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272 pages
James Mawdsley
Arrow; New Ed edition (August 2002)
English
0099426943
978-0099426943
Reviews/Comments:
The Heart Must Break, James Mawdsley's keen account of his campaigning and imprisonment in Burma, bears out with grim conviction the adage that if you play with fire you are likely to get burnt. Combining aspects of Winston Smith from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell, incidentally, was a policeman in Burma) with 1970s TV sitcom anti-hero Citizen Smith, Mawdsley was arrested on three separate visits for distributing cassettes and leaflets in Rangoon protesting human rights abuse and political oppression. The first occasion was, by his own admission, inept, and he was quickly booted out. With the second protest, after which he was sentenced to five years in prison, things became more brutal, as he was tortured by Military Intelligence. Undaunted, his third arrest in August 1999, only three months after being released, brought international headlines and a 17-year sentence. The findings of a UN Working Group, on top of an international campaign of pressure by his patiently supportive family finally precipitated his release after 14 months in prison.

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