A voice for Burma
- Su-Lin Tan
- Thursday, 19 April 2012
Two Australian journalists will depart for Burma at the end of the month to research and write a book about the country’s oppressed ethnic groups.
These groups face persecution and human rights abuses by the Burmese military.
One of the journalists, Daniel Pederson, is the author of a book called ‘Secret Genocide, Voices of the Karen of Burma’.
Mr Pederson said: “The new book will give ethnic groups like the Karen people a voice.”
These people consider themselves defined by their ethnicity and want peace in their lands and lives.
“I discovered elderly leaders of these groups dashing about to cobble together a ‘new organisation’ now known as the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) based on the Thai-Burma border,” he said.
The council’s aim is to declare a parallel government to the world and the book will be an exploration of how the organisation was formed.
It will feature interviews with those who have been elected to represent their people.
The book will also include interviews with Aung San Suu Kyi who is leading the way for democracy in Burma currently.
“I have been approved for an interview with Suu Kyi and we will meet with her after the interviews are done,” Mr Pederson said.
The journalist’s pursuit for the truth has not been an easy journey.
“On and off for the past eight years I have watched babies with no shoes dispossessed with crippled parents in refugee camps. And no-one seems to care,” he said.
“Life as a war journalist never seems to work out how you planned. Here I am eight years later going grey with a broken arm and another damned eye infection.”
Accompanying Mr Pederson is journalist Victoria Bruce who was a former nurse.
Ms Bruce spent five weeks in Burma along the Thai border in late 2011 to early 2012 where she reported about on the displaced Burmese in refugee camps and ethnic army base camps.
Her articles were published on the Burmese dissident website, Democratic Voice of Burma and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Ms Bruce said: “I met Dan along the Thai border of the Karen State late last year.
He’s clearly passionate about Burma and I’m looking forward to working together on this book.
“Some of the challenges involved in this project include the logistics of travelling through a third world country with limited infrastructure.”
The duo will self fund this project and spend the next three months between Thailand and Burma conducting research.
The Australian Karen Organisation in Sydney was positive about the project.
Vice President, Mahn Orlando, said: “The UNFC is a new organisation fighting the Burmese military.
“We welcome the book as it lends a stronger voice to the cause of the Burmese people.”
Like this article? Register as a subscriber here. It's free! We'll keep you up to date with new stories on the site.