Author, activist, artist, adventurer. "The Wind in the Bamboo" & 2 Burma books. Founded Project Maje in 1986 (Burma human rights & enviro info.) History Threads
Mar 8 • 16 tweets • 8 min read
1. This History Thread is a backgrounder on how Feb. 1, 2021 Russia-backed coup in Myanmar (Burma) relates to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine & response. Military & diplomatic support from Russia have enabled the Myanmar coup regime. 🌿#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar#IStandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 2. In 2010s enabled by Myanmar crony Tay Za, Russia outpaced China’s arms sales to Myanmar. Russian sold Myanmar military MiG-29 jets, helicopters, Yak-130 training/attack jets, air defense missile systems, Su-30 fighter/attack aircraft, drones. irrawaddy.com/news/burma/bur…
Feb 23 • 11 tweets • 7 min read
1. This History Thread is about Myanmar (Burma) People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) historical & cultural iconography. Designers use visual symbols to express power, pride, heritage for PDFs resisting Feb. 1, 2021 coup regime. Insignia pix via social media. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar2. In Sagaing Region, Sayar San PDF-4 of YMB (Yin Mar Bin Township) PDFs has a farmer’s hat with crossed swords as symbol & Depayin PDF uses Saya San picture. Saya San was charismatic leader of 1930-32 peasant revolt with sabotage campaign against British colonial rule of Burma.
Jan 19 • 20 tweets • 9 min read
1. This History Thread is an overview of relations of ASEAN members with Burma (Myanmar.) Association of South East Asian Nations is regional political & economic organization which Myanmar controversially joined in 1997. Ineffective regarding 2021 coup. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar2. Thailand most significant of ASEAN members for relations w. Myanmar (Burma.) Constant Burmese-Siamese Wars 16th-19th C. Burma rulers repeatedly invaded Ayutthaya (Siam) & were invaded in turn. 19th C. British colonized Burma but Siam (wd. become Thailand) remained independent.
Aug 12, 2021 • 30 tweets • 16 min read
1. This History Thread is about relations between Burma (Myanmar) and China, the powerful & influential neighbor to the north. It’s a particularly long thread (30) but is still just an overview of this complex subject. #WhatIsHappeningInMyanmar2. Over millennia ancient migration routes along rivers connected lands that would become China with lands that would eventually be called Burma. Some peoples spoke languages of Sino-Thai family, others Tibeto-Burman languages; joined other ethnic groups inhabiting plains, hills.
Jul 7, 2021 • 20 tweets • 9 min read
1. This History Thread is about Burma (Myanmar) relations with Russia. Over many years the relationship has had some interesting twists & turns. Currently the connection consists mainly of Russian arms deals + diplomatic enabling for Myanmar coup regime. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar2. Among earliest descriptions of lands that would become Burma by travelers from far away: 15th C. Russian merchant Athanasius Nikitin told his readers about Pegu, “a not inconsiderable port” inhabited by “Indian dervishes” (Muslim mystics) who traded in rubies & other gems.
Jun 24, 2021 • 25 tweets • 12 min read
1. This History Thread is about the music of resistance in Myanmar (Burma.) This is a brief overview, not including all important bands or songs. It is a multi-ethnic array of many musical styles — put your headphones on & pump up the volume. 🎧 #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar 🌿 2. In the independent (often warring) lands that would become Burma, music was created by different cultures, absorbed, captured, traveling. Royal courts sponsored musicians. Resistance to tyrannical rulers was sometimes expressed in subversive, satirical folksongs & chants.
Apr 10, 2021 • 17 tweets • 7 min read
1. This History Thread is about sabotage in Burma (Myanmar) from cutting British colonial telegraph lines to hacking websites. Sabotage as a tactic is: destroying or damaging infrastructure or other property (not people) to prevent use by an opponent. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar 🌿 2. From 1880s through 1930s there were rebellions against British colonial rule in Burma. Saya San rebellion 1930-32 challenged British control w. tactics including destroying cutting telegraph lines & destroying telegraph stations, timber industry facilities & railway bridges.
