I wrote a piece for Al Jazeera about the complete lack of recognition of existence for former and current political prisoners in Myanmar today. Ironic, given that over 100 current government officials, including the de-facto head of state Aung San Suu Kyi, are former political prisoners themselves.
Perhaps even more horrifying to learn: there have been 655 political prisoners convicted since the NLD took power- a huge number for a party that has only been in power for a few years.
I did two podcasts for New Naratif this month, one taking a look at the opening of the Salween Peace Park, the other taking a look at some of the historical roots of ethnic and religious minority struggles that exist in Myanmar today:
Speaking of New Naratif- the publication released their first book, and I’m in it! The book is a compilation of some of the editors’ favorite pieces from year one- hence the title. You can find it for sale on their website.
For Frontier Myanmar I spent a week following the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to the south, tracing villages that have been impacted by the lack of proper sand mining regulation. We met villagers that had their land slide into the river, fishers who said they believed their hauls were smaller due to the mining, and activists who said the environment was being negatively impacted.
At one point in January I found myself knee-deep in mud in the Delta, dodging red ant nests and eating the heart of freshly cut trees. A lot of the work I’ve done the past two weeks will be out in the coming months, and I look forward to sharing them with you- there were certainly some photogenic moments.
It’s a little strange to think that one month ago I was with my best friend, taking a few days off to go swimming with whale sharks before jumping on a plane to Hong Kong. It’s even more strange to think of where I’ll be over the next few months as I continue this three month stint of being on the road.
As always, upwards and on to the next one.