The Corner

Backslide in Burma

A discouraging story from Burma:

Just a few weeks ago, Ashin Gambira was seated in the front row of a Rangoon university building as President Barack Obama gave a cautious welcome to the reforms in Burma. The release earlier in the year of the former Buddhist monk, who had been ordered to serve a six-decade sentence for his role in the 2007 democracy uprising, was seen as one of the signs of a softening of oppression in the country that the US president referred to in his address.

But today Mr Gambira is back behind bars again, in what his family say is just the latest incident of harassment by the authorities.

In the autumn 2007 Mr Gambira was among the leaders of the Saffron Revolution, when up to 100,000 monks and ordinary citizens marched through Burma’s streets to call for fairer prices and democratic reforms. He was jailed for 63 years but released earlier this year as part of a government amnesty in which many political prisoners were set free.

The family of the outspoken government critic say he was arrested over the weekend and they were told he had been sent to the notorious Insein jail in Rangoon. “We are so worried for him,” said a sister, Ma Lwin.

The 33-year-old monk has said that during his four years of incarceration, he regularly suffered both mental and physical torture, including beatings and being kept in solitary confinement.

Ashin Gambira’s story shows that despite promising developments, true democracy has not yet come to Burma. The U.S. should be as outspoken about this backslide as it has been about the recent political progress.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More
Elections

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More