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Archive for July 17th, 2008

The dark side of paradise

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The dark side of paradise

Sholto Byrnes

Published 17 July 2008

A special New Statesman focus on South East Asia with Philip Bowring, Joe Cummings, Marina Mahathir, Elizabeth Pisani, Ziauddin Sardar, Ruth Padel, Sholto Byrnes
and more. Edited by Rachel Aspden and Sholto Byrnes

The dreamy, white-sand beaches of south-east Asia will welcome millions of western tourists this summer. From the west coast of Thailand, excursions will head to Ko Tapu, the island made famous as the lair of the Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun. Others will be lured by the clifftop kecak dances on Bali, where flames illuminate the tales of the Ramayana, performed in an 11th-century Hindu temple as the sun sets on the Lombok Strait. Cultural visitors will head to the ancient royal capital of Angkor in Cambodia, while the South China Sea is heaven for divers.

But cast your mind back to the beginning of this year, and there is another picture that speaks to a somewhat darker truth about the region than the paradisiacal vistas painted by tourist brochures suggest.

As General Suharto lay dying in a Jakarta hospital in January, western commentators bemoaned the failure to bring the former Indonesian dictator to justice. A “tyrant”, they called him, a man responsible for murdering up to half a million of his countrymen in a purge of communists in the late 1960s, accused of stealing as much as $35bn from the state during his 31-year rule (which ended in 1998) and who held the dubious honour of being declared the most corrupt leader of all time by the NGO Transparency International.

None of this stopped a string of local luminaries coming to pay their respects. Mahathir Mohamad, prime minister of Malaysia for 22 years; Singapore’s founding father, now minister mentor, Lee Kuan Yew; the sultan of Brunei: all visited as Suharto fought his last battle. “I feel sad to see a very old friend with whom I had worked closely over the last 30 years, not really getting the honour that he deserves,” said Lee, who came to full power in 1965, two years before Suharto. Dr Mahathir held the old dictator’s hand and shed a tear. Even the leader of East Timor, José Ramos-Horta, had kind words for the man who ordered the invasion and subsequent repression of his country in 1975, and he asked the Pope to pray for him.

After his death, the west was unanimous in its condemnation of his rule. “Suharto’s legacy speaks for itself. We regret that, on this occasion, we must write harshly of the dead. Very harshly,” concluded a New Statesman leader. Yet closer to home, different sentiments were expressed. The president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, praised Suharto’s promotion of regional unity, while Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono eulogised the “many great services” he had done for the nation. The truth is that, surprising – even repugnant – as outside observers may find this seeming indulgence of a man they considered a brutal despot, it was only to be expected that his death would be marked more generously in the region. For although in some respects Suharto may have been an exception, in many others he was the rule.

Most tourists continue to be blissfully unaware of the region’s internal politics. Few larking about in the water park on Singapore’s Sentosa Island turn their thoughts to Chee Soon Juan, the long-standing opposition leader who has been bankrupted by defamation suits, banned from standing for elections and frequently imprisoned – all for actions and campaigns that would be taken for granted in a liberal democracy. Nor does it seem likely that many who visit the Shoe Museum in Manila, home to Imelda Marcos’s footwear collection, reflect for long on how it was that her late husband, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, managed to turn the Philippines into a nation of “40 million cowards and one son of a bitch”, as a US official put it.

Yet, as the balance of power and wealth moves inexorably east over the course of what China’s Deng Xiaoping and India’s Rajiv Gandhi predicted would be the “Asian century”, governments and businesses need to know more about the group of countries to the south-east of “Chindia”. Skyscraper cities are the visible evidence of decades of growth (5.7 per cent across the region in 2008, according to the Asian Development Bank; down from 6.5 per cent in 2007, but still buoyant compared to the 1.8 per cent the OECD estimates for the UK this year). Individually, the members of Asean (the Association of South-East Asian Nations) may not be big players, but collectively they are a part of what Fareed Zakaria, in his book The Post-American World, refers to as “the rise of the rest”. And at a time when Islam’s place in the world and the extent to which liberal democracies should either accommodate or confront it is the subject of constant debate, not to seek a greater understanding of an area with more Muslims than the entire Arab Middle East would be foolhardy in the extreme.

