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Author : The Diplomat  |       .
Posted on : Tuesday, May 20, 2014      Read More
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“The water stays cool inside even if the bottle sits in the sun for the whole day.” Tu Ja proudly explains the virtue of storing water in his 1943 U.S. Army stainless steel flask, one of the few belongings he could save when fleeing his village from the advancing Myanmar army in 2011. The internally displaced person (IDP) holds the bottle against a sun beam entering the dim communal cooking space in one of the countless makeshift camps in Kachin State. The smoke from open fires in the cramped space makes it hard to breath. Yet, Tu Ja goes on telling the story of a water bottle which seems to be as displaced as himself in this remote corner of northern Myanmar. It was given to him by his grandfather who fought with the Kachin Rangers for Detachment 101 of the American Office of Strategic Services against the Japanese on one of the Second World War’s most vicious battlefields. The Kachin, an ethnic minority group, have earned a reputation for being skilled mountaineers without whose courageous and fierce fighting abilities the Allied forces could not have driven the Japanese out of Burma. U.S. soldiers have long left these rugged borderlands in between Myanmar and China. Sadly, war has stayed

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