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Dialogue/reform/transition after the NLD election victory

Individual Documents

Title: Myanmar’s New Dawn - Opportunities for Aung San Suu Kyi and U.S. Myanmar Relations
Date of publication: 26 September 2016
Description/subject: The Generals and Aung San Suu Kyi...New Government Moves Cautiously on Economic Reform...Building a New Peace Architecture...Rebuilding the Neglected Health Care System...Addressing Communal Conflict in Rakhine...Myanmar and the United States...Next Steps in U.S. Policy toward Myanmar..... "Five months after Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to power in Myanmar in April following their stunning landslide victory in the November 2015 national elections, the new government is still very much in transition. Although the military that ran the country for 50 years did its best not to turn over the top slot to Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s leading generals appear to be trying to prove they can play ball with the new largely civilian government. It will now be up to Aung San Suu Kyi to push forward the reforms that former president Thein Sein launched in 2011. The Myanmar she is leading today is a better place than it was six years ago when the military freed her from house arrest, launched peace talks with ethnic armed groups, and mounted tentative economic reforms. It is a much freer country that has expanded its foreign ties far beyond its one -time patron China, which the military junta heavily depended on for investment and military equipment. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) between May 29 and June 4 organized a delegation to Myanmar to evaluate the country’s political and economic transition, the peace process with the country’s ethnic armed groups, the situation of Muslims in Rakhine State, the health care system, and role of the United States in supporting reform and development. CSIS’s Southeast Asia Program and the Global Health Policy Center jointly organized the trip, which included several senior congressional staff. The delegation visited Yangon, Naypyitaw, and Rakhine State, and met with senior Union government officials, parliamentarians, Rakhine State officials, internally displaced persons in camps near Sittwe, U.S. Embassy officials, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, business representatives, journali sts, and scholars and activists. This report is a summary of the group’s observations and findings. It was obvious to the group that the new government still faces daunting tasks on the road to democracy and its success is by no means assured. One of its biggest challenges is trying to hammer out a peace deal with the country’s roughly two -dozen ethnic armed groups that have fought the central government since the 1950s. Another challenge is achieving harmony between the country’s majority Buddhists and minority Muslims, particularly in Rakhine State, and forging a nation from a patchwork of different ethnic and religious groups that never worked together before. The country’s majority Burman population is highly enthusiastic that Aung San Suu Kyi has assumed power, and most ordinary Burmans seem convinced that she can somehow magically fix the country’s longstanding challenges. Meanwhile, many among the ethnic minorities, who make up roughly a third of the population, are concerned that their grievances and interests will continue to be neglected under the new government. A third task is promoting inclusive economic growth in a country where most of the wealth was long controlled by a small military -backed elite and the infrastructure is woefully dilapidated and overextended. A fourth is reducing the outsized role of the military in controlling the government and the economy. Aung San Suu Kyi and her party are wildly popular, but because they have never run a government before, they are still figuring out how to craft and implement policies. All decisions seem to go to Aung San Suu Kyi, who assumed the newly created position of state counselor because her route to the presidency was blocked by the military -drafted 2008 constitution, which bars individuals with foreign family ties from the highest office. So far the newly minted leader tends to be a bit of a micromanager and not a great consulter, resulting in considerable gridlock across various government agencies. She also acts as her own spokesperson, which means the new government has been slow in effectively communicating and marketing its policies..."
Author/creator: Murray Hiebert, Audrey Jackson, Phuong Nguyen
Language: English
Source/publisher: CSIS SOUTHEAST ASIA PROGRAM and CSIS GLOBAL HEALTH POLICY CENTER
Format/size: pdf (3.43MB)
Date of entry/update: 30 September 2016


