Vultures Over Burma

Vultures Over Burma

This morning a close colleague and Burma Watcher was approached by men we have never heard of before — To all the men and women who sing change change change Mee-ahn mar – we never heard of you before 30 years in the Burma Watcher field first learn the...
President Suu Kyi?

President Suu Kyi?

In November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi, the well-known dissident and leader of the National League for Democracy political party, was released from house arrest by Burmese President Thein Sein’s newly elected government. Afterwards, her party went on to win 43 out...
Will the Burma Road End in Democracy?

Will the Burma Road End in Democracy?

Most visitors to Myanmar these days, when the country is opening up, limit their trips to Yangon, better known in better times as Rangoon. They rarely make the five-hour trip to Naypyitaw, the site upcountry to which the ruling military regime has transferred the...
Is Burma Really Changing?

Is Burma Really Changing?

The notoriously powerful military junta of Burma is loosening its grip. In an uncharacteristic move, former army general Thein Sein, who came to power in March, thwarted the Chinese-funded $3.6-billion Myitsone dam project in the state of Kachin, relenting to...
Burma’s Big Brother

Burma’s Big Brother

With Western sanctions and endemic levels of corruption, Burma’s economy has typically been of little interest to international investors, except for those with significant strategic interests. Desperate and unstable, the country has been left wide open for...
Burma’s Junta: Can a Tiger Change Its Stripes?

Burma’s Junta: Can a Tiger Change Its Stripes?

Since at least the fake elections of November 2010, the Burmese junta has floated the fiction that it is now a “civilian government” with a real parliamentary process in place at the Potemkin capital of Naypyidaw, or “The Seat of the King.”...
War on Roaches

War on Roaches

Declared. First a roach killer in a spray to set down boundaries in this un-roach-proof house with a gaping lower right corner. Set up the four cuts cut support cut food cut water cut communications still see stray guerilla roaches, though all food including edible...

Myanmar May Be Closer to Becoming Burma Again Than You Think

As a concession to demands for reform, the generals of Myanmar’s ruling junta permitted elections in 2010. Rigged, though, they resulted in a victory for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. While long-time junta chief Than Shwe stepped...

Burma’s Ethnic Insurgencies Erupt in a Chain Reaction

The respective rebellions of Burma’s (or Myanmar, as its government prefers it be called) three largest ethnic minorities are, for once, all aflame at the same time. At Asia Times Online, Brian McCartan writes: “Myanmar moved closer to civil war in recent...
Why Burma’s Ethnic Minorities Become Refugees to Thailand

Why Burma’s Ethnic Minorities Become Refugees to Thailand

(Pictured: Karen refugee camp in Mae Sot, Thailand.) Recently Foreign Policy in Focus excerpted a new book titled Nowhere to be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma’s Military Regime (McSweeney’s Voice of Witness series), edited by Maggie Lemere and...
Nowhere to be Home

Nowhere to be Home

This month, McSweeney’s Voice of Witness releases Nowhere to be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma’s Military Regime, edited by Maggie Lemere and Zoë West. Nowhere to be Home is a collection of oral histories exposing the realities of life under...

Burma’s Junta Built to Last

In the aftermath of the apparent transfer of nuclear technology and know-how from North Korea to Burma, the latter, reports Bertil Lintner at Asia Times Online, could soon be penalized with more international sanctions. The prospect of that happening — and...

Change in Burma?

The Burmese government has recently announced a number of political changes that have caught the attention of the international community. It has announced that a new constitution will soon be completed in time for a nation-wide referendum in May. More dramatically,...