Asian values

Chief among the lessons that need to be learned are the historical reasons why liberal democracy has been so absent from the region, and why one should not expect its imminent arrival. The western powers will have to accept that their future partners – and they must act towards them as partners, shedding any lingering superiority to their former imperial possessions – may be part of the growing club of nations where an authoritarian “guided democracy” holds sway. Indeed, proponents of the “Asian values” school of thought reject the suggestion that modernisation should be accompanied by liberalisation.

As Lee Kuan Yew put it in a speech in Tokyo, in 1992: “With few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries . . . What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural background, my values are for a government which is honest, effective and efficient.”

Put bluntly, liberal democracy has no historic roots in the Asean countries; and after independence (all were colonised apart from Thailand) there were plenty of reasons why more authoritarian forms of government swiftly became the norm. These were states, but not nation states in the classic 19th-century European sense. Some owed their very creation to European empires. The boundary between Malaysia and Indonesia, for instance, corresponds to the early 19th-century division of influence agreed by the British and the Dutch. Singapore was a swampy island populated by a few fishermen until it was founded as a city state by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. The Philippines never existed as a unit prior to rule by the Spanish and then the Americans (400 years of convent, 50 years of Hollywood, as the saying goes). They, and many other neighbouring states, faced not only battles to maintain territorial integrity on independence, but also struggles to forge national identities.

Far from aiding this process, experiments with democracy in the 1940s and 1950s suggested it was a system that gave too free a voice to separatist tendencies and stoked racial tension. After 17 different cabinets in 13 years, President Sukarno introduced “guided democracy” in Indonesia in 1957. Five years later, the military took over in Burma, ending democracy for good. No one disputes the countless atrocities the generals have since inflicted on that unfortunate country. At the time, however, many were sympathetic to the move. “If they hadn’t stepped in, the country would have disintegrated,” one diplomat then stationed in Rangoon told me.

The lack of homogeneity caused serious problems. Did the large Chinese diaspora, which held levels of wealth disproportionate to its size in many countries, owe its allegiance to the new states, or did it look to the home country? It was an important question during the decades of the domino effect, when first Vietnam, then Cambodia and Laos, fell under communist rule.

Singapore grip

Stability became the goal. And the means to achieving it – removing dissent from the public sphere, building up institutions such as the monarchy in Thailand and the army in Burma – were presented as being both necessary and true to local values and customs. To adat, the system of customary law ingrained in the culture from Malaysia, across Indonesia, to the Muslim south of the Philippines, and to compadrazgo, the network of client-patron kinship in the rest of that country; to Confucianism in the Chinese communities; drawing on the passivity and fatalism of Buddhism in the northern countries, and on the essentially conservative nature of the Muslim south.

Why is all this relevant today? The answer lies in the fact that there is still not one functioning liberal democracy in south-east Asia. Burma’s tragic story is well known. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are only beginning to recover from the decades when communists of various shades, supported by both China and the USSR, wreaked havoc throughout Indochina; Vietnam and Laos are still nominally communist today, while Cambodia’s prime minister is a former member of the Khmer Rouge.

Thailand continues its well-worn pattern of oscillating between tentative democracy and army-led coups, with the monarchy playing a stabilising, moderate role. Singapore’s elections are a byword for predictability, not least because any party other than the ruling PAP faces huge obstacles to getting on to the ballot. The rigidity of Malaysia’s political system has been highlighted recently by the response of the governing coalition to the prospect of losing power for the first time, provoking a crisis in which the opposition leader has been framed for sexual assault. And in the Philippines and Indonesia, both supposedly democracies since the falls of Marcos and Suharto, respectively, elections are so marred by corruption and vote-rigging that it would be a joke to suggest they merit the description “free and fair”.

If they paused to consider the political repression in the region, it would seem intolerable to the tourists jetting in to the airports of south-east Asia. But those shiny new temples of commerce, many of which put Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle to shame for space, convenience and cleanliness, are symbolic of why revolution is not around the corner, and why the citizens of many of these countries accept more authoritarian forms of government. It has been those governments that have kept the order necessary for growth.

Such cultural factors should also call into question the levels of demand for western-style liberal democracy. The Thai people showed that there was something more important to them than democracy when they accepted the coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 because it was thought to be sanctioned by the king. There is at least some truth to those Asian values that Lee Kuan Yew talked about. Dr Mahathir put it another way in 2003: “In some countries sleeping naked on the beach as a sign of protest is considered democracy – if that is democracy then this is not needed.”

