Leaders come and go, but their courage, inspiration and integrity can resonate long after they leave office or this world. South Africa’s Nelson Mandela will always be remembered as one of humanity’s most extraordinary leaders.
The presence of Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at Britain’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where she met with cadets and delivered a speech last Friday, surprised many activists at home and abroad.
Burma and Singapore have a shared history of colonial occupation and a long relationship as Southeast Asian neighbors. As relations between Burma and Western nations continue to thaw and some bilateral ties are forged for the first time,
“I have no foes, only friends,” the late Dagon Taya once famously said.
The literary giant died at the age of 95 last month, along with three other leading pro-democracy intellectuals who shone a bright light in Burma during the long, dark decades of repression.
During my visits to Burma this month and in June, several political observers and tycoons told me that it has been difficult to understand the military’s motives as the country transitions toward democracy.
There’s no longer any doubt—Burma is heading in a dangerous direction. With the rise of radical and nationalist elements in the country, the government’s top-down reform initiatives are looking increasingly fragile and at risk of completely derailing.
The agreement aimed at reducing military tensions that was signed by Burma’s government and ethnic Kachin rebels on Thursday is welcome news, but one must maintain cautious optimism regarding Kachin State’s peace prospects.
There is no doubt that the violent attacks on Muslims in Meiktila, a garrison city in central Burma, were politically motivated. It has been a gruesome spectacle. Muslims were beaten, dragged out into the streets, doused with petrol and burned alive.
When Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt travels to Burma on Friday, he will be in for a pleasant surprise. After North Korea, another country that the top Google exec has recently visited, Burma is bound to seem like a breath of fresh air.
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- From Europe with Love
- Recent Moves Renew Doubts about Burma’s Reforms
- Rehabilitating Burma’s Cronies
- Resisting Naypyidaw’s Imperialism
- Can US-Burma Defense Ties Return Generals to the Barracks?
- Burma’s Copper Mine Saga Opens Old Wound
- Obama Charms Burma
- What Message Will Obama Bring?
- Obama to Burma?