Hiller began photographing daily life in the country after , when foreigners were allowed to visit for 28 days. He returned several times after , capturing Burma after it re-opened its doors to foreigners. Images from his excursions can be found in Daybreak in Myanmar Verve Photo Books , a stunning, intense portfolio of faces and places that have been cloistered from the rest of the world for the last 60 years.
The Burmese Spring | The New Yorker
Hiller and his project came under official military scrutiny only occasionally. In , when Hiller was making the web documentary Burma: Grace Under Pressure , he says he occasionally attracted the interest of the police. Despite government-imposed restrictions, Hiller enjoyed remarkably free access. The photographs include small but fascinating details. One shows several women and men sporting a white paste ground from the bark of a tree called thanaka. Women use it as sun block and makeup as well as an astringent, Hiller explained.
Hiller returned to Burma in January to launch Daybreak in Myanmar. The main difference from earlier visits, he said, was how the media landscape had changed in such a short time. Also included in the book are six brief interviews with leading Burmese writers, including author Pascal Khoo Thwe and blogger Nay Phone Latt, as well as former political prisoners. Their words provide context for the photographs.
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Amid the ensuing violence, 87, Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh and government troops expanded their presence in Rakhine state. At the time, a senior UN official alleged that the Myanmar government was seeking to rid the country of its Muslim minority — an accusation that has been made repeatedly by human rights groups. The government denies the charge.
In August, Myanmar further increased the number of troops in Rakhine, after seven Buddhists were found hacked to death. The buildup of troops prompted warnings of a fresh wave of violence.
The most recent violence is seen as a major escalation not only because of the scale, but because of the involvement of the new Rohingya militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. It says the attacks on government forces were an act of self-defence.
The government has claimed that it is targeting militants responsible for attacks on the security forces, and that the majority of those killed are terrorists. It also says that Rohingya are burning their own villages — a claim questioned by journalists who reported seeing new fires burning in villages that had been abandoned by Rohingya people. The claim was condemned as dangerously irresponsible by aid workers, who fear for their safety.
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But she has been accused of silently standing by while violence is committed against the Rohingya. International pressure is growing on her to curb the military operations. Last year she appointed Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, to lead a commission looking at long-term reconciliation in Rakhine state.
But she has failed to criticise violence against the Rohingya.
Some argue that Aung San Suu Kyi fears an unpredictable military. It goes back to pre-colonial times. Who are the Rohingya? What has been happening to them?
Map Myanmar Refugees have spoken of massacres in villages, where they say soldiers raided and burned their homes. How many have been killed, injured or forced to flee?
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