Mar 19, 2021 • 12 tweets • 6 min read
1. This thread is about responses by Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) vs Myanmar coup. #R2P (Responsibility to Protect) not only international, can also apply to EAOs within borders. EAOs have various capabilities. Not all have taken a stand vs. coup. #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar 🌿 2. EAOs did little to support previous civil uprisings vs Burma/Myanmar military. Failure to join in 1988 uprising other than sanctuary for fleeing students. Failure to support 2007 “Saffron Revolution.” Few EAOs spoke out against 2016-17 govt/mil genocidal attacks on Rohingyas.
Mar 7, 2021 • 23 tweets • 11 min read
1. This History Thread is about the poetry of Burma (Myanmar) + political resistance. Myanmar is a place where poets are significant politically as well as culturally. This is a brief overview & doesn’t include all important poets. Inspired by K Zar Win: #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar2. From ancient times lands which would become Burma resounded with poetry. Bards like Kachin Jaiwas recited epics. Court poets incl. Arakan’s Muslim poets such as Alaol & 16th C. Lanna’s Queen Hsinbyushin Medaw composed odes, ballads, verse plays. Ainggyin were sung in villages.
Feb 18, 2021 • 17 tweets • 8 min read
1. This History Thread is a brief history of labor organizing in Burma (Myanmar.) This relates to the crucial forefront role that organized labor is taking in resistance to the Feb. 2021 military coup. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar2. For power-amassing kingdoms in lands that would eventually become Burma, controlling agricultural production & other types of work was a key function of the nation state. Conquered & other captive people were often used for skilled work or manual labor.
Feb 10, 2021 • 10 tweets • 6 min read
1. This History Thread is about a few of Myanmar's murdered & missing women. Rest in Power: Myat Thet Thet Khine who stood against dictatorship Feb. 9 2021. 1 of thousands of women killed by/for Burma/Myanmar military & business interests. This must end. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar2. September 19, 1988 Win Maw Oo bled to death, one of many female students & other women who were killed by Burma military suppressing 1988 uprising, suffocated, shot, drowned (Red Bridge Incident.) apnews.com/article/dfc91e…
Feb 4, 2021 • 11 tweets • 6 min read
1. This mini History Thread is a brief explainer on peoples resistance to oppression in Burma (Myanmar.) It’s especially for my Portland people (“latte alliance”) who might want some background on the Feb. 1, 2021 Myanmar coup and the protests against it. 2. Diverse lands that would become Burma (Myanmar in 1989) included trade kingdoms like Arakan & Pegu, independent mountain peoples. 18th C. British conquered but resistance including armed uprisings & labor strikes continued throughout Colonial period. irrawaddy.com/specials/on-th…
Jan 28, 2021 • 16 tweets • 8 min read
1. This History Thread is about Tourism in Burma (Myanmar.) It includes some of the problems that have been associated with tourism (as well as some cool vintage posters.) Environmental safeguards, #LandRights needed for sustainable equitable return of tourism to Myanmar (Burma.) 2. Independent lands later border-defined as Burma were traveled by nomads, traders, pilgrims. Early Chinese travelers arrived by land, sea. 9th C. Persian & Arab seafarers visited Arakan, Pegu. Nicolo di Conti (Venice) in Arakan 1435. Russian & Genoese seafarers later in 15th C.
Oct 29, 2020 • 20 tweets • 10 min read
1. This History Thread is about US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Detachment 101, a multi-ethnic force Allied against Fascism in World War 2 Burma. It’s based on my article “Fire-Hardened” in Oct. 2020 issue of The Sentinel: specialforces78.com/chapter-78-new…2. Burma was a British colony when invaded by Japan in 1942. A barrier to supply routes from India to US-supported Chinese military. Lt. Gen. “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell persuaded of need for a specialized intelligence unit by Brig. Gen. “Wild Bill” Donovan, founding director of OSS.
