Roxanna Brown Three-Part Article

I’ve written previously about the death-in-custody of Southeast Asian ceramics scholar Roxanna Brown (here, here, and here). Her treatment and death were shameful, disturbing: the way in which charges were drummed up, enforced, and her treatment in prison….

Image shamelessly ganked from the LA Times site itself.

The original article was divided into three parts, something which doesn’t happen often in the MSM these days.

All the following from the Los Angeles Times, by reporter Jason Felch.

And an article on the fact that the article was split up into three articles. Reporting on the newspaper’s reporting is, to be fair, something that happens a lot today in the MSM.


Dr. Roxanna Brown's Death Makes the Almost-Mainstream Media

with appropriate horror. From the Huffington Post:

If puzzle pieces are missing in the Roxanna Brown case, the picture is clear, a terrifying vignette of relinquished justice and lost humanity in America.

Roxanna, a U.S. citizen who ran Bangkok University’s ceramics museum and fiercely opposed illegal dealings in Asian antiquities, came to lecture in Seattle in May.

Federal agents arrested her on a single count of wire fraud. An assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said inflated appraisals over her electronic signature enabled art donors to save a few thousand dollars on taxes.

Though frail at 62 with an amputated leg, she was held without bail. Too sick to appear earlier, she was to see a judge on May 13. We Americans, innocent until proven guilty, get our day in court. But she didn’t make it.

However unintended, Roxanna Brown suffered capital punishment without trial because of what appears to be simple identity theft, now so common to our daily lives.

The charge is ludicrous to anyone who knew her. Even if she were guilty, it was a minor tax dodge, which in many democracies would be a civil matter.

But Roxanna spent four days in a cell, terrified and threatened with 20 years in prison and her life’s work lost in scandal. She died at 2:30 a.m., screaming for help, from complications of a perforated ulcer.

“She choked to death on her own blood,” her playwright brother, Fred Leo Brown, said in a You Tube video. “She died alone like an animal.”


Letter of Condolence To Roxanna Brown's Family

From the Thailand/Laos/Cambodia Studies group list:

Dear Family, Friends, and Colleagues of Dr. Roxanna Brown,

When a great and good person is taken from us, the shock calls upon us to freeze the daily whirl of activities and face an irreparable loss in our lives.

Your sister, your mother, your daughter, Roxanna Maude Brown was such a person. She touched so many lives over the course of her own. A growing chorus of admiration and affection attests to the broad reach of her life and work.

Roxanna’s journey took her from the role of journalist, the conscience of a nation,
documenting from the ground the unfolding tragedy of Vietnam, to her discovery of what
would be her life’s work buried literally beneath her feet: the ceramics of Southeast
Asia. More than once her pursuit of ceramics study through the countryside of Southeast Asia aroused the suspicion of the forces locked in mortal combat swirling around her. Amidst the horror of war, it must have been hard for them to see the innocence of her search for kilns and shards. Continue reading


RIP, Roxanna Brown

Roxanna Brown, director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum in Thailand, and a person who, along with two or three others, is supposed to have ‘created the field of Southeast Asian Ceramics,’ has died in strange circumstances in the custody of Federal US agents.

She had been indicted on one count of wire fraud, in which she was alleged to have allowed others to use her electronic signature on faked appraisal forms, which inflated the values of pieces that were being sent to US museums from Ban Chiang, one of the most important archaeological sites in mainland Southeast Asia.

Her family immediately and aggressively began to turn the tables on the officials: they pointed out that Brown had been so ill, with something resembling the flu, that her initial court appearance had been postponed.

An autopsy was performed by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday. Results were not immediately available but her brother, Fred Brown, of Chicago, told The Associated Press she appeared to have had a heart attack.

Mr Brown said his sister maintained she was innocent, and he blamed the stress of her arrest for her death.

“She wasn’t in good health to begin with, but they definitely brought on the heart attack,” he said. [link]

There’s a lot more that’s been being written on the academic lists for regional studies, and undoubtedly much much more in the coming days.

My deep condolences to Ms. Brown’s family, friends, colleagues and admirers.

Democracy Now! has a brief headline mention of Ms. Brown’s passing as well.