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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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