Images of Myanmar • Myanmar or Burma?: Politics of the Name • From most powerful kingdom of SEA to one of the poorest countries in the world • Military, Fear Politics, Armed Ethnic Struggles, Drugs • Democracy, Boycott and Humanitarian Intervention
Pre-Colonial Burma • One of the strongest and the largest political kingdoms in the Mainland Southeast Asia • Multiethnic in nature (Pyu in the North/Ayeyarwady 1 BC then Chinese invasion and Mon in the South 9BC(Brought in Theravada Buddhism): The pre Burman/Bhama period • 11 AD Burman Kingdom replaced the gap of the Pyu (Pagan) then suppressed Mon, then 13th century suppressed by Mongol/China, then several small Kingdoms (Ava (N), Mon (S), Mrauk U (W), Shan(NE)) • 16th consolidation: Burmese Empire (entire Burma and Chiang Mai + Siam) Burman = 68% of population
British Colony (1886-1948) • 3 major wars + devastation ( not part of the Commonwealth) • 1st war: conquest of Burmese empire brought to the land adjacent to British India 1824-26, 2nd war (1852), 3rd war (1885) • Administered as a province of British India til 1937 • Economic and social transformation: rice growing and export, and plural society (ethnic division of labor importing Indian and Chinese to work) many riot due to crash of tradition – no respect to Buddhist culture • Political Legacy: The Burma Proper and the Frontier (divided and ruled) (ethnic state and ethnic role in colonial administration – the Karen)
Post-Colonial Burma • 1940s the Thirty Comrades by Aungsa found the Burma Independence Army trained in Japan • Japanese Invasion, and British reoccupation 1945 (some ethnic groups served in the British Army). The Burma Independence Army switched side to the British • Pre-1948 preparation of the Independence Aung San and several cabinets were assassinated • 1948 Union of Burma with Panglong Agreement (Ethnic state had right to be independence in the next 10 years) • 1962 Coup by Gen. Newin (The Burmese Way to Socialism) 1962-1974 ruled by revolutionary council, 1974-1988 by Burma Socialist Programme Party as one party system backed by the military (Tatmadaw) (The country was “closed”). • Ethnic Insurgency and Communist Insurgency
Contemporary Myanmar • 1988 uprising (economic mismanagement) student uprising and escalated armed ethnic conflicts (Karen) Coup by State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) martial law, 1989 Myanmarsification, 1997 SLORC turned to State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) • 1990 election (first in almost 30 years) The National League for Democracy (NLD) won 392/489 SLORC annulled the result and house arrest NLD leader – Aung Saan Suu Kyi (released with restriction) • 1997 joined ASEAN • 2006 relocation of Capital City from Rangoon to Naypyidaw (administrative and military area) • 2007 Another uprising (democratic and monks) big crack down and country was closed from outside report (internet was blocked) • 2008 Referendum for Constitution, 2010 Election • 2008 Nargis Cyclone, 130,000 people died – the government’s reluctant to receive assistance (fearing of connecting with the democratic and ethnic groups)
Contemporary Issues • Drug and Armed Ethnic Struggle (Shan and Karen), Cease fired agreement with certain groups as proxy war human trafficking and displaced persons (human security) the Unocal/Chevron case the company was sued in a US court on the violation of human right in another country • Politics of fear, corruption, and tensions among military elite • Poorest country of the region • International Boycott but regional economic cooperation (China, India, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand) Constructive Engagement? (natural resources) : Helping the junta or the civil society ?
References • Wikipedia: Burma • Aung San Suu Kyi (1991). Freedom from fear: and other writings New York, NY Viking. • Callahan, M. P. (2003). Making enemies : war and state building in Burma. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press. • Fink, C. (2001). Living silence : Burma under military rule New York, Zed. • Kingsbury, D. (2005). South-East Asia: A Political Profile. Melbourne, Oxford University Press. • Owen, N. G., Ed. (2005). The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia: A New History. Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press • Skidmore, M. (2004). Karaoke fascism: Burma and the politics of fear Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press. • Taylor, R. H. (1987). The State in Burma. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.