Myanmar

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ပြည်ထောင်စု သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော်

Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Myanmar flag
Seal of Myanmar
flag seal
Official language Burmese
Capital Naypyidaw
Seat of government Naypyidaw
State and form of government Republic with executive power bound by parliament
Head of state Chairman of the State Administration Council Min Aung Hlaing ( de facto ruler )
President
Myint Swe ( acting )
Head of government vacant
area 676,578 km²
population 54.0 million ( 26th ) (2019; estimate)
Population density 82 inhabitants per km²
Population development + 0.6% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
2019
  • $ 69 billion ( 72nd )
  • $ 266 billion ( 59th )
  • 1,299 USD ( 161. )
  • 5,042 USD ( 146. )
Human Development Index 0.583 ( 147th ) (2019)
currency Kyat (MMK)
independence January 4, 1948
(from the UK )
National anthem Gba Majay Bma
Time zone UTC + 6: 30
License Plate MYA
ISO 3166 MM , MMR, 104
Internet TLD .mm
Phone code +95
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Myanmar , long form Republic of the Union of Myanmar ( ပြည်ထောင်စု သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံ တေ , Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw , [ pjìdàʊɴzṵ θàɴməda̰ mjəmà nàɪɴŋàɴdɔ ]), formerly Burma , in German texts, Burma is a country in Southeast Asia and is bordered by Thailand , Laos , the People's Republic of China , the north-east of India , Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal . The country has been under de facto military rule since 1962 , which had democratic elements between February 2011 and February 2021 and a civilian president as head of state. In a coup on February 1, 2021 , the military took back all state power, arrested democratically elected representatives and declared a state of emergency.

Country name

For the pronunciation of Myanmar , the Duden gives [ ˈmi̯anmaːɐ̯ ], ie emphasis on the first a. In German, however, the stress on the second a is common. In English, the pronunciation of Myanmar varies considerably. Myanmar is also known as Burma in the German-speaking area and is still known as Burma in the United Kingdom , Australia and the USA .

background

Burma and Myanmar are actually two variants of the same name. The spelling Burma (pronounced in English) and derived from it Burma (in Germany) correspond to the Burmese name Bama [ 'bɐma ] with a relatively dull "a" as the first vowel. Bama and Myanma have always been the indigenous names of the largest population group, the Bamar , for themselves and for their country. The transition from "B" to "M" is fluid. There are also other variants depending on the dialect. The form Myanma (r) comes from the written language and is therefore more likely to be found in historical documents, while Bama is used colloquially . Bama probably originated from a simplified pronunciation in Myanma .

The -r in Myanmar is neither spoken nor written in Burmese: Myanma . The -r has been added for spelling in English to indicate the length of the last syllable according to standard non- rhotic pronunciation in British English . Also in Burma (pronounced English) the r does not represent an additional consonant, rather ur resembles the Schwa . The pronunciation of Burma (English) is actually very similar to that of Bama (Burmese).

The etymology of the name is unclear. As a name for the people, the name appears in inscriptions from the 12th century: first in a Mon inscription from 1102 (there in the form Mirma ), then in 1190 for the first time in a Burmese inscription (there already in the current Form Mranma [မြန်မာ], which is still used today - the apparent change from r to y only affects the transcription, not the Burmese spelling).

renaming

Efforts had been made since the 1920s to find a uniform term for all ethnic groups resident in what is now Myanmar. Bama was replaced by Myanma several times and vice versa.

The official renaming of the country to the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar” (Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw) by the military took place through Law No. 15/89 of June 18, 1989. This was primarily a project with external effects. The country should present itself as a self-confident state that has finally overcome the colonial era . Law No. 15/89 also redefined the official spelling of many localities. For this purpose, the names were transcribed into the Latin alphabet in their original form, i.e. without any changes due to colonial influence, and after their pronunciation . So was z. B. renamed the free trade zone at the southernmost mainland location Victoria Point in Kawthaung .

Today's usage

The United Nations adopted the new name of the state a few days after it was proclaimed by the military. Many states have now followed suit. The United States , Australia and other states and non-governmental organizations are sticking to the name Burma as a token of their disapproval of the regime . The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi also spoke out in an interview for Marie Claire magazine in 1996 in favor of keeping Burma , on the one hand because of the lack of participation of the people, on the other hand because the term Myanmar does not reflect the diversity of the ethnic groups in the country .

The German-Swiss and Austrian newspapers mainly use Burma , while the German-speaking agencies have agreed on the name Burma (as of 2007). Several German media outlets, including Spiegel and FAZ , nevertheless predominantly use the Burma variant (alongside Burma and Myanmar ). In the GDR, the name form Burma was used. A person from Myanmar is called Burmese or Burmesin , the terms Myanmare or Myanmarin are rarely used.

The residents of Myanmar usually call their state Myanma Naingngan for short ("Myanmar State").

geography

Location and landscapes

Myanmar is bordered to the north and east by the People's Republic of China and to the south on the east by Laos and Thailand , and the south by the Indian Ocean . The southernmost part of Myanmar is on the Malay Peninsula . The Andaman Sea separates Myanmar from the western Indian islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands . To the west, Myanmar borders Bangladesh and the Indian states of Mizoram , Manipur , Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh .

In the north lies the Kachin Mountains, a southern extension of the Himalayas , and the Hkakabo Razi lies on the border between Myanmar, India and China . At 5881  m , it is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. Wetlands stretch along the coast of the Bay of Bengal , behind which lies the Arakan-Joma Mountains with mountains up to 3000  m high, which continue further north along the border with India in the Patkai Mountains. In the east of the country is the Shan highlands with elevations of up to 2500  m . In the middle of the country, along the Irrawaddy , lies central Myanmar with its fertile soils. The most important rivers besides the Irrawaddy are Thanlwin , Sittaung , Chindwin and Mekong .

40% of the area is covered by primary forest, with the forest area decreasing by 1.2% annually. Off the west coast of the Malay Peninsula lies a sunken mountainous landscape, the Mergui Archipelago with around 800 islands, a largely untouched group of islands.

climate

With the exception of the extreme north, Myanmar is in the area of ​​influence of the Indian monsoons . Due to the relief, the characteristics of the monsoons are different in the individual parts of the country.

Basically, three seasons can be distinguished:

  • Rainy season from late May to mid-October
  • cool season from late November to late February
  • hot season from March to May

Cities

The largest city in the country is Yangon ( Rangoon ) with around 5,160,000 inhabitants (2014). Yangon used to be the capital of Myanmar ( Naypyidaw has been the capital since 2005 ). Other big cities are Mandalay , Mawlamyaing , Bago and Pathein .

population

Demographic data

Population pyramid Myanmar 2016
Development of the population of Myanmar
year population year population
1950 17,152,000 1985 37,222,000
1955 18,868,000 1990 40,626,000
1960 20,986,000 1995 43,238,000
1965 23,391,000 2000 46,095,000
1970 26,381,000 2005 48,483,000
1975 29,722,000 2010 50,156,000
1980 33,370,000 2017 53.370.609
Population development in millions of inhabitants

Population growth has slowed in recent years. In 1998 it was 1.5 percent, in 2002 it fell to 1.1 percent. At the last census in 2014, Myanmar had 51,486,253 inhabitants who were divided into the following ethnic groups: Bamar 69 percent, Shan 8.5 percent, Christian Karen 6.2 percent, Muslim Rohingya 4.5 percent, Mon 2.4 percent, Chin 2.2 percent, Kachin 1.4 percent, Indian 1 percent, Han 1–2 percent. In total there are around one million resettled people in their own country. At just 0.1% of the population, the proportion of foreigners is one of the lowest in the world.