That “not needed” may sound chilling to Europeans baking in the tropical sun this summer. Should they be lucky enough to enjoy lengthy interaction with local people, however, they may be surprised to find that many are not bothered by such remarks. The west had better wake up to the fact that other parts of the world don’t necessarily share its values. In the age of the Asian century, it’s time we stopped being surprised.

The Asean nations

  • Brunei Population: 380,000. GDP per capita: $32,167. Religion: 67 per cent Muslim, 13 per cent Buddhist, 10 per cent Christian. Absolute monarchy. Legally, the sultan “can do no wrong” personally or officially.
  • Burma Population: 55 million. GDP per capita: $239. Religion: 89 per cent Buddhist. Brutal military dictatorship since 1962.
  • Cambodia Population: 14 million. GDP per capita: $600. Religion: 95 per cent Buddhist. Faltering – some say failing – democracy.
  • Indonesia Population: 237 million. GDP per capita: $1,925. Religion: 86 per cent Muslim. Dictatorship until 1998; shaky democracy.
  • Laos Population: seven million. GDP per capita: $656. Religion: 65 per cent Buddhist, 33 per cent animist. One-party communist state.
  • MalaysiaPopulation: 25 million. GDP per capita: $6,948. Religion: 60 per cent Muslim, 19 per cent Buddhist, 9 per cent Christian, 6 per cent Hindu. Democracy, although ruling coalition has never lost a general election.
  • Philippines Population: 93 million. GDP per capita: $1,625. Religion: 81 per cent Roman Catholic, 5 per cent Muslim. Chaotic, corruption-ridden democracy since fall of the dictator Marcos in 1986.
  • Singapore Population: five million. GDP per capita: $35,163. Religion: 43 per cent Buddhist, 15 per cent Muslim,15 per cent Christian, 9 per cent Taoist. Democracy in name; opposition parties face obstacles to getting on to the ballot.
  • ThailandPopulation: 65 million. GDP per capita: $3,737. Religion: 95 per cent Buddhist. Alternates between tentative democracy and coups.
  • Vietnam Population: 86 million. GDP per capita: $818. Religion: 85 per cent Buddhist. Communist state moving towards market economy.
  • Research by Alex Iossifidis

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 17, 2008 at 11:29 am

Posted in Burma's Geopolitics

Tagged with ,

Frogs, not chocolate: Post-cyclone survival in Burma

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16 Jul 2008 14:43:00 GMT

<!– 16 Jul 2008 14:43:00 GMT ## for search indexer, do not remove –>

Joel Charny
On May 30th, four weeks after Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, the New Light of Myanmar, one of the government’s propaganda mouthpieces, ran a particularly nasty editorial, accusing the international aid community of being stingy in response to the disaster while assuring the world that the Burmese people were tough enough to survive. “Myanmar people are capable enough of rising from such natural disasters even if they are not provided with international assistance,” the commentary stated. “Myanmar people can easily get fish for dishes by just fishing in the fields and ditches. In the early monsoon, large edible frogs are abundant. The people can survive with self-reliant efforts even if they are not given chocolate bars from [the] international community.”

The commentary, coming at a time when the government seemed to be finally accepting international access to the Irrawaddy Delta region, elicited global condemnation from political activists and human rights groups, as it underscored the cruelty of the military junta and its lack of concern for the welfare of the people. To this day, two and a half months after the cyclone, the international aid effort has fallen well short of the scope and depth of coverage required to meet the needs of the more than two million survivors directly affected by the storm. Outsiders with no experience inside Burma have stated that a “second wave of dying has begun” and made alarming predictions that “hundreds of thousands” of Burmese may die as the result of Burmese government obstruction.

As access has improved to the delta region, however, and the tri-partite aid coordination body, consisting of representatives of the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, and the government, completed its assessment of conditions, the conclusion of the aid agencies is that there were very few additional deaths after the cyclone’s initial fury. According to reports by The New York Times and the Associated Press, there was, in fact, no second wave of dying as the result of food shortages, epidemics, and exposure. The Burmese people in the delta showed exactly the resilience and strength to survive that the government of Burma was touting.

