“They Call It Myanmar”

Roger Ebert quips, “The British Renamed it Burma.” It’s a new documentary secretly filmed by Robert Lieberman over two years in the country isolated by a repressive regime.

Big changes happening in Burma

Monks protest in Burma, 2007

The pace of events in Burma is absolutely astonishing, given the historic intransigence of the regime there. The country’s been run into the ground, impervious to international isolation, yet at last big changes are happening. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited the country in December. The government signed a ceasefire agreement with the Karen National Union, one of the armed ethnic rebel groups. Senator Mitch McConnell, who has long taken a special interest, just returned from a trip to Burma and is said to have had an emotional meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi. Parliamentary elections will be held in April, and Suu Kyi will be allowed to participate. And the US last week awarded the Burmese probably the biggest carrot offered so far for good behavior–normalized relations between our two countries.

What brought this on? Possibly the election of new president Thein Sein last April. Here’s the first interview with him by a foreign journalist.