Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Burmese Ways: Life In Orwell's Dystopia

My article on Burma (Myanmar) has been published with photos by Yuko. Here's the full version (pdf), via my website.
"When Soe hears my wife is Japanese he quietly apologizes. During the 2007 anti-government protests one of his fellow compatriots - a young soldier in flip-flops - shot and killed Japanese photographer, Kenji Nagai, at point blank range in the heart of Rangoon.

Deciding whether or not to travel into Burma, a nation of 50 million, wasn't easy. Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has recommended tourists stay away until "genuine progress towards democratization" is made, while others such as Thant Myint-U, an historian and grandson of former United Nations Secretary General U Thant, argue for engagement.

I made my decision after befriending a Burmese student in Hong Kong who had been confined and tortured by the regime. He urged me to go, meet the people and report back about his country. I knew to avoid any organized tours and meet the locals to prevent our money going directly to the junta."

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