Film Academy Awards, Myanmar Idol, and the Peace Process in Myanmar

This article makes two interrelated arguments. First, most politicians, activists and opinion makers in Myanmar see the political divide between the ruler and the ruled — or between authoritarian ruler and democratic forces — as the main problem sustaining violence, conflict, and oppression. However, a second set of divides— inter-ethnic and intra-Buddhist divides— have significantly widened recently, and racism, sexism, and intolerance have become widespread. Second, the planned “political” dialogue pursued as part of the peace process has yet to attend to these “societal” divides, and rising racism and sexism. This lack of attention is ironic in that the very purpose of the peace process is to address a 70-year-old conflict that is rooted in identity-based oppression.