religious_conflict01

Moslem men praying in a makeshift mosque in a IDP (Internally displaced person) refugee camp near Sittwe. Since June 2012 Rakhine State is shook by ethnic clashes between muslim Rohingyas and buddhist Rakhines. Since the first attacks violance spread all over the country and resulted in around 650 dead Rohingyas, over 7000 burned down houses and more than 100 000 displaced.

religious_conflict02

Burned school material is seen lying in the ashes of a destroyed school in the central city of Meiktila. In march 2013 a massacre of muslim students took place at this school. It resulted in 32 deaths, including 28 teenage students.

religious_conflict03

At a burned and bulldozed Muslim-quarter in Meiktila. In March 2013 a mob of the radical buddhist 969-movement was looting and burning down hundreds of muslim houses. The city of Meiktila is more or less ethnically ‘cleansed’ from muslims.

religious_conflict04

At a burned and bulldozed Muslim-quarter in Meiktila a woman is digging through the ruins of a house.

religious_conflict05

Portrait of a muslim Rohingya-woman in a refugee camp near Sittwe.

religious_conflict06

IDP's (internally displaced person) building new houses in a Rohingya refugee camp close to the city of Sittwe.

religious_conflict07

A mother and her new born in a clinic of a IDP camp (internally displaced person) close to the city of Sittwe.

religious_conflict08

IDP-kids are getting taught by a Mullah in a makeshift school in a refugee-camp close to Sittwe.

religious_conflict09

Women working in a makeshift bakery in an refugee-camp near Sittwe.

religious_conflict10

Teenage muslims playing soccer in Sittwe's urban quarter of “ Aung Mingalar “. This Rohingya-area is completely shut out by the military and is considered a slum, that nobody can exit and only few are allowed to visit.

religious_conflict11

In the monsoon-season water-buffalos are grazing through the flooded landscape.

religious_conflict12

Day labourers are pushing a truck through the mud on it's way to a Rakhine refugee-camp. There is also a small number of buddhist Rakhines that lost their homes during the religious clashes. Those camps are governmentally supported and in a much better shape than the improvised muslim-camps.

religious_conflict13

A woman with her baby walks through the rain in a Rakhine refugee-camp.

religious_conflict14

IDP's are carrying building materials in a Rohingya refugee camp close to the city of Sittwe.

religious_conflict15

IDP's (internally displaced person) in a Rohingya refugee camp close to the city of Sittwe. This camp is mainly made of simple tarpaulins.

religious_conflict16

At a muslim primary-school in Sittwe's urban quarter of “Aung Mingalar“.

religious_conflict17

Buddhist monks are meditating and linger in a state of trance in their monastery close to Sittwe.

religious_conflict18

A man hoists a buddhist flag in front of a monastery. In March 2013 a mob of the radical buddhist 969-movement was looting and burning down hundreds of muslim houses.

religious_conflict19

Portrait of U Wirathu, a buddhist monk and spiritual leader of the “969” (Anti-Muslim) movement in Burma. A portrait of him in his monastery in Mandalay, which is one of the biggest in Burma.

religious_conflict20

At nighttime a brightly lit Pagoda is seen next to the Irrawaddy river. Sagaing is an important buddhist pilgrimage-destination close to Mandalay. The town was an important town during the 8888 uprising in 1988, a series of marches, demonstrations, protests and riots that were brutally beaten down by the military.

New Burma’s shadows

Religious Conflict

religious_conflict01

Moslem men praying in a makeshift mosque in a IDP (Internally displaced person) refugee camp near Sittwe. Since June 2012 Rakhine State is shook by ethnic clashes between muslim Rohingyas and buddhist Rakhines. Since the first attacks violance spread all over the country and resulted in around 650 dead Rohingyas, over 7000 burned down houses and more than 100 000 displaced.

religious_conflict02

Burned school material is seen lying in the ashes of a destroyed school in the central city of Meiktila. In march 2013 a massacre of muslim students took place at this school. It resulted in 32 deaths, including 28 teenage students.

religious_conflict03

At a burned and bulldozed Muslim-quarter in Meiktila. In March 2013 a mob of the radical buddhist 969-movement was looting and burning down hundreds of muslim houses. The city of Meiktila is more or less ethnically ‘cleansed’ from muslims.

religious_conflict04

At a burned and bulldozed Muslim-quarter in Meiktila a woman is digging through the ruins of a house.

religious_conflict05

Portrait of a muslim Rohingya-woman in a refugee camp near Sittwe.

religious_conflict06

IDP's (internally displaced person) building new houses in a Rohingya refugee camp close to the city of Sittwe.