Title: INVISIBLE LIVES: The Untold Story of Displacement Cycle in Burma - English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 12 August 2016
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Recently, much attention surrounding Burma has focused on the democratic reform, 2015 elections and the future of the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led Government, whilst a profound humanitarian crisis and continuing concerns of the ethnic minority communities in the southeast have been largely ignored. The recent story of political and economic reform has insufficiently addressed the ongoing struggles of internally displaced persons (IDPs), as they become an inconvenient truth rendered invisible by the larger reform narrative. Nearly 70 years of ethnic conflict has created a displacement crisis with over 644,000 internally displaced and over 479,000 refugees fleeing the country predominantly from ethnic areas. At present, over 100,000 refugees live in camps along the Thailand-Burma border, and approximately 400,000 IDPs live in protracted displacement in southeast Burma. As the continuing political and social transformation in Burma and the triumph of the NLD in the 2015 elections captivates local citizens and foreign observers around the world, optimism and the infectious idea that those displaced will soon begin to move back to Burma has led to further decline in donor funding along the Thailand-Burma border. This has deeply impacted the refugees and IDPs living along the border whose lives depend on international aid as well as essential services and programs offered by local ethnic service providers, which were traditionally funded by the international donor community. Many refugees are now feeling squeezed out of the camps, bearing a resemblance to the experience of Mon refugees who were pushed back across the border to Burma and became IDPs over 20 years ago. As expressed by many Mon IDPs interviewed for this report, they have yet to find durable livelihood solutions in IDP sites and continue to suffer from chronic poverty, debt and lack of medical care. Inside Burma, stagnation in amending repressive laws, military dominance in politics, the absence of an inclusive ceasefire and political dialogue, the presence of landmines and land confiscation that has become endemic throughout the country continue to render the definition of a safe and dignified voluntary return of refugees meaningless. As plans to repatriate over 100,000 refugees along the border continue to be discussed, there is an increasing need to reflect on the past and draw lessons that could prevent a future protracted IDP situation in the country. This report aims to shed light on lessons that can be learned from the past for all stakeholders involved in all stages of planning for the return of refugees and IDPs. While the IDPs interviewed for this report expressed their desire to stay in their current locations as opposed to relocation or return to their original location, they often cited two major obstacles to their possible return: not having land to return to and continuing considerations about safety including lack of sustainable peace in their place of origin. The plight of villagers and farmers in Ye and Yebyu Township in their struggle to preserve and protect their land from the Burma Army, the State and private investors indicate that refugees and IDPs are likely to face increasing housing, land and property (HLP) rights violations upon their return. These HLP rights violations must be resolved not only to ensure the durable return of IDPs and refugees, but also to end further displacement that is adding to the already vast number of displaced people inside and out of the country. Steps must also be taken to ensure that a genuine and inclusive peace process remains a priority, as it is only through an inclusive ceasefire and sustainable peace that a durable solution can be found for the disenfranchised and displaced communities in Burma. Community-based organizations (CBOs), ethnic service providers, and grassroots movements with decades of experience and knowledge that have worked side-by-side with their communities through difficult and challenging times are tackling these very issues and concerns that the IDPs, refugees and villagers are facing. As the new NLD-led Government has begun to take the reins of the political and economic reforms set in motion by the previous government, all parties must ensure that the efforts of those who have consistently worked alongside ethnic communities are supported and advocated, and not sidelined. HLP rights of refugees and IDPs must be restored, laws that are legacies of the past must be amended, landmines must be cleared from the land and an inclusive ceasefire followed by a political solution is needed to protect them from further abuse and possible secondary displacement before a durable livelihood solution can be achieved. National reconciliation is possible only when victims begin receiving the support they need to ensure that they can rebuild their lives in safety and dignity."
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: HURFOM, Burma Partnership, Burma Link
Format/size: pdf (1MB-English; 904K-Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs22/HURFOM-2016-08-12-Invisible-lives-bu-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2016


Title: Who Is The Head Of The Country?
Date of publication: 12 August 2016
Description/subject: "One country run by two persons: this is Burma. On the one hand, there is State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi; on the other, there is army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. If one were to ask who is ultimately in charge, they might find no clear answer. Suu Kyi is Burma’s de-facto political leader, with her power coming from the people who elected her party—the National League for Democracy (NLD)—in the country’s 2015 general election. But among the checks on her authority is the capacity to make decisions relating to the Burmese army. Only Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing has that privilege. The senior general has shown support for almost every action taken by Suu Kyi since the NLD took office earlier this year. Yet, in his own arena, it seems that Min Aung Hlaing has taken little initiative to rein in his military: fighting has recently broken out against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State and against the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State..."
Author/creator: Lawi Weng
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 August 2016