This in no way excuses the government for obstructing the relief effort. The resilience of the people derives from their life-long experience of government neglect and failure to tend to their basic needs. They knew that even in the aftermath of the cyclone they would probably be on their own, or reliant on neighbors, religious institutions, and other non-governmental sources of assistance.

My regret is that I didn’t have the courage to express skepticism about the alarmist predictions of a second wave of deaths as aid agencies gradually gained access to the delta within two or three weeks of the cyclone. My experience in Cambodia in the aftermath of the 1979 famine taught me that in the relatively lush environment of mainland Southeast Asia, once people are free to forage for food they will survive. Rice paddies are full of small fish, crabs, and frogs that provide protein. Fruit and edible plants grow in abundance. Air temperatures rarely go below 75 degrees, limiting deaths from exposure. Contaminated water is a menace, but in the rainy season drinking water can be collected.

I knew that no one in the Irrawaddy Delta was going to die from lack of food. The risk was that a cholera epidemic or a wave of diarrheal diseases might sweep through the weakened survivors, especially children. Thankfully, it appears that this did not occur.

International aid agencies have a long record of exaggerating their impact and underestimating the self-help capacity of local people. One of the primary lessons of the response to the 2004 tsunami was that the true “first responders,” the ones who save lives in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe, are precisely the survivors themselves. They, and supporting organizations, including local government agencies, are the ones who make an immediate difference, well before even the fastest international agencies can mobilize. In disaster prone areas, therefore, strengthening the response capacity of communities and their institutions, whether government or non-governmental, is an essential investment to save lives in the future.

In Burma, the government and its most powerful institution, the military, did very little relief work. What helped save the day in Burma was the tremendous outpouring of individual and small group efforts by Burmese citizens. Buddhist monks, teachers, doctors, merchants — even travel agents according to a former U.S. diplomat in touch with friends inside the country —banded together to raise funds, collect materials, and provide direct assistance. While the military confiscated some of this aid, and periodically blocked access by Burmese, enough of these efforts were successful to help meet some of the immediate needs of the survivors. Coupled with their ability to live off the land as they re-gained their strength, these efforts were enough to stave off a second catastrophe.

“Frogs, not chocolate” is not going to become the motto of the international aid community, nor should it. The blocking of aid by the Burmese government in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis was unconscionable. But the phrase contains a measure of truth, and suggests that we should never underestimate people’s ability to find a way to survive in the face of catastrophe.

–Joel Charny

Visit our website to learn more about Joel’s mission to Burma.


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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 17, 2008 at 2:49 am

World focus on Burma (17 July 2008)

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Burma: Urgent appeal for cyclone-hit communities
آكي, Italy –

Rome, 17 July (AKI) – As the deadline approaches for Burma’s agricultural planting season, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has revived …

UN humanitarian chief to revisit Burma, India –

New Delhi – The United Nations humanitarian chief, John Holmes, on Wednesday said he will visit cyclone-hit Burma again next week to reassess the relief and …

Pyongyang peace pledge

Oxford Analytica (subscription), UK –

… and keen to demonstrate their group’s diplomatic usefulness after it failed to pressure member state Burma to accept outside Cyclone assistance in May. …

Burma: Awkward anniversary

Oxford Analytica (subscription), UK –

The regime may be particularly keen not to draw parallels with national figures this year, following its widely-criticised response to Cyclone Nargis in May …

Column: Promoting democracy without force

The Saginaw News –, MI –

In his speech at Monticello, the president cited a Burmese national who was receiving his citizenship that day but did not mention Myanmar’s (Burma) brutal …

Burmese junta profiting from aid funds?, India –

… here in Burma things are done only in the black market,” the businessman told Mizzima. The source, who is also close to the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, …

A bright way to raise cash

Oxford Mail, UK –

By Hayley Cover The team from the town’s community college group, Girls For Sport, raised money for the Burma Cyclone disaster fund in a 10km sponsored walk …

UN appeals for $33.5 million for Burma

USA Today –

By Khin Maung Win, AFP/Getty Images ROME (AP) — A UN food agency is appealing for $33.5 million to help small farmers and fishermen in cyclone-hit Burma. …

Nargis refugees exploited to rebuild entire areas of Burma, Italy –

Others are used on construction sites, preventing them from working first of all to rebuild their own homes destroyed by the passage of the cyclone, …

