Burma

A Special ReportTony Cohan

Article Preview

To access this entire article and all other member-supported
content, join Tricycle as a Supporting or Sustaining Member

©AP/Richard Vogel

Burma is a police state. Make no mistake. You feel it the minute you arrive at Rangoon’s shabby, desultory airport, thronging with ill-equipped armed soldiers. Downtown, among the banyan trees, rust-robed monks, bicycles, trishaws, and Daihatsu trucks, billboards exhort citizens to crush internal and external foes. On the sidewalks, cheroot-smoking hawkers in longyis (sarongs) and sandals sell cheap combs, razor blades, and belts, or simply snooze in the sweltering heat beside the bundles on their mats. Old cars belch fumes, while between blighted British-built buildings wink shimmering gold-leafed pagodas. Consumer culture has barely penetrated here, and the currency, the kyat, is in a near free fall.

Burma—or Myanmar, as its current leaders controversially call it—is an ancient, picturesque land in eastern Indochina. Once an outpost of the British raj, it has been ruled by military force since 1962. It is a country curiously arrested in time, both charming and tragic. After the reformist National League for Democracy’s overwhelming electoral victory in 1990, the military blocked NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s ascension to power; it closed down universities and imprisoned, killed, or banished many party members, intellectuals, and dissidents. Once one of the region’s most prosperous states, Burma now languishes in poverty and isolation, a pariah among nations, with a per capita income of $170 a year.

©AP/Charles Darapak

Ms. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and . . .

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Become a Supporting Member

*With Autorenew

  • You Get
  • Tricycle | The Magazine - a one-year subscription to premier Buddhist quarterly
  • Tricycle Retreats - a new online video teaching every every week by a contemporary Buddhist teacher
  • Tricycle | The Digital Edition - web based edition of the magazine
  • The Wisdom Collection - nearly two decades of teachings by the world's most compelling teachers, from the pages of Tricycle
  • Tricycle Gallery - the best in Buddhist art to download and share with friends
  • Tricycle Book Club - online discussions with leading Buddhist authors
  • Tricycle Discussions - teacher-led explorations of dharma in daily life
  • The Tricycle Blog - our diary of the global Buddhist movement
  • Daily Dharma - heart advice delivered direct to your inbox
  • The Tricycle Newsletter - the latest news, teachings, events, and more, every Monday

Become a Supporting Member

Become a Sustaining Member

*With Autorenew

  • You Get
  • Tricycle | The Magazine - a one-year subscription to premier Buddhist quarterly
  • Tricycle Retreats - a new online video teaching every every week by a contemporary Buddhist teacher
  • Tricycle | The Digital Edition - web based edition of the magazine
  • The Wisdom Collection - nearly two decades of teachings by the world's most compelling teachers, from the pages of Tricycle
  • Tricycle Gallery - the best in Buddhist art to download and share with friends
  • Tricycle Book Club - online discussions with leading Buddhist authors
  • Tricycle Discussions - teacher-led explorations of dharma in daily life
  • The Tricycle Blog - our diary of the global Buddhist movement
  • Daily Dharma - heart advice delivered direct to your inbox
  • The Tricycle Newsletter - the latest news, teachings, events, and more, every Monday

Become a Sustaining Member