Life expectancy rose from 57.2 years in 2002 to 66.6 years in 2016, and infant mortality fell from 77 per thousand newborns in 2002 to 49 per thousand in 2011. About 0.6–2 percent of the population is estimated to be HIV- positive. The literacy rate was estimated at 75.6% in 2016. The fertility per woman was 2.0 children.

Peoples and languages

Ethnolinguistic map based on information from the CIA (1972)

Myanmar is a multiethnic state with around 53 million inhabitants belonging to 135 different ethnic groups. The largest ethnic group is the Burmese (Bamar) with 70% of the population . The Shan are the second largest ethnic group (8.5%) and live mainly in the Shan state of the country, in areas of around 1000 meters above sea level.

6.2% represent the predominantly Christian Karen and 2.4% among the Mon . The Padaung belong to the Mon-Khmer language group and comprise around 150,000 people. They live in the southern Kachin and Shan states. 2.2% are Chin (Tschin) and 1.4% Kachin .

About 730,000 Arakanese live mainly in the Rakhine state . Other sources even give their share of the total population at 4%. The Muslim Rohingya , who are denied ethnic group status, also live in the Rakhine state . The Rohingya are not recognized by the state as an ethnic group, do not receive Myanmar citizenship and, according to the United Nations, are "the most persecuted minority in the world". They speak a closely related to the Bengali related Indo-European language . Many of them have fled to Bangladesh.

Furthermore, Han make up 1–2% and Indians 1% of the population. The individual peoples speak their own languages, English is the language of commerce. The official language is the Burmese language .

See also: List of ethnic groups in Myanmar

religion

The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon 2013

Proportions of religions in the population:

The most widespread religion in Myanmar is Buddhism. Some of the most famous Buddhist works of art (statues) in Asia are here. The early Buddhist Theravada school is predominant , and in the 20th century it also had a significant influence on the reception of Buddhism in the West. Many of the standard works of Vipassana meditation (for example Nyanaponika : “ Mind Training through Mindfulness”) are based on the teachings of Burmese Dharma masters such as Mahasi Sayadaw, Chanmyay Sayadaw U Janaka, Ledi Sayadaw or Sayadaw U Pandita. The most important sanctuaries include the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, the Golden Rock southeast of Bago and Mount Popa near Bagan .

In the Buddhist folk religion, belief in the nats is widespread. Nats have human traits, feelings, desires and needs, are good, helpful or bad and hateful, but above all they are powerful. When enraged, they can bring great harm. During the festivals dedicated to them, they are embodied in trance and dance by Nat-Gadaw , female mediums (often also transvestites). In the case of the lower Nats, the reference to animistic ideas is clear, because they live in or near old trees or stones, on mountains or by rivers. Often they are in non-human form. The Nat shrines (nat-sin) built on trees, fields, bodies of water or in villages are similar to the spirit houses ( san phra phum ) in Thailand.

According to official figures, 4% of the population profess Christianity, especially in the ethnic groups of the Chin and Karen, who, according to a government program "to destroy the Christian religion in Myanmar", which became known in 2007, are to be systematically expelled.

Above all, the Rohingya belong to Islam .

health

Myanmar has been one of the particularly high growth rates in AIDS for a number of years , which the junta long contested, making the problem worse. The main causes are prostitution , especially in Rangoon, and the widespread, traditional drug addiction , which is exacerbated by the social turmoil caused by the decades of civil war . Much progress has been made in feeding the population. While 48.1% of the population were undernourished in 2000, it was 16.9% in 2015.

Life expectancy development in Myanmar
Period Life expectancy Period Life expectancy
1950-1955 36.1 1985-1990 57.8
1955-1960 41.3 1990-1995 59.6
1960-1965 44.2 1995-2000 61.3
1965-1970 49.6 2000-2005 62.9
1970-1975 51.9 2005-2010 64.3
1975-1980 54.0 2010-2015 66.0
1980-1985 56.0

education

The education sector in Myanmar, which has a pronounced educational tradition, has shrunk particularly sharply under the military regime. Several colleges have been temporarily or permanently closed, mainly for fear of student revolts and of criticism of an intellectual elite . There is no freedom to study and free choice of subjects, but it is possible to study certain subjects via correspondence course. The distribution of books in universities is also very limited, for example a medical student cannot borrow history books. In 2015, 93.1% of the population could read and write. In recent years, the level of education has increased and the average school attendance for over 25-year-olds increased from 2.4 years in 1990 to 4.7 years in 2015. The school attendance expectation of the current generation is already 9.1 years.

units

In Myanmar, the Anglo-American system of measurement , which is otherwise only used by the USA and Liberia , was officially in force until 2013 . In 2013 the transition to the metric system was decided.

history

In the 11th century, King Anawrahta founded the first Burmese Empire. In the 19th century, Burma fell under British rule after several wars and became part of British India on January 1, 1886 . The last king of Burma was with his family by the British occupation into exile after India sent, where he died.

In 1923 Burma was still a province of India and under British rule. Men and women who paid taxes were given the right to vote. However, the passive right to vote for women was not granted. Since only men were required to pay poll tax, there were many more taxpayers than female taxpayers, so in practice women were still prevented from voting. At that time there were only 125,000 female voters for every two million voters. In 1927 there was a proposal in the legislative assembly which also wanted to introduce the right to vote for women ; but the British refused. This led to resentment among the women and a demonstration in Ragoon. However, the restriction on the right to vote was lifted in 1929 and the right to vote for women was thus achieved on the same basis as the right to vote for men. There was also no link to paying taxes. Even so, very few women sat on local councils and the legislative assembly. When the Government of Burma Act came into force in 1935 , Burma's time as a province of India ended. Although it was still under British rule, it now had its own legislative body. For this House of Representatives, women now had the right to vote if they passed a reading and writing test. In this way, the number of voters rose to 750 000. This Constitution was repealed, as Japan in 1942, the country occupied . After the reoccupation by the British at the end of the war and the release to independence in 1948, women were given universal suffrage.

Since independence, armed conflicts have continued in different parts of the country, where ethnic minorities are violently fighting for more autonomy or independence. After a short democratic phase until 1962, Burma was controlled by various military regimes .

From 1961 to 1971, the Burmese politician Maha Thray Sithu U Thant was the third Secretary General of the United Nations . When riots broke out in Rangoon over the Ne Win government's refusal to host a state funeral, the riot was violently suppressed.

On October 18, 1965, the Revolutionary Council passed a law under which all commercial enterprises were nationalized. A little later all Christian missionaries were expelled at the end of 1966.

