Burma Hub

Quiet Gay Pride In Myanmar

MyanmarLGBT people in Myanmar and their allies held a series of events across the country last night to for the first time celebrate gay pride, including a concert and discussion attended by about 400 people in Yangon (also called Rangoon).

Though Myanmar, also called Burma, has become more liberal since the military regime's fall, same-sex relationships are still a crime, the BBC reports, which means most LGBT people weren't comfortable holding a full-blown gay pride parade.

Burma is a conservative, mainly Buddhist country where many gay men and women feel they cannot come out.

As such organisers decided against hosting a street parade, which is a traditional feature of gay pride events around the world.

Instead, around 400 people attended an evening of music and talks held in the ballroom of a hotel in Rangoon.
"In the past we didn't dare do this. We've been preparing to hold this event for a long time… and today, finally it happened," gay make-up artist Min-Min told the AFP news agency.

The event was timed to coincide with today's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Era of Fear Eases as Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD Party Win Seats in Burma Parliament: VIDEO


Thousands celebrated in Burma (Myanmar) after elections results revealed that longtime imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party won seats in parliament.

The Guardian reports: Suukyi

Aung San Suu Kyi has hailed "the beginning of a new era" in Burma's politics after her party claimed a spectacular 43 out of 44 parliamentary seats in Sunday's historic byelection.

Speaking to thousands of red-clad supporters outside the headquarters of her opposition party, the National League for Democracy' (NLD), the Nobel laureate called the election "a triumph of the people" and said: "We hope this will be the beginning of a new era."

Traffic slowed to a crawl as throngs of people, many of them waving flags and clutching red and white roses, spilled into the street to cheer, clap and call out "Amay Suu" (Mother Suu) as her motorcade arrived. At least one person was trampled underfoot when bodyguards pushed back the crowds and people swarmed to the car to see the woman who spent almost 22 years under house arrest and who many hope will create a new future for Burma's 60 million people.

CNN reports:

The sudden relaxation of political shackles on the Nobel laureate has raised the inevitable questions of why, and what do they want in return? One expert said Myanmar's new leaders, who were elected to power in a vote derided as a "sham" in November 2010, had tired of being ostracized by the international community.

Watch an Australian news report from the scene, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Era of Fear Eases as Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD Party Win Seats in Burma Parliament: VIDEO" »

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road.jpg An email from Burma: "Two days after the storm the men in uniforms came to our village with blankets, food and water. We accepted their gifts and posed for their cameras. When they were done taking pictures they took back the food, the water, and the blankets and drove away. I do not think that I can face such disappointment again."

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Myanmarroad.jpg Even though the death toll could exceed that of the southeast Asian tsunami, the Myanmar government has refused U.S. aid: "The junta not only wouldn't allow U.S. aid planes to fly in badly needed supplies, they also continued to refuse visas to United Nations relief teams trying to get in to make sure the aid gets to the victims. Despite the military clampdown, reports of the horrendous toll the storm was taking on Myanmar's people began trickling out."

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Myanmar Devastation Revealed in Satellite Photos


Looking at this before and after photo (via joe.my.god and daily dish), it's no wonder that the death toll from Myanmar's deadly cyclone Nargis might exceed 100,000.

Hopefully, the junta will accept foreign aid.

But here's the issue: "'The Burmese military is concerned about white faces...seeing what they’re doing,' said Aung Naing Oo, a Burmese political analyst exiled to Thailand. Others pointed to bureaucratic paralysis. 'Only three people in the whole country can make decisions, one of whom is the senior general’s astrologer,' one foreign aid worker said."

Laura Bush and Burma: Echoes of Disaster [tr]
As Brutal Burma Crisis Continues, Monks Sent to Prison Camps [tr]

Laura Bush and Burma: Echoes of Disaster

First Lady Laura Bush held a rare press conference today about the cyclone that struck Myanmar (Burma) that may have killed up to 50,000.

MyanmarAFP today:

"US First Lady Laura Bush accused Myanmar's military rulers Monday of failing to warn their citizens in time about a killer cyclone and pressed the junta to accept US aid in the disaster's wake. 'Although they were aware of the threat, Burma's state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path,' Bush said in an unusual appearance at the White House briefing room podium. 'It's troubling that many of the Burmese people learned of this impending disaster only when foreign outlets, such as Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, sounded the alarm,' she said. Washington calls the country Burma."

Not that Burma's military government doesn't deserve to be criticized for the treatment of its people. But then, of course, there's this:

Washington Post, 1/06: "In the 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm's likely impact, including eerily prescient predictions of breached levees, massive flooding, and major losses of life and property, documents show. A 41-page assessment by the Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), was delivered by e-mail to the White House's 'situation room,' the nerve center where crises are handled, at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, the day the storm hit, according to an e-mail cover sheet accompanying the document...The documents shed new light on the extent on the administration's foreknowledge about Katrina's potential for unleashing epic destruction on New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities and towns. President Bush, in a televised interview three days after Katrina hit, suggested that the scale of the flooding in New Orleans was unexpected. 'I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm,' Bush said in a Sept. 1 interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America.'"

Laura Bush urged Myanmar to take the foreign aid to help its people. Of course, if Myanmar uses the U.S. as its example, they'll likely refuse it.


Continue reading "Laura Bush and Burma: Echoes of Disaster" »


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