by Edith T. Mirante
Atlantic Monthly Press
The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to Burma's imprisoned opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, focused world attention on a land in chains. Burma, a Southeast Asian nation the size of France, has been isolated by decades of brutal dictatorship. Few outsiders penetrate Burma's remote mountains, where rebels, opium warlords, and jade smugglers hold sway. Edith Mirante, an American artist, knows Burma's frontier war zone and has put her life on the line for its endangered people.
Mirante, who has been called "one of the great adventurers of our time," first crossed illegally from Thailand into Burma in 1983. There she discovered the hidden conflict that has despoiled the country since the close of World War II. She met commandos and refugees and became a "connoisseur of corruption," learning firsthand the machinations of Golden Triangle narcotics trafficking. Horrified by the damage wrought on the rain forest and its inhabitants, she lobbied successfully against the U.S. government donation of Agent Orange chemicals to the dictatorship.
Mirante was the first Westerner to march with the rebels from fabled Three Pagodas Pass to the Andaman Sea; she taught karate to women soldiers, was ritually tattooed by a Shan "spirit doctor," and was deported from Thailand in 1988. She remains committed to bringing the true story of Burma to the attention of the world.
As captivating as the most thrilling novel, Burmese Looking Glass tells the story of tribal peoples who are ravaged by malaria and weakened by poverty yet are unforgettably brave; their will remains indomitable as they fight for peace and ethnic integrity. With deep passion, dark wit, and an artist's eye, Mirante reveals the beauty of this mysterious land that is both lyrical dream and unspeakable nightmare.