On August 8, 1988, months of unrest ( 8888 uprising ) over the economic policy of the military under the leadership of General Ne Win culminated in the violent suppression of protests in the capital, Rangoon, with several thousand dead. A new military regime under General Saw Maung established itself as the State Council for the Restoration of Law and Order (SLORC). In 1989 the country was renamed Myanmar . When the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won a clear victory in democratic elections in 1990 , the elections were declared invalid by the military regime and peaceful student protests were brutally suppressed. The regime stayed in power.

In November 2005, the government began moving the seat of government from Rangoon to Naypyidaw near Pyinmana City ( Mandalay Division ). The official justification for the move was that the new administrative capital was central to Rangoon. Unofficial speculations ranged from the fear of a foreign invasion from the sea to influences of astrologers on the military rulers to the isolation of the regime for fear of possible new popular uprisings.

In December 2005, the ASEAN countries appeared in the series of critics of the regime for the first time . As early as March 2005, Myanmar had renounced the rotation of the annually changing chairmanship within ASEAN in favor of the Philippines . One of the United States in the Security Council is more appropriate draft resolution should call on the military regime to respect human rights and to release all political prisoners, was in January 2007 by a vote of veto powers China and Russia rejected.

The "Road Map" for the path to democracy, announced in August 2003 by the then Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, took its course with the renewed convocation of the National Assembly, which was supposed to draw up a new constitution. After almost ten months of deliberations between May 17, 2004 and September 3, 2007, the chairman of the commission for the convening of the National Assembly, Lieutenant General Thein Sein, announced that a new constitution had been agreed which would be a first step towards the democratization of the country represent. However, he did not name a date for a referendum on the draft constitution or for free parliamentary elections.

Protests in Myanmar 2007

On August 15, 2007, all fuel subsidies were abolished. The resulting rise in the price of liquid fuel and gas by up to 500 percent prompted protest demonstrations that spread across the country by the end of September. They were forcibly suppressed on September 26th. According to various sources, between ten and several thousand monks and demonstrators were killed.

In February 2008, the military junta called a referendum on the new constitution in May 2008. According to the schedule, democratic elections should take place in 2010.

On the night of May 3, 2008, parts of the country were devastated by tropical storm Nargis . According to UN estimates on May 9, 63,000 to 101,000 people died and around one million became homeless. According to government figures on June 24, 84,537 people died and 53,836 are missing. The military junta denied aid workers access to the Irrawaddy River Delta and confiscated supplies of relief supplies from abroad.

Thein Sein , Head of State of Myanmar until 2016

Regardless of the disaster, the regime held the constitutional referendum on May 10, 2008 as planned. Only in the most severely affected areas was the date postponed by two weeks. After massive election fraud and intimidation, the military finally announced 92.48 percent approval of the electorate for the new constitution.

On November 7, 2010, the first elections since 1990 took place, after which on February 4, 2011, the previous Prime Minister Thein Sein was appointed the first President of Myanmar since 1988; this is a general close to Than Shwe . While the parliamentary elections of 2010 were still boycotted by the NLD, the leading opposition party took part in parliamentary elections for the first time since 1990 on April 1, 2012. In the by-elections , 45 of the 664 seats in the popular assembly were reassigned. The opposition won 43 of these 45 seats with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi .

In 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi's party took over the government. After a year, Der Spiegel stated that she was mostly silent and interpreted it as Kyi's hope for a constitutional change, which the military could prevent if it proceeded too briskly with its representatives. There was a little more money for education and health, but since October 2016 the military in Rakhine state has been taking action against the population.

In autumn 2017, the NZZ said that the relationship between the powerful military and the government was almost similar to a pact that had been reached, and at the beginning of 2018 the SRF correspondent said that it appeared that the announced reconciliation would affect less the people, but rather it would have "reconciled Aung San Suu Kyi with the military".

2021 military coup

According to official figures, Suu Kyi's party NLD achieved an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections in November 2020, with the turnout reportedly being over 70 percent. The European Union saw the election as free and fair, despite the structural democratic deficits. The army, for which a quarter of the seats in the parliamentary chambers are automatically reserved, spoke of electoral fraud. On the morning of February 1, 2021, the military under Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing launched a coup after persistent criticism of the election result. Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior NLD members were arrested. The military also declared a state of emergency. Military television announced that it would take control for a year. The procedure was justified with alleged electoral fraud.

politics

Political indices
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 94 of 120 22 of 178 Stability of the country: Alarm
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
2020
Democracy index 3.04 out of 10 135 of 167 Authoritarian regime
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
2020
Freedom in the World Index 30 out of 100 - Freedom status: unfree
0 = unfree / 100 = free
2020
Freedom of the press ranking 44.77 out of 100 139 of 180 Difficult situation for freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
2020
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 28 out of 100 137 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Political development

Military dictatorship from 1988 to 2010

On September 18, 1988, the previous constitution of the Socialist Republic of 1974 was repealed. This system of government applied until 2010:

  • Form of government : military dictatorship under the name " State Peace and Development Council " ( State Peace and Development Council , SPDC), consisting of eleven members
  • Head of State: General Than Shwe (since April 1992), Chairman of the "State Council for Peace and Development"
  • Head of Government: General Thein Sein
  • Government: Cabinet made up of 33 ministers , most of them general, including Foreign Minister Nyan Win
  • Parliament: People's Assembly with 485 members elected for four years (currently suspended)
  • Political parties: National Unity Party (NUP), emerged from the Burma Socialist Program Party of General Ne Win , Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) (close to the government, but officially without party status) as well as the National League for Democracy (NLD) and eight other minorities Parties. The NLD as the main opposition party had meanwhile been dissolved.

Constitution

A new constitution has been discussed since 1993. With reference to the lack of a constitution, the military government had prevented free elections for years. In the government draft for a new constitution, the new official name Pyidaungsu Thamada Myanmar Naing-Ngan Daw (Republic of the Union of Myanmar) was proposed. In addition, a change of the state flag and state seal was planned. The discussions about this delayed the completion of the constitution until September 3, 2007. The constitution was put to a vote in May 2008. This still stipulates the prerogatives of the military, for example that a quarter of parliamentary seats must be given to members of the military. According to the official version, this constitution was adopted with 92.48 percent yes votes. It was not until October 22, 2010, around two weeks before the elections scheduled for November 7, 2010, that the o. Suggested name implemented, flag and coat of arms were also changed.

An electoral law published by the military government in March 2010 banned leading NLD politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from the November 7, 2010 parliamentary elections. The law states that prisoners, which in Myanmar actually include political prisoners, are not allowed to be members of a political party. At the same time, the NLD was forced to expel Aung San Suu Kyi from the party if it wanted to take part in the elections. Although the new law met with international criticism, the military government also annulled the results of the 1990 parliamentary election because it no longer complied with the new constitution. The NLD won the election in 1990 with a large majority. It was only under international pressure that the military government of Myanmar released Aung San Suu Kyi on November 13, 2010 from her 15-year house arrest.

