Letters to the Editor — November, 2010
covering burma and southeast asia
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Letters to the Editor — November, 2010

By THE IRRAWADDY Monday, November 1, 2010

(Page 2 of 17)

I can confirm that there are ongoing investigations as to whether the Danish Burma Committee has lived up to its obligations in this regard. As a consequence, further funding to the Danish Burma Committee cannot be considered until the matter is resolved. It is unfortunate that this situation also affects other project partners of the Danish Burma Committee. It is a matter that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively is looking to resolve.

It is obvious that you are dissatisfied with the Danish Embassy’s decision to not include The Irrawaddy in our project portfolio for 2011; a decision that could of course be subject to renewed consideration should The Irrawaddy in the future show needed progress on and demonstrate commitment towards pursuing agreed targets.

I would have preferred to continue the close dialogue between The Irrawaddy and the Embassy rather than enter into a public debate on the nature and details of contractual agreements between our two organizations, but I sincerely hope that I with this letter have brought some clarity to the apparent misunderstandings in your accounts regarding the Danish support to Burma in general and The Irrawaddy in specific.

Michael Sternberg,

Related Link: “Burma Betrayed?” [Oct. 19,

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 ...

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