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Political analysis of Burma and the region

Individual Documents

Title: Myanmar Conflict Risk Assessment Report 2016
Date of publication: 04 February 2016
Description/subject: "Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948 and functioned as a representative democracy until a military coup in 1962. Myanmar became a military dictatorship, with the power of the military formally enshrined in the Constitution in 1974. Under the Constitution, the Army is guaranteed 25% of seats in the upper and lower chamber – this provides the military with substantial political power, and requires their consent for any Constitutional changes. Recent history has seen escalating tensions between the military, ethnic armed groups and pro‐democracy supports, including the National League for Democracy (NLD). Myanmar began its democratic transition in 2011 with a nominally civilian government, ending nearly 50 years of military rule. In December 2015, the NLD won national elections and become the ruling party in Myanmar. Alongside its political transition, Myanmar has increased its engagement with other states, which have in turn lifted sanctions against the country. Ethnic and religious tensions remain high in the country, and result in poor treatment of minorities including Burmese Muslims. 2012 clashes in Rakhine State “sparked waves of ethno religious violence mostly targeting the country’s Muslim minority”. In the summer of 2015, treatment of the Rohingya gained international attention as thousands attempted irregular migration to nearby countries in Southeast Asia in order to escape systemic violence and persecution..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Carleton University
Format/size: pdf (240K)
Alternate URLs: http://www4.carleton.ca/cifp/app/serve.php/1525.pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2016

Title: Land Grabbing As A Process Of State-Building In Kachin Areas, North Shan State, Myanmar
Date of publication: 25 July 2015
Description/subject: "...Like the other resource concessions, land grabbing for large scale agriculture and military purpose in ethnic areas is a military state-building strategy of Myanmar military led-government. Since 1990s, in Myanmar, a military-run dictatorship has adopted its own version of market economy. While maintaining ownership of all land, the state allocated large land concession to companies, which have strong network with generals or government officials, for logging, mining, and agribusiness purpose. Initially, investments in natural resource extraction favored local headmen and ceasefire leaders who mediated the deals and taxed commodities crossing their borders into Thailand and China...".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: L Gum Ja Htung
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (94K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 07 August 2015

Title: Hatred as politics in Myanmar
Date of publication: 18 July 2014
Description/subject: "This month's tragic anti-Muslim violence in Mandalay has again revealed that dark forces are alive and well in Myanmar. The violence left two dead and many injured, causing damage to property and generating a climate of fear in the country's cultural and historic capital. In the aftermath of the violence, the government has moved to crack down on hate speech but has also warned the media against making statements that could destabilize national security, saying that "action will be taken against those who threaten state stability." Tellingly, however, no action has been taken against those responsible for triggering the Mandalay violence by spreading false rumors on social media, while journalists reporting on the riots have already been threatened with violence. In addition, some observers have noted that the violence has also had a secondary effect- it has successfully distracted public interest from a signature campaign calling for amendment to the 2008 Constitution. Such patterns are finally leading more and more analysts to ask critical questions about the nature of recent anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar and the real motivations behind it. Outside of Myanmar, reporting has been less critical, with some major media wires referring to the violence as 'sectarian'. Such inaccurate diagnosis is not new, as international diplomatic and public opinion circles have tended to portray Myanmar's anti-Muslim violence as an unfortunate social consequence of transition from authoritarianism to democracy. In this view, it is the uncertainty of transition and the new freedom of expression that have given rise to fear of the Muslim minority and ultra-nationalist Buddhist extremism. This definition, however, is misleading and has resulted in significant confusion both about the form of violence in question as well as its root cause. Indeed, from the point of view of many Myanmar Muslims, it appears to be a case of applying a perfectly sensible theory to the wrong context. Such misconceptions not only ignore the reality of decades-long persecution of Muslims in the country, but they also absolve authorities of their historical responsibility for manufacturing, endorsing and permitting such violence, both directly and indirectly..."
Author/creator: Kyaw Win
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 July 2014

