A civil war you’ve never heard of is underway in a remote corner of northwestern Myanmar. The people of the Chin State are locked in a deadly conflict with Myanmar’s ruthless military machine – the Tatmadaw. Crossing into the area through northeast India, Matt Davis gained exclusive access to the youth-led Chin resistance and captured these rare and powerful images of this generation of revolutionaries. Travelling across raging rivers and on muddy mountain passes on motorbikes, Davis met the people who’ve given up everything to fight Myanmar’s military junta. He captured these striking images of a war largely forgotten by the world media.
Living in jungle camps and makeshift villages, students, farmers, doctors, and engineers are organising civilian defence units to defeat the Tatmadaw. The region has seen some of the heaviest fighting since the war began over two and a half years ago.
Davis spent six months gaining exclusive access to this war and spent time with 28-year-old Cung, an agricultural worker who joined the Chin Defence Forces 18 months ago. He’s now the Commander in Chief of his battalion, whose portrait was taken before heading off to fight on the frontline.
“This is our land, this is our place,” he tells me. “They can’t defeat us; the only thing they can do is burn our homes, our churches. We hunt them like wolves.”
Davis travelled close to the centre of the current conflict, the strategic hillside town of Thantlang, recently taken by the Tatmadaw. There he met the young resistance fighters, most aged between 18-25. His images of these young fighters highlight their youth and the sacrifice they have all made in taking up arms to fight in this brutal civil war.
Matt Davis has worked as a photographer, cinematographer and reporter at ABC’s flagship international current affairs program ‘Foreign Correspondent’ since 2015. His work has taken him from the heart of the world’s metropolises to the remotest corners of the globe. With a passion for documenting the world’s under-reported stories, he recently crossed the Indian border by boat to document the ongoing youth-led resistance against the ruthless Myanmar military regime in Chinland, the frontline of climate change in Somalia and the forest horrors left behind in Russia’s offensive in Eastern Ukraine. Before joining the ABC, Matt worked in the media across the arts, entertainment, news and current affairs, factual television, and the surfing industry.
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