When I was just 14 years old, the Burmese Army attacked my village with mortar bombs and air strikes. There was no warning. We fled for our lives. My family ran, carrying what we could on our backs, leaving our home and everything behind. As we hid in the jungle, homeless and afraid, a British trade delegation dined in Rangoon, making business deals with the regime that had just slaughtered my people.
The celebrated food writer Naomi Duguid rarely travels with either a translator or a fixed itinerary. Rather, she’d prefer to go where her eyes and taste-buds lead her and plunge into situations, hoping that with a little persistence and patience she will make herself understood and understand what people are saying to her.
“Human rights and democracy are inextricably connected. Only in a democracy can individuals fully realize their human rights; only when human rights are respected can democracy flourish.”
This week members of the Free Zargana Campaign meet the Burmese comedian and performance poet at the Free Word Centre in London. The consortium of human rights and freedom of expression advocates, including PEN, Index on Censorship and Article 19, had campaigned for the Zargana’s release since 2008 when he was imprisoned on a series of trumped-up charges following his outspoken criticism of the government’s response to Cyclone Nargis.
At Mehrauli’s crumbling Summer Palace, a once opulent building established by India’s Moghul rulers on the southern edge of Delhi, lie four grave plots.
Three of the plots are occupied by the tombs of Mughul emperors – Akbar Shah II, Bahadur Shah I and Shah Alam II. But the fourth remains empty. On a recent walk around [...]
Despite the current euphoria over Burma, the reality is a depressing picture. It is even more important now to study and write on it, and not just about the big picture but the details.
With the help of what I would call “agents of capitalism” (scholars, diplomats, development aid experts, representatives of international agencies, investors, entrepreneurs [...]
It was hot and dusty and the motorcycle journey back from Aung San Suu Kyi’s campaign rally in the town of Kawmhu had already taken more than an hour. Would you like something to drink, asked my Burmese journalist colleague. Before I knew what was in store, I’d agreed.
The Kachin people of Burma are enduring a nightmarish situation obscured by news of the country’s reforms.
Burma’s new president, a former general called Thein Sein, flew out of Delhi this past weekend, concluding a four-day visit which saw the relationship between the two countries further cemented with a series of new deals and written agreements. Among the highlights referred to in the joint statement issued by the countries, was an undertaking [...]
There’s not a lot that can prepare you for both the sadness and optimism that surrounds the schools and shelters set up along the Thai border for the thousands of Burmese children forced to flee for their lives with their families. Their stories are pitiful, their future uncertain and yet it is difficult, when talking [...]
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