Title: Dark Clouds Over Burma
Date of publication: September 2009
Description/subject: The political landscape holds no hope for any change soon... "A dark future hangs over Burma following the conviction and sentencing of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Putting her under house arrest again is a grave move by the ruling military regime, which can only bode ill for the country..."
Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 January 2010

Title: Social Democratic Parties in Southeast Asia - Chances and Limits
Date of publication: January 2009
Description/subject: The people of Southeast Asia, both masses and elites alike, looked for many years foremost up to the United States of America (US) as a role model state. However, the war on terrorism waged by the current US administration linked with cuts in civil liberties and human rights violations, especially the illegal detention and torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, has in the eyes of many Southeast Asians considerably discredited the US concept of liberal democracy. Furthermore, the US propagated classical economic liberalism has failed to deliver the most basic human necessities to the poor, and the current food and energy crisis as well as the latest bank crisis in the US prove that neo-liberalism is itself in trouble. The result of neo-liberalism, dominated by trade and financial liberalization, has been one of deepening inequality, also and especially in the emerging economies of Southeast Asia. Falling poverty in one community, or one country or region, is corresponding with deepening poverty elsewhere. The solution can therefore not be more liberalization, but rather more thought and more policy space for countries to pursue alternative options such as “Social Democracy”.
Author/creator: Norbert von Hofmann
Language: English
Source/publisher: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Format/size: pdf (173K)
Date of entry/update: 12 October 2010

Title: The "Balkanization’ of Burma?" - a review of "Political Authority in Burma’s Ethnic Minority States: Devolution, Occupation, and Coexistence", by Mary P. Callahan, and "Assessing Burma’s Ceasefire Accords",
Date of publication: May 2008
Description/subject: "Political Authority in Burma’s Ethnic Minority States: Devolution, Occupation, and Coexistence", by Mary P. Callahan, Policy Studies 31, East-West Center, Washington, 2007, P 94; "Assessing Burma’s Ceasefire Accords", by Zaw Oo and Win Min, Policy Studies 39, East-West Center, Washington, 2007, P 91.... Two studies draw a landscape of a fragmented country.... "IT has become fashionable to call up the specter of “balkanization” in Burma. The term, which means the fragmentation of large regions into smaller, violently competitive or antagonistic entities, as occurred in the Balkan wars of the late 19th century and in the breakup of Yugoslavia less than 20 years ago, also invokes images of ethnic cleansing and chaos. Anyone with a grasp of history and geography knows that Burma has actually been fragmented for decades. A study of the map, a tally of the ethnic minorities of Burma and neighboring countries, and an understanding of the effects of 60 years of colonialism and of the following six decades of war—all confirm this conclusion. For those not much interested in human development and human rights, things in Burma are in some ways better now than they ever were. As these two academic monographs by notable Burma experts contend, the country now is arguably at its most stable, peaceful, geographically united and developed juncture since 1948. That doesn’t mean things are good, however.... Callahan argues that the process has produced three broad forms of government in border areas. The first of these, devolution, admits that non-state entities (such as warlords and resistance forces) control the area. The second, occupation, entails government forces establishing uncontested control over a patch of territory. The third, coexistence, involves the cooperation of state and non-state authorities (often uneasily) to control an area. This latter arrangement is hardly ideal, but it supports the contention of Zaw Oo and Win Min that a peace of sorts has been reached.
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2008

Title: Supporting IDP resistance strategies
Date of publication: 23 April 2008
Description/subject: "...Whether in hiding or living under military control, displaced villagers of Karen State and other areas of rural Burma have shown themselves to be innovative and courageous in responding to and resisting military abuse. They urgently need increased assistance but it is they who should determine the direction of any such intervention. This article, co-authored by two KHRG staff members, appears in issue number 30 of the journal Forced Migration Review (FMR), issued in April 2008 and is available on both the KHRG and FMR websites..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Right Group Articles & Papers (KHRG #2008-W1)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 25 November 2009

