Meiktila Aftermath

In March 2011, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, emerged from 49 years of totalitarian rule, and shortly after a string of anti-Muslim vehemence swept over the predominantly Buddhist nation. Anti-Muslim violence had primarily occurred in the Northwestern state of Rakhine, but on March 20th, 2013, the small town of Meiktila experienced three days of bloodshed and destruction. It began after a dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and a Buddhist woman who attempted to sell her gold hair clip, which ignited hatred and violence between the two groups. Forty-four people were murdered, some being butchered to death and others burned alive. Muslims that lost their homes and were unable to escape had been forced into refugee camps at a local sports field and high school, while most Buddhists that lost their homes took refuge in local monasteries. Soldiers and police received sharp criticism for what many believe to be a lack of effort in stopping the atrocities. After the devastation of Meiktila at least 15 other villages and towns across Myanmar have experienced anti-Muslim riots. The ongoing anti-Muslim sentiment and violence throughout the country has made many people within Myanmar and the international communities question the new government on its democratic reforms.

Photography, Journalism, Photojournalism
A resident of Meiktila walks past the demolished gold shop in the Mingalarzay Yone quarter. A confrontation between the Muslim shop owner and a Buddhist woman attempting to sell her gold hair clip is what led to the beginning of the conflict. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
Less than one month after the surge of destruction monks go on their usual alms, while most people that did not lose their homes were rarely seen out on the street. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
On the quiet streets of Meiktila a man rides past the Thiri Mingalar Mosque where a monk was murdered by a gang of Muslim men shortly after a dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and a Buddhist woman. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
From a hill-top, a view of the northern section of Meiktila that was left in ruins. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
In Mingalarzay Yone, the market area of Meiktila, a lone Burmese man stands amidst the ruins. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
A Burmese man rides his bike on the once bustling streets of downtown Meiktila, near the destroyed Mingalarzay Yone quarters. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
North of the Mingalarzay Yone quarters, a residential area where mostly Muslims resided was burnt to the ground, with only the mosque left standing. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
A resident of the Mingalarzay Yone quarter of Meiktila stands where his home was once located. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
A Buddhist flag is planted where a Buddhist family home once stood in Mingalarzay Yone, the area of Meiktila that was hardest hit during the conflict. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
Burmese men ride through the deserted quarters of Mingalarzay Yone, a once bustling market area. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.
On the outskirts of Meiktila, a Muslim farmer’s home was burnt to the ground after the violence spread beyond the town. Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left 44 dead and thousands homeless after violent conflicts erupted on March 20, 2013, in Meiktila, Myanmar.