In the late 90s, Gods Army, a Rolex Sports Models replica watches Burmese anti-government guerrilla group, was headline news. The front-page draw wasnt that they were violent revolutionaries but that they were a group of child soldiers. After reading Mac McClellands For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question, its understandable how such a group would form, after years of persecution of Burmas ethnic Karen minority by the military government. McClelland traveled to Thailand to stay with Karen refugees running a political organization that documents violence against the Karen and promotes democracy through community organizing. She arrived to a foreign frat house full of dudes who didnt seem all too welcoming at first. But once she got over the initial culture shock, she got fired up about doing her part--teaching English and learning about the Karen.
Some serious bonding happened in the six weeks replica A Lange & Sohne watch McClelland lived at the BA house. Outside caught up with the young writer, now the human rights reporter for Mother Jones, to talk about the experience. For the record: Is it Burma or Myanmar. Why?Its Burma. The junta changed the name to Myanmar in 1989, and refusing torecognize the non-elected leaders right to do so can be an act of dissidencein itself. Democracy activists from Burma call it Burma, and Im certainly notgoing to argue with them.You dont speak Burmese. What made you decide to live in the BA House?Some of my housemates didnt speak Burmese so well either. Since theyre ethnic Karen, Karen is their first language. But I had no idea what language they were going to speak.
For security reasons, BA didnt tell me anything about the replica Chopard watch people Id be living with. I wanted to live with them, whoever they were, because I wanted to know what the hell was going on with this massive refugee crisis on the Thai-Burma border, and I assumed they must speak some English if they agreed to my moving in. Which turned out to be the case. And before I left, I did learn to say a couple really important things in Karen, like white people and eat something.The dialogue flows smoothly in the book. How were you able to communicate so many thoughts and feelings with such a big language barrier?We definitely had our misunderstandings, which come up in the book. But a lot of the guys did have pretty significant English skills, which they learned from Western teachers in their refugee camps. When all else failed, we drew pictures or gesticulatedwildly.