May 2008
Burma - Ripe for change


Burma should be celebrating 60 years of independence this year; instead the country is colonized from within. The military dictatorship that's got its jackboot on the nation's neck now goes by the name of the State Peace and Development Council. But peace and development are just two things among many it has not managed to deliver - large sections of the country are riven by civil war as armed groups fight military rule and, often, each other. Burma has joined the not so select club of Least Developed Countries. The saffron revolution, when monks led mass street demonstrations in September last year, has revived hopes for change even though the crackdown on dissent in its aftermath continues unabated.

However, opposition to the regime is visible and popular - and needs international support now more than ever. The NI speaks with Burmese people, both inside and outside the country. With great fear and courage they are trying to keep the flame of freedom alight.








2 Letters

4 City of whispers
Among Rangoon's six million souls, a few have secret conversations with Dinyar Godrej.

7 Stale news is best
Burmese editor Aye Chan Myate invites us into her office for a day.

8 The price of defiance
Former political prisoners speak out.

11 'All history is propaganda'
If you are a student in Burma.

12 A shrunken world
Refugees in Shan state, on the run from the military.

15 Eye candy
The delights of national television.


18 Caucus of terrorists
Dinyar Godrej concludes his report: meeting enemies of the State - and looking to the future.

20 Corporate hogwash
Investors in Burma have blood on their hands, according to Maung Maung.

21 Action


Was Jesus Christ a revolutionary?
Jesus kept some shady political company. And his lifestyle has obvious radical resonance: he was homeless, averse to material possessions, socially marginal, a friend to outcasts and pariahs, and a scourge of the rich and powerful. But was he out to overthrow the state? Terry Eagleton examines the Gospels for evidence.


25 Currents
Russian nuclear plant threatens sacred sea; Iraqi unions fight Western oil theft; Drop the Debt campaign 10 years on.
PLUS: Wordpower and Seriously

28 Big Bad World
Polyp's take on one of Joni Mitchell's most famous lines.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

29 Worldbeaters
We've never focused on a police force in this slot before but the trigger-happy brutality of the Jamaica Constabulary Force has won them infamy.

30 Mixed Media
Includes an Argentinean film about a hermaphrodite, handbooks for the transition towns movement and for mobilizing to save civilization (is that all?) plus an African Scream Contest.

32 Southern Exposure
Guns as art, as seen by Mozambican photographer Carlos Litulo.

33 View from Montevideo
History from the viewpoint of the marginalized, served up by Eduardo Galeano.

34 Essay: Homeless in Delhi
Jeremy Seabrook ventures inside a night shelter in India's capital city.

36 Country Profile: Uruguay





NI Japan




<This month's translation>

- City of whispers (NI p4-6)

- The price of defiance (NI p8-11)

- BURMA - THE FACTS (NI p16-17)

- Caucus of terrorists (NI p18-20)

- Country Profile: Uruguay (NI p36)


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