Eugene Cho

free burma…


Free Burma!

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:

Filed under: justice, , ,

9 Responses

  1. TN says:

    Thank you for so articulately speaking up for what is right! Even after the protests leave the world’s stage, unless there is effective action and advocacy, business as usual will continue for the Burma army, and the rapes, torture, forced labor and other abuses that have gone on for years in relative silence will continue. This is a crucial time. Thank you for adding your voice to those who are not forgetting the people of Burma.

  2. TN says:

    Articulate article about the ongoing struggle in Burma….

    Burma’s Ethnic Minorities Endure Decades of Brutality
    October 4, 2007
    by Mick Elmore/AP Writer/Bangkok

    http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=8891

  3. hopewanders says:

    overwhelming. will be praying…

  4. Megan says:

    This was a powerful post, your first-hand experience there really brings this home. I just wrote a few days ago about Burma and how brave the people are there, especially those working towards peace. I am praying that God will be with them all in their struggle. They are pushing through fear. Thanks for sharing your story and useful links.
    Meg

    PS – I know, hpoewanders – it does seem so overwhelming. I feel like prayer has to be my response or we’ll just feel kind of hopeless.

  5. Kacie says:

    Thanks for writing this. The more people hear, the better.

  6. bolim says:

    I’ve been amazed at the courage of these Buddhist monks to march peacefully in protest of injustice. They have been a catalyst for the wider public. I’m wondering how the church has responded to these marches and if there is the possibility for solidarity.

  7. celadona says:

    Thank you for your article. I’ll be posting the above links on my blog too. May we not be indifferent to the events around us.

  8. […] 8th, 2007 free burma… « beauty and depravity Posted by celadona Filed in […]

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago