive Committee member of NLD said.

Given that the appalling human rights situation has not shown any improvement, European Union foreign ministers decided to extend sanctions against military-ruled Burma for one more year at a meeting in Luxemberg on April 26. At the same time the meeting decided to send a diplomatic mission to Burma for parleys with the junta.

Western countries should persuade veto power holders like China and Russia to take practical actions on Burma through the United Nations Security Council, such as  weapons sanctions and strong diplomatic pressure, Win Tin said.

EU had imposed sanctions against Burma since 1996. These include, ban on sale of weapons to Burma, halt to visas for regime officials, their families and their cronies so that they are unable to visit EU countries, stopping aid, except humanitarian aid, sealing bank accounts of Burmese military officials, and restricted diplomatic relations with Burma.

The judges, who initiated legal action against Aung San Suu Kyi were added to the sanction list last year. EU has also called for the unconditional release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

However, the chairman of the Union of Myanmar National Political Force, Aye Lwin, who has opposed sanctions by western countries, since 2006, said it is impractical.

“The sanction is a negative approach, where it ignores the political, economical and social opportunities of Burmese people while we proceed towards democracy”, he told Mizzima. Continue reading “U Win Tin unhappy over EU parleys with junta”

Press Scrutiny and Registration Division director to be promoted

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Ministry of Information’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Division’s, will be promoted to a position within a different department.

As he is to become Deputy Chief Director in another department also under the Ministry of Information, Lieutenant Colonel Myo Myint Aung will assume the position vacated by the departure of Major Tint Swe.

Lieutenant Colonel Myo Myint Aung joined PSRD as a Joint Director. Meanwhile, concerns have arisen over the possibility that rules and regulations governed by the PSRD will become stricter.

“Every time there is a change in the PSRD’s director position there is more censorship regarding the literature and media community. In fact, it would be best if there is nobody to mismanage the post,” commented one experienced magazine editor.

Major Tint Swe has worked as a director in the PSRD since 2005. Prior to joining the PSRD he worked at Myawaddy Magazine House. He has penned some articles under the alias ‘Ye Yint Tint Swe’.

The PSRD censors not only news media, but also songs, religious books, biographies, historical and political works.

Writers, musicians and artists – referencing Japan’s fascist police that occupied much of Burma during World War II – contemptuously refer to the division as “Literature Kempatai”.