Burma’s Ethnic Minorities: a Central or Peripheral Problem in the Regional Context?
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In the three decades since Dorothy Woodman wrote the words above, Burma’s international reputation of isolation as the Albania of Asia’ has largely continued. Published in 1962 in the shadow of General Ne Win’s second military coup of 2 March, Woodman’s study, The Making of Burma, is the only detailed investigation into how the present geo-political shape of Burma came to be drawn. Burma currently shares a 1357-mile border with China (including a small part of Tibet), a 1304-mile border with Thailand, an 857-mile border with India, a 156-mile border with Laos, and a 152-mile border with Bangladesh. But while nobody can seriously expect any substantial redefinition of Burma’s external borders today,2 it is essential in the present political crisis to put the clock back and re-address some of the fundamental points that Woodman raised, if a lasting peace is ever to be found for this deeply troubled land.
KeywordsEthnic Minority Opposition Group Peace Talk Illicit Heroin Chinese Border
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