On November 7, 2010, general elections 2010 were held in Myanmar for the first time on the basis of the 2010 constitution . The Union Solidarity and Development Party provided President Thein Sein from February 4, 2011 to March 15, 2016 . The office of prime minister has not yet been filled, so Than Shwe no longer holds any political office. The office of prime minister is no longer provided for in the 2008 constitution. The President is determined by a special electoral college, which consists of three different parliamentary groups. In the broadest sense, it is therefore a system of parliamentary executive power.

On March 15, 2016, Htin Kyaw was elected President.

Democratization process

In 2011 the democratization process began in Myanmar. The cause and immediate objective of this new policy was to ease the international trade blockades that had isolated the country in the past. Among other things, according to information from the European External Action Service, the great majority of political prisoners were released, new regulations in labor and investment law were passed, control of the media eased and more than 120 trade unions were approved. In July 2013, Thein Sein announced the release of all political prisoners by the end of the year, and the first of the 150 or so prisoners were released a week later. In fact, there is no right to vote for minorities in the country because minorities, such as the Rohingya, are not recognized as citizens in the country, but on the contrary are persecuted and mistreated.

By -elections took place on April 1, 2012 after numerous members of parliament took over government offices and a total of 157 candidates from 17 parties applied to fill the 45 seats in parliament that had become vacant. Proportionally, only six million voters of the 54 million people were eligible to vote in these by-elections. The by-election has hardly changed the composition of parliament, as the newly elected MPs with 45 out of a total of 664 MPs hold only seven percent of all seats. The Union Solidarity and Development Party , which is dominated by the military, still has a mathematical majority. However, Aung San Suu Kyi, as the top candidate of the NLD party, entered parliament for the first time as a result of the by-elections - not without pointing out very critically that the new constitution still stipulates the prerogatives of the military, for example that a quarter of parliamentary mandates must be awarded to members of the military . Suu Kyi also became chair of the rule of law subcommittee. According to media reports, the NLD won the most votes in 112 of 129 polling stations. In many places this is seen as a sign of further democratization.

In the next election on November 8, 2015, the NLD won 77% of the seats in parliament. However, Aung San Suu Kyi could not become president herself because her two sons have British passports. In March 2016, Htin Kyaw , a close confidante of Aung San Suu Kyi, was elected as the new president. Aung San Suu Kyi was subsequently appointed foreign minister.

Human rights

Human rights organizations accuse the government and the military of human rights violations such as forced labor , eviction from villages, torture , rape and the use of child soldiers in the ongoing fighting against insurgents . Some rebel groups are also said to have recruited children and obliged civilians to do forced labor.

Christian minorities like the Karen and Chin in particular have been victims of massive persecution over the past decades. In the 2020 Open Doors World Persecution Index, Myanmar ranks 19th among the countries with the most severe persecution of Christians. As a result, several hundreds of thousands of them are now living in inhumane conditions without shelter or in refugee camps in the border area with Thailand . At the end of June 2007, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) publicly accused the government of serious human rights violations. The ICRC normally expresses its criticism in confidence, but since the rulers of Myanmar did not respond to the allegations, the allegations have been made public. In addition to the mistreatment of prisoners, the persecution of the Karen people was particularly criticized.

Rohingya refugees in Rakhine

In the recent past, the predominantly Muslim Rohingya minority has come into the focus of the global public. They are denied citizenship in Myanmar and their civil rights are severely restricted. The Rohingya are described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. In May 2013, the government ordered "to reduce ethnic tensions" that the Rohingya in the Rakhine state may not have more than two children, as their birth rate, ten times as high, allegedly could turn the Buddhist majority into a minority. The same goal was served by the prohibition of polygamy for Muslims in the villages of Buthidaung and Maundaw, which border on Bangladesh .

The human rights organization Human Rights Watch also reported serious human rights violations by the security forces in 2017. The military are waging widespread and systematic attacks against Rohingya, including forced deportations, murder and rape against the civilian population. Hundreds of killings and rapes occurred in the course of military operations against Rohingya villages. Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, spoke of a systematic massacre. Aung San Suu Kyi, on the other hand, blamed terrorists for the violence and complained about an "iceberg of misinformation".

The military action was preceded by attacks by foreign-trained Islamic terrorists. Members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), a radical Rohingya group, attacked dozens of police and security forces in August. Attacks by Muslims on police officers in October left several dead. According to Amnesty International, Rohingya rebels killed over 100 Hindus, kidnapped some Hindus and forced them to convert to Islam in 2017 alone. The Rohingya also forced the converted Hindus to blame the Buddhists and the Myanmar government. It is therefore difficult to assess the human rights situation as there are no independent or neutral reports.

In December 2017, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested for working on a report on the murder of ten members of the Rohingya minority. The authorities accuse them of “illegally gathering information with the aim of passing it on to foreign media”. In 2018, they were sentenced to seven years in prison for divulging state secrets. Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler said the ruling was intended to silence reporting and intimidate the press.

Five journalists are in custody in Myanmar. In August 2012, the strict censorship regulations were relaxed. Publications therefore no longer have to be approved in advance by the state audit authority, but the censorship authority has not been dissolved and published texts must still be submitted to the audit office afterwards. On April 1, 2013, private newspapers appeared again in Myanmar for the first time since 1962; previously, the Ministry of Information had granted eight out of 14 applications for a license.

Foreign policy

Myanmar diplomatic missions locations

Because of its location, Myanmar has had a special relationship with its large neighbors India and China since its independence.

Myanmar has had a special relationship with the People's Republic of China since 1988, but there is no formal alliance. The People's Republic of China financed highways between the Chinese border and the center of Myanmar in the Mandalay Plain and provided logistical support for their expansion. These roads are designed to be suitable for tanks and secure strategic access to the Indian Ocean for the Chinese. For a long time, the opinion was widespread in official statements that China had been operating a base for telecommunications and electronic reconnaissance (SIGINT) and an airfield on the Great and Small Coconut Islands north of the Indian Andaman and Nicobar Islands since 1994 .

military

Parade formation of the Myanmar Army
MiG-29 BN of the Myanmar Air Force

The Armed Forces of Myanmar, known as Tatmadaw (Burmese: တပ်မတော်), have played a crucial political role since the state was founded. They include around 428,000 soldiers and 72,000 paramilitary forces such as the border troops and special police forces. The defense budget amounted to about 1.9 billion in 2017 dollars , and corresponded to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product of the country.

Military history of Burma or Myanmar

After the Third British-Burmese War in 1885, Burma was completely conquered by Great Britain and, on January 1, 1886, became part of British India . The last king of Burma, Thibaw Min , was exiled with his family in India by the British occupation. In the late 1930s, the British colonial force in Burma, which had previously been part of the British Indian Army , was combined into a single unit, the Burma Army , which consisted of British, Indian and only a smaller number of Burmese soldiers. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 was seen by Burmese nationalists as an opportunity to force concessions from the British colonial power in return for aiding the war effort. Others, including the anti-colonial Thakin movement under Kodaw Hmaing , refused to support the war and were already waiting for an imminent Japanese invasion that would liberate Burma from British rule. From January 1942 to July 1942, Burma was actually conquered by Japan and the puppet state of Ba Maw was established. The Burma Independence Army (BIA) was a paramilitary resistance organization that fought alongside the Japanese against British troops during the campaign. Under the Japanese occupation it was reorganized as the Burma Defense Army (BDA) and was given the status of a national army. The associations of the BDA, which had grown to 18,000 strong in August 1942, were under the command of the Thirty Comrades , an elite of the Burmese resistance leaders who had been trained by the Japanese troops. The most important of the Thirty Comrades was Aung San , who assumed military command of the BDA's troops. He negotiated with the Allies in early 1945 and then switched sides. Nevertheless, after the end of the war, the British tried to restore their colonial rule.

In 1948, however, Burma was given independence. Since then, armed conflicts have continued in various parts of the country, where ethnic minorities are violently fighting the military for more autonomy or independence. After a short democratic phase until 1962, Burma was controlled by various military regimes . General Ne Win was head of state from 1962 to 1974 as chairman of the Union's Revolutionary Council, as well as prime minister; after the introduction of a new constitution, he became president from 1974 to 1981. General Saw Maung put himself to power on September 18, 1988 with the support of Ne Win, ousted the civilian President Maung Maung , who had been elected by parliament a few weeks earlier, and on the same day had the demonstrations of the democracy movement suppressed, thus restoring military rule. The beginning of a process of democratization in Myanmar began in April 2011, and the power of the military was reduced. In March 2016, Htin Kyaw , a close confidante of the previous opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi , was elected as the new president. Aung San Suu Kyi was subsequently appointed foreign minister. In the background, however, the military continues to have great influence. It is unclear who is directing the army's crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority. In September 2017, the United Nations condemned the evictions as systematic and thus as ethnic cleansing .

On August 17, 2018, the US government imposed sanctions on four commanders from the Armed Forces and the Myanmar Border Police. The three army commanders Lieutenant General Aung Kyaw Zaw, Major General Maung Maung Soe and Colonel General Min Aung Hlaing as well as the commander of the San Lwin border police are responsible for "ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual attacks and extrajudicial killings" directed against the Muslim Rohingya and other minorities . On June 26, 2018, the Council for Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) also issued sanctions against seven responsible generals.

army

The host Myanmar is divided into 13 Regional Command and comprises 30 infantry divisions , two tank divisions and ten artillery divisions . To their equipment include 130 Tank -type T-72 , about 300 battle tanks Chinese replicas of the T-54 , 150 amphibious tanks of the type PT-76 and 140 Radpanzer EE-9 Cascavel . The artillery has an arsenal of various older types of howitzers , guns and multiple rocket launchers from various countries of manufacture, including: are they of Soviet origin. Air defense also uses older systems of Soviet origin, such as the 2K12 Kub and 9K37 Buk . Important modern systems are the 9K310 Igla-1 , 9K38 Igla and the Russian short-range anti-aircraft missile system Tor M1 .

air force

The Myanmar Air Force has 15,000 soldiers, divided into eight air bases and six air defense sectors. It is equipped with 52 fighter planes of the Chinese type Chengdu J-7 , more than 12 fighter aircraft type MiG-29 , 48 NAMC Q-5 (Nanchang A-5) and other aircraft.

marine

There is no up-to-date data on the extent and equipment of the Myanmar Navy . At least three corvettes and a large number of patrol boats are available to the apparently 16,000 soldiers .

Myanmar Police Force

Formally, the national police force, The People's Police Force, has also been part of the armed forces since its reorganization in 1995.

administration

Administrative structure

Bago-Region Chin-Staat Irawadi-Region Kachin-Staat Kayah-Staat Kayin-Staat Magwe-Region Mandalay-Region Mon-Staat Naypyidaw Rakhaing-Staat Sagaing-Region Shan-Staat Tanintharyi-Region Yangon-Region Yangon-Region Bangladesch Bhutan China China Indien Indien Laos Thailand Vietnam
Administrative structure

Myanmar is divided into seven states , seven regions and a union territory . The parts of the country that are predominantly populated by the largest ethnic group in Myanmar, the Bamar , are called regions (until 2008 divisions ), the areas that are predominantly inhabited by minorities are states . The union territory surrounds the capital of the country.

The majority of the minority states form the external borders of Myanmar; clockwise starting in the southwest:

Of the seven regions , two have external borders on the mainland (one of which is also by the sea), of the remaining five two are inland and three are by the sea:

The Union Territory, established in 2010, is centrally located in Myanmar around the country's capital:

The states and regions are further subdivided into districts and municipalities.

Capital

The capital was Rangoon , the largest city in the country , until November 2005 . As of December 2005, the government agencies were relocated to a new capital west of the small town of Pyinmana , approximately 320 km north of Yangon. On February 6, 2006, the relocation of all ministries was officially completed. On March 22, 2006, the new capital was named Naypyidaw ("Home of the Kings"). It is alleged that the government built the capital mainly out of fear of uprisings in the city of Yangon. More than ten years after being named the capital of Myanmar, Naypyidaw is still largely a ghost town .

economy

Daily oil consumption of some countries in Southeast Asia, liters per day / inhabitant

With a gross domestic product of 1269 euros (2016) per inhabitant, Myanmar is one of the poorer countries in the world, but has been growing rapidly since the country opened up economically. 70% of the employees work in agriculture ; it produces 43% of GDP , while industry contributes 20% and the service sector 37%. Before the dictatorship, the country was in a very good economic position and was also called the “ breadbasket of Southeast Asia”, also known as a supplier of copper and precious stones .

The political opening of Myanmar has attracted foreign companies such as Nissan and Coca-Cola . Myanmar was previously very isolated.

In 2017, Myanmar was ranked 146th out of 180 countries in the Economic Freedom Index .

Economic situation

Myanmar has long struggled with high inflation ; the local currency, the kyat , lost an average of 34.6% of its value per year between 1990 and 2001; in 2002/03 the inflation rate accelerated to an average of 46.9%. The economic opening of the country by the government has drastically reduced inflation. In 2009 it was only around 1.5%, but in 2010 it increased again to 9.6%. In 2014 inflation was around 5.9%, in 2015 it was around 11.5%. The unofficial exchange rate to the US dollar reflects this impressively: By 2007 the price for 1 US dollar rose to 1,300 kyat, while in 2010 it fell below 1000 kyat on average. At the end of July 2011 it was even 785 kyat / US dollar.

A major problem facing the state is the high level of corruption . Another big problem is the exorbitant spending on the military, police and intelligence services, which have accounted for over 50% of the state budget for years.

Rising food and fuel prices and the arbitrary rule of the regime are causing great dissatisfaction among the residents, which is mostly expressed behind closed doors, but also in public. Power outages are quite common.

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP
(purchasing power parity)
97.56 billion 114.34 billion 133.29 billion 153.24 billion 161.87 billion 171.49 billion 182.87 billion 197.08 billion 215.42 billion 237.35 billion 260.92 billion 282.19 billion 302.57 billion 328.71 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
2,043 2,381 2,757 3,150 3,305 3,476 3,679 3,933 4.263 4,656 5,074 5,443 5,790 6,244
GDP growth
(real)
13.6% 13.6% 13.1% 12.0% 3.6% 5.1% 5.3% 5.6% 7.3% 8.4% 8.0% 7.0% 5.9% 6.7%
Inflation
(in percent)
3.8% 10.7% 26.3% 30.9% 11.5% 2.2% 8.2% 2.8% 2.8% 5.7% 5.1% 10.0% 6.8% 5.1%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
119% 110% 90% 62% 53% 55% 50% 46% 41% 33% 30% 34% 36% 35%

Foreign trade

The trade balance for 2010 was very positive with imports valued at US $ 4.532 billion and exports valued at 7.841 billion euros. Both values ​​are actually much higher, as there is large-scale smuggling across the borders with Thailand, China, India and Bangladesh. The most important export goods are natural gas as well as agricultural and forestry products, while the imports consist to a large extent of consumer goods, semi-finished goods and capital goods. Drugs, precious stones, wood and rice are smuggled out of the country, while mainly consumer goods and fuel enter the country. Quite a number of European and American companies have withdrawn from Myanmar because of poor economic prospects, excessive bureaucracy or the human rights situation; on the other hand, companies from Japan , Korea , Singapore and China in particular are expanding in the country.

Almost half of the exports go to Thailand (46.6%); the next smaller trading partners are India (12.9%), China (9%) and Japan (5.6%). The largest importing countries, on the other hand, are China (33.1%), Thailand (26.3%) and Singapore (15.2%). The largest importer of Myanmar goods in Europe is Germany (2006: 102 million euros). The export to Burma was 32 million euros, which, in the opinion of the Foreign Office, is related to the poor economic and political conditions in the country. The East Asian Association , a German business organization, has been represented in Rangoon since 1997 and plans to increase business activities.

Energy industry

The installed capacity of the power plants in Myanmar was 3,045 MW in 2010 and 3,735 MW in 2013, of which hydropower plants accounted for 2,780 MW (74%). It is estimated that the hydropower potential of the four largest rivers in Myanmar - Irrawaddy , Thanlwin , Chindwin and Sittaung - is 100,000 MW. The government of Myanmar therefore has ambitious plans to realize this potential. However, the current status of various projects is unclear, such as B. at the Myitsone dam or the Tasang dam .

Natural resources

High quality jade and precious stones are mined in Myanmar . The pigeon blood rubies from the mines near the city of Mogok are famous . There also are spinel , sapphire and some other minerals and precious stones in front of excellent quality. The occurrence of painite is unique . Gold is also washed, a considerable amount of which is glued by pilgrims in the form of wafer-thin leaves on cedis ( stupas ), statues of Buddha and the golden rock .

In addition, Myanmar produces around 20,000 barrels of oil every day (as of 2014) and 13.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually (2013). 25,000 barrels of petroleum products were consumed every day (2013) and around 8,500 barrels of petroleum products were imported every day (2012). The exploitation and processing is carried out on the one hand by the state oil company MOGE (Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise) and on the other hand by foreign oil companies such as the French companies Total and Elf as well as Texaco , Unocal , Amoco , British Premier of UK , Nippon Oil . Total is building a gas pipeline from Myanmar to Thailand with Unocal. Two billion dollars should be estimated for it.

tourism

Myanmar offers a wide range of attractions. The Shwedagon stupa in the former capital, Rangoon, is the largest and probably most valuable stupa in the world. It is covered with gold from the base to the top of the tower.

Ruins of the ancient capital in Bagan

Other main attractions of the country are the extensive facilities of the old capital Bagan in the Nyaung U district with over 2000 sacred buildings from four centuries, the Golden Rock near Kyaikto in Mon State , Inle Lake with the floating gardens, and the city of Mandalay as a cultural center many sights in their vicinity. One of them is the second heaviest free-hanging ringable bell in the world, the Mingun bell . It was made in 1808 at the behest of King Bodawpaya . The Rakhine State in the west has Ngapali Beach, which is one of the most popular travel destinations for vacationers.

While tourists used to only get visas for a maximum of one week, the country opened up a few years ago due to economic pressure and is increasingly actively promoting tourism that brings foreign exchange . For this purpose, airports and roads were expanded with the help of forced labor . However, many human rights organizations and associations critical of tourism ( e.g. Tourism Concern ) have long called on tourists to boycott the country, as they believe that they support the military regime by traveling to Myanmar and that their foreign currency does not reach the population. Other non-governmental institutions in Myanmar warn against a boycott, as many jobs e.g. B. in hotels, airlines, restaurants, souvenir shops and much more. m. depend directly and indirectly on tourism and are of vital importance to these people. Tourists are also an important source of independent information that is otherwise difficult to find their way in and out of the country.

In recent years, the country has seen a strong increase in visitor numbers. In 2007 and 2008, a total of 220,000 tourists visited Myanmar, in 2012 there were already one million, in 2013 two million and in 2014 over three million travelers. For 2015, tourism officials had set themselves the goal of five million visitors. This value was almost reached with 4.7 million. In 2019 there were 4.4 million tourists.

Shadow economy

On the border with Laos and Thailand, Myanmar is part of the so-called Golden Triangle , in which opium poppies are grown in order to obtain opium for heroin production . The importance of Myanmar as a supplier for the global heroin market has recently increased again (2010) due to major crop failures and the resulting decline in drug production in Afghanistan and an increase in cultivation areas. Myanmar is a world leader in the production of amphetamines , which can be chemically produced more easily, cheaply and more independently of the weather than poppy seeds. Tons of them are made in hard-to-find jungle factories and exported all over the world, mainly via Thailand and China. In part, the government representatives are supposed to earn money by negotiating ceasefires with the insurgent ethnic groups involved in exchange for shares in the income from drug trafficking .

Ivory, rhinoceros and tiger products are traded on wildlife markets in Myanmar. Myanmar is a transit country and a country of origin for illegal poaching products from endangered species.

Illegal work in neighboring Thailand is another unofficial source of income. In particular, people from Myanmar find work in Thailand as low-wage domestic helpers, carers and nannies.

In March 2011 there was a severe earthquake in the border area with Thailand. The military prevented foreign aid workers from getting as far as the epicenter, apparently to prevent foreigners from seeing the army's drug deals. Many farmers are forced to grow opium. There are other areas where the military is not in charge, but individual rebel groups. There they control drug cultivation.

Economic ties with China

Myanmar serves China as a transfer route for oil and gas transport from the Near and Middle East and as a supplier of electricity. The country is of high relevance for Chinese energy security, as the vulnerable Malacca Strait can be bypassed at least in part by land . Since March 2010 alone, the People's Republic of China has decided to invest almost US $ 8.2 billion, of which around US $ 3.6 billion is for the construction of the Myitsone hydropower project in Kachin State . The latter was unilaterally suspended by the Myanmar government in 2011, which led to a significant cooling of bilateral relations.

