Articles

These are some of my latest articles, mainly published in The Economist but also in other newspapers and magazines, as indicated. I will also post my book reviews here, and any other bits and pieces that come to mind.

Myanmar’s shame

21st May 2015

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 Myanmar. The authorities remain woefully indifferent to their plight. THE Rohingyas have often been called the most persecuted people in the world—with good reason. Most have lived in Rakhine state in western...

Mob Rule by Monks

19th February 2015

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 Francis on 14 January the one with perhaps the most striking name was Charles Maung Bo, the Archbishop of Yangon.  The Catholic Church in Myanmar (previously known as Burma) recently celebrated...

Eager mindsets

3rd January 2015

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 northern Myanmar, a local Baptist minister enthuses about his plans. Most importantly, says La La Hkawng Dau, known to all simply as Jack, he wants to reopen a long-closed school. Given that...

Sudan: prospect and lesson

15th September 2010

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 will soon cease to exist in its present form. In a referendum due in January 2011, the 8 million or so citizens of south Sudan are expected to vote for secession...