Oct 16, 2020 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
1. Brief explainer thread (mostly for my Portland people) about Thailand protests. Bangkok protesters at start of curve where they get geared up. Umbrella walls (vs pepper spray spiked water cannons.) Massive numbers of protesters & hundreds of riot cops.
2. Reasons: Terrible Prime Minister took power in military coup & kept it with rigged election. Royal family is extraordinarily wealthy, by law nobody is allowed to criticize them. Chronic economic imbalance, economy weak with COVID-19 stopping tourism. theguardian.com/world/2020/oct…
Jul 31, 2020 • 22 tweets • 13 min read
1. Instead of my usual monthly Burma (Myanmar) topic, this History Thread is a brief backgrounder on Portland, Oregon’s history as it relates to the ongoing Portland Black Lives Matter protest situation, along with an overview of those events. 2. Portland (653k pop. 2018) is on violently stolen land of #Indigenous Mollala, Multnomah, Kathlamet, Chinook, Clackamas, Tualatin Kalapuya & other Nations. White colonizers' timber towns were established along the Willamette River in 19th Century. oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/urban…
Jun 25, 2020 • 22 tweets • 9 min read
1. This History Thread is about Burma (Myanmar) and natural disasters. Geography: Bay of Bengal & Sagaing Fault create conditions but disaster effects worsened by Climate Crisis, deforestation, economic/regional/ethnic inequality, info/funding/planning/academic gaps & corruption. 2. On edge of Indian Plate collision with Asia, Burma (Myanmar) has major north/south fault line (Sagaing Fault) & Burma Seismic Zone subduction & coastal subduction zone. Volcanoes are dormant but seismic activity in the form of earthquakes of various severity occurs frequently.
Apr 23, 2020 • 19 tweets • 10 min read
1. This History Thread is about #malaria in Burma (Myanmar) and the way approaches to preventing, treating or controlling it have evolved. Malaria had long been the most deadly disease in Myanmar but cases and deaths have steeply declined in recent years. 2. Malaria is a disease spread from human to human by mosquitos infected w. plasmodium parasites. Types endemic to Burma/Myanmar mainly P. falciparum (most fatalities) & P. vivax (relapses.) Affects liver, spleen, red blood cells; causes fever. Possible: anemia, cerebral malaria.
Mar 19, 2020 • 22 tweets • 10 min read
1. This History Thread is about epidemics & pandemics + significant disease outbreaks in Burma (Myanmar.) Historical epidemiology incl. plague, smallpox, cholera, HIV/AIDS, influenza. Malaria not included as more endemic (locally present) than epidemic (& rates its own thread.) 2. Thado Minbya young King/Founder of Ava died in smallpox epidemic circa 1367. Arakan used variola smallpox inoculation, captives of 1785 Burmese invasion brought practice to Burma. British colonial smallpox vaccination campaigns limited until 1920s. Certified eradicated 1977.
Sep 26, 2019 • 14 tweets • 11 min read
1. After 2 years of my monthly History Threads on Myanmar (Burma) issues (plus Andamans, Malaysia’s Bateks) this anniversary History Thread is about 1990s Burma borderlands as described in my 2nd book “Down the Rat Hole: Adventures Underground on Burma’s Frontiers” published 2005 2. Banned from Thailand in 1988 (described in my 1st book “Burmese Looking Glass”) I went to Burma’s other borders: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos. My purpose was to meet with, interview dissidents, fighters, traders, even children. And to investigate resource extraction issues.
May 23, 2019 • 17 tweets • 10 min read
1. This History Thread is about the mighty rivers that have defined Myanmar (Burma.) North-south river valley geology shaped regional history. #Rivers, their tributaries & watersheds continue to have enormous political, agricultural & environmental importance. #dams#biodiversity2. From 12th C. BCE populations migrated along #Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady), #Chindwin, #Salween river valleys to settle in lands that are now known as Myanmar (Burma.) Powerful dynasties rose and fell along the Irrawaddy, including Pyu, Pagan, Ava.