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The Committee for Democracy in Burma has traditionally organized a dinner function to commemorate the landslide victory of the NLD party in the 1990 general elections. Every year we manage to draw a considerable number of people, which is essential to make this event successful. Thanks to the loyal supporters and sympathizers, the dinner for year 1999 has been a resounding success. I truly believe we achieved what we set out to do at this dinner which is to remind the audience that our fight for democracy is far from over and that their support really counts.

U Than Lwyn from FTUB, who recently arrived from the border area made it very clear in his speech how much our support means to those fighting for democracy at the front line. We must also believe that our efforts will not be in vain. Persevere and the day will come when Burma will be free from this evil regime.

The presence of Justice Marcus Einfeld and his encouraging words are indeed a shot in the arm for us. The judge, who is also our patron, a staunch supporter of democracy and a very prominent human rights campaigner, is a true friend of the Burmese people. We are indebted to him for all that he has done and is doing for Burma. I hope the portrait of Daw Aung San Su Kyi presented to him at the function will inspire him as he continues to help our cause.

We also thank the representative of the Foreign Minister Senator John Tierney in taking the trouble to attend our dinner and explaining to us the Government’s policy on Burma. He has promised us that he will give our message to the Foreign Minister about the importance of recognizing the Committee Representing the Peoples Parliament. We hope to hear from him soon. In a democratic country like Australia, ordinary people can approach Ministers and present a point of view even though it may be contrary to that of the government. It is so different from Burma!

Reverend Bill Crews, another human rights crusader was also there to lend us his support. On behalf of CDB I would like to thank the Father Bill Crews and his assurance of continued support. I hope his prayers to free Burma from this unfortunate situation will be answered very soon.

I thank Amanda Zappia who from her sick bed sent a strong message of support. She gives her services, time and expertise to the cause so sincerely and tirelessly. Puts some of us to shame.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of CDB for their tireless effort in preparing every little detail for the dinner. Our secretary U Maung Maung Myint and his gang for a job well done. The catering arrangements and the arduous task of serving and cleaning up were performed so cheerfully and willingly. Our thanks also go to Aunty Daw Khin Pyone for her wonderful cooking. Everybody enjoyed the meal so much that they are looking forward to attending the dinner next year when we hope to be celebrating the restoration of democracy.

Our treasurer Aunty Ida charmed the audience with her usual witty remarks to make this function a lively and memorable one. Her enthusiasm makes her look 20 years younger and we wish her to live to be 120 years for her contribution to the cause is unparalleled and invaluable. Her rendition of "We shall overcome" to close the program is a hard act to follow.

A big thank-you also goes to CDB songsters for their brilliant rendering of "Kaba-ma-kyay-boo". The song was most stirring and meaningful and those guests who did not understand Burmese followed the English translation and were moved. I believe that this song should be sung on occasions like this and publicised more widely.

Last but not least I would like to thank Dr. Myint Soe for doing such a wonderful job as Master of Ceremonies. He certainly is a master in more than medicine. I do not think there will be any opposition if I nominate Dr. Soe to be the M.C for all CDB activities.

All in all I am very pleased with the way things went on the night of the dinner. It was a classic example of great teamwork and the members of CDB can be very proud of that. I am very honored to be associated with such hard working and committed members and in all sincerity I say Thank You All.. Obstacles are seldom the same size tomorrow as they are today. Let us all press on, persist and persevere in our march to freedom.


Desmond Than Naing
Committee for Democracy in Burma
Sydney Australia.