David Fettling | Longreads | March 2018 | 19 minutes (5,019 words)

Now what I remember most about him is what he said about the Rohingya: that they were troublemakers, not really citizens of his country, undeserving of sympathy, that he hated them. He had said it standing under a banyan tree, and I had noticed, again, his dress: he was wearing a longyi, a Burmese sarong, and with it, new-looking, Western hiking boots. His longyi’s knot was tied impeccably. His boots appeared to me to not quite fit him.

But I spent three days and walked 50 kilometers with him before he said this. Through a trekking agency I’d arranged to meet him in Kalaw, in hill-country in central Myanmar, and took an overnight bus there from Yangon. The bus was ultra-modern, air-conditioned, and near-empty. Arriving at dawn, I disembarked into cold air and a fog that…

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