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Subversive Technology: Burma's Struggle for Democracy

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Introduction to the Saffron Revolution before discussion with Stanley from All Burma Student Union. Presented at The Change You want to See Gallery in Brooklyn, New York on April 27, 2009

Introduction to the Saffron Revolution before discussion with Stanley from All Burma Student Union. Presented at The Change You want to See Gallery in Brooklyn, New York on April 27, 2009

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  • 1. D 2 @digidem info@dtwo.org Subversive Technology Burma’s Struggle for Democracy The Change You Want To See Gallery @NAA_NYC #thechange http://www.mogulus.com/notanalternative Monday, April 27, 2009 1
  • 2. Burma’s “Prophet” http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/ Eric Arthur Blair Monday, April 27, 2009 2
  • 3. Burma’s “Prophet” http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/ George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair Monday, April 27, 2009 2
  • 4. Burma’s “Prophet” http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/ George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair By: Shepherds Fairey Monday, April 27, 2009 2
  • 5. Burmese Days Colonial Period 1824-1948 Major ethnic groups ▪ Karen ▪ Karenni ▪ Mon ▪ Shan ▪ Chin ▪ Wa ▪ Arakan ▪ Rohingya ▪ Kachin ▪ Burman Monday, April 27, 2009 3
  • 6. Animal Farm: Burma “Independence” 1948-1989 1948 Aung San assasinated 1962 U Nu overthrown, Ne Win begins “Burmese Way to Socialism.” 1988 Student uprising for democracy Eric Elofson - http://passivepro.blogspot.com/ Monday, April 27, 2009 4
  • 7. Animal Farm: Burma Animal Farm opened my mind to what kind of government is in “Independence” Burma. I can take a lot of parallels in real life with Animal Farm. 1948-1989 (The animals) want to have freedom, but later there is freedom 1948 only for Napoleon. Burma is also like that for the SPDC, the Aung San leaders. Before they become leaders, they say all are equal. But assasinated after they become leaders they change their minds. 1962 U Nu overthrown, When you ask ‘Why do you need more education?’ I see a Ne Win begins parallel. (In) Animal Farm, the animals, they overthrow the man, “Burmese Way to but only a few animals, especially pigs, are educated. The other Socialism.” 1988 animals (end up) facing the same problems. We are refugee Student uprising people, small minority groups. We don’t have an education. So for democracy we need education to be aware of this problem. Kyaw Tway, male, http://passivepro.blogspot.com/ Eric Elofson - age 20, English Immersion Program Overcoming Obstacles, Creating Opportunities - Section 6, pg 150-154 Monday, April 27, 2009 4
  • 8. 1984: Myanmar Population: 60 million Religions Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2% KHRG Monday, April 27, 2009 5
  • 9. 1984: Myanmar Population: 60 million Religions Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2% KHRG Monday, April 27, 2009 5
  • 10. 1984: Myanmar Population: 60 million KEY INDICATORS worst best Religions GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2000 international $) ........ 1,446 3.50 Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% Life expectancy at birth (years) ............................................. 61 4.19 (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic Literacy rate (% of people age 15+) ..................................... 90 6.00 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, Human development index (out of 177)............................... 130 3.52 Rule of law other 2% (out of 208) ...................................................... 202 1.87 Voice and accountability (out of 208) .................................. 208 0.69 Digital opportunity index (out of 180) .................................. 176 1.36 Internet users (% of population) ........................................... 0.1 3.07 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Source (by indicator): IMF 2006; World Bank 2006a, 2006a; UNDP 2006; World Bank 2006c, 2006c; ITU 2006, 2004 OpenNet Initiative, Internet Filtering in Burma in 2005: A Country Study, at http://opennet.net/studies/burma/. KHRG from USD0.75 in 2004 and USD0.95–1.50 in straints. As in other areas, however, the state’s 8 Monday, April 27, 2009 5