Chinese involvement is seen as threatening and exploitative among the people of Myanmar. There are reports of exploitation , expropriations , the destruction of local infrastructure and disregard for environmental protection , so that there is an anti-Chinese mood in many areas of the country. Many of the richest entrepreneurs in Myanmar are of Chinese descent, which is a source of displeasure among local entrepreneurs.

The Asia World Group

The company Asia World is the largest group in Myanmar. He is active in the areas of infrastructure, energy, construction and transport as well as import and export. He also owns a chain of supermarkets. About half of all investments in Myanmar come from companies belonging to this group. Asia World was awarded the contract for many major Sino-Burmese projects in the country (deep-sea port in Kyaukpyu , oil pipeline, dam projects).

Asia World is owned by Htun Myint Naing , better known as Steven Law, who comes from the family of a drug lord and is considered the richest man in Myanmar. Steven Law has been under US sanctions since 2008, along with various other military affiliates. In May 2016, US sanctions against Steven Law were tightened.

State budget

The state budget in 2015 comprised expenditures equivalent to the equivalent of 4.47 billion US dollars , which was offset by income equivalent to 2.68 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 2.7% of GDP . The state spent 2.3% of GDP on the health system (2014).

The national debt was US $ 23.7 billion in 2016, which is 35.8% of GDP. Compared to the year 2004 (63.2%) it could be reduced considerably.

Infrastructure

According to the World Bank , only one in three residents of Myanmar had an electricity connection in 2018.

railroad

The origin of the railway network, which was built almost exclusively in the meter gauge , goes back to the British colonial times. The first railway line was opened in 1869 between Rangoon and the northwestern Letpadan . In 1889 the line from Rangoon to Mandalay followed , which was later extended further north to Myitkyina . During the Second World War, the Japanese had prisoners of war build the so-called death railway from Thanbyuzayat to Thailand. This route gained great fame through the film The Bridge on the River Kwai . But it was dismantled shortly after the end of the war. Today the route network has a length of 5031 km (as of 2008). Cross-border lines do not exist. The backbone of the network is the north-south route from Mawlamyaing via Rangoon and Mandalay to Myitkyina. Within this route, the 622 km long section between Rangoon and Mandalay is of particular importance, which is expressed, among other things, in its partly double-track expansion and the use of modern express trains that are also comfortable from the western point of view. From the north-south route, branch lines lead to Lashio , Shwenyaung , Bagan and Pyay, among others .

A lack of investment has led to the wear and tear of the routes, so that these are largely in poor condition today. The traffic is handled by the state company Myanma Railways with diesel locomotives. Steam locomotives were used for an extraordinarily long time, up to around 2005 in large numbers. The trains used often only reach travel speeds of 30 km / h or less. Even the express trains running between Rangoon and Mandalay need around 16 hours for the 622 km. Timetables do exist, but they are of little importance for daily operations, as delays of up to several hours are the order of the day due to the poor condition of the route and accidents. However, departures also occur several hours ahead of the schedule. In the case of long delays, the railway company can sometimes cancel trains in order to reorganize the carriage and locomotive runs. In view of a network length of almost 4,000 km, the number of train pairs used every day is comparatively low at around 100.

Myanma Railways has built the following major routes since 1988:

  • 1992 00000Shwenyaung - Yauksauk (western Shan state (60.3 km))
  • 1993 00000Aungban - Loi-kaw (164 km) ( Kayah-State connection)
  • 1994-2006 Chaung-U - Pakokku - Kalaymyo (406 km) ( Chin-State connection)
  • 1995–1998 Ye - Tavoy (177 km) ( Tanintharyi region connection)
  • 1997-2003 Shwenyaung - Taunggyi - Mongne (South Shan State Link)
  • 1998 00000Pyay - Aunglan - Satthwa ( Magwe region ) (145.4 km)
  • 2010 00000Mong Nai - Keng Tung (East Shan State Link) (227.6 km)

The Kyangin (northern Irrawaddy region ) - Pakokku (515 km) and Kathar - Bhamo (152 km) ( Sagaing region - Kachin state - People's Republic of China connection) routes are currently under construction.

For the condition and operation of the railway, see the travel reports.

Road network

Road transport has become the most important mode of transport in Myanmar. The road network is a total of 34,377 km long (as of 2010), of which 358 km are motorways. Only a small part of the road network is paved. Road traffic is often hindered by the difficult climatic conditions. During the rainy season, numerous roads are washed away, and in the dry season, the heat softens the asphalt.

The gasoline is rationed. Private drivers officially only receive nine liters of petrol a day.

Airports and airlines

Airport in Heho
An ATR 72-212 of Yangon Airways at the airport in Heho

Myanmar currently has two international and 16 local airports served by national airlines. The largest airport is Yangon International Airport . The city of Mandalay also has an international airport . Due to the desolate road network and the size of the country, the plane is by far the fastest means of transport in the country. However, the safety and quality standards are sometimes described as backward. In 2011, a cooperation agreement was signed with the German Fritz Werner Werkzeugmaschinen AG to expand or modernize some of the most important airports and seaports.

Myanmar has a relatively high number of airlines for the size of the country. Since the end of the pure military dictatorship in 2010, there have been many private start-ups.

As of June 2015, the following Myanmar airlines operate scheduled and charter flights:

Destinations outside Myanmar are currently only served by MAI and Golden Myanmar Airlines, the other companies serve over thirty destinations within Myanmar.

Culture

music

Musical instruments belonging to a hsaing waing orchestra in the back row from left: horizontal barrel drum pa'má , cone oboe hne , drum circle hsaing waing , hanging gong moung , humpback gong
circle
kyi waing . Instruments belonging to chamber music: in the middle row three-stringed fiddle tayaw , pair of cymbals , bamboo chopping fork walet-hkok , bamboo flute palwei , hand cymbals si , brass plate kyizi , crocodile zither mí-gyaùng , in front bamboo xylophone pattala , bow harp saung gauk . Watercolor by an unknown painter from 1897.

Classical Burmese music differs significantly in melody and rhythm from the music of neighboring countries in spite of the early influences from India and China and from the 18th century on from Thailand. The first instruments that came from India with the spread of Buddhism in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD included stick zithers called vina and bow harps. The old saung gauk bow harp is the only one of this type of instrument, which was once widespread across Asia, to survive in Myanmar and is still held in high regard as a national instrument today. The saung gauk is an instrument for vocal accompaniment in fine court chamber music in closed rooms, the tradition of which is summarized in the Mahagita song collection . A large part of this collection of around 500 songs known today goes back to Myawaddy Mingyi U Sa (1766–1853), the most important composer and saung-gauk player of the Konbaung period . Chamber music also includes small instrumental ensembles in which the bamboo xylophone patala (related to the Thai ranat and the Cambodian roneat ), the longitudinal flute palwei and the dulcimer don-mìn are used.

The hsaing-waing ensembles offer classical loud music for outside, for festive events, dances and spirit worship rituals ( Nat Pwe) . They consist of the eponymous melody instrument, a circle of 21 tuned drums; a circle with 21 humpback gongs ( kyi waing or kyi naung ); another gong game (maung zaing) , also in a wooden frame; the bowling oboe hne (derived from Persian surnai ) and various drums as rhythm instruments. In two other ensembles played in rural regions at festivals and religious processions, large drums are in the foreground: the ensemble of the up to three meter long tumbler drum ozi and the barrel drum dhopat. Both groups also use humpback gongs, pair pools, and bamboo rattles.