Title: After the first 100 days
Date of publication: 05 August 2016
Description/subject: "Last November, the world witnessed a landmark milestone in the history of Myanmar. The National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won the election with a landslide victory, forming a government in April 2016, following a long transition period. Only the second parliament in Myanmar following the end of military rule in 2011, this time it is dominated by the NLD and includes among its members former political prisoners. While the euphoria of the victory has now somewhat subsided, there is still a strong sense of hope and optimism. But the challenges are starting to sink in and will only become more apparent...With the first 100 days over, now is the right time to take stock and quickly address areas that need to be prioritised going forward. There are no quick fixes and some issues cannot be solved immediately. But concrete steps can be taken quickly that would make a big difference. Governing will get harder. This is why the government should act now to address some of the more difficult issues and to prioritise human rights before the momentum wanes – before all optimism and hope subside. The next 100 days will be just as crucial as the first, if not even more crucial..."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee and Rhiannon Painter
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 August 2016


Title: Myanmar’s New Government: Finding Its Feet?
Date of publication: 29 July 2016
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Four months into the new government’s five-year term is too early to come to definitive judgements about its performance. Nevertheless, its priorities and approach are becoming clearer, and there are some initial indications of how national politics is adjusting to changed realities. These provide the basis for an initial assessment as Myanmar’s transition enters a new phase under a democratically-elected government that has set a positive initial tone and taken important steps to address the authoritarian legacy. Some of the remaining political detainees were quickly released, and several oppressive and outdated laws have been repealed or are being amended. Perhaps the most important observation, however, is that Myanmar has passed through a year of considerable uncertainty and change with no major political turmoil. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in a broadly credible election with almost no violence; there was an orderly handover of power from the military-backed government, and the new administration has now entered an awkward cohabitation with the military, as dictated by the 2008 constitution, without significantly compromising key principles or prompting any fundamental rift with the soldiers. Navigating these difficult waters has been a key early success for all concerned. The difficulty and uncertainty of that task has left its mark. Suu Kyi, the leader of a long-repressed grassroots change movement, has only partial executive authority under the constitution – both because she is formally barred from the presidency, and because of the military’s significant constitutional power. This appears to have amplified longstanding tendencies, leading her to concentrate power in her own hands and delegate little. She is state counsellor, foreign minister, president office minister and in personal charge of the peace process and addressing the situation in Rakhine state. While there have been no major failures, there have been missteps, including on the peace process and Rakhine state, both of which relate to a failure to appreciate the complex details and a lack of consultation in advance of announcing important decisions or initiatives. Relations with the military have not always been sensitively handled. Though there appears to be good cooperation and a convergence of views on the peace process – even to the extent that armed group leaders are worried they may have to negotiate with a formidable united front of Suu Kyi and the military – relations in other areas have been strained, particularly around Suu Kyi’s appointment as state counsellor and the manner in which that bill was pushed through the legislature in April. It is essential for the success and stability of the transition that cooperative relations with the military are maintained, and more broadly that the military sees some benefits from the substantial concessions it feels it has made. The government faces daunting tasks. After decades of authoritarian rule and civil war, many key challenges are structural problems – some dating back to independence in 1948 and the incomplete process of state-building – that cannot be fixed simply by adopting more enlightened policies. The government must find ways of moving the peace process forward, addressing the situation in Rakhine state and continuing the delicate process of rebalancing external relations, particularly vis-àvis China. As state counsellor, foreign minister and chair of the high-level committees Myanmar’s New Government: Finding Its Feet? Crisis Group Asia Report N°282, 29 July 2016 Page ii in charge of the peace process and Rakhine state, leadership on all these fronts falls on Suu Kyi’s shoulders, a huge responsibility and potentially overwhelming workload. Success depends on twin policy and personal challenges: developing not only considered and consultative approaches, but also her ability to delegate. The international community can help in several ways. Western countries are rightly giving the government strong political backing, but should not shy away from offering frank and honest advice. Financial and technical support are much needed, though there is significant risk of uncoordinated aid projects and overlapping and inconsistent technical assistance overwhelming government capacity and potentially doing harm. Donors also need to keep in mind that projects should be carefully designed and closely monitored to reflect that the state and government remain absent or contested in many conflict-affected areas. For two reasons, it is also vital that the West in particular explores appropriate avenues of military-to-military cooperation. It is essential for sustainability of the transition that the military sees institutional benefits from its decision to give up significant power; and socialisation of a generation of military officers with their peers in democratic countries can make an important contribution to reform of the institution."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group (ICG) Asia Report N°282
Format/size: pdf (373K-reduced version; 1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/myanmar-s-new-government-finding-its-feet.pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 July 2016


