Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Mr. Speaker, in this week where we as a House voted to reform the United Nations, hold them accountable for their actions, I rise to talk about a place in the world where the United Nations is not, but where it ought to be, and a brave woman who is doing the work of the entire United Nations.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to salute a woman born on June 19, 1945. I would like to read a poem that she wrote:

``Emerald cool we may be, as water in cupped hands. But of that we might be, as splinters of glass, in cupped hands.''

This poem was written by a lady who may be small in stature, but is a giant and noble in character. She carries no weapons, commands no Army; yet this lady actually brings fear into the hearts of at least 400,000 sinister armed soldiers in her native country of Burma. The lady I am referring to is Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the pro-democracy movement in Burma whom the Burmese people affectionally refer to as ``The Lady.''

She is unassuming, but her vision for her country brings fright in the whole army of despots and tyrants that occupy her nation.

In her poem she says even though she and the rest of the pro-democracy movement are emerald cool and as harmless as water in cupped hands, their stand for liberty and democracy is like glass splinters in the hands of the military tyrants that have a stranglehold on her own nation of Burma.

Most Americans do not know where Burma is, much less hear about what occurs in this nightmare of a country. Burma's military regime has created a human rights nightmare for its people. It even arms children, 12, 13 and 14 year olds, and makes them become soldiers. Over 70,000 kids, more than any other country in the world, are armed and fighting for this nation's tyrants.

There are over 1,400 political prisoners who are locked up for supporting this basic concept of human rights and democracy. For something that is as trivial as owning an unauthorized fax machine, listening to radio signals, people are imprisoned in Burma for up to 7 years by the military.

Up to 2 million Burmese have fled the country as refugees and migrants. For those who remain in this country, a brutal campaign by the tyrants in control includes burning the villages and destruction of rice supplies. Killings by the Burmese military regime have resulted in the forcible displacement of 500,000 to a million people, civilians, people in Burma hiding from the military, hiding in their own nation.

These people cannot flee into neighboring Thailand, nor can they return to their homes. They are refugees within their country, unable to grow food and living in extreme poverty, all because of the military tyrants that control this nation.

Aung San Suu Kyi remains steadfast in her calls against the Burmese junta's reign of terror. Though under house arrest for 10 of the past 15 years by these evildoers, Aung San Suu Kyi has led her political party to an 82 percent victory in Burma's last election. While she should be the democratic leader of this country, the outlaw military regime annulled the results of the election.

Mr. Speaker, 2 years ago just before her most recent arrest, this regional hero was almost assassinated. In May 2003 when she was briefly arrested from house arrest, she took a trip to the Burmese countryside. The military regime forced hundreds of criminals out of jail and shaved their heads so they would look like Buddhist monks. They were drugged up on methamphetamine and ordered to attack this lady. Her car was in the middle of a motorcade, and in the middle of the night these criminals used clubs and iron rods to beat to death 100 of her supporters who were watching her.

Aung San Suu Kyi has never committed a crime. She is the mother of two children. Her husband passed away outside of Burma, and the regime refused to grant him a visa to spend his dying days with his wife. Despite overwhelming oppression, the Burm