Title: Problemstaat Myanmar: Zum schwierigen Umgang mit dem Militärregime
Date of publication: November 2007
Description/subject: Eine Analyse über den Charakter und die Geschichte des Militärregimes, die Rolle der intnernationalen Gemeinschaft, der EU, USA und China und die Wirkung von Sanktionen, insbesondere nach den Aufständen 2007. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen eines UN-Engagements; character and history of the military regime, international community, USA, EU, China; impact of sanctions, uprisings 2007, UN-Engagement
Author/creator: Marco Buente
Language: German, Deutsch
Source/publisher: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
Format/size: PDF
Date of entry/update: 19 October 2010

Title: A Capital Error
Date of publication: May 2006
Description/subject: Pyinmana is booming—but at what cost?... "Once a rural backwater, Pyinmana is now a boom town, as Burma’s rulers shift their power center from Rangoon, some 320 km to the south. Visitors returning to Pyinmana after an absence of only a few years would scarcely recognize the city that has risen from a provincial town of 100,000 inhabitants, who once owed their livelihoods to logging and a sugarcane refinery. Now new businesses—particularly construction companies and real estate firms—are shooting up like forest mushrooms in the rainy season..."
Author/creator: Aung Lwin Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006

Title: Der Traum vom buddhistischen Wohlfahrtsstaat
Date of publication: 29 December 2005
Description/subject: Die hier vorgestellte These besagt, dass es im buddhistischen Birma ein von Menschen aus allen Schichten der Bevölkerung geteiltes geschichtlich überliefertes System von Vorstellungen und Erwartungen gibt, das mit unserem Begriff "Wohlfahrtsstaat" belegt werden kann. keywords: burmese way to socialism, social system, constitution, political culture, welfare state
Author/creator: Hans-Bernd Zöllner
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Asienhaus Focus Asien Nr. 26; S. 15-21
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2006

Title: Retreat to the Jungle
Date of publication: December 2005
Description/subject: Pyinmana move shows how nervous the generals are getting... "A young Burma Army officer and his platoon were told, on being transferred to Rangoon from an ethnic region in upper Burma: “We are sending you to the front line.” It happened a few years ago, but what appeared at the time to be a joke still has serious validity today. This is really how some army leaders now see Rangoon. It is not that Rangoon is about to be attacked by insurgents or terrorists—the threat posed by urban dissidents is what is making the junta paranoid..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol.13, N. 12
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 23 July 2008

Title: Bomben, Gift und Beben
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: Ãœber die Instrumentalisierung der Opfer nationaler Katastrophen. Nachrichten können auf unterschiedliche Weise ein Licht auf die Bedrohungen, unter denen die Menschen des Landes seit Jahrzehnten leiden werfen. Alle Katastrophen haben gemeinsam, dass in der Berichterstattung über die Unglücke das Schicksal der Opfer hinter der Auseinandersetzung um die Verantwortung für die Katastrophen und ihre Folgen zu verschwinden droht. keywords: bombing, tsunami, katastrophe, politics, victimisation, instrumentalisation
Author/creator: Hans-Bernd Zöllner
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Südostasien Jg. 2005 Nr. 2 - Asienhaus
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2006

Title: Dreams of a Rat Hole
Date of publication: April 2005
Description/subject: Paranoid generals draw up plans to withdraw from Rangoon and go to ground... "Burmese kings in the distant past had fanciful ideas of relocating their capital. It is perhaps no wonder then that the current military rulers are having similar thoughts, though for less grandiose reasons. Now, according to military analysts in the capital, the generals have a blueprint to move their military headquarters, or war office as it’s called, from Rangoon to Pyinmana, in central Burma’s Mandalay division. But what for—does it make sense?..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006

