BANGKOK—A prominent American professor and human rights advocate has scrapped a visit to Burma after authorities turned away his wife at the airport, saying she had been blacklisted.
Eric Stover, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, arrived at Mingalardon airport aboard Thai Airways in the former Burmese capital, Rangoon, on Jan. 1, with his wife, Pamela Blotner, according to sources who asked not to be named.
Stover, director of the human rights center at Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies, went to Burma to conduct a workshop on medical ethics from Jan. 9-11, the sources said. Blotner is a visual artist and academic in California.
A Thai Airways official and Burmese immigration official informed the couple that Blotner’s name was on a government blacklist, and the couple returned to Bangkok, the sources said. A third official photographed them.
Stover is a former director of the nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights. Blotner, an artist, created the Burmese American Art Exchange, which exhibited the work of 12 American and 24 Burmese artists at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon in late 2007.
Blotner has paid several visits to Burma. Burmese artists, she was quoted as saying in a U.S. newspaper earlier this year, “bring the same wonder into making art that a child does but with an adult’s intelligence and sensibility.”
“On some levels, the [Burmese government] censorship is ...horrific but it’s also galvanizing. It’s something to fight against. These are the things that draw artists together.”
Reported and translated by Ko Ko Aung for RFA’s Burmese service. Service director: Nancy Shwe. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.