It’s been a while since the black (electronic) ink hit this blog’s (as well electronic) paper but I haven’t forgotten about it (not actually sure if anyone reads it anyway). Lately I was spamming people on Facebook with articles, news, editorials, etc on Thai and Burmese politics, global issues and some other countries as well but mostly the two countries mentioned before. As I don’t want to lose any of my FB friends (not that I care about the real one’s LOL), I’ll stop doing so (at least the amount of posts will become significantly smaller).
The concept is pretty simple: I’ll read the articles, write a little summary (of one or two) and then everyone can choose which one to read… (and therefore your FB life, aaaahhh, news feed stays clear of my spam posts). Updates will occur weekly or so as the stories will repeat itself if done on a daily basis.
Enjoy and please feel free to comment! The first post will deal with Burma as I’ve gathered quite an extensive amount of interesting articles on this country lately.
Side note to all my friends from Burma and Thailand: I’m not an expert on those two countries and I am definitely not always right. So if you disagree or if you feel offended, my apologies upfront. But please let me know in case, so I will know better afterwards. Thank you very much!
Some basic information on the current situation in Burma first (because it’s the first post on this country): the military ruled this beautiful country from 1962 until 2011. There was an election of a “civilian” government in 2010, which was won by the military. Well, not the military itself but old generals that have been in power, retired just before the election and now will stay in power to run/ruin the country as they’ve been “elected” (forced to do so, fraudulent techniques, etc.) – and a quarter of the seats in the house was reserved for them anyway… so you understand how “civilian” and “free” the whole story is. The whole election was condemned as fraud by the international society; still nothing really happened. Several sanctions are still in place, mostly of an economic nature. The people who get hit mostly are the already very poor citizens of the nation.
There are many states and ethnic groups in the country unsatisfied, fighting the government or on the run as the people have been suppressed/killed/left in poverty/etc for decades now.
(The figures of 2011 so far: http://asiancorrespondent.com/62177/burma-fighting-displaces-30000-people-this-year/)
If you happen to speak Burmese watch this movie “Burma Soldier”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82kmEtwEsZk
For all the English speakers, I will search further and once I’ve found a source I’ll let you know. I read about the movie in a featured article in the Bangkok Post sometime at the beginning of the year and just wanted to see it immediately but unfortunately I haven’t been able to do so… but I will! For now you can watch this trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZScI8dJGWg
Now it is time for some news!
“Myanmar tiger turns economic chameleon” by Mair Dubois
The Kyat (Burmese currency) is in distress due to several reasons, which are researched here. The government under President Thein Sein is also even under more pressure as the fights between the army and the ethnic groups flared again. This time the state army has to deal with a union of ethnic groups fighting against the state’s army.
Watch this for further info: http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/101east/2011/08/201181073919760492.html – Karen is just one ethnic group, there are plenty more fighting for their independence and lifes. Have a read here as well: http://asiancorrespondent.com/63881/burma-should-review-its-war-game-with-ethnic-groups/
And: “President Thein Sein this month met Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the political opposition released late last year after 15 years of house arrest; on August 27, a general amnesty for political prisoners was proposed in parliament.”
Surprisingly, the Austrian News (ORF) once posted on their homepage that those prisoners have already been released. I’ve done further research and found nothing on this – guess there was a problem with the translations.
Furthermore, the government itself is in dispute as the President and his deputy cannot agree on several issues. Also many others in the government do not accept the “diplomatic” way dealing with ethnic groups and internal struggles of the President (according to some articles I’ve read in the past, he’s open to a dialogue with the leaders of the opposition and also the leaders of ethnic groups). It seems like there is a struggle for power behind the curtains of the Burmese ruling elite.
More on Myanmar these days (some are a little older hence no summary):
“In Myanmar, Freedom Means Taunting the Ref”, NY Times
This is a very good article about the daily life of the Burmese people, about their emotions and how all this is linked with the history of the nation.
“Burma pursues divide-and-rule policy for ethnic issues”, by Zin Linn
“Burma’s president turns deaf ear to calls for peace”, Zin Linn
In general it’s good to follow the blog or articles of Mr. Zin Linn as he has some very interesting insights into the issues concerning Burma.
Last but not least, there was a meeting of EU foreign ministers which dealt with the human rights violations of the Burmese government. The international society seems a little helpless, especially ASEAN, the interregional body of South East Asia. The shown will of the government to open itself up for dialogue seems a rather propagandist attempt to hide crimes against humanity and polish the image of the ruling elite in order to chair ASEAN in the near future.
“The U.N. Should Document Burma’s Abuses”, by Lorenzo R. Ranada, WSJ