Title: Myanmar 2015: Political turning point, economic and social challenges
Date of publication: 18 July 2016
Description/subject: "The year 2015 will be remembered as a watershed in the political evolution of Myan- mar. After 5 years of semi-civilian government, the country was allowed to hold free elections for a new national parliament and regional assemblies. In November, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi won by a landslide obtaining almost 80% of votes throughout the country, including in ethnic states in which it scored much better than expected. The incumbent Union Solidarity and De-velopment Party (USDP) – the party created by the army – suffered a crushing defeat: it got only 8% of the votes, while many party leaders had hoped it would get up to one third of the national popular vote. The scale of the NLD victory will allow it to choose the new president and to form the new government. However, the constitution approved by the outgoing military regime has created a number of important obstacles to real regime change. First, the Tatmadaw (the army) will continue to nominate 25% of parliamentary members and will have the power to veto constitutional changes. Second, the Tatmadaw will continue to appoint the ministers of Defence, Border Af- fairs and Home Affairs. This implies that the army will maintain control of the police as well as of the General Administration Department, which forms the backbone of the administration at the local level. Third, a clause in the constitution prevents the election of Aung San Suu Kyi to the presidency, thus confronting the NLD with two equally risky choices, either selecting a non-entity as president, potentially damaging the reputation of the NLD, or endangering the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi by choosing a capable politician for the state’s highest political office. The limits imposed to far-reaching political change help to explain why the army accepted the transition and immediately recognized the electoral results. The complexity of the political and institutional transition is bound to cause continu- ing difficulties in addressing the main national challenges. A ceasefire with eight ethnic armies reached in October 2015 was an important result, but the ethnic conflict remains rampant. Political and ethnic tensions in Rakhine state between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minorities have become particularly severe, and the dramatic conditions of the Rohingya produced an international crisis in spring 2015. To a very large extent, these ethnic conflicts are the result of both the conditions of poverty in which the large majority of the population live and the political, cultural and eco- nomic suppression of ethnic minorities since national independence."
Author/creator: Pietro Masina
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Chinese-American Race for Hegemony in Asia" via academia.org
Format/size: pdf (187K-reduced version; 689K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs22/Masina-2015-Myanmar_2015-political_turning_point.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 August 2016


Title: Strengthening Government Policymaking in Myanmar - 1 ျပည္သူ႔ေရးရာမူဝါဒဆိုသည္မွာ အဘယ္နည္း။ မူဝါဒေရးဆြဲခ်မွတ္ျခင္းတြင္ ျပည္သ
Date of publication: 16 June 2016
Description/subject: ယခုစာတမ္းငယ္တြင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံရွိ ဒီမိုကေရစီနည္းျဖင့္ေရြးေကာက္တင္ေျမႇာက္ခံထားရေသာ အစိုးရအေန ႏွင့္ မူဝါဒေရးဆြဲျပဌာန္းသည့္လုပ္ငန္းစဥ္မ်ားကို မည္သို႔ တိုးတက္ေကာင္းမြန္ေအာင္ေဆာင္ရြက္ႏုိင္မည္ကို ေဖာ္ျပထားပါသည္။ ျမန္မာျပည္တြင္ မူဝါဒမ်ားမည္သို႔ေရးဆြဲရမည္ကို မစဥ္းစားခင္ ေကာင္းမြန္ေသာ မူဝါဒမ်ားတြင္ပါဝင္ေသာ ႏုိင္ငံတကာက သေဘာတူလက္ခံထားသည့္ အခ်က္မ်ားကို အက်ဥ္းခ်ဳပ္ေဖာ္ျပထားၿပီး လက္ရွိျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ၌ မူဝါဒခ်မွတ္ေရးလုပ္ငန္းအား မည္သို႔ေဆာင္ရြက္ေနသည္ကို ေဆြးေႏြးထားသည္။ ထို႔ေနာက္တြင္အနာဂတ္၌က်င့္သံုးေဆာင္ရြက္သင့္သည့္ လုပ္ငန္းစဥ္မ်ားကို အၾကံျပဳထားပါသည္။ ..... This note asks how Myanmar’s democratically elected government can improve policymaking processes. It summarizes internationally recognized properties of good policies before considering how policymaking happens in Myanmar and proposing measures to adopt in the future.
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (898K)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Strengthening-Government-Policymaking-in-Myanm...
Date of entry/update: 07 August 2016


