In the Spring of 2013 I took a two week trip through Burma (Myanmar). After half a century of strict military rule, a new president and a fresh democratic political climate had made it a safe and exciting new destination on the Asian travel circuit.
Things are far from perfect in these early days of democracy. The Rohingya, a Muslim population of one million people not recognised by the state among Burma’s 135 ethnic groups, are known as the most persecuted people in the world. You only have to run their name through a search engine to see that there are human tragedies happening beyond our typically one-sided media bubbles that may be far more urgent and horrifying than what has been currently being selected for us to outrage against on any given day.
Despite this, Burma is a country finally on the rise. The people here are highly welcoming to strangers and endearingly open in their engagements with foreigners. This is made even more significant since a few years prior these same people would have been highly wary of talking to outsiders for fear of falling under the Orwellian gaze of their former totalitarian regime.
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