Abhaya Burma’s Fearlessness – Bangkok Exhibition

Last week saw the opening of the exhibition and also the official book launch, held at the beautiful Serindia Gallery in Bangkok in association with River Books and the Canadian Embassy. Unfortunately we could not be there as we are in New York for the opening of the OSI moving Walls 19 exhibition, but by all accounts it was a great evening and a successful one too, in that no fewer than 8 Ambassadors attended the event along with various other diplomats and movers and shakers. The idea of course is to drum home the issue that 1700 still remain in jail and must be freed if Burma is to truly move forward. With these kind of people attending the event and taking copies of the book then hopefully that message can continue to resonate in the halls of power and the risks that some have taken to be in this work do not go unheeded.

Here are a couple of reviews of the evening courtesy of The Irrawaddy team and RFA who filmed the two short pieces below and also a review in The Nation. Thanks to the Irrawaddy team, RFA, U Zin Linn and Soe Aung and of course to Shane and his staff at Serindia, Narisa and to Mr Ron Hoffman the Canadian Ambassador.

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CNN Slideshow of ‘Abhaya – Burma’s Fearlessness’

CNN anchor, Kristie Lu Stout, presents a slideshow of ‘Abhaya – Burma’s Fearlessness’ on the primetime daily show, News Stream, on the day that 227 political prisoners were released from jail in Burma. Topping the headline news makes a welcome change for Burma and one we could relish as well with our work on display to millions across the world enjoying their breakfast in America, afternoon tea in the UK or evening noodles in Asia. The early morning call from Hong Kong lead to a crazy day dashing across London as slowly, one by one, political prisoners were being released. Being stuck in Europe on this of all days was not ideal considering the time difference and logistical difficulties trying to get updates using Skype and G-talk whilst constantly on the move, but luckily I managed to find a quiet room at Getty Images to do the voice over that took more attempts at trying to get a clear line than it does when trying to call into Burma. A moment in the spotlight for this work and Burma, despite the end result seeing fewer released than expected. Hopefully there is more to come as the countdown to the book being launched in Rangoon in mid-November draws ever closer.

Burma’s Voices at the Asia Society New York

Last week the Asia Society in New York played host to an evening of readings from the acclaimed book “Nowhere to be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma’s Military Regime” by Maggie Lemerre and Zoe West. The event was produced by PEN, Open Society Institute and the Magnum Foundation and featured a multimedia slideshow of work from “Abhaya – Burma’s Fearlessness” alongside esteemed Magnum photographers Chien Chi Chang and the legendary Lu Nan.

Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to New York – that trip will have to wait a few more weeks until the opening of the Moving Walls exhibition in late November – but it’s always nice to see things turn out well and thanks to my friends Ma Su Mon and Ko Zaw Win for the photo below.

Coming to America..

One year ago today we were denied entry to America. Not any more. Burma’s political prisoners take centre stage in Gotham.
Stay tuned for all the details over the coming week meanwhile enjoy this short teaser video

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Burma, Political Prisoners and Oppression: An Interview on Iranian State TV

Talking on Iranian State TV about oppression and political prisoners might seem like a contradiction in terms, and on the bizarrely named PRESS TV channel as well (an oxymoron if ever there was one). But no matter, we did the interview and spoke about Burma, it’s political prisoners and the forthcoming election:

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BURMA’S POLITICAL PRISONERS CAMPAIGN LAUNCH “Freedom In Your Hands”

“Freedom is in your hands – Use it for Burma’s political prisoners”

Take action NOW at the Amnesty UK website to demand their immediate release.

Finally, after many months hard work behind the scenes with Amnesty International as well as two years hard work on the road, today this project is officially becoming part of a major campaign action by Amnesty International to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Burma’s political prisoners. This is a campaign action that YOU can be part of. TAKE ACTION, stand with Burma’s former political prisoners and demand the release of ALL of their colleagues who remain in jail today.

This campaign film is being used to launch the start of this major campaign by Amnesty International UK and we need you to play your part in placing insurmountable pressure on world leaders and the UN to bring about the release of Burma’s political prisoners. The campaign is being lead by the former political prisoners themselves but WE NEED YOU to stand with them. With this campaign we aim to collect thousands of portraits from people all over the world and put pressure on world leaders at the EU-Asia summit in October just days before the elections will be held in Burma.

Please visit the Amnesty UK website for full details.

It has taken almost two years of hard work by many people to get to this stage, but there is much, much more to do. This is just the start. This film requires some special thanks to the following people (in no particular order) for their hard work:
Everyone at AAPP and DVB and others who’s names I cannot mention; Jackie San (for filming everything); Verity & Laura at Amnesty UK; Paul & Tim at Handcrafted Films; but most importantly of all, I would like to thank the former political prisoners themselves who have taken part and those who I am yet to meet. Without you there is nothing, but with you there is everything. I will not stop until your colleagues are free.

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The Exhibition – Burma’s Political Prisoners at Amnesty International UK

The exhibition being held at Amnesty International UK headquarters in London is up and running and Monday evening was the Private View. It was actually really well attended by many close friends and colleagues and thanks must go to Amnesty International UK for hosting the event and their involvement now in the political prisoner campaign and special thanks must go to Daw Nita Yin Yin May and Khun Saing who both spoke about the issue of political prisoners and shared some of their experiences. Below is a short video news piece that DVB are broadcasting on their TV channel – you can also watch it here on Livestation.

I’d like to take this opportunity to also thank AAPP and DVB for their ongoing support and involvement in this project from the start right up to where we are now, also the many contacts and colleagues around the world and in particular in Mae sot and in Umpiem and Nupo refugee camps, also my right hand man woman, the Secretary General Miss J San herself who has carried cameras, interviewed, translated and filmed the action and stood in as a model on over 150 shoots as well as been the support system to this entire project.

Last, but of course not least, I wish to thank the former political prisoners themselves. Your courage and dignity knows no bounds and it is the greatest privilege to know you all and more importantly to be able to work with you all to bring about the release of your colleagues currently detained in the darkest hell on earth. We will not rest until they are free.

In total there are 21 images being exhibited… and as you would expect in keeping with Burmese tradition numerology plays a significant role in the selection of this amount of images. On 20th July 1989, Aung San Suu Kyi was detained under house arrest for the first time – almost exactly 21 years ago to the day from this exhibition. So, therefore, we have 21 portraits on display, marking one for each year since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was first placed under house arrest.

This is just the start… I hope the Generals are up for the fight.

Video reproduced here with kind permission of Democratic Voice of Burma – © Copyright and not to be reproduced without permission

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U Win Tin’s Personal Message

Along with the letter that I received and that was published front page in The Independent newspaper, U Win Tin has issued a brief personal video message about this campaign as he comes face to face with himself on the front cover of Amnesty International magazine (May/June issue).

The video message is personal and so remains private, but for now here is a brief clip plus a still taken from the video:

You can also view a message U Win Tin issued for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her birthday here on the Foreign Office Facebook page.

U Win Tin – ‘Face to Face with my Hero’

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Nupo Refugee Camp March 2010

For full details on the time spent in Nupo refugee camp please click HERE. Below is a short video documenting the former political prisoners photographed in the camp.

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DVB Studio Interview on Livestation

As part of the ongoing collaboration with Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and as part of the latest documentary shot by Than Win Htut, we did a brief studio interview at DVB headquarters in Oslo explaining the background as well as discussing the current situation of Burma’s political prisoners.

The interview is now broadcast on DVB TV which you can watch on Livestation

Here’s a brief teaser as the interview:

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