Burma’s Buddhist-nationalist monk Wirathu calling Burmese simple minded

28 Feb

He goes as the self-titled “Burmese Bin Ladin”, though its really not clear why….

The guy he is talking to, U Win Tin, is a former political prisoner, NLD member and all around baller, though his deision to open a dialogue with Wirathu raises some judgement questions.


Video of the week: Why my three year old niece now wants to move to Pyongyang

10 Jul

The sound is terrible, but the video is a must watch.


Video: Well, this is a bit distrubing

2 Jul

Courtesy of the Marines, ad during the Euro Cup final paid for with your taxpayer dollars, “Moving towards the sounds of chaos”

“We are the first to move towards the sounds of tyranny, injustice, and despair” (image of helicopter gunship carrying boxes labelled “aid”)

Mr. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, you are now obligated to finance an equally high profile ad that will present the other side, I.e. theory and evidence against the model of Development at Gunpoint

That was Development Economist Bill Easterly. Full post here.

Fair enough Mr. Easterly. Still, it’s a pretty badass ad.


Video of the Week: Terrible video. Awesome song!

29 Jun

This one goes out to the folks listening in Fort Meyers…


Video of the Week: Will probably not interest you.

4 Jun


Video of the week: The Kachins last stand

13 Apr

“Our strength is that we never retreat and never surrender.”

This video is a perfect summary of the events surrounding and leading up to the current war in Burma’s Norther Shan and Kachin States. While outstanding progress is made in the much of the country, the situation facing the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and its sister army, the KIA, is just one of many indicators that Burma still has a long road ahead before stabilization and growth. The story also does not end with the Kachin. The situation facing the Karen on the Thai/Burma border is nearly as unstable, with a 60+ year civil war having nominally concluded this January, it is very possible that the region will sink back into violent conflict.

Understanding these conflicts is integral to understanding the current developments in Burma. It doesnt mean sanctions shouldn’t be lifted, and praise of the new regime should not be given, just that Burma remains a massive and complex nation full of nations in perpetual conflict.


Video of the Week: Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party supporters celebrate victory

2 Apr

I started working on the Thai-Burma border during the week leading up to Burma’s November 2010 elections. The elections were a sham. The main opposition party, Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, was boycotting the election. Daw Suu with still under house arrest. Unsurprisingly, the military backed party, the USDP, won the vast majority of seats in Parliament.

Yesterday, Daw Suu along with 40 or so of her NLD comrades swept by-elections held in 45 constituencies in Burma.

The Parliament is still a joke. The USDP and Military hold about 80% of the body’s 659 seats. No changes to the 2008, military-drafted constitution can be made without 75%+ of the vote…a figure that would impossible to reach in even a general election, as 25% of the seats are reserved for the military.

Nevertheless, the difference between yesterday’s election and those held in November 2010 are very real, and worth celebrating.