Burma's Modern Tragedy

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The goal of this volume is to introduce the reader to conditions in Burma through the eyes of Burmese and foreign scholars who present a variety of perspectives of life in this noble land. This study aims at a collective portrait of the dismal reality of a suffering citizenry who if allowed to be free could be among the most creative, energetic and productive people of Asia. It also looks at the complexity of a highly heterogeneous people striving to find a collective identity amidst the chaos of savage repression.


"Reflecting much of the moral appeal and political authority of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself, the contributors to Burma’s Modern Tragedy clearly have a mission not only to inform and educate Americans about the systemic pattern of economic deterioration, political repression, state-supported violence, and environmental degradation in Burma -- but also to “tell their story” to the international community, to influence those in a position to shape policy and the allocation of Western economic, military, and intelligence resources, and to cultivate an informed humanitarian response from citizens across the English-speaking world. They have succeeded admirably This book is likely to be used by faculty in English-speaking colleges and universities who are teaching about culture, recent history, economics, and politics in southeast Asia -- both as a text and as a research tool to help cover the all-too-frequent gap when it comes to “Myanmar.” ... I extend my heartfelt congratulations to both the editors of Burma’s Modern Tragedy and the Edwin Mellen Press, Ltd. for exhibiting the intellectual and moral courage to tell the truth about Burma and to vividly share the plight of the diverse people of Burma in the face of cruel authoritarian repression and the daily exercise of totalitarian control over their lives in scholarly and personal terms." - (From the Commendatory Preface) Professor Roderic L. Owen, Mary Baldwin College

"The media each day brings us further news of the monstrous tragedy facing Burma, but surprisingly few scholars, journalists, and political leaders have any real understanding of what is happening to one of the world’s oldest and magnificent civilizations. A number of Western scholars and journalists have published some very solid monographs on the Burma crisis, but we very rarely hear the voices of Burmese scholars. This volume, Burma’s Modern Tragedy, adds considerably to modern scholarship on Burma by introducing the reader to the work of many Burmese scholars and journalists as well as a number of Western specialists. The articles cover a wide spectrum of topics on contemporary Burma including the evolution of military rule, the collapsed economy, crises in education and health care, the role of Buddhism, the psychological effects of military rule on the Burmese people, the bitter struggle among the nation’s many ethnic groups, and educational possibilities for Burmese students living abroad. Editors Daniel Metraux and Khin Oo have done a highly admirable job in compiling a most valuable anthology on the Burma crisis." - Dr. Wilton S. Dillon, Senior Scholar Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

Table of Contents

History: The Evolution of Military Rule
Chapter One Burma’s Modern Tragedy: An Overview By Daniel Metraux
Chapter Two Aung San Suu Kyi: Courageous Symbol of Burma’s Democracy Movement By Khin Oo
Chapter Three Burmese Military Government: Crony Capitalists in Uniform By Win Min
Chapter Four Inge Sargent: Her Life as a Shan Princess By Khin Oo
Chapter Five Religion and Magic: Disappearing Jewels and Poltergeists By Christina Fink
Chapter Six Burmese Buddhism and its Impact on Social Change By Min Zin
Politics and the Economy
Chapter Seven Burma’s Potential Political Transition: An Analysis of Ethnic Conflicts and Mobilization By Min Zaw Oo
Chapter Eight Burma’s National Convention: “Then and the Future” By Aung Naing Oo
Chapter Nine Burma’s Black Markets, Economic Growth and Freedom By Khin Oo
Foreign Affairs
Chapter Ten The US-led Charge By Min Zin
Chapter Eleven “Without Inner Freedom You Can Achieve Nothing:” An Interview with Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic By Min Zin
Educating Young Burmese for the Nation’s Future
Chapter Twelve Light for Dark Burmese Days By Maureen Aung-Thwin
Chapter Thirteen Prospect Burma: Keeping the Flame of Education Alive By Patricia Herbert
Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Aung San of Burma: A Biographical Portrait by his Daughter and Takkatho Nay Win. Biographical Sketches of General Aung San. Reviewed by Khin Oo
Christina Fink. Living Silence and Shelby Tucker, Burma: The Curse of Independence Reviewed by Daniel A. Metraux
Andrew Marshall. The Trouser People: A Story of Burma in the Shadow of the Empire. Reviewed by Khin Oo
Win Naing Oo. Hidden Records of Atrocities in Burma’s Prisons. Reviewed by Khin Oo

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