Magazine article New Internationalist

Magician's Tactics

Magazine article New Internationalist

Magician's Tactics

Article excerpt

IN MARCH 2005 a solo exhibition in Aunglan, Burma, of 50 cartoons by Yae Yae was abruptly closed. This was despite the fact that 45 of the cartoons had already been published and the military government had officially sanctioned the exhibition.

Another well known Burmese cartoonist, who cannot be named, captures the frustration of working in such a repressive country: 1We cartoonists cannot touch the real situation. We have to use vague images and symbols like the poets. Sometimes I feel like a magician. We have to use magician's tactics to cheat the authorities. The greatest aspiration of all artists under authoritarian regimes is freedom. We want freedom from oppression, freedom from censorship and freedom from fear.'

Before anything can be published in Burma it must first have the approval of the Press Scrutiny Board (PSB). This includes all articles, photographs, illustrations, poems, cartoons. Not only must the work be submitted but also the CV of the author. …

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