The Globe as you know it is changing. Coming June 2019

  • More thought provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists
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To understand more about why you are so important to our member support initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Sizing up the shadowy leader of the Rakhine State insurgency

By: Paul Millar - Posted on: February 16, 2017 | Current Affairs

As Myanmar’s security forces continue their crackdown on the nation’s Muslim Rohingya minority, foreign-born fighter Ata Ullah is leading a group of insurgents in guerrilla warfare

Ata Ullah
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, to a Rohingya migrant father, Ata Ullah – variously known as Ameer Abu Amar, Abu Amar Jununi and Hafiz Tohar – grew up in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he received a Madrassa education. A Myanmar government press release claims Ullah spent six months training in modern guerrilla warfare under the Taliban in Pakistan. Several Harakah al-Yaqin members told the International Crisis Group that he may have received additional training in Libya before his return to Rakhine State, but this remains unconfirmed. Portrait by May Sak

Filled with a restless energy, the man in black paces back and forth before a shaky video camera, a quivering hand raised to the sky as he spits rapid-fire Bengali into the lens.

“We are not terrorists. We came out to restore our rights. God willing, we will take back our rights from the brutal and unjust government.” Pulling the cameraman over, he stabs a finger at a clump of bloodied boys sprawled across makeshift tarpaulins, allegedly maimed by mortar fire from government security forces. “These are civilians, not terrorists.”

Commonly known as Ata Ullah, the man in the video is believed to be the spokesperson and leader of the ground troops of the Harakah al-Yaqin insurgency in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Variously translated as ‘Faith Movement’ or ‘the Movement of Certainty’, the group thrust itself into the international media spotlight after claiming responsibility for the raids on Myanmar border police in October. The attacks, which killed nine border officials in three coordinated assaults on government outposts, triggered a violent military crackdown that has driven tens of thousands of Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh and reduced whole villages to
smouldering ruins.

Although born in Karachi, Pakistan, to a Rohingya father who had previously fled the violence of his homeland, Ullah – also known as Ameer Abu Amar, Abu Amar Jununi and Hafiz Tohar – grew up in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where he was educated at an Islamic religious school. A report on the rise of Harakah al-Yaqin released in December by the International Crisis Group (ICG) described a man incensed at the suffering of his fellow Rohingya in a homeland he had never known.

“He disappeared from Saudi Arabia in 2012 shortly after violence erupted in Rakhine State,” the report stated. “Though not confirmed, there are indications he went to Pakistan, and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare.”

Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani, a research analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research and one of the authors of Myanmar’s Rohingya Conflict: Foreign Jihadi Brewing, said Ullah’s rejection of his affluent Middle Eastern lifestyle to pursue the fight against Myanmar’s military was a tale typical of Harakah al-Yaqin’s foreign-born fighters.

“Certainly the ideology that was resurrected by the Saudis and the jihadist groups over time has basically been used [by these fighters] to imagine that they could be the heroes of the Rohingya communities,” he said.

By sacrificing the comfort and security of their old lives in Saudi Arabia to fight against the government’s security forces, they have demonstrated an apparent willingness to bleed for their people – and, in return, received at least a measure of temporary support from sections of the increasingly desperate Rohingya community. Those who refuse to support their brutal methods, or dare report on their activities to government forces, are often found with their throats slashed as a warning to any who would dare question the righteousness of their campaign, according to the ICG report.   

Nehginpao Kipgen, executive director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at India’s Jindal School of International Affairs, suggested that the return of foreign-born Rohingya fighters to their ravaged homeland could have been prompted by widespread media reports of Rohingya being tortured, raped and brutalised by government security forces.

“There may be a couple of reasons,” he said. “The first is due to the continued suffering of the Rohingya as a community, especially since the aftermath of the 2012 violent conflict. Another possibility is due to the strong interest from the international community in the plight of the Rohingya. In either case, the media has played an important role.”