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Author of book about Shan refugees to speak at ITOW

Submitted photo Author Bernice Koehler Johnson will be in Perham June 10.

The 2012 Summer Series at the ITOW Veterans Museum begins Sunday, June 10 at 3 p.m. with a talk by Bernice Koehler Johnson about her book, "The Shan:  Refugees without a Camp." 

This book recounts the trials and triumphs of Shan youth who have escaped slow genocide in Burma by fleeing to Thailand. While there they study English and tell stories about life in Burma, where Shan men serve as human minesweepers for Burmese soldiers searching for insurgents. They talk about the dangers of death by starvation, beatings, or bullets in a country where poor Shan women often become prostitutes and young Shan girls are raped by Burmese soldiers.

Koehler Johnson has spent a great deal of her life teaching English in foreign countries.  Her work in Thailand introduced her to the plight of Shan refugees.  "The Shan" is a mix of memoir, travelogue and history and is as well informed as it is heartbreaking.  

This event is free and open to the public.

The ITOW Veterans Museum is located at 805 West Main in Perham.  For more information, visit or call 218 346-7678.