Archives: Articles

Blood, Dreams and Gold; or how Burma’s past has caught up with its future

The peg for my new book about Burma, Blood, Dreams and Gold; The Changing Face of Burma, is the general election in the South-East Asian country on November 8th. This will surely capture the world’s headlines. Foreign election observers have been invited in, the world’s media will be there in force, and cameras will undoubtedly… Read more »

Lee Kuan Yew

This was my take on Singapore’s founding-father, published in The Tablet earlier this year. Having lived in Singapore for four years, I was probably more generous towards the old tyrant than many of his Western critics. Very few statesmen, in Asia or beyond, can have made such a big impact on the world from so… Read more »

The plural society and its enemies

In August 2014, I wrote the following article in The Economist entitled The Plural Society and its Enemies. This sought to explain exactly why the Burmese government was likely to use ethnic tensions and anti-Muslim bigotry to its advantage, based on a reading of the British academic J.S. Furnivall’s famous concept of the plural society…. Read more »

Apartheid on the Andaman Sea

We published this leader on the Rohingya, urging action to help them. Sadly, no one seems to have read it. Myanmar treats the Rohingyas as badly as the old South Africa treated blacks. The world should not stay silent. THEY have been called the most persecuted minority in the world. The Rohingyas, a Muslim minority… Read more »

The most persecuted people on Earth?

This is a long article in The Economist that I edited and co-wrote with several colleagues on the plight of the Muslim Rohingya.  As the article warns, conditions for the Rohingya are now becoming so bad that they are in danger of becoming victims of a genocide. ARKAM was 12 when he watched men beat… Read more »

Myanmar’s shame

In mid-May, I spent several days in Sittwe with the Rohingya and published this article on what I saw there. This was a time when the boat-people crisis was at its worse and the Burmese government was trying to pretend that nothing was happening. Poverty, politics and despair are forcing thousands of Rohingyas to flee… Read more »

Mob Rule by Monks

In February 2015, I also wrote the following article for London’s Tablet newspaper, giving an overall view of the reasons for the recent religious tensions and violence in the country. As this piece is hiding behind a firewall, I reproduce it in full here. Among the twenty new cardinals receiving their red hat from Pope… Read more »

Eager mindsets

Towards the end of 2014, I spent several weeks in Burma, mostly in Kachin state. I wrote the following about some of the optimism for the future that I encountered there. Kachins are grabbing opportunities for change from a reluctant government. IN THE town of Mai Maw, near Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in… Read more »

Sudan: prospect and lesson

The forthcoming referendum on independence in south Sudan could lead to the break-up of Africa’s biggest country. But if Sudan has failed as a unitary state its end carries dangers, says Richard Cockett. Sudan, Africa’s largest country by land-mass, is about to disappear. Or rather, to put it less dramatically, in all likelihood the country… Read more »