Burma Links

5 Feb

Hey Folks,

The Land of Golden Pagodas is chock full of news this month. Here are some links that can catch ya up it with January’s highlights.

1. Ethnic Wars: Ceasefires signed, fighting continues.

  • Great NYT piece on Kachin Independence Army forces
  • Another from NYT. This time about the confusion surrounding the nebulous ‘ceasefires’ between ethnic armies and the government. It appears that no real peace plan exists, which is worrying.
  • Karen Troops return from war. One gets a balloon. [video 1:55]

2. Economy: Environmentally harmful plant project killed, money flows in, investors push for a removal of sanctions.

  • “The toughest question of all is whether ordinary Burmese citizens will benefit from the anticipated influx of foreign enterprise.” – The Diplomat. Full piece here.
  • Daw Suu at the World Economic Forum
  • “The new government is facing a historic opportunity to jump-start the development process and lift living standards. Myanmar has a high growth potential and could become the next economic frontier in Asia, if it can turn its rich natural resources, young labor force, and proximity to some of the most dynamic economies in the world, into its advantage.” -IMF Article IV mission to Burma: Press Release
  • (update) on February 3, Obama authorized the removal of sanctions limiting IMF/World-Bank assistance to Burma. Short story here.

3. Daw Suu, the Great Campaigner: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is running for Parliament in upcoming by-elections. This week the campaign began.

On the negative side, there are only 48 seats available in the 664 seat legislature…which isn’t going to be much help for the opposition legislatively, seeing as the constitution gives the military 25% of the vote, and you need a 75%+ majority to change the constitution. Also, calls for free and fair elections seem a little silly. The military has shown full support for the Daw Suu reentering politics and thereby legitimating the current government. It seems unlikely that they would want to pull any stunts in this by-election, which doesn’t give Daw Suu’s NLD party any real power.

Still this is surreal. So is this.

4. The Rohingya, why they are fucked and why no one, including Daw Suu seems to care very much. Best article of the bunch, and a video. Awful but important reminder that statelessness remains a very real problem that is killing off an entire people.

5. BURMESE PYTHONS TAKE ON FL!

6. To lighten things up: Rangoon Punk Rocker Darko C. on Sanctions: “It stinks.” Full article here. Here is their awesome song “Film”:

Anyhow, the updates will keep coming.

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