Towards an open society in Burma/Myanmar through interactions and integration



About the Free Burma Coalition

FBC Activists Launching Pepsi Boycott, Chapel Hills, NC, USA, October 1995

No more "Free Burma" Boycotts

The FBC was founded at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1995 as a Burmese-led political initiative to support Burmese people's aspirations and struggle for democracy and human rights through boycotts, pro-sanctions advocacy and Burma awareness promotion. For nearly one decade, we organized and successfully spearheaded the anti-apartheid- style pro-sanctions campaigns.

But after having reviewed the effectiveness of our pro-sanctions campaigns against the objective of building an open society back home, we have categorically reversed our pro-isolation advocacy.

We now support efforts to interact and engage with the country - that is, the 'evil' junta, business sector and the society at large. We encourage travel and tourism, educational and cultural exchange, development activities aimed to support people's livelihoods, institutional and capacity building, and humanitarian assistance.

"Free Burma Coalition supports fully tourism and travel to Myanmar (Burma) as part of its support for the emergence of an open society."


Want to visit Myanmar (Burma)? Consult with the Voices for Burma, ethical tourism promotion group. and antor


Useful Links About Burma

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Exclusive Cruises

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Background Readings on Burma/Myanmar

The Burmese Conflict in a Nutshell: Burma/Myanmar 101
Click here to read the backgrounder.

A Short Guide to Myanmar and the International Community: Derek Tonkin, Former British Ambassador, 4 January 2006

An EU Strategy for Burma/Myanmar- Harn Y.

An Integrated Approach to National and Human Security in Burma/Myanmar
Zarni, Institute of Education, London, '05

Leaving Home: Amnesty International Report

7 September 2005

"Common Problems,
Shared Responsibilities": FBC Report

14 September 2004

FBC Report (Executive Summary)

Essays on
Social Change: Learning from Others

Development and Democracy
Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct '05


Unrest in China's Countryside, Jan 2006

Social Movements in Urban China, '06

The Dynamics of China's Social Crisis, '06


President Mikheil Saakashvili


Sonya Gandhi


Scott Allen


Haifa Zangana, The Guardian, UK

George Yeo


Roger Beaumont, The Nation, Thailand

Andrew Osborn, The Independent


Adam Fforde, Australia

Venezuela (and the United Nations)

President Hugo Chavez

Think Global :
Further Readings

Robert Fisk on End of the Year Review, Dec 2005

Richard Falk on Human Rights, Foreign Policy, '05

Richard N. Haass on Regime Change, Foreign Affairs, '05

Adrian Hamilton on American Discovery of Democracy, The Independent, UK, '05

Base Politics
Foreign Affairs, Nov-Dec 2005

How Washington has consistently undermined its ostensible propagation of 'democracy' by cutting deals with some of the world's most heinous regimes
Read more.

The Demons of an Open Society
LSE Public Lecture, October 2005
Professor Zygmunt Bauman

Read the transcript.

An old Karen Lady in traditional attire:
Fetching water in bamboo "buckets"
Armed Conflict Zone of Kawthoolei

A young Karen guerrilla fighter cleaning his AK-47 during an upstream journey on River Salween, April 2003

The First Checkpoint on the Road Map – National Convention

Two Karen guerrilas on patrol
April 2003

Dr. Alice Khin Saw Win, Saw Kapi and Dr. Zarni (The Burma Strategy Group) December 15, 2003

The international delegates from about 10 countries along with UN Special Envoy Ismail Razali are gathering at the Thai-sponsored international forum on Burma in Bangkok on December 15, 2003 to hear representatives of the State Peace..

Talking with the SPDC
The Politics of Negotiation and KNU's Cautious Efforts for National Reconciliation

Karen National Union
Joint Secretary
Major Htoo Htoo Lei
explains his views
on KNU-Rangoon ceasefire
as P'do Khwe looks on
Summer 2004

Saw Kapi and Naw May Oo

Deliberately led by its Vice Chairman, Gen. Saw Bo Mya, the Karen National Union (KNU) recently made a series of efforts in pursuit of peace that caught many in the Burma's opposition movement by surprise. A five-member KNU delegation,

Confronting the Realities: KNU Weighs Strategic Options for Burma's Political Deadlock

Saw Kapi

Speculation abounds within Burma's democratic forces and the international community, as the State Peace and development Council, one of the longest running military regimes in the world, makes a fresh move. The SPDC has offered its seven-step road map that calls for



Who amongst the Burmese pays the price of Western boycott and international isolation?
Evil Generals? Noble Dissidents? Or ordinary people and their children??!!

Reflect before You Act!


Updates: Burma/Myanmar and Relevant Items

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State Department names Burma one of world's worst countries for human trafficking - Washington Post

Burma, Thailand Agree To Boost Trade - The Irrawaddy News Magazine

The New Burma Is Starting to Look Too Much Like the Old Burma - Foreign Policy (blog)

Burma Bear bumps Buma's in Oakland - SFGate (blog)

From Burmese Dissident to Mystifying Politician - Wall Street Journal

Rights Group Pushes for Freedom of Speech in Burma - The Irrawaddy News Magazine

Thailand and Burma Restart Border Demarcation Talks - The Irrawaddy News Magazine

Burma: Officials hesitate to take action after Buddhist-Muslim dispute, fearing further violence - Asian Correspondent (blog)

Burma Army Chief Backs Panglong Conference: Source - The Irrawaddy News Magazine

Blockchain Makes Microfinance Accounting Foray in Burma Led by Infoteria and Tech Bureau of Japan - CoinTelegraph

Thant Myint U's Article explaining the role of UN in Burma/Myanmar

The Straits Times, (published 5 April 2008)


Statement to the European Parliament Committee on Development and Sub-Committee on Human Rights

Delivered in abridged form on 2 April 2008 in Brussels, Thant Myint U


An overview of a troubled land, By TERESA MALCOLM, 21 March 2008


Myanmar's past key to changing its future

Reuters, by Gill Murdoch, 5 Mar 2008


Interview with Burma's Ma Thanegi, former personal assistant to Aung
San Suu Kyi

By Stanley Weiss, Guest Contributor, 2nd Mar 08


Dr Zarni's interview on the military junta's referendum and elections, Die Taz,

German national newspaper, 20 Feb 2008


Are sanctions the answer?

By Stanley A. Weiss, 8 Feb 2008


BBC World Service Program on Burma

Click the above link to listen

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung Naing Oo, Derek Tonkin, Justin Wintle, Mike Green, Steve Solarz, Tin Htar Swe, and Zarni

Listen to A Comprehensive Look at the past 20-years:  BBC World Service (Radio) "Burma Road to Crisis", a 23-minute English language program (broadcast 29 September 2007) with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr
Zarni, Daw Tin Htar Swe, Aung Naing Oo, Stephen Solarz, Michael Green and Derek Tonkin'

"As defiant protestors continue to take to the streets in Rangoon, the BBC brings you a special programme on Burma.

From the Military Coup in the 1960's to the present day protests -why has the military regime been able to hold on to power for over 40 years; and why have monks and civilians now taken to the streets?
Presented by George Arney



Last Days of Senior General Than Shwe, Burma's Deeply Reviled Brute



Burma/Myanmar and Tourism Question - Latest from "Condé Nast Traveler"
Recent Strife Raises Myanmar Travel Questions

Susan Hack,  Published January 2008


Myanmar's 'saffron revolution' brings little hope for change

Dec 17, 2007, The Strait Times


Burma Debate, Berlin, Germany

4 Dec 2007

Headquarters, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, political foundation of the Green Party
Moderator: Sven Hansen
Dr Zarni, Founder, Free Burma Coalition and Visiting Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Kerstin Muller, MP, Former Minister of State and Green Party

Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs
Dr Hans-Bernd Zollner, University of Hamburg


BBC World Service Instant Guide to Burma's Generals

Click the above link to listen

Duration, 8 minutes, broadcast, 16-19 Nov 2007

Michael Phan - BBC Burmese service
Justin Wintle - Author of Perfect Hostage: A Biography of Aung San Suu Kyi
Dr Zarni - Visiting Research Fellow, Oxford University


Text of Aung San Suu Kyi's statement


Suu Kyi Ready to Cooperate With Junta
GILLIAN WONG, 8 November 2007, AP


Repression and Protest in Myanmar (Burma):  What is to be done?

22 October 2007, Southeast Asia Forum


Watch 6 November international discussion on Burma, at the National University of Singapore's NYU-NUS Global Forum on Peace and Security.
Click on the link below and scroll down to the Archives.