  • 11. 1984: Myanmar Population: 60 million KEY INDICATORS worst best Religions GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2000 international $) ........ 1,446 3.50 Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% Life expectancy at birth (years) ............................................. 61 4.19 (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic Less than 1% mobile phone & Literacy rate (% of people age 15+) ..................................... 90 6.00 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, Human development index (out of 177)............................... 130 3.52 Rule of law other 2% internet market penetration (out of 208) ...................................................... 202 1.87 Voice and accountability (out of 208) .................................. 208 0.69 Digital opportunity index (out of 180) .................................. 176 1.36 Internet users (% of population) ........................................... 0.1 3.07 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Source (by indicator): IMF 2006; World Bank 2006a, 2006a; UNDP 2006; World Bank 2006c, 2006c; ITU 2006, 2004 OpenNet Initiative, Internet Filtering in Burma in 2005: A Country Study, at http://opennet.net/studies/burma/. KHRG from USD0.75 in 2004 and USD0.95–1.50 in straints. As in other areas, however, the state’s 8 Monday, April 27, 2009 5
  • 12. 1984: Myanmar In Exile: ~4 million Sophisticated network of community based organizations KHRG Monday, April 27, 2009 6
  • 13. Our Research Overcoming Obstacles, Creating Opportunities Youth Perspectives from the Thai-Burma Border www.newwordsmedia.com Youth Perspectives from the Thai-Burma Border Monday, April 27, 2009 7
  • 14. www.newwordsmedia.com Key finding Young Burmese with access to the internet were more likely to identify themselves as activists Monday, April 27, 2009 8
  • 15. Saffron Revolution www.uscampaignforburma.org Mobile phones were used by monks and other citizen journalists to send information to the outside world. Monday, April 27, 2009 9
  • 16. constrained context. OpenNet Initiative, Pulling the Plug: A Technical Review of the Internet Shutdown in Burma, at http://opennet.net/research/bulletins/013. Figure 1. Timeline of Events, Aug. 19, 2007 - Oct. 13, 2007 Saffron Revolution Internet in Burma Willfrom Burma are always asking forthat silencing mobiles andand assistance governments learn information as well as requesting for help the “People internet are a necessary step in any crackdown? from [the] outside world but very little of their voices reach the world and most are lost in the endless state of the government vacuum.” — Burmese blogger Monday, April 27, 2009 11
  • 17. How information travels Actions are recorded with mobile phones, uploaded to flash drives, taken across borders, uploaded to servers, sent to trusted contacts. Is there a better way? www.newwordsmedia.com Monday, April 27, 2009 12
  • 18. Burma and its Borders In Burma the cost of a “normal” GSM sim card is 2.5 million kyat. This equals approximately $2000 on the black market conversion rate. At the official rate this is approximately $393,400. A new pre-paid sim costs Dollars Local Currency between $20-$50 US dollars. 4.18 250 Bangladesh 7.77 300 India (Delhi) 6.84 200 Thailand Use restricted to 1 month 14.6 100 China (Yunnan) 50 Burma Monday, April 27, 2009 13
  • 19. Current Situation Bloggers imprisoned Increased sophistication from authorities China’s support 2010 elections Monday, April 27, 2009 14
  • 20. Current Situation Bloggers imprisoned Increased sophistication from authorities China’s support 2010 elections Monday, April 27, 2009 14
  • 21. Handheld Human Rights a secure hub for groups around Burma’s borders documenting human rights abuses http://www.developmentseed.org/ Monday, April 27, 2009 15
  • 22. Problem Solution Regional instability Cross-border communication World’s longest running civil Networking among war traditionally divided groups Rampant use of child soldiers Providing 21st century education Over 3.5 million internally displaced persons and Connecting refugees with refugees their resettled communities Severe censorship Freedom of information Monday, April 27, 2009 16
  • 23. D Digital Democracy 2 Working with local partners to connect people through new technologies that encourage education, communication and civic participation. Mark Belinsky - MBelinsky@dtwo.org - @mbelinsky All Burma IT Student Union ABITSU stands against the Burmese Military Regime and work to remove the Military Dictatorship, to generate more IT skilled personnel and build the infrastructure for a future democratic government of Burma. Stanley - info@abitsu.org Monday, April 27, 2009 17
  • 24. What you can do: • Donate money • the economy is hard for everyone but conversion rates between currencies is currently in US favor • Donate your skills • are you a designer, programmer, or have other skills that you can provide? tell us and help grassroots organizations make change • Sign Free Burma's Political Prisoners Now! Petition • http://www.fbppn.net DTWO.ORG Monday, April 27, 2009 18