Burma 2012: Democracy and Dictatorship

Bertil Lintner

The triumphant tour of Europe by Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been a boost to the forces for change in a country that came under iron-fisted military rule half a century ago. She was received with almost the same honour as a head of state in Switzerland, Norway, Britain, Ireland, and France, where she met leading statesmen, government officials, prominent human-rights activists and even royals. Today, there is an air of optimism as some reforms toward a more democratic system have been introduced since a new quasi-civilian government took over in March last year.


nytimes:Internet Unshackled, Burmese Aim Venom at Ethnic Minority

Published: June 15, 2012

BANGKOK — Over the past year, Myanmar’s government has ended its heavy censorship, allowing citizens unfettered access to a wide variety of Web sites that had been banned during military rule. When the government first began dismantling its Internet controls in August, visits to sites like YouTube soared.

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Asia Times:True stripes revealed in Myanmar

By Francis Wade

CHIANG MAI – The timing of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to Europe after a 24-year absence could have been better. She leaves her country amid turmoil in its western Rakhine State, where sectarian rioting has claimed scores of victims. The period of unrest has shed a rare light on the volatile tensions that have simmered for years between the country’s dominant Buddhist population and its Muslim minority.

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Asia Times:Violent test for Myanmar reform

By Brian McCartan

Sectarian strife gripping Rakhine State offers a distinct test for Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government. President Thein Sein’s efforts to calm the situation have won some praise, but there are calls to do more. The real test will be whether his government can ensure long-term stability while continuing a reform drive that is removing controls that served to suppress past communal tensions.

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Burmese police taking sides, abusing powers: UN

Girish Sawlani

The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Tomas Quintana says he has received information that police forces are not following orders, in the conflict zone in Arakan state.


Bloomberg News:Suu Kyi Calls for Clarity on Myanmar Citizenship After Fighting

By Daniel Ten Kate and Jennifer M. Freedman on June 14, 2012
Myanmar needs to clarify citizenship laws and carefully police its borders in the wake of clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims that have killed dozens, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said.

Aljazeera:Islamophobia and the fear of ‘the other’ in Myanmar

Chiang Mai, Thailand – The mob that set upon and killed a group of Muslims riding a bus through western Myanmar on June 3 displayed a depravity normally the hallmark of the country’s military. News reports that emerged in the wake of the incident, allegedly in response to the gang rape and murder of a Buddhist girl by three Muslim men days before, described the ten victims of a frenzied beating being urinated upon before the bus was set ablaze.