The international and Legal Implications of the Situation in Myanmar

Prof Trevor Wilson, Former Australian Ambassador to Myanmar
Dr Maung Zarni, Founder, Free Burma Coalition and Oxford Fellow
Mr Christopher Roberts, Research Associate, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)


"Burma Sanctions"  - Watch 52-minutes TV discussion on the effectiveness of sanctions, BBC World TV, 9 September 2007.  Click here and go to "September Programs".


Interview with Dr Zarni in Zagreb's
politics magazine


Ko Zaganar' Interview


Revolution for Reconciliation?


"This is the time for reconciliation, cooler heads, dialogue and working together amongst all Burmese, soldiers and civilians."





Hell-Hounds At Large in Burma



Pacific Time: The West and Burma
An envoy from the United Nations met with Burma's junta government this week to urge restraint in its handling of the pro-democracy uprising. Host Oanh Ha spoke with Burmese native, Maung Zarni, founder of the Free Burma  Coalition, who says that the opinion of Western countries doesn't carry much currency with the junta government.


Where are Burma's Monks?

Kevin Doyle, Oct. 12, 2007, Time


Monks and China Rising
By ROGER COHEN, New York Times

October 11, 2007


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Statement dated 5 October 2007 on Burma and UK's action plan



Burma-focused web-casts at the Security Council

5 October 2007


Burmese 'puppets'

05 October 2007, the Financial Mail of SA, the Myanmar Ambassador Speaks

Boycotting Burma makes things worse

3 October 2007, The Times


Burma's Crisis: What Should Outsiders Do?

Shorenstein APARC, SEAF Seminar Series, Stanford University


Statement by ASEAN Chair
Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo

New York, 27 September 2007


If you have missed or were unable to watch or listen live today's one-hour-long programme on Burma (9 September Sunday, 1406 hr GMT).



Mission of Burma: Laura Bush Edition

Kerry Howley, 6 September 2007,  Reason


UN envoy urges Burma constitution talks

Mark Turner at the United Nations and Amy Kazmin in Bangkok, 6 September 2007, Finicial Time


UN Special Envoy Ibraham Gambari's Press Conference on Myanma/Burma

5 September 2007,


Laura Bush's Burmese Crusade

HANNAH BEECH, 5 September 2007, Time


Burma Goes from Bad to Worse

Thant Myint-U, 30 August 2007, Time


Where Protests Can Prolong Army Rule

J. Sri Raman29 August 2007,


Miles Kington: Repressive regimes thrive on international outcry

23 August 2007, The Independent


Jared Genser: Gordon Brown's strange silence on Burma

21 August 2007, The Independent



"Understanding Burma  I: A Burmese Historian's View", 4 August 2007


The river of lost footsteps


"A Typically Flawed View from the West", 2 August 2007


ASEAN toughens up

From the Economist Intelligence Unit
August 2nd 2007


Exploring the roots of conflict

29 July 2009, The Star, Malaysia


US sanctions policy on Myanmar has failed

P. Parameswaran, 25 July 2007


INDIA: Under fire for planned helicopter sale to Burma

July 17 2007, ABC Radio Australia


EU-Burma Arms Embargo

Click the above link to listen


Click here to read the transcript.

July 16 2007, BBC World Service Interview



July 16 2007


Rangoon-Oxford-Bangkok link up

June 19 2007, BBC  Burmese


Myanmar's political prisoner

May 29th 2007


Myanmar, unusual threat to US?

Maung Zarni, 26 May 2007, The Brunie Times


Myanmar: An "Unusual and Extraordinary Threat" to the US

Maung Zarni, 24 May 2007


For Amnesty International's Press Release launching its 2007 Report click here:

23 May 2007


Does Burma need you?
If you want to help the people of Burma, then go, says Thant Myint-U.

19 May 2007, The Times


SANCTIONS REVISITED:  Burmese Opposition Radio in Oslo
Clive Parker, 9 May 2007, DVB

Buddha's lost world

Wendy Gomersall,  6 May 2007, The Scotsman


The biggest travel taboo: a holiday in Burma

Fiona Dunlop,  29 April 2007, The  Observer


Books :A Burmese pilgrim's progress

29 April 2007, The Nation


Burma and the Competence of the UN Security Council

Derek Tonkin,  8 March 2007, Asian Tribune


Worldstage: Freezing out the generals does not help the Burmese

Nick Wood, 7 March 2007, Telegraph


Myanmar's neighbors hold the key

Stanley A. Weiss, 7 March 2007, International Herald Tribune


Reframing the ‘Burma question’

Thant Myint-U, February 2007, HIMĀL SOUTHASIAN


What to do about Burma

Thant Myint-U, London Review of Books

Vol. 29 No. 3 dated 8 February 2007

Historian Thant Myint-U is a former U.N. official and a native of Burma. His new book, The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma - part memoir, part history - explores the problems plaguing the country.