religious_conflict07

A mother and her new born in a clinic of a IDP camp (internally displaced person) close to the city of Sittwe.

religious_conflict08

IDP-kids are getting taught by a Mullah in a makeshift school in a refugee-camp close to Sittwe.

religious_conflict09

Women working in a makeshift bakery in an refugee-camp near Sittwe.

religious_conflict10

Teenage muslims playing soccer in Sittwe's urban quarter of “ Aung Mingalar “. This Rohingya-area is completely shut out by the military and is considered a slum, that nobody can exit and only few are allowed to visit.

religious_conflict11

In the monsoon-season water-buffalos are grazing through the flooded landscape.

religious_conflict12

Day labourers are pushing a truck through the mud on it's way to a Rakhine refugee-camp. There is also a small number of buddhist Rakhines that lost their homes during the religious clashes. Those camps are governmentally supported and in a much better shape than the improvised muslim-camps.

religious_conflict13

A woman with her baby walks through the rain in a Rakhine refugee-camp.

religious_conflict14

IDP's are carrying building materials in a Rohingya refugee camp close to the city of Sittwe.

religious_conflict15

IDP's (internally displaced person) in a Rohingya refugee camp close to the city of Sittwe. This camp is mainly made of simple tarpaulins.

religious_conflict16

At a muslim primary-school in Sittwe's urban quarter of “Aung Mingalar“.

religious_conflict17

Buddhist monks are meditating and linger in a state of trance in their monastery close to Sittwe.

religious_conflict18

A man hoists a buddhist flag in front of a monastery. In March 2013 a mob of the radical buddhist 969-movement was looting and burning down hundreds of muslim houses.

religious_conflict19

Portrait of U Wirathu, a buddhist monk and spiritual leader of the “969” (Anti-Muslim) movement in Burma. A portrait of him in his monastery in Mandalay, which is one of the biggest in Burma.

religious_conflict20

At nighttime a brightly lit Pagoda is seen next to the Irrawaddy river. Sagaing is an important buddhist pilgrimage-destination close to Mandalay. The town was an important town during the 8888 uprising in 1988, a series of marches, demonstrations, protests and riots that were brutally beaten down by the military.

About

New Burma’s shadows
Ongoing longterm project on the shadow-sides of a country in transition

Burma’s military regime is loosening its grip, after more than 40 years of repression. Political prisoners are being released, sanctions have been lifted and the regime is opening towards tourism and foreign media. But as the country reforms, there are still numerous internal conflicts. Through the transformation from a military junta into a more-or-less democratic government, there were in fact even numerous new problems created. My project is a illustration of the places where these problems are still prevalent. In the last two years, I have visited the old conflicts - the places where there is fighting and people have been dying for many decades. On the other hand I'm looking at the new issues and problems that the country is facing.

My first trip took place at beginning of 2012. I visited the boarder region of Thailand and Burma. On the Burmese side of the boarder one of the world’s longest ongoing civil wars is taking place. Since 1948 the Burmese military has been repressing the ethnic minority of the Kayin or Karen people. Hundreds of thousands are living in refugee camps along the Thai side of the boarder. For them, a return home is not in sight, even though there was a ceasefire agreement signed in January 2012. It’s a fragile peace in Kayin State. The Burmese Army is currently upgrading all its army-camps, to modern concrete facilities, the Karen National Liberation Army (K.N.L.A) stays highly alert.

My second trip took place in February 2013. This time I went to Kachin State in the far north of the country. I visited the unofficial capital of the Kachin people – Laiza. The conflict is the last one where there is still active fighting going on between the Burmese Army and the K.I.A, the Kachin Independence Army. The conflict originally started in 1961, but there was a ceasefire agreement set in place in 1994. After the resignation of the military-junta, the 17 year long ceasefire fell apart in 2011. New fighting erupted and is still going on to this day. So far, thousands of people have been killed. Laiza is under siege by the burmese Army and was heavily air-striked at the beginning of 2013. Despite numerous peace-talks the fighting is ongoing and has left behind more than 100 000 Kachin refugees.

The third trip took me to the west of the country, where with the change of government a religious conflict flared up. In June 2012 violence broke out in Burma’s second poorest province - Rakhine State. In the regional capital Sittwe, buddhist Rhakines clashed with muslim Rohingyas. The riots that broke out lasted for over a week, resulting in many deaths and thousands displaced persons. A second wave of violence broke out at the end of October 2012 in the same region. The clashes quickly spread throughout the country and resulted in the deaths of around 650 Rohingyas, over 7000 homes have been burned to the ground and more than 100 000 people have been displaced.

Published in National Geographic, De Volkskrant, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 6Mois

Julius Schrank

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