The failure of nationalist hardliners to react to routine cases of violence against women suggests that it is ownership of Buddhist women and girls – rather than their protection – that motivates them.
Burma’s recent reforms have created an atmosphere of journalistic possibilities, but many foreign journalists fail to capitalise on access to areas previously restricted to engage in more extensive coverage of ethnic politics.
For those keen to participate in Burma’s uneven process of opening up, uncomfortable compromises have had to be made on all sides. Slow and steady no longer wins the race, says DVB contributor David Baulk.
Many believe that Buddhism has a pure history in which misdemeanors, carnage, war and hostility has been committed by everyone — except the Buddhist. This is why the recent violence in Sri Lanka and Burma elicits such shock.
The situation in Burma is an example of how the current approach, largely based on the principle of co-operating with governments, can leave survivors of sexual violence without even the most basic humanitarian support, let alone the specialised support they need.
Whether Burma can re-establish itself as one of the world’s major rice exporters really depends on if it can complement its reducing domestic demand for rice with addressing stagnating rice productivity.