Title: Strengthening Policy Institutes in Myanmar - မန္မာႏိုင္ငံရွိမူဝါဒေရးရာအင္စတီက်ဴမ်ား အားေကာင္းလာေစေရးအတြက္ အႀကံျပဳစာတ
Date of publication: 16 June 2016
Description/subject: ယခုစာတမ္းတြင္ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံအတြင္းရိွ မူဝါဒေရးဆြဲခ်မွတ္ျခင္းလုပ္ငန္းစဥ္ကို မူဝါဒေရးရာအင္စတီက်ဴမ်ားက မည္သို႔စနစ္တက်ႏွင့္ ထိထိေရာက္ေရာက္ ပံ့ပိုးကူညီႏုိင္မည္ကို ေဆြးေႏြးထားပါသည္။ ျပဳျပင္ေျပာင္းလဲေရးမ်ားႏွင့္ ဒီမိုကေရစီစနစ္ကို တျဖည္းျဖည္း စတင္က်င့္သံုးေနသည္ႏွင့္အမွ် ပိုမိုေကာင္းမြန္ေသာ မူဝါဒခ်မွတ္သည့္ လုပ္ငန္းစဥ္မ်ား ျဖစ္လာေရးအတြက္ အခြင့္အလမ္းမ်ား ပိုမိုမ်ားျပားလာခဲ့သည္။ အမ်ိဳးသားဒီမိုကေရစီအဖြဲ႕ခ်ဳပ္မွ ႏိုင္ငံအႏံွ႔အျပားတြင္ အႏိုင္ရရိွခဲ့ေသာ ၂၀၁၅ ႏဝုိ ငဘ္ ာလ ေရးြ ေကာကပ္ ဲ ြ သည္ မူဝါဒလမ္းစဥ္အသစ္မ်ားကို ပံ့ပိုးေပးႏုိင္ေရးအတြက္ အခြင့္အလမ္းမ်ား ထပ္မံျဖစ္ထြန္းလာေစသည္။ တၿပိဳင္နက္တည္းမွာပင္ အစိုးရသစ္အေနႏွင့္ တစ္ႏိုင္ငံလံုးရွိျပည္သူမ်ားထံမွ ပိုမိုတိုးတက္မ်ားျပားလာမည့္ေတာင္းဆိုမႈမ်ားကို မည္သို႔တုန္႔ျပန္ေျဖရွင္းမည္ နည္းဆိုသည့္ ေမးခြန္းမ်ားစြာလည္း ေပၚေပါက္လာေစသည္။ လက္ရွိအခ်ိန္တြင္ စြမ္းေဆာင္ရည္ပိုင္း၌ အကန္႔အသတ္ရွိသည္ မွန္ေသာ္လည္း မူဝါဒေရးရာအင္စတီက်ဴမ်ားသည္ ပိုမိုျပည့္စံုေကာင္းမြန္ေသာ အခ်က္အလက္မ်ားေပးျခင္း၊ ဆန္းစစ္ျခင္းႏွင့္ မူဝါဒမ်ား ျပင္ဆင္ေရးဆြဲရာတြင္ ပိုမိုေကာင္းမြန္ေစျခင္းအားျဖင့္ အဆိုပါစိ္န္ေခၚမႈမ်ားကို ႏိုင္ငံေရးေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ား ကို္င္တြယ္ ေျဖရွင္းရာတြင္ တျဖည္းျဖည္းခ်င္း ပံ့ပိုးကူညီေပးႏုိင္မည္ ျဖစ္သည္။
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (930K)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Strengthening-Policy-Institute-in-Myanmar_Burm...
Date of entry/update: 07 August 2016