The different ethnic groups have their own instruments and traditional music. The Mon use a plucked instrument from ancient times, the three-stringed zither mí-gyaùng saung, which has spread from here to Southeast Asia. It is called the crocodile zither because of its appearance .

The piano (Burmese sandaya ) was introduced as the first western musical instrument at the end of the 19th century , and by 1920 it had largely taken over the song accompaniment from the saung gauk . The violin ( tayaw ) was similarly successful, and the Hawaiian guitar was added later. All musical acquisitions from abroad, whether it was melodies, tone scales (the pentatonic tuning comes from Thailand) or instruments, were basically adapted to local listening habits and contributed to the expansion of one's own music.

Western classical music did not catch on. A return to one's own tradition since the beginning of the national independence movement in the 1920s contrasts with the enthusiasm for Western pop music among the younger generation. Their widespread, loud and sometimes successful imitation with texts written or translated into Burmese can be understood as an expression of a will for freedom. Pop music is politically criticized by the government and morally condemned by the older generation.

The state-funded Sokayeti Festival of the Performing Arts has been held annually in October / November since 1993 . In two and a half weeks, competitions in the fields of singing, instrumental music, song composition, dance and puppet theater yoke thé will be held. Since 2007 the event has not taken place in Yangoon, as before, but at the new government seat in Naypyidaw.

The National Orchestra of Myanmar has existed since 2001.

Festivals

The largest and most important festival in Burma is the Burmese New Year, Thingyan , which corresponds to the Thai Songkran . Also popularly known as the water festival, it is celebrated with plenty of water on three consecutive days in April - the hottest month. With water pistols, water buckets and other containers filled with water, the Burmese move through the city on the back of trucks or on foot, making everyone wet. There are also parades where people dance to strong rhythms.

The colorful Phaungdaw U Festival is celebrated in honor of the Buddha in autumn on Inle Lake . A Buddha statue is driven across the lake on a decorated boat.

The festival dates are often determined by the lunar calendar and therefore change from year to year.

List of other important festivals in Myanmar:

  • Ananda Pagoda Festival
  • Kachin Manaw Festival
  • Naga Festival (New Year)
  • Kakku Pagoda Festival
  • Warso Cane Ball Festival
  • Taung Byone Ghost Festival
  • Yadanar Gu Festival
  • Karaweik Festival
  • Kyauktawgyi Pagoda Festival
  • Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival
  • Taunggyie Balloon Festival
  • Shwezigon Festival
  • Popa ceremony

Handicrafts

The traditional Kalagas are intricately embroidered tapestries made from silk, flannel, wool, felt and lace on cotton and velvet.

Films about Myanmar and works of fiction

Movies

Works of fiction

See also

literature

  • Jens Freyler: Road to Mandalay - Travel in Myanmar / Burma. Traveldiary.de Reiseliteratur-Verlag, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 978-3-937274-39-3 .
  • Hans Wilhelm Finger: Dhammayangyi - a journey into the heart of Burma. The biography of a temple, its people and the Kingdom of Pagan. Wiesenburg, Schweinfurt 2008, ISBN 978-3-937101-49-1 .
  • Mikael Gravers, Flemming Ytzen (Ed.): Burma / Myanmar - Where Now? ( Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Asia Insights series, no.3) Nias Press, Copenhagen 2014.
  • U. Khin Zaw: Myanmar Culture. Today Publishing House, Yangon 2006.
  • Ute Köster, Phuong Le Trong, Christina Grein (eds.): Handbuch Myanmar. Society - Politics - Economy - Culture - Development. Horlemann, Angermünde 2014, ISBN 978-3-89502-361-3 .
  • Ma Thanegi: Pilgrimage in Myanmar. Unionverlag, Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-293-20289-6 .
  • Donald M. Seekins: Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). The Scarecrow Press, Lanham (Maryland) 2006, ISBN 0-8108-5476-7 .
  • Shelby Tucker: Among Insurgents - Walking through Burma. 2000, ISBN 0-00-712705-7 .
  • Thant Myint-U: Burma: The River of Lost Footprints. A personal story. Bertelsmann, Munich 2009, ISBN 3-570-01101-1 .
  • Thant Myint-U: The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century. WW Norton & Company, New York 2019, ISBN 978-1324003298 .
  • Udo Witzens : Uprising of the monks, background to the "Saffron Rebellion" in Burma. Helmes, Karlsruhe 2009, ISBN 978-3-940567-10-9 .
  • Hans-Bernd Zöllner: Conflict of world views: The "Two Burma" since the beginning of the colonial era. regiospectra, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940132-30-7 .
  • Hans-Bernd Zöllner: Burma between “independence first - independence last”. Lit, Münster 2000, ISBN 3-8258-4360-2 .
  • Hans-Bernd Zöllner: Neither saffron nor revolution - an annotated chronology of the demonstrations by monks in Myanmar / Burma in September 2007. Abera, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-934376-79-3 .
  • Jaroslav Poncar : Burma / Myanmar. Travel photographs from 1985 to the present day. Edition Panorama, Mannheim 2013, ISBN 978-3-89823-463-4 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Myanmar  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Myanmar  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Myanmar  - in the news
Wikivoyage: Myanmar  - Travel Guide

Generally

politics

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. a b c d e f Burma in the CIA World Factbook
  4. population, total. In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed February 13, 2021 .
  5. Population growth (annual%). In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed February 13, 2021 .
  6. ^ World Economic Outlook Database October 2020. In: World Economic Outlook Database. International Monetary Fund , 2020, accessed February 13, 2021 .
  7. Table: Human Development Index and its components . In: United Nations Development Program (ed.): Human Development Report 2020 . United Nations Development Program, New York 2020, ISBN 978-92-1126442-5 , pp. 345 (English, undp.org [PDF]).
  8. tagesschau.de: Putsch in Myanmar: Military arrests Aung San Suu Kyi. Retrieved February 1, 2021 .
  9. Putsch in Myanmar ?: Military arrests Aung San Suu Kyi. In: tagesschau.de. Tagesschau , February 1, 2021, accessed on February 1, 2021 .
  10. ^ Duden online: Myanmar . Note: The audio file integrated there does not exactly reproduce the specified phonetic transcription [ ˈmi̯anmaːɐ̯ ]. At the end the speaker simply says a long a, as if the last letter r was not there: [ ˈmi̯anmaː ]. This type of pronunciation is also uncommon in German, as is the stress on the first a.
  11. See How to Say: Myanmar : In this BBC contribution, four different English pronunciations are quoted from various pronunciation dictionaries. A different, fifth debate is then given as a recommendation by the BBC.
  12. Should it be Burma or Myanmar? BBC News, September 26, 2007
  13. ^ Ethnic Minorities and Nationalism in Southeast Asia ( Memento of July 28, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
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Coordinates: 21 °  N , 95 °  E