This post updates my previous effort to bring together some of the statements that have been made by academics on the uprising in Burma. Over the past week, there have been some substantial opinion pieces and a number of articles that New Mandala readers may want to keep track of. As a start, here are some extracts:

  • By the late ’50s, the civilian government was becoming increasingly ineffective, even inert, and the generals — the leaders of the independence struggle and self-styled heirs to the warrior class that had attempted to safeguard Burmese sovereignty for most of the previous millennium — stepped in, first in 1958-59, then more decisively in 1962. In their self-interested view, they alone have kept chaos at bay over the past 45 years. Those interested in Myanmar’s current situation should keep this in mind, particularly those who would like to see the generals step out, lest activists become frustrated with the pace of change and move on to a new international cause next month.

Source: Professor Peter A. Coclanis (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), “To understand Myanmar, don’t start with August”, The News & Observer, 19 October 2007.

  • After half a century of harsh military rule, in various pretexts and trying all sorts of ways, both violent and non violent means, to overthrow the yoke of the cruel Burmese army, the people of Burma are now looking to the international community, especially to the West and UN for help. The UN should be strongly appealing to world leaders, financial houses, businesses and the media to lend their weight to solve the chronic Burmese problem. If military force is the only alternative to unseat the Burmese regime, the international community with UN and US at its head should seriously considered it.

Source: Professor Kanbawza Win, “A Burmese Perspective: ‘United in Words but not in Actions’” , Asia Tribune, 16 October 2007.

  • As in the Polish and other even more repressive country examples of the past half century, the Burmese junta can (and likely will) try to drag out the inevitable for several more months or even years, but in doing so, they will only continue to reinforce people’s will to resist them, as well as the growing international pressure on them. So, it is not only the misery of the people of Burma the regime and its security forces are prolonging, but ultimately their own as well.

Source: Assistant Professor Cynthia Boaz, “Burma’s Junta: Too Late to Turn Back the Clock”, Scoop, 17 October 2007.

  • The violence of the military junta in Burma amplifies the cynical creed of Richard Dawkins and too many other reactionary critics of religion. Demonizing religion as a virus dehumanizes its practitioners. For materialists, death is the last word. Governments like Burma use it to eradicate the stain of faith from their human populations. The monks paid no heed. The rest of must continue to advocate a truer last word: Life.

Source: Associate Professor Ben Roth (University of Miami), “Eradicating Religion in Burma”, American Thinker, 18 October 2007.

  • “You may be asking how can this government stay in power in a world dedicated to human rights and the principles of democracy, well I have the answer for you. The reason why is China,” said Mala Htun, a professor of political science at the New School university, addressing the crowd at Union Square–a statue of revolutionary war general George Washington behind her.

Source: Evan Mantyk, “Burma Coalition Calls for Beijing Olympics Boycott”, The Epoch Times, 16 October 2007.

Of course, New Mandala readers who come across other interesting statements from academics (or anybody else) are very welcome to share them with us all.