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In Prisms on the Golden Pagoda, a group of nationalists, political leaders and scholars set down their thoughts on Myanmar's national reconciliation process. Invitations to attend a workshop were sent to veteran politicians and ethnic leaders as well as scholars on the understanding that it would be an academic rather than a political event. However, the interest shown in the event by activists aroused the suspicions of the Myanmar government, and several invited participants were unable to obtain permission to attend, or decided to withdraw after preparing papers for the occasion. This volume presents selected papers prepared for the workshop. Just as prism-like glass mosaics or mirrors separate white light into a spectrum of colours that gives Myanmar's pagodas a glittering iridescence, this collection of papers offers a spectrum of perspectives on the national reconciliation process. The purpose is t to suggest solutions to Myanmar's political problems but rather to show how the national reconciliation effort has been viewed inside the country, and how senior military officers have dealt with issues relating to it. Three of the contributors to this collection (Thamarr Taman, Widura Thakin Chit Maung and U Shwe Ohn) passed away before the manuscript could be finalised for submission. They, and the other contributors, were invaluable repositories of information about Myanmar politics, and their contributions provide an important insider's perspective on crucial issues facing the country as it enters an apparent phase of liberalisation.
KYAW Yin Hlaing is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong.