Burmese Looking Glass: A Human Rights Activist on the Forbidden Frontier by Edith T. Mirante, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Burmese Looking Glass: A Human Rights Activist on the Forbidden Frontier

Burmese Looking Glass: A Human Rights Activist on the Forbidden Frontier

by Edith T. Mirante

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New Jersey-born Mirante moved to Thailand in 1982 to paint, but found herself visiting the Thai/Burmese border, where she became caught up in the rebel struggle against Burma's repressive government, the same government that has kept Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest since 1989. Mirante's chronicle of his six years as an adventurer and ``human rights pirate''--ending before the recent upsurge of protest in Burma--contains lively descriptions and vivid anecdotes, but it never gains coherence; its endless references to names and reconstructed quotes suggest the meandering tone of an expanded journal. With her tattoo, taste for rock music and romance with a photojournalist from New Zealand, Mirante is an interesting character. She is also a brave one, surviving arrest twice in Thailand, taking temporary jobs back home to finance a human rights survey and launching a campaign against the Burmese government's use of a U.S.-supplied herbicide as chemical warfare. But her book would aid the ``refined and noble people'' of Burma more if she had shaped her adventures into a tighter narrative. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Don't bother to get this book for a human rights collection, for only one small segment deals with seeing fields sprayed with 2, 4-D. And since punk artist Mirante believes in direct discovery rather than scholarly investigation, don't expect any insights into cultural diversity either. Buy this book, if you must, for its descriptive travel account of Mirante's encounters in the 1980s with the Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Palaung, Shan, and Wa people along the Thai-Burma border. Armchair travelers can revel in her joys and hardships along the frontier, but others will question her conclusions. Observing drug trafficking, teak forest plunder, and massive corruption about her, Mirante decides that these problems result from Ne Win and the Burmese government. Surely they will not disappear with a change of government. The work abruptly ends with Mirante's second deportation from Thailand in 1988 and her inability ever to return. An optional purchase.-- Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
Virginia Dwyer
Human rights concerns don't automatically suggest art and adventure, yet artist Mirante draws sustenance from this heady blend. A week's tour in the exotic natural and cultural world of Burma captivated her, but she settled for painting in neighboring Thailand, avoiding the political restrictions of dictator Ne Win. She was so close to the border, however, that her curiosity, appreciation of tribal art, and high-risk style drew her into a concern about the attacks and political maneuvers against the hill tribes. Mastery of Asian politics, languages, and self-defense eventually pushed her painting aside, and she assumed the role of liaison between the scattered rebel forces, with access to generals, forbidden territories, and drug traffickers. In one border crossing she marched with rebel troops delivering arms while she collected evidence on illegal use of U.S.-supplied defoliant 2,4-D, maintaining pressure on Washington until the chemical was banned. Danger, however, doesn't dim her images--of personalities, land, dress, and temples. The artist's eye remains open, adding another dimension to concern for others.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
6.69(w) x 9.84(h) x (d)

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