About Rick Heizman

My Background & Focus

 

I am a lifelong wanderer of the world. First, I am a consummate musician - teaching, performing, producing, recording. As an ethnomusicologist, my studies of musics of the world segued with my deep self study of world issues, religions, conflicts, and history.Since 2012, when the spectre of violent Islamic supremacy exploded in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, I turned my attention to that crisis, which may have been new to much of the world, but was an on-going issue there. Rakhine State (also referred to historically as Arakan) was a very little known part of a little known country, and even seasoned travelers in Burma knew nothing about it. However, I had been going to Rakhine State since 1996, and I studied and researched, interviewed, and read stacks of books - including 17th century volumes by Portuguese missionaries and explorers. I wrote a 200 page report about the 2012 violence, and have continued to work deeply on the matter. By now, I am an acknowledged expert on the little known history and the geo-political realities of the situation.

My History & Evolution

 

I have been very deeply involved with Burma (now also referred to as Myanmar). I have been there 31 times. I became immersed in the difficult and dangerous struggle for democracy in Burma. Because of my other work as an ethnomusicologist recording and documenting the traditional music of Burma for Smithsonian and other music entities, and as an NGO worker building schools, and other humanitarian projects, I had perfect ‘cover’ for going in and out of Burma without undue suspicion. I became a very valuable and knowledgeable covert asset, and a link between Burma and the outside world. In Burma, I covertly met often with top opposition people, US Embassy officials, and even top members of the regime who were quiet reformers at heart. I also went often to the edges of allowed travel, and then into the restricted opposition rebel areas - including Wa State (notorious drug production, smuggling of arms, people, weapons, drugs), Laiza (headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army), and Loikaw (Kayah peoples’ struggle in Kayah State). I became a trusted link, capable of accurately assessing situations involving geo-political complexities. I would meet with top opposition people and parties based in Mae Sot and Chiang Mai, Thailand, and in the U.S. I was a top Board member of Burmese opposition political groups, and was the liaison and point-person for meeting and briefing U.S. Congresspeople.  I am often consulted for many things concerning Burma/Myanmar: films, books, articles, political insights, and am currently involved in exposing the truth of the ever troublesome Bengali Muslims (Rohingya) and their reoccurring genocide-intended attacks against the Buddhists, Hindus, and tribal minorities of the land.

My Top Destinations Worldwide

 

Muktinath in Nepal, Bumtang in Bhutan, Sanaa in Yemen, Nemrut Dagi in Turkey, Luang Prabang in Laos, Angor Wat in Cambodia, Yunnan in China, the spectacular National Parks in Utah, Arizona and California, the Canadian Rockies, Machu Pichu in Peru, many places in Burma / Myanmar, in particular Kyaingtong, Namhsan, Kakku, Hpo Win Taung, Shwe Ba Taung, Mrauk-U, Gudaung caves, Kyaukpyu, Mit-son, Bhamo, Loikaw, Hpaan, Kawgun caves, & Kyauk Kalap.