Refugee Zine

by Suze B

A lot of white kids go to foreign countries and don't leave their comfort zones behind or let themselves be truly challenged. They go for a short time, possibly meet the odd person who doesn't understand punk rock or zines, and go back home to their cozy leisurely life. Suze B. is quite the opposite. A political activist, her journey took her to Burma for 4 months working with the pro-democracy movement. She lived with and taught 10-16 Burmese Union women, however this zine isn't about the knowledge she imparted to them but rather what they taught her. Her own culture is seen through the screen of the Burmese' condition and allows her to be very frank about her American life and the current living conditions of Burma and the refugee camps. This zine puts faces, names and detailed history to a place even most of us with radical politics only know as the "country that Pepsi screwed".



I couldn't agree with Miki more. As the author of 'refugee', I do not equate my experiences on the border with the "shedding" of any privilege. I agree that leaving privilege behind is impossible (and when one claims to, it's more about a refusal (or fear) to be self-critical and accepting of the responsibilities and culpabilities that come with privilege. It is indeed heavy shit. I don't know if Miki read 'refugee'...if so, then I am appreciative of the criticism because I think the "zine community" is definitely great about providing props, but I have been especially frustrated by our failure to challenge one another to go further with our analyses of privilege and so gawddamn many other things. I wrote 'refugee' in 2004/2005...while I am not ashamed of it, I--as well as my critical thinking skills--have grown a lot and I would now write that zine a lot differently. In fact I just finished up something called 'sojourner: critical reflections on travel' that deals a lot with my experiences acknowledging and dealing with different forms of privilege while traveling--internationally, on freights, hitching, etc. If you want a copy, email me. and if you got some constructive criticism or something to challenge me to think more deeply about shit that goes down, please please drop a line! The shit i write isn't meant to be a monologue.


Wow. When she left her white privilege behind where did she put it? Its nice that she had somewhat positive experiences with the community she worked with in Burma but seriously there's a serious difference between understanding your privilege and working on being an ally and "shedding" your privilege. The fact is that you can never "leave" your privilege anywhere.