Troubling vetoes on Zimbabwe

Charleston Post Courier, SC –

Previous vetoes have encouraged repression in other trouble spots: Darfur, the southern Sudan and Burma. China had previously blocked the Security Council …

Contributed Papers in Specimen Mineralogy

RedOrbit, TX –

Geological evolution of selected granitic pegmatites in Myanmar (Burma): Constraints from regional setting, lithology, and fluid-inclusion studies. …

Low expectations for Gambari visit

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

“The only thing this shows is that Mr Gambari’s role, as a negotiator for national reconciliation in Burma on behalf of the UN Security Council and General …

School classes held in temporary shelters

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 17, 2008 (DVB)–School pupils returning to their studies in the cyclone-affected Pyin district of Hai Gyi, Irrawaddy division, are still waiting for …

Charges of Forced Labor Emerge in Cyclone-Hit Areas
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Burma’s military regime has been strongly condemned by international rights groups for its use of forced labor in building army camps and constructing basic …

Junta private arrested for bank-burglary

Shan Herald Agency for News, Thailand –

… of interrogation and have banned any information leakingout, said a source. Myanmar Economic Bank is a state-owned bank and runs in every township in Burma.

Giant Sleepover

CBBC Newsround, UK –

But I also got help children across the world who are affected by disasters such as Burma and China, who we have been told about. …

MEP: EU leaders ‘too weak’ on human rights

EurActiv, Belgium –

Also the role China plays in a country like Burma. It is a country which is illegitimately repressed by a junta that prevents international assistance for …

Spotlights for truth

Louisville Courier-Journal, KY –

… Burma have largely been feckless. Nonetheless, there have been two noteworthy responses recently to grotesque, state-sponsored abuses of human rights. …

Myanmar court charges 14 for Suu Kyi protest

Reuters UK, UK –

The group, arrested by pro-junta thugs outside the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) on June 19, were also charged with unlawful …

UN Humanitarian Chief to Visit Burma Next Week

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

By LALIT K JHA / UNITED NATIONS The United Nations’ top humanitarian relief official, John Holmes said on Wednesday that he would visit Burma next week to …

A talking shop – or an EU of the east?

New Statesman, UK –

The organisation’s response to the catastrophe unleashed by Cyclone Nargis on Burma in May this year was hesitant and tardy, and its condemnation of the …

Roundhay folk give generously to Christian Aid week

Roundhay Today, UK –

This year especially Christian Aid has helped with the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in Burma, Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh and Typhoon Fengshen in the …

To go or not to go?

New Statesman, UK –

I asked Suu Kyi what she thought of tourists coming to Burma. “Let the junta know tourism is waiting to happen the moment they change on human rights,” she ..

Hooked on travel

Waterloo Record, Canada –

Then he was gone — Europe, India, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, China and Australia. At 27, he’d hardly shaken the dust from his shoes when he was off …

Cronyism; unhealthy competition in media market, India –

… in other businesses in Myanmar (Burma), stemmed from part of the government’s mismanagement of the country’s business environment,” the editor said. …

Giving children a voice, UK –

These youths all came from areas where human trafficking and child labour are ongoing problems. They weren’t well-healed ‘young parliamentarians’ or …

ANALYSIS: ASEAN finally gets something right on Myanmar

Monsters and –

Myanmar’s military junta, in their inimitable style, turned the natural disaster into a diplomatic one, by initially blocking the free-flow of international …

‘Indy’ stars as zoo mangroves open

South Devon Herald Express, UK –

She said the devastating cyclone in Burma which claimed more than 20000 lives earlier this year would have been far less destructive had not the natural …

It’s Time For Asean To Deliver

Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia –

In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in Burma, Asean took on an unprecedented role, attempting to coordinate relief and reconstruction and intercede between …

US reverses decision to sanction Chevron over Burma

Radio Australia, Australia –

The US House of Representatives passed a package of sanctions to pressure American businesses out of Burma in the wake of the junta’s crackdown on …

Asian students take in America

SIU – Daily Egyptian, IL –

But political and economic factors in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, have made the career difficult, he said. Myanmar, a nation of roughly 47 million, …

India and Southeast Asia ties: 2000 years and still going

Jakarta Post, Indonesia –

In January 1948, India and Burma gave support to Indonesia’s independence struggle by holding a conference in New Delhi to support it, and for the first …