Title: Birmanie: l’armée referme le jeu politique
Date of publication: March 2005
Description/subject: "Résumé: Arrivée au pouvoir en 1962 puis renouvelée par un second coup d’Etat militaire en septembre 1988, la junte birmane n’a eu de cesse de conforter son contrôle sur l’ensemble des institutions et de la conduite des affaires du pays (renommé Myanmar en 1989). Pourtant, en août 2003, l’initiative du Premier ministre et chef des Services de renseignements militaires, le général Khin Nyunt, proposant une « feuille de route vers la démocratie », a laissé entrevoir la possibilité d’une « transition démocratique », graduelle et contrôlée par le régime militaire. Mais l’éviction de Khin Nyunt en octobre 2004 marque le retour de la ligne dure du régime et des derniers caciques nationalistes de l’armée, opposés à toute négociation avec l’opposition démocratique civile menée par Aung San Suu Kyi, en résidence surveillée depuis mai 2003. Grâce à un environnement stratégique favorable, le régime a toutes les chances de pérenniser son pouvoir en dictant ses propres règles du jeu « démocratique », recherchant la stabilité plutôt que la libéralisation du pays, au détriment de l’opposition et des minorités ethniques....Abstract The Burmese junta that came to power in 1962, and reaffirmed its domination by a second military coup d’état in September of 1988, has steadily increased its control over the nation’s institutions and over the running of the country (renamed Myanmar in 1989). In August of 2003, the decision taken by General Khin Nyunt, Prime Minister and head of military intelligence, to propose “a road map to democracy” suggested that a gradual “transition to democracy”, closely supervised by the military regime, was possible. But the ousting of Khin Nuyunt in October 2004 spelled the return of the regime’s hardliners and of the last of the army’s nationalist chiefs, adamantly opposed to any negotiations with the democratic civilian opposition led by Aung San Suu, held under house arrest since May 2003. Thus the regime, strengthened by a favorable strategic environment, has a good chance of remaining in power by setting its own rules for “democratic” procedures, its aim being to keep the country stable rather pursuing a process of liberalization. Such a policy will inevitably be detrimental to the interests of the opposition and the ethnic minorities..."
Author/creator: Renaud Egreteau
Language: Francais, French
Source/publisher: Les Études du CERI N° 114 - mars 2005 (Centre d'études et de recherches internationales, Sciences Po)
Format/size: pdf (188K)
Date of entry/update: 20 August 2007

Title: Junta Knows Best
Date of publication: October 2004
Description/subject: The pessimists have been vindicated... As recent developments have shown, the most essential quality in any self-respecting Burma-watcher has got to be pessimism. As far back as the 1970s, reputable journals would regularly print articles by supposed scholars of Burmese politics who claimed to have spotted portents of change flickering behind the Golden Curtain. Year after year, every optimistic prediction by an academic proved to be wrong..."
Author/creator: Dominic Faulder
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" vol. 12, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 November 2004

Title: Burma Talk - Interview with Bertil Lintner
Date of publication: December 2003
Description/subject: Burma expert Bertil Lintner shares his views on the country’s political condition.
Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe, Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" vol. 11, No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 February 2004

