The Burmese Paradox

It’s actually a double paradox.

The first one is naive, where the traveler can wonder how such a welcoming and spiritual People can be led by such an authoritative military government. Maybe this is actually self-explanatory.

The 2nd one is how such a dictatorship, happening for more than 50 years, can be hard to point at for any non-burmese (with the exception of the ‘Rohingyas’ and latest protests in 2021). Bu to on a daily basis this social and political oppression in Myanmar is curiously difficult to define and feel. It should of course be considered that foreigner journalists as much as tourists are travelling in Burma only in ‘permitted areas’ (about half the country). But even in those permitted areas, one cannot see a police officer or a soldiers patrolling in streets, one cannot see repressions or demonstrations of authority… In brief, we are officially in a dictatorship and even if the brightest expression of this lies in the speech and the suffering of the Burmeses themselves, the visual symptoms of this dictatorship remain almost invisible to the foreigner’s glance. But those visual symptoms do exist.

This photographic project finds its origin in a simple statement of fact: Western countries do not know Burma and Burmeses. What about this population of fifty million Burmeses, of their lifestyles, their fears, their aspirations? But particularly what must these people face in their daily life, and how do they manage it with such a system which has lasted nearly 50 years? …They just are not so obvious. If you want to see them it is required to stop and observe, in order to question yourself so as to question better the others. So then all these symptoms will slowly reveal the latent character of this disease which has gently corroded the Burmeses in their daily lives for such a long time, frustrating their blooming and opening desires, and exerting on them an insidious, but real pressure.