Matthew Bourne, in town to talk Wilde

The List, UK –

… on Burma, an Amnesty lecture, two debates, readings from imprisoned writers and the annual Amnesty award for a theatre production about human rights. …

Burma after Nargis: Devastated, depressed and dejected

The New Nation, Bangladesh –

The devastating tropical cyclone Nargis that struck southern Burma (Myanmar) two months ago, has revealed to the world that it was even less disastrous …

Cartoon exhibition to raise funds for cyclone victims

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 17, 2008 (DVB)–More than 200 cartoonists are participating in a fundraising cartoon exhibition in Rangoon to support victims of Cyclone Nargis, …

Support plea for repressed kingdom in the clouds

Phayul, Tibet –

It borders India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and China. • It is split into three provinces Amdo, Kham and U-Tsang, which together with western Kham is referred to …

Irreconcilable Enemy? Examining Hamas and Hezbollah

Global Politician, NY –

I do not mean to suggest the dictatorship of Burma is similar to the “inconsequential participants” of a barroom brawl. Nor should we “reconcile” ourselves …

SAM DONNELLON: Like it or not, these Games must be covered, FL –

Sales of arms to Burma’s military junta receded after last September’s bloody crackdown of dissidents, and China took a more prominent role in UN attempts …

Singapore: MFA Spokesman’s Comments on the Myanmar Government’s …

ISRIA (subscription), DC –

“Singapore welcomes the Myanmar government’s decision to invite UNSG Special Advisor Professor Ibrahim Gambari to visit Myanmar again in August 2008. …

Why sanctions on President Mugabe are bound to fail

Business Daily Africa, Kenya –

Indeed, one only needs to look at Burma where alienation and sanctions against the Burmese junta has not helped topple the regime even after several years. …

UN Asks Donors to Give More as Rising Food, Fuel Prices Threaten …

Voice of America –

The biggest increases are for Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burma. West Africa also had one of the biggest increases, …

UN official to visit Myanmar next week

Reuters –

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said on Wednesday he would visit Myanmar next week to check on aid delivery to the isolated …

Myanmar: Where is happiness in Burma for Waso festival ?

OpEdNews, PA –

In Burma, full-moon is for contemplation, and monks do not travel. In this special day, the Buddha tried to spread His teaching of peace and happiness to …

Help Cyclone Victims in Myanmar

Concierge, NY –

… and to help victims of the recent cyclone. by Brook Wilkinson Remember the devastating cyclone that hit Myanmar (also known as Burma) back in May? …

Eyeball to eyeball at the top of the world

Mmegi Online, Botswana –

… in 1913 – the MacMahon Line, which China rejects (though it accepts that line as its frontier with Burma, which was then part of British India). …

City business supports cyclone victims

MK News, UK –

The funds will go towards aid efforts in Burma (Myanmar) as it tries to recover from the effects of the natural disaster which wrecked thousands of lives in …

‘Free Daw Suu’ campaigners charged with instigating public unrest, India –

Chiang Mai – Fourteen members of Burma’s opposition party – National League for Democracy – who were arrested for protesting on their leader Daw Aung San …

Frogs, not chocolate: Post-cyclone survival in Burma

Reuters AlertNet, UK –

On May 30th, four weeks after Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, the New Light of Myanmar, one of the government’s propaganda mouthpieces, ran a particularly …

US House vote to bar Burmese gems, India –

New Delhi – In a renewed pressure, United States’ House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to block Gems and Jewelries from Burma to …

Republicans trying to make Rangel an issue for Kirkpatrick and others

PolitickerAZ, Arizona –

… once represented the repressive regime in control of Myanmar – formerly known as Burma. When the Burmese junta refused to allow foreign aid into its …

NMCI in a Box

Signal Magazine, VA –

Also, the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, based in Japan , recently used the capability while deployed to Burma as part of Joint Task Force Caring Response, …

Barack and Beyond

The National Interest Online, DC –

Instead, it would have numerous and unsettling parallels with the Soviet Union: contempt for human rights abroad and civil liberties at home even as it …


Nation Multimedia, Thailand –

The latest report by the London-based International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is a case in point. …

The coming illiberal order

Guardian Unlimited, UK –

We were told that liberal democracy was triumphant and that the new era of globalisation would bring about the spread of democracy and human rights. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 17, 2008 at 2:27 am