At the height of the September 2007 monk-led uprising, police ransancked the Maggin Monastery in Rangoon, where hundreds of monks had found shelter away from the bloody crackdown. Many of those hiding in Maggin were jailed, along with hundreds of other protestors demanding an end to military rule four years ago.
But on 12 January a number of monks were released in a far-reaching amnesty of political prisoners. They included U Gambira, leader of the All Burma Monks’ Alliance, who had played a pivotal role in organising what came to be known as the Saffron Revolution. He and others monks, including Abbot U Eindaka, returned to Maggin and forced their way back in. And until last weekend, when police came to reseal the now iconic building, they had found refuge there again.
Accompanying U Gambira upon his return to Maggin last month prior to it being closed again was photographer James Mackay, whose haunting work reveals the damage inflicted by authorities in 2007 and the emotions felt by the monks as they picked their way through their ruined belongings.
To see more of James Mackay’s work, visit his website here