Burma, also known as Myanmar, has for the last few decades been a pariah state, run by a secretive cabal of military officials and ostracised from the international community for its human rights abuses. The oppression and poverty in the country has often led to widespread protests, particularly from the Buddhist monks, who still have a powerful following in the country. The monk’s influence is evidence of the profound ties the Burmese have to their national religion, Buddhism; the rich cultural heritage of the country is intimately tied to this religion. In recent years the Burmese governing powers have relaxed their iron grip on the country and began to put limited democratic reforms into effect; the most potent signal of this is the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. Suu Kyi has become emblematic of the democratic movement in Burma and her release has prompted hopes that this hermetic state will finally open up.
The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma gives an authentic narrative of the history of Burma, it is written by the popular historian and UN official Thant Myint-U. Aung San Suu Kyi has written many books which document her struggles to promote democracy in Burma. Freedom from Fear candidly illustrates her struggles in the formidable politics of the country.
Academy Award nominated documentary Burma VJ, directed by Anders Østergaard, uses smuggled footage to tell the story of the 2007 protests by monks. The film Inside Burma Land of Fear is another investigative documentary on slave labour in Burma. These two political documentaries represent the turmoil that the nation has been battling to overcome.