Monday, April 4, 2011

Concluding Comments

I've really enjoyed following your blog and taking a final read through of your posts today. I'm pleased that you took my comments to heart and began to really trend the issues, using articles as discussion points, while at the same time including substantial comments of your own. Clearly, your experience in the region has given you an edge - and an interest in affairs Burmese.

Perhaps the less than inspired outcome is that there appears to be little change, even post the election. Although I found your post "Egypt and Libya, why not Burma?" hopeful. I'm also of the mind that social media - Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, and YouTube, may eventually topple dictatorships like this around the world - very insightful.

I would have like to see you do a little more work on the design side - perhaps including links to the political parties, newspapers, perhaps a think tank specializing in South East Asia - food for thought - but a minor criticism.

Well done.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Land mine use in Burma

According to spokespeople from the international campaign to ban landmines, land mine use has been decreasing rapidly, with more and more countries signing the mine-ban treaty. Except in Burma, however.

It is not only the military using land mines however, non state rebel groups, such as the KNLA (Karen national liberation army) also regularly use land mines, giving no warning to civiliians, except, supposadly a verbal warning.

The international campaign to ban landmines is hopeful that they will be able to rid Burma, and the rest of the world, of landmines in their lifetime, and hopefully, if the Burmese government and the rebel groups cooperate, they will acheive this goal.

'fair' elections

A Facebook revolution.

Contrary to my beliefs, it appears as though the Burmese are following in the footsteps of Egypt, and protesting against their oppressive leader, as Burmese activists have tried to start their own 'Facebook revolution'.

The 'Just do it against military dictatorship' page was started only two days after Egyptian president Mubarak resigned, and is calling for military general Than Shwe to leave the country, and for the army to leave the side of the government and join the protest. Approximately 400,000 people in Burma are on facebook, and it is the second most popular website, after gmail. Twitter however, is banned.

The activists have also been handin out pamphlets in some of Burma's major cities, and training people in rural areas to use the internet, so they could join the protest.

Recently, security in Rangoon has also been tightened significantly, although there is no link between the facebook group and the added security.

I think that this facebook group shows that the Burmese are willing to try anything if it will gain there freedom, especially as they have been going out of their way to get information on the recent protests, due to the censorship laws, and i will most definately be 'liking' this page.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Egypt and Libya, why not Burma?

2011 has been an interesting year so far, with pro-democracy protests in countries all over the world, including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, and many others. However, this drive for democracy makes one wonder, why have there been no protests in Burma, one of the most repressive and undemocratic countries in the world?

It is evident that the Burmese people are almost too scared to protest, as past protests have resulted in vicious crackdowns and killings. Also, the Burmese government is well adapted to dealing with protests as soon as they start, not showing the slightest bit of sympathy or weakness, and not caring how the international community feels about their actions. Also, the last successful protest in Burma, which resulted of the ousting of  General Ne Win, only led to another dictator, general Than Shwe, who was even more oppressive and ruthless than Ne Win, to seize power.

One expert, Roland Watson who writes for, believes that the Burmese government may not be as harsh this time if the people were to protest, as the government is facing claims of war crimes, and a brutal crackdown would only strengthen those believes. Also, it has been suggested that during the Saffron Uprising in 2007 some generals were against the harsh retaliation. He also believes that after the events in Egypt, it would lead to a slightly more relaxed take on a protest. He and many other experts believe that a peaceful protest (like the Saffron Uprising) is not the way to go, and that a rally similar to the ones in Egypt are the only way forward. However, this article was written before the massacre's in Libya, and when has international opinion and sanctions ever stopped the Burmese junta from doing exactly what they pleased? Even if there are war crimes facing them, they have never once considered the consequences of their actions towards the international community, and i don't see why they would start caring now.

An interesting side note on this issue is that the book that started many of these revolutions across the globe, 'From dictatorship to democracy' by Gene Sharpe, was actually written primarily to overthrow the dictatorship in Burma. 

Fictional UN report

Yesterday experts have decided that a UN report submited by the Burmese government, depicting its human rights records as nice and rosy, is actually completely fake. One of the items discussed in the report was the election in november 2010.

This is yet another example as to how the Burmese government is just the same old, corrupt generals calling themselves by a different name. Their human rights policy hasn't changed at all, and the people of Burma are still greatly mistreated.

The full article can be read at:

Burma to keep Australian in jail.

The other week i made a post about the australian editor of the newspaper 'the myanmar times' being arrested for not having a valid visa, and to follow up on that it has bee revealed that he will not be granted bail between now and his trial on the 3rd of March.

This has caused outrage in south east asia, as many western investors who have been keen to get involved with Burma are now more wary of investing there. This comes shortly after Aung San Suu Kyi made a speech saying how western countries needed to get involved and invest in Burma, however, the countries less than friendly government has made that very hard.