Title: Democratic Revolutions: Why Some Succeed, Why Others Fail
Date of publication: 27 August 2003
Description/subject: Abstract: Since the latter years of the Cold War, strong democratic revolutionary movements seeking the overthrow of authoritarian regimes have arisen in many countries. Such movements have succeeded in some countries, including the Philippines (1986), South Korea (1988), the countries of Eastern Europe (1989), Russia (1991), and Serbia (2000). On the other hand, strong democratic movements which rose up in some countries were crushed before they could take power in China (1989), Burma/Mayanmar (1990), and Algeria (1992). Strong movements seeking the ouster of incumbent authoritarian regimes and their replacement by democratic government rose up in each of these cases. What, then, accounts for the success of democratic revolution in some of these cases and its failure in others? This paper will examine this question first through an examination of some of the theoretical literature on revolution, and then through a comparison of three cases of successful democratic revolution (the Philippines, Russia, and Serbia) with three cases of failed democratic revolution (China, Burma/Myanmar, and Algeria). Certain theorists, including Crane Brinton and Timothy Wickham-Crowley, have argued that the key factor in deciding whether or not non-democratic revolution succeeds or fails is the role of the armed forces. If the armed forces protect the ancien regime, then the revolutionary opposition is unable to seize power. If, however, the armed forces do not protect the ancien regime, then the revolutionaries usually do come to power. It will be argued here that just as in attempts at non-democratic revolution, the role played by the military is also the key factor in determining the outcome of democratic revolution. When the military is willing to use force to protect the ancien regime, democratic revolutionaries cannot prevail. It is only the refusal of the armed forces to do this that allows democratic revolutionaries to succeed. What, though, determines whether the armed forces of an authoritarian regime will use force to suppress a democratic revolutionary movement or not? Through a comparison of the cases mentioned above, I will argue here that the decision by the armed forces not to protect an authoritarian regime is not the result of a democratic conversion on the part of the military as a whole, but instead results from an overwhelming desire to prevent conflict within the military. Thus, if even a small number of key commanders defect to the democratic opposition, this can neutralize the armed forces as a whole even though most military leaders may be wary of, or even hostile to, democratization. But if these key defections to the democratic opposition do not occur and the military remains unified, it is able to crush the democratic revolutionaries easily......Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 27, 2003.
Author/creator: Mark Katz
Language: English
Source/publisher: American Political Science Association
Format/size: pdf (169K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs6/Democratic_revolutions.pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 January 2009

Title: 'External' Aspects of Self-Determination Movements in Burma
Date of publication: February 2003
Description/subject: Abstract: "Based on secondary resources and long term anthropological field research, this paper explores some of the 'external' factors involved in the pro-democracy and ethnic struggles for self-determination currently being experienced in Burma. The analysis draws in cultural, economic and political aspects to demonstrate that a number of macro- and micro-level external or external-origin influences are at play, at a number of different 'inside', 'outside' and marginal sites. The paper argues in particular that 'cultural' factors such as computer-mediated communication and contacts with outsiders when living in exile, serve as means by which real, virtual and imaginary connections are drawn between these different sites and the actors who inhabit them. In the context of Burma, this paper thus presents a glimpse into this complexity of origin and substance of external influences, of interactions between the external and the internal, and of the multidirectional pathways along which they operate. After an introductory overview, it does so by first reviewing some pertinent macro-political and macro-economic external factors, including international views and strategic interests. The paper then focuses on micro-level social and cultural issues, examining aspects of new media as utilised by the Burmese exile community and international activists. External influences on exiled communities living in the margins on the Thai-Burma border (characterised by the paper as neither 'inside' nor 'outside' proper), including Christianity and foreign non-governmental organisations, are then explored. The paper concludes that inside views, reactions and experiences of outside influences are presently just as important in determining outcomes as are the outside influences themselves."
Author/creator: Sandra Dudley
Language: English
Source/publisher: Queen Elizabeth House
Format/size: pdf (123K)
Alternate URLs: http://ideas.repec.org/p/qeh/qehwps/qehwps94.html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010

Title: Burma - Twelve Years After 1988 - A Common Future?
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: "In August PD Burma/Worldview Rights launched the report "Burma - Twelve Years After 1988 - A Common Future?" written by Camilla Buzzi, post-graduate student in political science at the University of Oslo, Norway. Is the democratisation of Burma still in progress? What are the obstacles to a transition towards democratic rule? The report provides an overview of the main players on the Burmese political stage and presents the key issues that have divided Burma over the past twelve years... Is the democratisation of Burma still in progress? What are the obstacles to a transition towards democratic rule? The report provides an overview of the main players on the Burmese political stage and presents the key issues that have divided Burma over the past twelve years. Table of contents: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY; INTRODUCTION: A country in transition? HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: The lead-up to 1988; I. The foundation of modern Burma; II. Burma at Independence: Two conflicts about fundamentals; III. Government response in an era of parliamentary democracy, 1948-1962; IV. The era of socialist rule, 1962-1988; THE PROTAGONISTS: Who are the key players today? I. The armed forces; II. The pro-democracy movement; III. The ethnic movement; GOALS AND PROCESSES: A common future? I. Differing concepts of democracy; II. Alternative transition processes III. The difficult issues; THE BACKDROP: What are the options? I. Economic and social deterioration; II. A divided international community; AN ATTEMPT TO CONCLUDE: What comes next? BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING; WEB SOURCES; ENDNOTES.
Author/creator: Camilla Buzzi
Language: English
Source/publisher: PD Burma/Worldview Rights
Format/size: html (467K), Word (352K) 70 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/CB-Word.doc
Date of entry/update: 07 July 2003

