January 25th, 2011

MYANMAR/BURMA — Nic Dunlop wanted to understand the generals who rule Myanmar but realized that the members of the State Peace and Development Council were as hard to reach and understand directly as a rare tiny rodent hiding in the dense underbrush of the jungle. Dunlop chose instead to see the generals in the shadow they cast through their army.

From the Democratic Voice of Burma:

So I realised what I needed to do was meet former Burmese troops who were willing to talk about why they joined the army, what it was like, what they were taught in training, how they viewed the ethnic minorities and civil war, and so on.

And it was during this research that I was at the [Assistance Association for Political Prisoners] office in Mae Sot and I was introduced by Bo Kyi, the president, to Myo Myint, who was a former political prisoner but who had an extraordinary story to tell: in his previous incarnation he’d been a soldier in the Burmese army and had grown up in a military family in Rangoon, and I found somebody who could explain not only about why people join the military, but could also include the Burmese civil and the quest for democracy in a single story.

Very often one of the problems with the coverage of Burma is that there’s a great separation between the civil war, which runs central to the Burmese crisis, and the issue of democratisation, which is symbolised by Aung San Suu Kyi. I wanted to bring the two together in a single story, and Myo Myint’s story is extraordinary for many reasons, but particularly so because you could do that.

Burma Soldier is the result of that joining.

Do what you can to make this a good morning, Myanmar.


  1. […] a change in government. But as revealed in the story on page 10 of this week’s Spectrum, ”Film offers glimpse of dissent in army”, this might not be as far-fetched many people might […]

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