12-Year-Old Twin Leaders of Burma’s “God’s Army” Inspired Twin Graphic Novelists

Tomer and Asaf Hanuka fictionalize the Htoo brothers in “The Divine.”


The fictionalized Htoo twins. Tomer and Asaf Hanuka

The Divine, the beautifully rendered new graphic novel from Israeli artist twins Tomer and Asaf Hanuka—creators of the comic book series Bipolar—and writer Boaz Lavie, was born of a photo.

In 2000, AP photographer Apichart Weerawong snapped an iconic shot of Johnny and Luther Htoo, 12-year-old twins who smoked cheroot cigars and led “God’s Army,” a Karen rebel faction, against Burma’s junta. Land mines, lore had it, unearthed themselves at the twins’ approach, and their soldiers were impervious to bullets.

Transfixed, the artists adapted the boys as protagonists. Their Avatar-esque story follows a pair of US mercenaries on a mission to destroy a mountaintop in fictional “Quanlom,” where they encounter a kid wolfpack aided by a dragon spirit. The real Htoo twins are grown-ups now, but “for us,” the authors write, “they will always be 12-year-olds in a photo we’ll never quite understand.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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