Title: "Suu Kyi frei - wo bleibt die Demokratie?"
Date of publication: 12 June 2002
Description/subject: Die Aufhebung des Hausarrests von Aung San Suu Kyi am 6. Mai 2002, mögliche Ursachen, neue Herausforderungen. Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest, possible reasons, challenges.
Author/creator: Ulrike Bey
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Asienhaus
Alternate URLs: Zusammenfassung der Diskussion beim politischen Salon.
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Spitting Images
Date of publication: June 2002
Description/subject: "While the junta and the opposition have long been at odds, the two sides frequently display a striking resemblance. The stark contrasts between the Burmese junta and many of its opponents are taken as a given, but upon closer inspection their resemblance is striking. Although many in the opposition will not admit it openly, the two sides are, to a large extent, mirror images of each other, distinguishable only by their aspirations�the regime opposes democracy while the opposition embraces it..."
Author/creator: Aung Naing Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 5, June 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Burma in five Years
Date of publication: April 2002
Description/subject: Prognoses by: Aung Ko, Khun Marko Ban, Saw Ba Thin Sein, Zaw Oo, Aung Moe Zaw, Kyaw Zan Tha, Dr Sein Win, Aung Naing Oo, Lian H Sakhong, Seng Suk, Bo Kyi, Mi Sue Pwint, Sui Khar, Dr Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe, Moe Thee Zun, Than Khe, Dr Cynthia Maung, Dr Myat Htoo Razak, Dr Thaung Htun, Harn Yawnghwe, Dr Myint Cho, Dr Thein Lwin, Hte Bu Peh, Nai Han Thar, Tin Htar Swe, James Lum Dau, Dr Naing Aung, Tin Moe, Khaing Myo Khaing, Nang Hseng Noung, Tin Tut.
Author/creator: Dr Cynthia Maung, Dr Myat Htoo Razak, Dr Thaung Htun, Than Khe, Aung Moe Zaw, Kyaw Zan Tha, Dr Sein Win,
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Looted Land, Proud People: The Case for Canadian Action in Burma
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: A useful and balanced overview. FACTS ABOUT BURMA... BURMA: A CHRONOLOGY... CHAPTER 1: BACKGROUND TO 1988: Rise of Nationalism; Ne Win and Isolationism; Growth of Heroin Industry... CHAPTER 2: THE MEN BEHIND THE MASSACRES: The Ordeal of Aung San Suu Kyi... CHAPTER 3: THE HUMAN COSTS OF MILITARY RULE: Refugees; Political Prisoners; Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Forced Relocation; Forced Labour; Students and Education; Political Prisoners; Freedom of the Press; The Militarization of Society; Women Living under a Military Dictatorship; Political Prisoners... CHAPTER 4: THE CRIMINAL ECOMONY: Sectors Complicit with Forced Labour; Opium, Heroin and a Drug Economy... CHAPTER 5: FORCED LABOUR AND THE ILO: ILO Commission of Inquiry, 1998 Report; Follow-up to the 1998 Report; CHAPTER 6: GEOPOLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCES: Neighbouring Countries; Malaysia,Singapore and ASEA; Canada and Other International Influences; The United Nations; Other National Governments; How Does Canada Measure Up?; Civil Society... CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS: Canada’s Role; Development Assistance; Trade and Investment... FURTHER READING... WEB CONNECTIONS.
Author/creator: Clyde Sanger
Language: English
Source/publisher: Canadian Friends of Burma
Format/size: pdf (1.35MB) 52 pages
Date of entry/update: 09 July 2003

