My friends are discussing the rising prices of rice. Normally each refugee receives fifteen kilos of rice per month. Now they only give us twelve kilos and soon it may fall to eight kilos. We are very worried because rice is our staple food.
Farmers in the hills of Karen State use buffalo horns during the harvest. The horn becomes an instrument when you blow into it. Farmers sound the horn to make poems. When the farmer's neighbors hear the poem they come to help with the harvest.
UNSEEN MAE LA An innovative arts project for Karen refugees from Burma to describe their lives through photography.
I fled my homeland because my life was in danger. When the Burmese military first attacked my village they killed all of our animals, even our chickens. They forced us to build a military camp for them in our village. No one was paid for the labor or supplies we used to build their camp. They called it “volunteer labor”. One day they came and took my brother away. He was forced to travel with them to a nearby village. His job was to walk in front of the soldiers in case there were any landmines. My brother was lucky that day because no landmines exploded. Others have been less lucky.
I want to be a politician. If our people understand politics we can secure our human rights and achieve freedom. If we have representatives we can stand up to oppression and gain international support. I love the ideas of Gandhi and would like to learn more about other leaders like him. Unfortunately in Burma, if we try to protest non-violently we are killed, especially the ethnic minorities. Therefore we need soldiers to defend ourselves from the Burmese military. No one else protects our people from their constant attacks. Still I believe through politics we can make greater changes and work towards democracy.