© Jason Florio, KNLA – Karen National Liberation Army cook with bamboo water jugs on his back (left) +
KNLA – Karen National Liberation Army fighter (right), from the series Burma, from the project Blackout History
“For 62 years, in what is now the world’s longest ongoing conflict, the ill-fed and ill-equipped people of Karen have been fighting for an independent homeland against the ruling Burmese military government. “The Karen people have been locked in a David-and-Goliath conflict with a powerful authoritarian regime that seeks to push the Karen people off the map. The junta is applying a brutal, systematic policy of murder, rape, forced labor and wholesale destruction of Karen villages,” reports the award-winning photographer.
Working on assignment in the Karen State in 2010, Florio was enamored by the calm resilience of the Karen people, both soldiers and civilians, of who all seem to possess a quiet determination. Florio was so moved by the stoic and serene nature of the Karen people, and horrified by their stories of the human rights violations against them. Self -funded, he decided to return in February 2011, to bring the face of the Karen people and their under reported struggle for survival against the brutal junta, to a wider audience.”
More of Jason’s work here