Burma’s Democratic Transition: Hype and Reality



A talk by


founder of the FBC and Visiting Fellow, Civil Society and Human Security Unit, London School of Economics.

White Box | 19 Sept | 8:00pm | Free Admission

Dr. ZARNI is the founder of the Free Burma Coalition and Visiting Fellow, Civil Society and Human Security Unit, London School of Economics. A scholar-activist and Burmese exile, he has published and commented on various aspects of political change in Burma including reconciliation, justice, human rights and civil society. He is currently writing a commissioned book, provisionally entitled Life under the Boot: 50 Years of Military Dictatorship in Burma, for Yale University Press. He has held a professorship in the sociology of education at the National-Louis University in Chicago, as well as fellowships at the London School of Economics, Chulalongkorn U., Oxford U., U. of London Institute of Education, Georgetown University, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He was one of the speakers at the International Conference on “Plight of the Rohingya: Solution?” organised by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation on Monday, 17 September 2012.


BURMA came under military rule since 1962. The General of the ruling junta in 2008 announced that it is backing the “Roadmap to Democracry”, “a seven step plan to restore democracy in Myanmar.” Reforms that have since taken place include the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and a general elections in November 2010. International media attention has been plentiful and international support is on the increase – ASEAN has approved Myanmar’s bid for chair in 2014 – amidst reports that privatasation of state owned industries into hands of cronies and that the elections were not free and fair. Under scrutiny, criticisms if not questions on motives arise about these democratic reforms that the military backed ruling party is championing and the nature of governance. Will it be a veneer democracy gaining Myanmar access to the economic gains of democracy+capitalism? Is it a case of ‘at least its a step in the right direction’? To what degree does power rest with the people?

Organised by:

Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN)
450 Movement
MAP @ Publika

MAPPING SOCIAL TERRAIN – through a series of lectures, workshops and masterclasses – is a platform by MAP for the exploration of the multitude of perspectives and “truths” that can perhaps help us in constructing our own tools to navigate and negotiate our social terrain.

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