Commentary - The Irrawaddy
An Appeal to the Keepers of the Keys in Burma’s Drive to Democracy

Burma’s upcoming election must be different, in that unlike the country’s previous two nationwide votes, it must respect the will of the people.

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Love of the Union or Love of the Party? The USDP Must Decide

While the USDP is intrinsically linked to the objectives of the Burmese Armed Forces, a faction within the party tries to form a distinct agenda.

Speaking Out Against the Shwedagon Highrise Projects

The president’s decision to terminate the controversial highrise projects near Shwedagon Pagoda offered relief for many Burmese who treasure their cultural heritage.

The Rise and Rise of the Ma Ba Tha Lobby

The Buddhist nationalist organization is proving to be one of the most effective groups in Burma at extracting concessions from the quasi-civilian government.

Military Opposition to Charter Change Could Entrench Public Trust Deficit

The military’s opposition to constitutional amendments may harm efforts to conclude a nationwide ceasefire and undermine trust at home and abroad.

A Golden Chance for the Golden Land

The under-23 football team’s surprise run to the Southeast Asia Games gold medal game has been a lift to the collective conscience of Burma’s people.

Will She or Won’t She?

As Burma’s opposition leader travels to China, we’ll all be watching to see if she takes a stand for human rights

The Great Game Over Burma

With Aung San Suu Kyi visiting China, this story from 2013 looks at the changing dynamics of Naypyidaw’s relationship with Beijing and the wider world.

Suu Kyi’s Mission to China: It’s Complicated

Suu Kyi has taken on a variety of roles in decades past, but it’s the popular political figure—not the face of democracy—that Beijing wants to see.

Behind the Ban: What is Parliament Afraid of?

Mr. Speaker, surely a pen, a notebook, a recording device or a camera couldn’t do that much harm, could it?

Disquiet on the Western Front

Tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State have long existed, stoked by a complex legacy dating back to British colonial rule.

A Burmese Reggae Album for Love and Country

Burma’s leaders would do well to pick up a copy of reggae artist Saw Poe Kwar’s newest album, a musical manifesto in defense of love.

Saving the Spirit of Shwedagon

Numerous critics have expressed concern about five development projects in the vicinity of the country’s most famous religious icon. Planning reform in Rangoon is long overdue.

Unity Needed in Karen Cause

The Karen pride themselves on their commitment and their patriotism, and yet there have been many setbacks in their struggle for greater autonomy.

Intrigue and an iPad

A recent photograph on social media is the latest source of speculation over former junta leader Than Shwe.

In Panglong, ‘Union Spirit’ Monument Lies in Chauvinistic Shadow

A towering pagoda dwarfs a monument celebrating the sense of national unity enshrined in the Panglong Agreement, but the story doesn’t end there.

Death of an Activist Reporter

To commemorate World Press Freedom Day, The Irrawaddy looks back at reporter Par Gyi, who was shot dead in military custody late last year.

Note to Washington: Use Your Blacklist Wisely

When the United States removed Win Aung from its blacklist last week, other tycoons surely sent silent prayers that they would be next in line.

With news that prominent tycoon Win Aung has been removed from the US sanctions list, The Irrawaddy looks back at the efforts of other business leaders to rehabilitate their public profiles.

Win Tin: Burma’s Revolutionary Journalist

One year to the day since Burma lost one of its leading intellectual figures, Win Tin, The Irrawaddy looks back on his enduring legacy.

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