Thu 28 Jul 2005
Filed under: News,Press Release
July 27: 1) The American Museum of Natural History (which is located in Central Park, New York) has planned an expensive trip to Burma from October 10-26th, 2004. This is in direct defiance of Burma’s democracy movement led by 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, whom has called for a boycott of all travel to Burma. It also shockingly undermines the mission of the Museum itself, by glossing over the realities of Burma in favor of an idealized, completely false reality. As if that weren’t bad enough, the trip feeds into the ruling military regime’s modern form of slavery, which the United Nations has linked to the military regime’s tourist industry.
Are the ruling regime’s torture chambers, prisons, and forced labor camps are on the trip itinerary? NO.
Will participants be speaking to Aung San Suu Kyi? NO, because she is UNDER ARREST.
Will participants be speaking to the thousands of women who have been raped in a brutal ethnic-cleansing campaign against Burma’s ethnic minorities? NO.
Does the Museum admit any of this on its website? NO. Instead, its
website glosses over the harsh realities of life in Burma, calling on
participants to join the tour so that they can see “smiling villagers
showing off their hand-thrown pottery,” and “explore Burma’s charming capital city of Rangoon, the stupa- and temple-studded region of Pagan, and indescribably beautiful Inle Lake, with its iconographic leg-rowing fishermen.” For a Museum that is supposedly committed to bringing education and TRUTH to the world, this is shocking.
2) Send an email to: Ellen V Furter, President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, write to her at:
American Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park W
New York, NY 10024
Or, send a fax to: 212-313-7990
3) Sample Script
Please DO NOT cut and paste this email, it is much more effective if you write your own. But here are a few suggested points:
Dear President Furter,
I am writing/ calling to object to your organization’s planned visit to
Burma this October.
–I am shocked to discover that the American Museum of Natural History would be planning this trip, since it is so contradictory to its mission of promoting education and greater awareness of what is happening in the world.
–This trip will give participants a gross misconception of conditions in Burma by promoting historic and natural sites while ignoring what many consider to be the single most brutal military regime in the world, that utilizes slave labor camps, political prisoners, and the regime’s other abuses.
–Tourism is an important source of income that Burma’s military regime needs to finance its terror and subsidize the wealth of its leaders.
–The military regime receives a lot of money from visa fees and
government-controlled tourism entities as well as license fees from
–According to the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, Burma’s regime uses forced labor – a modern form of slavery – to develop its tourist infrastructure.
–Many thousands of Burmese people have been forcibly removed from their homes to make way for tourism developments or as part of so-called “beautification” projects.
–Burma’s 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi has called on tourists to avoid travel to Burma until there is freedom and democracy in the country. By traveling to the country, you are directly defying the calls for support from this world hero.
–I will be boycotting the Museum in New York and TELLING ALL OF MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY to do the same.
–Other: According to Amnesty International and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, there are over 1,400 political prisoners, including 14 elected members of Parliament, who are locked up behind bars by the regime. Millions of Burmese have been pressed into what the International Labor Organization, a UN agency, calls “a modern form of slave labor”. Burma is ranked “Not Free” by the Freedom
House’s annual report. Burma’s dictator Than Shwe was ranked the fifth most repressive dictator in the world by Parade Magazine. Human Rights Watch has documented the Burmese regime’s conscription of up to 70,000 child soldiers, far more than any other country in the world. According to the US Committee for Refugees and Refugees International, there are between 600,000 and one million internally displaced persons in Burma, hiding in the jungle and being hunted down by the regime’s soldiers and killed on a daily basis.