In her novel The Lizard Cage, author Karen Connelly takes us to the depths of a harsh solitary confinement cell in a Burmese prison.
For the past seven years Teza has lived in that cell. He is a political prisoner, musician and buddhist whose world is limited to very few interactions. There are the small spiders and lizards with whom he befriends (and sometimes eats); guards -- one violent and angry, another sympathetic; a young boy who lives in the prison; and Teza's memories of his family and past life. Together they weave a story of intense repression and brutality, but also of humanity, courage and dignity in the face of these intense conditions.
In that cell we are met with the edges of humanity and able to delve into the mindset of the the jailed, and the jailer.
Karen Connelly is a poet and author who has spent several years in Burma, Thailand and along the border between the two countries.
Stark Raven spoke to Karen about her book and about imprisonment, Burma and humanity in the face of brutality.
Following the interview there is an excerpt of a song by MFG (Myanmar Future Generation), a group of Burmese in exile who write hip hop anthems that are highly critical of the Burmese junta. You can find more of their music, and other Burmese protest songs, here and here.