“For 62 years, in what is now the world’s longest ongoing conflict, the ill-fed and ill-equipped people of Karen State, (locally called Kawtoolie), Burma have been fighting for an independent homeland against the ruling Burmese military government. The junta has been applying a brutal, systematic policy of murder, rape, forced labor and wholesale destruction of Karan villages. Working on assignment in Karan State for Men’s Journal in November 2010, I was enamored by the calm resilience of the Karen people, both soldiers and civilians, who all seem to possess a quiet determination, backed by their motto ‘never surrender.’ I decided to return in February 2011, to bring the face of the Karen people, and their highly under-reported struggle to survive against the brutal junta, to a greater audience in the hopes of affecting some positive change.” – Jason Florio
The Long Fight for Kawtoolie: Portraits from the Jungles of Burma opens this Thursday March 8 at Messineo Art Projects and Wyman Contemporary. The show is on view until April 28, 2012.