Xenophobic nationalism: Myanmar’s curse

    With the corpses piling up in Rakhine State and the number of Rohingya refugees fleeing into Bangladesh eclipsing the 400,000 mark, international good will toward Aung San Suu Kyi appears to be hemorrhaging by the minute. The whole world, it seems, is piling on Myanmar’s former beacon of democracy, blaming her for a crisis the UN describes as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. And with good reason. Once celebrated for her steadfast courage, dignity, and…

Continue Reading Xenophobic nationalism: Myanmar’s curse

The Best of Burma: A Reader’s List

Since Lune and I arrived in Myanmar in September, a few people have asked me what they should read about this fascinating country. In no particular order, and with some comments included, I’ve compiled a selection from the books I’ve read. For a general historical view, one of my favourites is River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma (2006) by historian Thant Myint-U, erudite grandson of former UN Secretary-General U Thant and—according to Foreign Policy—one…

Continue Reading The Best of Burma: A Reader’s List

Yangon Diary: The Ghosts of Atrocities Past

  YANGON—For countries emerging from lengthy periods of totalitarian rule, one measure of good democratic health is the extent to which government is willing to acknowledge historic wrongs. The more public and visible the gesture, the thinking goes, the faster the country and its citizens can come to terms with the dark legacies of violence and oppression. This can be as simple and understated as a bronze plaque at the scene of a tragedy or…

Continue Reading Yangon Diary: The Ghosts of Atrocities Past