(Reuters) – President Barack Obama urged the president of Myanmar on Monday to take steps to halt violence against Muslims in his country and move ahead with economic and political reforms.
by Joshua Kurlantzick
May 16, 2013
Next week, Myanmar President Thein Sein will arrive in Washington, DC, for a historic visit and meeting with President Obama. It will be the first visit by a Myanmar president to the United States in nearly fifty years. Only three years earlier, nearly every top Myanmar leader had been barred from entering the United States (and most other leading democracies) due to sanctions on the country’s military-ruled government and on nearly all exports to and imports from the country. U.S. congresspeople regularly castigated Myanmar as one of the most tyrannical societies on earth, and when former president George W. Bush found himself in a room in the mid-2000s, at an Asian summit, with Myanmar’s then-leader, he essentially refused to even acknowledge the other man’s presence.
Following the publication of his newest book Brave New Burma, Jack Goodman spoke with Bangkok-based photographer and journalist Nic Dunlop about ongoing reforms in the country, Aung San Suu Kyi and his experiences documenting Burma for the past 20 years.
Your new book, ‘Brave New Burma’, is a 20-year photographic portrait of the dictatorship. Why was it important for you to produce something of such depth?
I felt Burma was simplified by the media and activists to such an extent that it didn’t foster a degree of understanding as to how a military regime that is universally despised can hold onto power for so long. So I set off and I thought: I’ll bide my time to really make sense of all of this. I wanted people to see what a military dictatorship really is. When people talked of oppression I wanted to show people what it looked like.