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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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

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Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

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She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
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