Myanmar 'falls outside council's mandate'
Xolisa Mabhongo: Right to reply

04 February 2007 11:59




Voices of Reason.


"The process of change in Myanmar is going to be long, painful and evolutionary. There simply isn't a silver bullet."
Zarni, Free Burma Coalition, AFP, 17 Dec 2007

"I honestly don't have any hope in the UN's intervention."

Aung Naing Oo, Chiang Mai, Thailand


"The last thing the regime would want to do is appear to be appeasing the international community, be it the Chinese or the Americans."

Zarni, UK

Reach Out For Humanity

List of Burmese Monasteries Raided by the Myanmarese Junta Since 6 October

The Karaniya Metta Sutta
the Buddha's discourse on Loving Kindness

"Isolation is the regime's default condition. It is what fuels the present system. Burma might not become a democracy overnight, but it
will certainly improve with more outside interaction. Would Indonesia be better off if no one had visited during its 30 years of military rule?"

Thant Myint-U, author of "River of Lost Foot Steps", on the boycott of Burma/Myanmar


"(Aung San) Suu Kyi had come a long way to realize that democracy can only be done through the generals, with the latter still in the driving seat. This realization of hers is in stark contrast to the imperious, principled and unbending Suu Kyi I had met over twenty meetings ago."

Former UN Special Envoy Razali Ismail, April 2007

Read more.

"For 26 years Myanmar experienced impoverishment in the name of socialism; it now appears there is to be impoverishment in the name of democracy, (thanks in part to the misguided Western sanctions against our country)."

Dr. Khin Zaw Win, former Prisoner of Conscience (jail time 1994-2005)

in 'Impoverishment as Freedom'

"Nothing (sanctions by the West or 'Constructive Engagement" by the
East) works, yet something needs to be done."

- George Soros, 11 Jan 2006.

Read more.

"If you go to Rangoon, you'll see sanctions hurt the wrong people."

Razali Ismail, Former UN Special Envoy to Burma, BBC World Service, 9 Jan 2006.
Read the transcript.

"...the UN Security Council briefing on Burma ... will not solve Burma's problems unless and until there is a viable alternative to the current dictatorship."

Harn Yawngwe, A Shan Exile, Dec. '05.

Read more.

"In retrospect, I feel like the effort we put into getting ordinances and sanctions passed became a goal in and of itself, and we forgot about its true purpose: to help the underprivileged of Burma."

A Burmese "Free Burma" campaign veteran, 28 Sept. '05

Read more.


BBC World Service
Interview with Dr Zarni

June 18, 2005
GMT 2200

Click here to listen.

In Search of a Model for Myanmar

by Rob Gifford

(Comments by David Steinberg, Zarni, etc.)

Click here to listen.

Weekend Edition - Sunday, June 19, 2005

What effect are international sanctions having on Myanmar? In an effort to push the military regime in the former Burma toward democracy, many countries have restricted trade. But Amnesty International says the regime is tightening its crackdown on dissent.

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if you wish to share them with FBC members and others.

ShweDagon Pagoda, the landmark of Rangoon, seen from Royal Lake, October 2005

Burmese Buddhist Devotees
inside the Gold-covered Mahamuni Temple:


A Deceptively Heavenly View:
The cloud-soaked mountains
Karen State, April 2003

Conflict in the Rainforest:
Karen guerrillas taking a break
from Fifty Years' War (1948-)
April 2003

Surviving Tsunami:
Southern Coastal Line
near Kawthaung
June 2003

Praying for a better next life?:

A Buddhist monk
at the Shwedagon Pagoda
, Rangoon

Terror in Rangoon:
The City of "the End of Strife"
Rocked by 3 Bomb Blasts
May 2005

Young novices during study break:
A Buddhist Monastery, Pagan

Terrace Cultivation:
Kawthoolei or Karen State
May 2003


FBC Organizers at
a negotiation exercise/workshop
The US Institute of Peace
Arlie House, Virginia
July 2004

FBC-ers trekking through the armed conflict zone, Kawthoolei, Burma, May 2003

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