Burma: We’ve seen this movie before (Or have we?)

  Change has come to stay in Burma, but the question is whether a transfer of power will come through peaceful elections or by violence…Either way, the general consensus in Burma in the spring of 1990 is that the movement towards democracy which began exactly two years ago is irreversible. —Bertil Lintner, “Outrage” (1990) One morning in Rangoon during the Fall of 2013, as heavy sheets of monsoon rain pelted the corrugated metal rooftops of…

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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…

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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…

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