Burma: Locking Out the 20th Century

Dust and rust accumulate in a poor but largely peaceful land

For more than a generation, the country has existed in a time warp--and in a state of solitary confinement. Since 1962, when General Ne Win seized power in Burma, foreigners have been unwelcome, borders have been tight, private business has been discouraged, and development has all but halted. Staff Writer Pico Iyer recently made his second visit to the largely closed society. His report:

Jeeps left over from the war, 1955 Chevrolets, 1953 Czech-made Skodas and armies of dilapidated jalopies jounce and judder through the broad avenues of Rangoon, Burma's capital. In the distance, red-brick Victorian steeples poke up among the...

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