Many thanks to XONZOI BARBORA for contributing to Kafila our first podcast. This podcast is an interview of Burmese journalist KYAW ZWA MOE. The interview was originally conducted for Panos Radio South Asia on 6 November 2010. Please allow a moment for the audio player to load on your screen.
Burma’s elections, like its new flag, constitution and capital, is part of an inventory of an elaborate make-over for the military junta that runs the country. This make-over has the tacit support of Burma’s powerful neighbours — China, India and Thailand — who cast covetous eyes on the oil, gas and mineral resources of the country. The elections that took place on November 7, 2010 was one designed to entrench the military in civic life and also provide a reasonable ground for big donor agencies to intervene in administration. Even as the National League for Democracy (NLD) boycotted the elections, other democratic forces were rendered powerless by the junta’s stranglehold over the electoral process. It reserved seats for itself; circumvented the electoral process in places where it thought it would lose and simply made it too expensive for its opponents to contest.
Following the elections, more than 20,000 persons were forced to flee from areas where the Karens and Burmese armies are locked in a vicious and protracted struggle. Even as the frightened people crossed over into southern Thailand on November 7, 8 and 9, 2010, the Thai government endorsed the elections and said that it was time for Burmese refugees to return to their country. As millions of people fleeing war and hunger from the Irrawady valley and the ethnic areas await the eventual (and tragically, inevitable) approval (of the elections) by different governments across the world, they continue to live in extremely vulnerable circumstances waiting to see when the axe will fall; when they will be forced to cross the border back into a land they were driven out from.
Against such a backdrop, the managing editor of Irrawady News Media, Mr. Kyaw Zwa Moe, spoke to Panos South Asia’s Sanjay (Xonzoi) Barbora on November 6, 2010 in Chiang Mai.
Irrawady News Media: www.irrawady.org (Irrawady News Media is based in Chiang Mai and its multi-media website is updated regularly)
Mizzima News: www.mizzima.com (Mizzima News is run by exiled activists from Burma and is updated occasionally)
Karen Human Rights Group: www.khrg.org (a website devoted to documenting human rights violations against ethnic Karens and is updated occasionally)
Chin Human Rights Organisation: www.chro.ca (a website devoted to documenting human rights violations against ethnic Chins and updated occasionally)
Eur-Burma Office: www.euro-burma.eu (the website of the Brussels-based Euro Burma office that has useful links to events, publications and other documents related to Burma and its ethnic nationalities).