Title: Myanmar [overview 2016]
Date of publication: 01 June 2016
Description/subject: Myanmar "The dramatic reforms taken place in Myanmar in recent years have transformed this long isolated country into a more open society, one actively seeking to re-engage with the region and the world. Competitive elections, a lively parliament, a more vibrant media, and a growing civil society have allowed for debates on a range of issues concerning the nature of the state and the development agenda that were previously not possible. The landslide electoral victory of the opposition National League of Democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership in November 2015 has underscored further the potential to deepen the democratic transition."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (947K-reduced version; 2.93MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MM-Overview-2016_web.pdf
http://asiafoundation.org/latest-by-location/?wpvcountries=Myanmar
Date of entry/update: 04 June 2016


Title: Strengthening Government Policymaking in Myanmar
Date of publication: 13 May 2016
Description/subject: "This note asks how Myanmar’s democratically elected government can improve policymaking processes. It summarizes internationally recognized properties of good policies before considering how policymaking happens in Myanmar and proposing measures to adopt in the future..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (437K)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Strengthening-Government-Policymaking-in-Myanm...
Date of entry/update: 04 June 2016


Title: Strengthening Policy Institutes in Myanmar
Date of publication: 13 May 2016
Description/subject: "This note considers how policy institutes can systematically and effectively support policy processes in Myanmar. Opportunities for improved policymaking have grown following reforms and the gradual introduction of democracy. The November 2015 elections in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) won by a landslide created further potential to support new policy directions, while raising new questions over how the Government will respond to growing demands from people across the country. Although current capacity is limited, policy institutes can gradually help political leaders respond to these challenges, by providing better data and analysis and improving how policies are formulated."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (430K)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Strengthening-Policy-Institute-in-Myanmar_ENG....
http://asiafoundation.org/latest-by-location/?wpvcountries=Myanmar
Date of entry/update: 04 June 2016


Title: The Generation to Enjoy Peace? English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 17 March 2016
Description/subject: "We are at a critical juncture in our history, more promising than at any time in recent memory. The country will have a civilian-majority government that came to office through the votes of a multitude of smaller nationality groups for a pan-national party promising political change. If this political transition is to succeed, poverty must be alleviated, corruption curtailed, drug abuse radically reduced, and a host of other social crises addressed that have long blighted our country. At the beginning of the year my son came to the Kachin state with his newly-wed bride to receive our blessings for his marriage. For the first time I began to think about becoming a grandmother, holding a tiny grandchild and then actually thinking that, at some time in the future, I would welcome a granddaughter or grandson to our home for another happy wedding. What can I pass on to this future generation? What will unfold before their eyes? Snow-capped mountains and orchids hidden in deep forests? Streams rushing downhill to join the great Irrawaddy? Flourishing farmlands? I had a vision of reforested hills in Hpakant, travellers gathering pleasure from the peaceful countryside where camps for internally-displaced persons now dot the hills. I saw organic farmers, where today great swathes of monocultures for export have now displaced the original owners. And I could imagine thriving universities, where drug-addicted young people presently waste away their lives. These reflections are not simply personal, but concerns that every parent has in our country today. We are now at a critical juncture in our history, more promising than at any time in recent memory. For the first time since the 1950s, the country will have a civilian-majority government that came to office through the votes of a multitude of smaller nationality groups for a pan-national party promising political change. For non-Burman peoples, however, an underlying question remains, as it has in every political era since independence in 1948: can a multi-ethnic country of such cultural vibrancy and diversity be governed by a party that appears to be led by one majority group?..."
Author/creator: Lahpai Seng Raw
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: https://www.tni.org/en/node/22933
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2016