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.
Arakanese Buddhists are angered after the government awarded 209 Muslims in Arakan State citizenship, while some Rohingya see it as an opportunity.
Government gives citizenship to 209 displaced Muslims, after the first phase of a project aimed at determining the status of about a million stateless Rohingya.
Over the last 2,500 years, the Latin alphabet has swept away countless writing systems. However, more than two billion people still write in other formats.
#1 is Burmese!
The preliminary results of Burma’s first nationwide census since 1983 were released in Rangoon last Saturday, providing an answer to the vexing question of the actual population, estimates of which varied between 44 to 59 million for a decade. The new tally (minus some low-population areas of northern Karen State and Kachin State not included because of security concerns) is 51.4 million.
More important than this number, however, was what the census results didn’t include. There were no details on the sensitive subjects of ethnicity or religion made public, and there won’t be until after the 2015 election. The main reason provided is such results could potentially further inflame communal conflict that has rocked Burma since 2012, when over 140,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims were displaced in largely one-sided communal conflict in Burma’s western Arakan State. Since then, the danger of communal violence has spread into central Burma, and the broader Muslim minority has been targeted in several waves of violence fueled by ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks.
The former Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (Fytche Square Building) stands on the corner of Sule Pagoda Road and Maha Bandula Road. It was built around 1905 after the design of Thomas Swales, whose other Rangoon buildings comprise St. Paul’s High School (BEHS No. 6 Botataung), Sofaer’s Building as well as the British Embassy. Fytche Square Building was originally commissioned by an Indian merchant and later leased to a wealthy Burmese businessman, U Ba Nyunt. He turned it into the first Burmese-run department store, “Myanmar Aswe”. After WWII the building got taken over by the government. After the government’s transfer to Naypyitaw, this building stood almost completely abandoned, with partially knocked out windows and shuttered doors. Now that the opposite Maha Bandula Garden is remodeled and the new Centrepoint Towers on the same street (perennially) nearing completed, the former Fytche Square Building appears poised to occupy a prime piece of land next to Sule Pagoda. In this vein, there has been some speculation about its future use, ranging from boutique hotel to office space. Basic repairs appear to have been made on the initiative of the Ministry of Construction, although we would be keen to hear about the latest developments.
Myanmar’s government pressurises foreign officials and aid agencies not to speak ‘Rohingya’ name, activists say.
Twenty-seven-year-old activist Wai Wai Nu has spent a quarter of her life behind bars, and now works to end the persecution faced by her people
Myanmar’s LGBT community suffers abuse, stigma and the legacy of colonial and dictatorial rule. Slowly, however, it is mobilising and finding a voice.