Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MYANMAR - The Transition From Isolation Part-1

"Inside Myanmar’s transition from isolation to openness" PBS NewsHour 4/14/2014


GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  In 2007, the world got a horrific peek inside the closed world of Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, as the military regime brutally crushed the Saffron Revolution, led by monks and students demanding political freedom.

In recent years, however, the government has signaled a new openness, promising democratic reforms, and proposing peace treaties with numerous ethnic groups in the country that have been at war with the government, in some cases since the end of World War II.

Jeffrey Brown recently traveled to Myanmar for a look.

Here’s the first of his reports.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  It is a land long shrouded in mystery, kept isolated from the world for more than 50 years.

Now, as Myanmar begins to open up, its wonders and beauties become clearer, but so do its complexities and huge difficulties.  One place to see it all is here in Karen State in the southeastern part of the country, where signs of the past are a reminder of the tenuous political situation.

Not long ago, this was an area of violence, home to what was called the world’s longest-running civil war, as ethnic Karen people battled the central government for independence.  But there’s a cease-fire in place now, offering the potential for peace and a possible model for this long-closed-off country.

For these young girls, their faces adorned with the traditional tree bark cream that women here use as sunblock, that means the possibility of coming to Pa-An, Karen’s capital city, to attend a government-accredited school.

These are the children of rebels who long battled that same government.  And these girls have spent their entire lives in an internationally sponsored refugee camp on the nearby border with Thailand.

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