Title: The Disorder in Order: the Army-State in Burma since 1962
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: Book Announcement, Table of Contents and ordering information. "The Disorder in Order examines Burma’s history of “regime entropy” following the March 1962 coup d’etat that ended the country’s brief experiment with parliamentary government. Implementing socialist economic policies in central Burma and a hard line against ethnic minority and communist insurgents in the Border Areas, Ne Win’s Army-State presided over the country’s fall from prosperity to Least Developed Nation status by 1987. The following year, a new martial law regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), brutally suppressed a nationwide movement for democracy that drew on the country’s colonial-era traditions of revolutionary nationalism. Although SLORC promoted an open economy, including foreign private investment, the second Army-State operates on the same assumptions as its predecessor: that government is synonymous with pacification, unquestioned central control and cultural homogenization. The author argues that while the post-1988 junta, renamed the State Peace and Development Council in 1997, claims a unique mission in defending national unity and social order, its policies generate political disunity and socio-economic disorder. Tragically, genuine order, the key to Burma’s development, remains out of reach as the 21st century dawns..." Bangkok: White Lotus, 2002). 403 pp. US$25.00.
Author/creator: Donald M. Seekins
Language: English
Source/publisher: White Lotus
Format/size: html (10K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Dialog in vermintem Gelaende
Date of publication: June 2001
Description/subject: Analytische Aspekte zu den im Oktober 2000 begonnenen Gesprächen zwischen der Militärjunta und der Opposition in Burma und den Reaktionen darauf von Hans-Bernd Zoellner, einem der führenden Burma-Wissenschaftler in Deutschland (Downlaod als pdf-Datei). Hans-Bernd Zoellner's analysis of the current talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the SPDC. (it is in pdf-format for download). (history, NLD, SPDC, politics, also: international community reactions and human rights movement mentioned in the article).
Author/creator: Hans-Bernd Zöllner
Language: Deutsch
Source/publisher: Südostasien, Jg. 17, Nr. 2 - Asienhaus
Format/size: PDF (114K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: An Overview of Burma's Ethnic Politics
Date of publication: 31 October 2000
Description/subject: "... The fact that many pro-democracy leaders in Burma now recognize the importance of ethnic issues and have developed working relationships with ethnic leaders offers hope that ethnic political demands will ultimately be resolved at the negotiating table. However, such a resolution is unlikely to be implemented by the military regime, which rejects decentralization and power-sharing. The ongoing civil war, population relocations, and religious persecution, compounded by appeals to narrow nationalism on all sides, have caused much damage. Without visionary leadership, a commitment to dialogue, and the emergence of a culture of tolerance, lasting peace will continue to elude Burma..."
Author/creator: Christina Fink
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Cultural Survival Quarterly" Issue 24.3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 December 2010

Title: "Kingship in Pagan Wundauk U Tin's Myan-Ma-Mwn-Ok-Cjok-Pon-Sa-Dnn"
Date of publication: 1998
Description/subject: This paper analyzes the attitudes toward kingship expressed in the Myan-ma-Mn Ok-cjok-pon Sa-dnn'["The Royal Administration of Burma"], written by Pagan U Tin (1861-1933) and first published shortly after the author's death. Following a brief biographical account of Pagan U Tin, the discussion considers four perspectives on Burmese kingship appearing in the work: 1) the king as judge; 2) the king as guarantor of regularity; 3) the king as descendant of the Sun (and of Mahasammata, originator of civil society); and 4) the king as Buddha-to-be. The Burmese monarch was predominantly a symbolic figure who affirmed the kingdom's past and guaranteed its future. Although U Tin reports on the questionable morality of Kings Mindon and Thibaw, he nevertheless addresses both as "Excellent King" and admonishes his readers against offending the dignity of the throne.
Author/creator: L.E. Bagshawe
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 3 (1998)
Format/size: pdf (1.09MB)
Date of entry/update: 10 March 2009

