O turismo, na Birmânia, enriquece uma junta militar repugnante, mas também alivia a negra miséria daquele martirizado povo. Devemos ir ou não? Aparentemente, devemos.

“The paradigm is one of regime change, and the assumption is that sanctions, boycotts, more isolation will somehow pressure those in charge to mend their ways,” he writes. “The assumption is that Burma’s military government couldn’t survive further isolation when precisely the opposite is true: Much more than any other part of Burmese society, the army will weather another forty years of isolation just fine.”

There is no sign that the dictatorship, which has made deals to end the civil war and is boosted by trade with Burma’s neighbors in teak as well as by its newfound gas reserves, is wobbling. “The economy that was evolving under sanctions was exactly the opposite of one that could create a strong middle class and pave the way for progressive change,” Thant argues. The generals don’t want to engage with the wider world, and they feel that they have little to lose through further isolation. “It is this isolation that has kept Burma in poverty; isolation that fuels a negative, almost xenophobic nationalism; isolation that makes the Burmese army see everything as a zero-sum game and any change as filled with peril; isolation that has made any conclusion to the war so elusive, hardening differences; and isolation that has weakened institutions—the ones on which any transition to democracy would depend—to the point of collapse. Without isolation, the status quo will be impossible to sustain.”

Vale a pena ler este artigo de John Lanchester na New Yorker. A foto é do Steve McCurry.