Global Witness has published a report on the jade industry in Myanmar, a trade "worth far more than previously thought - up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone. That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP of the whole country, which badly needs it. But hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers." [more inside]
Richard Cooke visits Rohingya refugees in Malaysia and looks at Australia's history of collaborating with human-rights abusers: "There’s a strange feeling in the room. An unusual aspect of being subjected to a 21st-century genocide-in-progress is that there are templates, blueprints, precedents. They know the fate of the Bosnian Muslims, of the Vietnamese boat people, of the Tutsis. They know this will take a long time, that their fate is uncertain. There is patience, and much more humour than I anticipated." [more inside]
For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question. "Living with the crazy, fearless young men who risk life and limb to document Burma's genocide."
Explosive art; "weapons" paintings by San Minn are not shown in his native Burma where Rappers, journalists and comedians have discovered a new crime – helping people devastated by cyclone Nargis. [more inside]
Can the Burmese people rescue themselves? A powerful piece by George Packer in the New Yorker on the recent history and current conditions in Burma.
Monks Succeed in Cyclone Relief as Junta Falters. In Burma (Myanmar) the Buddhist monks are doing more than anyone to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. At the same time, Burmese officials are trying to stem the influence of the monks by forcing survivors who have sought refuge in monasteries to return to their shattered homes. [Via Barbara's Buddhism Blog.]
Burma: It Can't Wait is a month-long video campaign by the US Campaign for Burma to raise awareness of the plight of Burma (Myanmar) and Aung San Suu Kyi. There will be one video a day for 30 days from celebrities including Will Ferrel, Sarah Silverman and Eddie Izzard. [more inside]
Monks march again in Burma. Approximately one hundred Buddhist monks marched in protest oif government policies in the central city of Pakokku yesterday. One monk who spoke to journalists claims more marches will be organized. Will we see a resurgence of the mass marches--and crackdowns--of August and September?
Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
Burmese artist Htein Lin was imprisoned by his country's military government from 1998 to 2004 on charges of planning opposition protests. In prison he was forced to improvise to continue painting, using paints smuggled in by guards and white cotton prison uniforms as canvases. In place of brushes he used his fingers, cigarette lighters, syringes, pieces of netting, dinner plates, and blocks of soap. Burma Inside Out (PDF), an exhibition of some of his prison work, will be on display at the Asia House Gallery in London from July 27 to October 13.
From Hunter to Hunted "In his quest to free slaves around the world, Aaron Cohen thought he’d seen it all. Then he went to Myanmar."
Burmese villagers sue Unocal in an L.A. courtroom. The villagers are charging that Unocal is responsible for human-rights abuses committed by the Burmese military along the company's $1.2 billion Yadana gas pipeline. Here's a Unocal website responding to the suit. And the Free Burma Coalition's Unocal Page.
My Gun was as Tall as Me is a new report by Human Rights Watch about children forced to become soldiers in Burma (Myanmar). They estimate as many as 70,000 soldiers are under 18, some as young as 11. (Previous posts about Burma and modern slavery.)