Title: The Politics of Authoritarianism: The State and Political Soldiers in Burma, Indonesia and Thailand
Date of publication: September 1997
Description/subject: Abstract: "This thesis investigates the impact of military rule on the state and society by looking at three cases from the same geographical region -- Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand -- that have experienced military intervention and military rule. The thesis is framed by a number of questions: Why does the military sometimes decide to stay on to run the state after it intervenes? What happens to the military, its leaders, and most importantly, the state and society when the military reorganizes the state into a military-authoritarian order? What are the political outcomes of military rule in terms of state autonomy? How can the political variations -- the extent of military penetration into the state order -- between military regimes be explained? This thesis has found that there are three vital factors influencing the military's decision, having intervened, to stay on to rule the country. The most important factor is the emergence of an extraordinary military strongman-ruler. The second, and related, factor is military unity -- forged and maintained by the strongman-ruler and bound by the myth that the soldiers are the guardians and saviors of the state. The military supports the ruler and is in turn rewarded by him, and becomes a privileged class. Together they dominate and control other state and societal forces. In fact, while military-authoritarian states are highly autonomous from society, it is clear that the state is not well insulated from abuse by its own elites. The third factor is the extent to which the strongman-ruler is constrained by having to share power with an unimpeachable force (a person, ideal, or myth). This thesis has found that military rulers in Thailand have been constrained because of the person and the role of the monarch. This thesis has also found significant variations in military-authoritarian states. They range from a nearly pure praetorian example to a tentative quasi-democratic set up -- resulting from historical circumstances combined with the vision, political will and astuteness of the strongman-ruler, his concern with his legacy, and the presence or not of an important constraining force. The military has played a dominant role in politics in Burma and Indonesia since the 1960s; in Thailand, it has been in and out of power since the 1930s. It has become apparent from this research that, although the global democratization trend is hopeful, it is not so easy to get a politicized military to go back to the barracks to stay." A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Graduate Studies (Department of Political Science), the University of British Columbia.
Author/creator: Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe
Language: English
Source/publisher: University of British Columbia (PhD Thesis)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB), html (2MB), Word-full text (928K) or by individual chapter (html)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/The_Politics_of_Authoritarianism.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 August 2004

Title: The Rajadhammasangaha
Date of publication: 1979
Description/subject: "The Rajadhammasangaha" was presented to King Thibaw in December 1878. The first printing was c.1915. This translation by L.E.Bagshawe is from the version edited with a biographical preface by Maung Htin (U Htin Fatt) and published by the Sape U Publishing House in 1979... "On the seventh waxing day of Nadaw...the Wetmasut Myoza Wungyi finished the writing of his book Rajadhammasangaha and presented it to King Thibaw. The author describes it pleasantly as “a book of the proper behaviour for Kings and other high officers of government”. The Pagan Wundauk U Tin, however, says “it is a book of admonishment addressed to King Thibaw.” And in this he speaks the direct truth. In this book the Wetmasut Myoza Wungyi documents the proposals for changes in the system of government that were planned from the time of King Mindon. His intention in writing the book, he says, is, “In bygone times of the Buddha-to-be there were good and excellent Kings who guarded the well-being of all living creatures; like them may our own King, Lord of the Saddanta Elephant and Lawful King, under the Law guard the well-being of all living creatures like that of his own beloved children.” This expressed intention has a further meaning. Under an autocracy we cannot really say that the monarch rules with the single-minded wish to rule all living creatures on the same terms as his own children. If he is brought to the point where he must consult the "living creatures", we may be able to say that he regards them on equal terms with his own children. If there is no law requiring consultation, his guardianship becomes dubious..."
Author/creator: By the Yaw Mingyi U Hpo Hlaing (the Wetmasut Myoza Wungyi). Edited with biographical preface by Maung Htin (U Htin Fatt) and translated from the Burmese by L.E. Bagshawe
Language: English
Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
Format/size: pdf (1MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/The_Rajadhammasangaha-print.pdf (configured for print)
Date of entry/update: 05 September 2004