Letters to the Editor — October, 2010
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Letters to the Editor — October, 2010

By THE IRRAWADDY Thursday, October 14, 2010


Thursday, October 20, 2010
Lets Our Sister Walk Free

This message is coming through me in a moment of possibility for us as human beings.  October 13, 2010 is a month before November 13, 2010 when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is legally due to be released after 15 years of house arrest.

I speak as a daughter of the earth, as a daughter of South East Asia, as a daughter of Malaysia, as a daughter of Borneo, and as a daughter of my father.  This land has seen so much loss over the past century, losses that we carry deep within our bones.  Losses of fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, husbands, brothers, sons, grandsons.  Losses which until today tug at our hearts, pulling us apart from ourselves, our families, our communities, our planet.  My mother lost her father and grandfather to war, my grandmother lost her husband and father to war, my great grandmother lost her husband to war.  This story is not unique to my family.  The women rose to head and protect their homes and communities -- I am both humbled and proud to descend from this lineage of women.

Aung San Suu Kyi lost her father who led Burma's independence movement and was assassinated when she was two.  Her mother stepped up and also offered her life in service of the people of Burma.  Suu Kyi continued their legacy and led the National League for Democracy to a landslide victory, but was never allowed to fulfill her role as the elected leader of Burma; the Burmese junta had placed her under house arrest even as she was campaigning and she has spent 15 of the last 21 years in detention.  She could not see her husband when he was dying of cancer— he was not allowed into Burma and had she left (something the junta did allow), she would not have been allowed back in.  She also has two sons.

As a woman and a mother, standing in our shared history, and leading in my community for a more just and balanced world of co-existence, my heart connects to hers in kindredness.  Her loss is my loss, her pain is my pain, her family is my family, her people are my people.  I cannot feel free if my sister is not.  I am not free if she is not.

I ask the junta, I ask those who can hear, I ask those who can influence—please open your hearts to all that we (you and I and she) have lost, that within the earth we unite no matter our flag, that the pain and sorrow in our legacies are one, and that forgiveness and healing is calling to us.  No more losses from war.  No more losses at each other's hands.  Please.  Please. Our hearts break just as our Mother's heart breaks.  We need our men home, we need our families whole, we need our communities together, we need our nations connected, we need oneness.  Or all is lost.

To my fellow earth citizens, if we focus our energy and our intention on this possibility over  the next month—of justice, of truth, of healing, of freedom—I know our daughter-sister-mother Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will walk on ... free on November 13, 2010.

For the earth,
Cynthia Clare ong Gaik Suan
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
NLD (LA) Have Clean Hands

I write in reference to your article dated Saturday, 02 October 2010, “UNHCR Affiliates Accused of Refugee Corruption” in which it was alleged that NLD (LA) Malaysia is “cheating money out of people who want refugee registration”.

For the past several months NLD(LA) Malaysia has been collecting names and basic information of members who are in need of protection and cannot return to Burma. This process has involved traveling to various states in Malaysia in order to collect biographical information, which is then passed on to UNHCR for registration purposes. This process has involved traveling over 480 Kms to four states in Malaysia in order to ensure that our members’ information is shared with UNHCR. All of this has been done using our membership funds, as well as personal funds of individual members working on a voluntary basis with NLD(LA). The traveling and communication costs involved in this process were therefore absorbed either personally by members of NLD(LA), or through our membership fees.

The person interviewed for the article also alleges that he paid a membership fee of 60 Malaysian Ringits per month to the organization in the hopes of getting registered for resettlement and was overlooked for others who had paid more money.

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