COMMENTARY - The Irrawaddy Magazine
Of Monks and Military Men

The Saffron Revolution showcased Burma’s monks at their best, but that moral standing has been eroded by a manipulative old guard that still holds power.

26 Years After Coup, Military Still in the Driving Seat on Road to Reform

Exactly 26 years ago the military seized power, and to this day former and active generals control the pace and extent of Burma’s democratic reforms.

The Dangers of Reporting on Nepotism

After investigating a secret business deal between Rangoon’s chief minister and two relatively unknown Chinese cronies, The Irrawaddy finds itself on a new “blacklist.”

Rewriting the History of Late Prime Minister Soe Win

A new book on the late prime minister and top general Soe Win provides a misleading account of his career in Burma’s former military regime.

US Takes Steps to Restart Business Relations With Burma

A new investment in solar power and an initiative to improve labor conditions in Burma show the two countries are moving closer to each other.

Has the United States Forgotten Suu Kyi?

In the past, when the opposition leader said something, world leaders listened, but these days Washington seems to have shifted its priorities.

On Obama’s Foreign Policy Report Card, Burma Gets a Pass

As leader of the world’s sole superpower in tumultuous times, Barack Obama needs Burma as a foreign policy success story, but should it be?

Kerry Visits as Burma Backslides—What Will He Do?

US Secretary of State John Kerry faces difficult questions when he arrives in Burma this weekend amid negative media reports about backsliding on political reforms.

Burma Struggles to Ditch Its Military Masters

To democracy advocates’ chagrin, Burma’s record of martial leadership is likely to continue through the next presidential election.

For Burmese, Little Hope for a Jokowi of Their Own

Burma’s political system is stacked against new faces, so a similar outcome to the Indonesian elections should not be expected next year.

Burma’s Time Bomb

Seeds of religious prejudice were planted long ago—in part through government-approved, racist publications—and we are now living through the consequences.

Expect Skepticism as Thein Sein Pledges to Act Against Riot Instigators

Recent inter-communal violence is just the latest event to distract attention in Burma from the real problems the country should be tackling.

Violence Gives the Lie to Burma’s ‘Reforms’

As Burma burns, the rest of the world continues to act as if it believes the country’s rulers are sincere about bringing democratic change.

A Thai Junta Vs a Burmese Junta—Spot the Differences

Many Burmese can’t help think it’s ironic that Thailand and Burma have traded places as military-run countries, yet they are concerned over the Thai coup.

New European Residents in Ne Win’s Old Neighborhood of Villains

On Rangoon’s Ady Road, the EU Ambassador to Burma is renting an expensive, sumptuous villa from the family of former Burmese dictator Ne Win.

Unicef and the Extortionate Price of Saving Burma’s Children

Following Burma’s opening up, UN donor agencies have rapidly expanded operations, but they find themselves boosting an economy owned by ex-generals, drug lords and cronies.

Questioning Oslo’s Embrace of Burma

Few countries have reengaged with Burma’s government faster than Norway. But some democracy activists wonder how Oslo’s approach is advancing democratic reform and peace.

The Funeral of a Lion

Win Tin, whose funeral is held in Rangoon on Wednesday, remained unbroken despite nearly two decades in prison, and told his jailers to go to hell.

Don’t Be Afraid to Honor a Burmese Hero!

Today’s funeral for Win Tin will reveal much about the true feelings of the self-styled “reformists” in Burma’s government.

Win Tin’s Lessons for Burma

Burma has much to learn from the life of veteran journalist and pro-democracy activist Win Tin, a man of integrity who passed away on Monday.

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