Forced to Flee: Visual Stories by Refugee Youth from Burma offers a child’s-eye view of the longest-running civil war in the world. In this deeply personal and impactful book, youth forcibly displaced by conflict harness the power of narrative art to personalize human rights issues and promote interethnic/faith reconciliation in their homeland. Their narrated paintings illustrate that emotions conveyed and evoked by a single image can tell a story of a thousand words, open hearts and build bridges of understanding.
The visual stories came from 40 plus workshops facilitated along the borders of Burma and in the United States and Canada. In each visual storytelling workshop, refugee youth used art materials to answer their choice of the following questions:
Drawn into the youths’ inner worlds, we receive clues as to what it’s like to be forced to flee one’s homeland and live in exile, haunted—and empowered—by traumas of the past. At the same time, our attention is called to injustices that continue to be committed throughout the country. Clearly, despite recent democratic reforms, Burma still has a long way to go.