Emily Fishbein

Freelance journalist using a collaborative approach with local journalists, photographers and artists to cover human rights, social justice, armed conflict and environmental issues in Myanmar. I especially seek to write in-depth reports which highlight underrepresented voices and underreported stories.

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Myanmar military coup

Reporting about the impacts of the February 1, 2021 military coup on human rights and the environment

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Edited Articles

Articles I edited in collaboration with local journalists and activists from Myanmar

‘Is the world listening?’: the poets challenging Myanmar’s military

It has now been a year since the military coup, and the breeze of democracy has become a dead wind in Myanmar. People breathe the air of fear and pass nights of rage and despair as men and women are shot or burnt alive at the hands of the Myanmar military. Villagers leave their loved ones at home and take refuge in the forest. Once-vibrant city streets have become rows of haunted houses. The whole country is trapped in a shadowland. As Rohingya refugees, we are all too familiar with the militar

Ready for war: my journey from peaceful poet to revolutionary soldier

Days after the military coup in February 2021, demonstrations erupted across Myanmar. The military responded by shooting unarmed protesters with live rounds. People were beaten, arbitrarily detained and imprisoned. On the frontlines of protests in Yangon in February and early March, I witnessed soldiers and police firing live rounds into crowds, and on 8 March, I was one of hundreds of protesters who were barricaded overnight on Kyun Taw Road in Yangon’s Sanchaung township, where soldiers and p

Kachin

Reporting on Kachin State, Myanmar, where I lived from 2017 until March 2020. 

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Environmental reporting

Reporting on environmental issues and natural resource economies in Kachin State, Myanmar

Kachin public calls on KIO to address gold mining crisis

Unwilling to accept military rule, many in Kachin are looking to the Kachin Independence Organization to fill a void in governance. As the KIO strengthens its influence, it is facing mounting pressure to regulate environmentally destructive gold mining. Bawk Nu* has spent the last 11 years dreaming of the day she could safely return to her village of Nam San Yang. She is one of more than 100,000 people who fled their homes following a resumption in fighting between the military and the armed wi

In the Wake of Coup, Gold Mining Boom Is Ravaging Myanmar

With a military junta retaking power last year, a gold rush is increasingly despoiling rivers in the Myanmar state of Kachin, polluting water with mercury, destroying riverbanks and farmland, and disrupting the traditional way of life of the region’s ethnic groups. He traveled 60 miles west, passing through verdant forests, rice paddies, and small villages of bamboo houses. Reaching Bhamo, a town on the banks of the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s longest river, he began mining gold and earning $4 per day

Kachin tycoon draws controversy over gold mining at Myitsone

Local people call for community leaders to do more to stop one of Kachin State’s most influential businessmen and his company from digging up and destroying land near the famed river confluence. Sut Mai* started mining gold from the bank of Kachin State’s Mali River in 2013, when he was 18. He uses a shovel, generator-powered suction pipes, a sluice pan and a tray. “Local people have been mining gold for a long time, but it’s difficult and there’s not much profit,” he said. He hails from Tang

Kachin State’s yemase jade miners and dealers demand a more equitable industry

Myanmar’s deadliest mine collapse in recent history caught the world’s attention in July, but local frustration with an industry controlled by outside companies has been growing for years. This article was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting It was the deadliest landslide in Myanmar’s recent history – about 200 jade miners buried in rainwater and mud when a dam of mining waste collapsed in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township on July 2. Haunting images of strewn bodies and grievin

After Another Mining Disaster, Ethnic Minorities Lose Patience With Myanmar’s Leadership

YANGON, Myanmar—On July 2, a landslide in the jade mines of the Hpakant region in Myanmar’s Kachin state claimed around 200 lives. Myanmar is the world’s largest single source of jade, most of which comes from Hpakant, and its extraction comes at a high human cost. While the July 2 disaster was the deadliest on record, fatal incidents occur annually. Each one brings renewed calls from rights groups and transparency advocates to reform Myanmar’s jade industry, which is dominated by powerful mili

The many-sided fight over northern Kachin’s forests

The derailing of Hkakabo Razi’s World Heritage bid reveals a multifaceted battle of interests spanning international conservation, commercial exploitation, party politics and local desires to wrest back forest management. This story was produced with support from the Rainforest Journalism Fund, an initiative of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. In late 2018, ethnic Rawang in Kachin State’s northern Hkakabo Razi region turned against the Forest Department and its international partner, t

‘All the fish died’: Kachin communities alarmed at impact of banana plantations

Communities in Kachin State are increasingly alarmed about the environmental impact of chemical runoff from burgeoning banana plantations. ON THE afternoon of February 6, fish started dying in two streams near a banana plantation in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township. Residents of two nearby villages, Aung Myay One and Aung Myay Two, collected and ate the fish, which were taken from the Nam Myin Hka and Nan Lone Hka streams. On February 15, the Kachin State Environmental Conservation Department