VOA Burmese Blog

October 29, 2010

Pro Vote vs. No Vote


 

As Burma’s first elections in 20 years comes near, many Burmese citizens are choosing to NOT VOTE. In fact, there is a popular campaign of ” NO VOTING” within the Burmese community, however, one young man says people should be voting. Find out why…

 

English Version:

 

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Burmese Community in Fort Wayne Talks about Burma’s 2010 Elections


 

The Burmese community in Fort Wayne, Indiana discuss the elections that will occur in Burma on November 7th.

 

Burmese Version:

Burma Forum at SAIS University


Johns Hopkins University and Human Rights Watch held a forum on Burma’s upcoming elections and human rights within the country. Keynote speakers discuss the political situation circling Burma, emphasizing a key point- whether a true democracy can be established in the country after the election.

Watch the video here.

English Version:

 

Burmese Version:

Cyclone Giri Hit Burma, and the Burmese Learned a Lesson from the Previous Cyclone Nargis

Filed under: Burma/ Myanmar,Feature Story,News — voaburmese @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

Cyclone Giri- AP image

-VOA News

United Nations officials say the number of people in Burma affected by Cyclone Giri appears to be higher than first thought, but that major loss of life has been avoided because of lessons learned during Cyclone Nargis.

The U.N. mission in Burma said Wednesday that 177,000 people in 71 villages are reported to have been affected by Giri, which killed at least 27 people when it struck the western state of Rakhine on Friday, October 21st. It said about 10,000 people have been affected severely.

But the agency said many lives were saved because residents were evacuated from high-risk areas and relief supplies were put in place before the storm. It said several government ministers are still on the ground directing relief efforts.

The U.N. office attributed the state of preparedness to “good lessons” learned from Cyclone Nargis, which killed about 130,000 people when it struck the Irrawaddy delta in 2008.

The government was accused at that time of being slow to deliver aid and obstructing relief workers.

October 28, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi Dreams of Tweeting to the Youth

Filed under: Burma/ Myanmar,Feature Story,News,VOA Burmese Service — voaburmese @ 5:02 pm

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s detained house leader wants to communicate with the world – especially with the youth, and she says she can do this through twitter. She wants to use twitter once she is free from house arrest. Her expected release date is  Nov. 13th, exactly 6 days after Burma’s first elections in 20 years.

Would you follow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on twitter? Do you think twitter is a good way for her to interact with the youth on social and political issues? We hope ASSK will follow us on twitter @voaburmese . Are you guys following us? http://www.twitter.com/voaburmese

Tweet you later.

October 18, 2010

Burma Bars Foreign Observers, Journalists From Elections


In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, Burma's parliament democracy era- satire cartoon used 40 years ago is seen again during the Democratic Party's (Myanmar) campaign for general elections in November in Yangon Myanmar. The cartoon entitled "Today's Public Policy" reads: "Take when given, eat when served, go when called, But when time to cast vote Hee Hee Hee " The Democratic Party (Myanmar). The pro-democracy party has substituted the last field of the cartoon with the party's name. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

 

 

Burma bars foreign journalists and observers from coming into the country to report or watch the elections.  This will be the first elections in 20 years in Burma, and analysts of Burma say that this latest move from the government guarantees that Burma’s elections on Nov. 7th will favor the military junta. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok.

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At a briefing in Burma’s remote capital, Naypyidaw, the Election Commission told journalists and diplomats already in the country that their presence would be adequate for the elections.

Burma’s neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations offered to observe the elections but the government turned them down.

There are about 25 foreign news organizations registered in Burma, most are staffed by Burmese citizens.

The commission says diplomats and foreign organizations in Burma will be taken on a tour during the elections. Therefore, he said, no invitations will be given to election observers or foreign media.

Vincent Brossel is with the media freedom organization Reporters Without Borders in Paris. He says this latest restriction shows the government has no intention of holding free and fair elections.

Brossel says, “One of the condition(s) for a democratic election is again refused by the government. They have all control on the Burmese media…and now that the foreign journalists are denied to access Burma during the election(s) that gives no chances to get transparency and accountability.”

Scores of foreign news organizations are expected to try to cover the elections, but now will be forced to do so from outside the country. VOA is among them.

Burma’s military government has billed the November 7th elections, the first in two decades, as part of its road map to democracy after 50 years of military rule.

But critics say the military is merely cementing its grip on power in the guise of elections.

The military is guaranteed a quarter of all parliament seats, regardless of votes.

The government also refuses to allow millions of ethnic minorities a vote in parts of the country where militias have fought for independence.

Thailand’s Defense Ministry says it is beefing up security along the border with Burma. There are concerns the Burmese military will crack down on ethnic minorities or on dissidents, causing an inflow of refugees.

Strict election laws forced the largest opposition party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, to be dissolved. The National League for Democracy won Burma’s last elections in 1990 but the military ignored the results and has kept her locked up for most of the time since.

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What do you think about the upcoming elections on Nov. 7th ? Do you think that this last restriction from the Burmese government confirms that the elections will be an unfair and undemocratic one? How do you like the cartoon ( pasted above)?

 

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