Insight Myanmar

Insight Myanmar

Insight Myanmar Podcast

Insight Myanmar is a beacon for those seeking to understand the intricate dynamics of Myanmar. With a commitment to uncovering truth and fostering understanding, the podcast brings together activists, artists, leaders, monastics, and authors to share their first-hand experiences and insights. Each episode delves deep into the struggles, hopes, and resilience of the Burmese people, offering listeners a comprehensive, on-the-ground perspective of the nation's quest for democracy and freedom. And yet, Insight Myanmar is not just a platform for political discourse; it's a sanctuary for spiritual exploration. Our discussions intertwine the struggles for democracy with the deep-rooted meditation traditions of Myanmar, offering a holistic understanding of the nation. We delve into the rich spiritual heritage of the country, tracing the origins of global meditation and mindfulness movements to their roots in Burmese culture. Each episode is a journey through the vibrant landscape of Myanmar's quest for freedom, resilience, and spiritual riches. Join us on this enlightening journey as we amplify the voices that matter most in Myanmar's transformative era.

Categories: News & Politics

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Episode #220: Elliott Prasse-Freeman, author of the recent book “Rights Refused,” joins the podcast for a wide-ranging, erudite discussion.

Prasse-Freeman first distinguishes between two kinds of anti-regime acts. One he calls an act of “refusal.” In other words, one avoids direct confrontation and instead supports various prosocial, community-based society initiatives around things the state is unwilling or unable to support. The other he calls an act of “resistance,” when it the time is ripe to physically protest.

Speaking about the culture of sacrifice that has evolved in Myanmar, especially since the coup, he sees Burmese activists carefully considering which pathway of protest is most appropriate in a given situation, while knowing that at some point, great personal sacrifice will eventually be demanded of them. It requires careful consideration to decide “when is the culture of sacrifice is truly sacrificial for the people, and when is it actually just for your own glory.” the years.

Another area Prasse-Freeman explores is the concept of “rights,” which is different than they are understood in the West. In Myanmar, they are more often understood as “opportunities,” as opposed to fundamental human privileges safeguarded by a society or nation.


In other words, having “rights” is not understood as a fundamental condition that all people should enjoy, but a zero-sum game where communities compete against each other for finite resources. More marginalized populations, such as the country’s ethnic minorities, must compete the hardest—and against each other—to get even a small slice of the remaining pie.


In closing, he says: “When you don't ever presuppose you have rights in the first place, you never get caught in that downward spiral of demobilization. You know that if you want something, you have to go out and create it! So it takes a lot of work, but it can also be hopeful at the same time.”

Previous episodes

  • 344 - Cursing Tyranny 
    Tue, 20 Feb 2024
  • 343 - Hidden Ledgers (Emergency Edition) 
    Fri, 16 Feb 2024
  • 342 - Revolt, Rebuild, Rebirth 
    Tue, 13 Feb 2024
  • 341 - Dhamma at a Cross Roads (Bonus Shorts) 
    Fri, 09 Feb 2024
  • 340 - Bo Thanmani 
    Tue, 06 Feb 2024
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