Less than a year ago, I was crossing a river from Thailand to Burma. Less than a year ago, I was preaching at a church in a Karen village in Burma. Less than a year ago, I was playing and laughing with kids in a small village in Burma…Laughing and playing must be strangers to that land right now. By now, many of you [hopefully] are aware of what’s going on with the anti-government protests in Burma or Myanmar. The painful reality is that such grave injustices have been going on in Burma for years. In recent days, the situation has turned for the worse. The larger global community and governments must hold this regime and those that support the Burma/Myanmar government accountable…
From the US Campaign for Burma website: “The military is now utilizing violence against monks and other non-violent protestors. They have beaten and arrested hundreds of people, and it is reported that more than a hundred have been killed. We are tired of the international communities just making statements – they must ACT. Show your support and outrage – Take Action Now “
I was first introduced to the situation in Burma through a U2 song called, Walk On which was inspired and dedicated to Aung Sun Suu Kyi, ‘leader’ of Burma who’s been under house arrest the majority of the time since 1989. Couple friends at Quest through organizations called World Aid and Free Burma Rangers shed more light in the situation through the personal convictions. A year ago, I actually had an opportunity to travel to Burma [via Thailand and 'illegally' w/o a visa but that's another post]. One of the highlights was preaching at a Karen church in Burma (just across the border from Thailand). I remember a conversation I had with one of the Karen ‘teachers’ in their make shift school system. She was young, intelligent, and a believer of Jesus Christ. She responded with these words in her broken English, “I stay because I believe in Jesus and I must fight for my people.”
The visit to Burma was eye opening and heart convicting. The recent events have embarrassed me as I consider how distant my heart had grown to this and other injustices around the world. Consider the following documented statistics:
The U.S. State Department and two credible NGOs found in 2002 that Burma’s military regime is using rape as a weapon of war.
There are approximately 1,600 political prisoners in Burma, including 38 elected members of parliament.
Millions of Burmese have been pressed into what the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, calls “a modern form of slavery”.
More persons died from landmines in Burma in 2002 than any other country in the world.
Burma is ranked “Not Free” by Freedom House’s international reports.
Burma was ranked the fifth most repressive government in the world by Parade Magazine.The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, which passed the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly, found that Burma’s regime is using ethnic cleansing against Burma’s ethnic peoples.
Praying for an end to the violence and a beginning to a new democracy and diplomacy. To learn more about the situation and ways to ACT, visit the following links: