‘Myanmar’s Minority Demise’ now on my website…
My contribution to the ‘7 Days in Myanmar’ project, gathering 30 photographers during one week in Myanmar, is now on my website in full screen size at THIS LINK.
You can also follow - and ‘Like’ - ‘7 Days in Myanmar’ on Facebook at this link. The book should be published by Editions Didier Millet at the end of this year, kind of November or December.
The story description goes as follows:
‘Borders are often blind and do not go into the details of ethnicity. Myanmar is not different. A patchwork of ethnic groups are to be found on both sides of Myanmar’s borders. Living conditions of many members of the ethnic minorities are increasingly difficult, particularly in the unstable and war torn region of Eastern Myanmar. The minorities living there basically do subsistence farming on small pieces of land clinging to the slopes of the hills. An increase in life expectancy has developed demographic pressure, triggering rural migration, pushing villagers outside of their community to gain additional income as daily labourers on road constructions or on landowner’s farms. With economic sanctions crippling the country, one obvious place to go to is the bordertowns, where trading is easier and development faster, creating job opportunities. Since two decennia Tachileik at the Thai border has thus attracted scores of tribal people, mainly Akha who have relatives living on the Thai side, and, since 2004, even more Burmese. Tachileik grew from 100,000 people to 300,000 in a little more than 10 years. Now that the sanctions on Myanmar have been lifted, the attraction of Tachileik will be even bigger. The looming unbridled market economy will increase income disparities, leaving behind the ethnic minorities who were not given the same education opportunities as their Burmese co-citizens. The result is that many will not benefit from the development of the country. They will lag behind on the social ladder and, like the street children in Tachileik, risk dropping out altogether. The cultural identity of the Akha and all the other ethnic minorities, already being threatened by a voyeuristic tourism in their own village, will endure difficult times for sure. They will be yet another series of groups of people normalised by development.’