The head of a newspaper and four of its reporters were sentenced to 10 years of prison and hard labor by a court in Myanmar today following a report the group published exposing a supposedly secret government chemical weapons factory. The Burmese government has denied the existence of such a factory.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and icon of resistance against Burma's brutal military dictatorship, was a "V.I.P. guest" of her former captors at a military parade yesterday held in honor of the country's Armed Forces Day—marking the latest in what the Times calls a "fledgling partnership" between Aung San Suu Kyi and the junta that once kept her under house arrest for more than two decades. Her openness to work with the country's president, former general U Sein Thein, may be a shrewd political calculation that recognizes the military's continued hold on power even as the country slowly moves toward democracy, but it leaves many of her former allies troubled, and may end up neutralizing her: "[S]he is essentially making herself irrelevant," Burmese politics expert Josef Silverstein says. Worse, she has largely remained silent as the plight of Burma's ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims worsens. The rise of the 969 group, which exiled dissident Dr. Muang Zarni describes as a "neo-Nazi ‘Buddhist' nationalist movement" has led to brutal violence, genocidal in its intent, against the Rohingya—largely poorer, darker-skinned, and unrecognized by by the state—creating a human rights crisis in the face of which Aung San Suu Kyi's reaction is disappointing at best and infuriating at worst. "When asked if the Rohingyas are Burmese citizens, Aung San Suu Kyi, the moral exemplar of the pro-democracy movement, simply said that she did not know," Min Zin writes at Foreign Policy. "Aung San Suu Kyi has even said that she will refrain from applying any kind of 'moral leadership' by taking sides in the communal unrest. In this respect, her actions reveal quite a bit of continuity with the ruling military." [NYT | Vice | Guardian | FP | image via AFP/Getty]
President Obama announced from Bali on Friday that he's sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the human rights disaster zone known as Myanmar, aka Burma, saying, "After years of darkness we've seen flickers of progress." It will be the first such visit to the country, which has long isolated itself from diplomacy, in over 50 years.
Former Star editor and Jessica Coen enemy Joe Dolce is apparently knee-deep in some freelance Journalismism, writing a piece in Culture & Travel about a trip to Myanmar. There's not even any dead celebrities there! But there are some dead citizens once in a while, which has Joe "contemplating the ethics of traveling to a country with an oppressive regime." We can think of no one better to judge. [WWD]