Posted by: theNuetzels | October 1, 2007

Free Burma

Last night at Monument Circle, the center of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana,  there was a Solidarity Rally for the peaceful demonstrators in Burma.  There is a large population of Burmese refugees in Indianapolis who have been moved here by Exodus Refugee.  Over one thousand displaced refugees from the country Burma, or Myanmar as the military regime calls it, are currently living and working and going to school in Indianapolis.  There were solidarity rallies in around 25 US cities on Sunday night as well.  The pictures are uploaded in a separate album.

In their home country of Burma, there is a military regime that has ruled ruthlessly for around twenty years.  Before that, there was more military rule in the country.  For nearly 45 years the country of Burma has been under a military rule with no representation from the populace.  Back in 1988 there was an uprising of many protests, which was squelched by the military, resulting in nearly 3,000 people being killed and many more displaced or imprisoned.  Exact numbers are not known.

In August, the military raised fuel prices by nearly 100% and the results were not as expected.    Some residents pay nearly 60% of their income on fuel, and so the price change impacted them greatly.  In a country that is already poverty stricken the people started protesting the government.  In the largest rallies in nearly 20 years the people began walking the streets and protesting what was going on.  Surprisingly, the Buddhist monks joined in on the protest, and with their backing the protesters grew emboldened.  With nearly 20,000 monks and up to 100-200,000 people the people crowded the streets and peacefully protested the military governments’ actions.

Although caught by surprise, the military regime didn’t stay silent for long.  The world waited with expectation, hoping the government would react positively, engaging in dialogue.  Some of the world’s leaders pleaded with the government asking that they react peacefully.  The government, however, disregarding the pleas of the Western world moved in with force and crushed the peaceful demonstrations.  In the capital city of Rangoon (called Yangoon by the military) 20,000 soldiers were moved in.  They attacked crowds, ransacked monasteries, arresting monks in the night, and fired on peaceful crowds of demonstrators.  One Japanese journalist is dead, and many protestors have been killed as well.

The United States has given harsh sanctions against the top leaders of the military regime, as have other Westerners.  No one in the U.S. is allowed to give money or do business with the military.  Military assets in banking institutions in the US or Western societies have been frozen.  Unfortunately, however this doesn’t seem to influence the military regime.  Why is this, some may ask.  The problem is that China has been backed the military regime for many years.  Burma has some large teak forests and large deposits of natural gas.   While the western world pleaded with the military regime, China did little to denounce military aggression.  China appears to be the key outside influencer of the government.  If China and Russia, another influencer, were to stand up to the government and denounce its humanitarian rights abuses, they may have an impact.  The one big bonus that the demonstrators have is actually 2008 Olympic Games.  Beijing is hosting the games, and with the international spotlight they have a chance to make themselves look good or not.  One major area in which China can curry world-wide favor is by becoming an advocate for human rights in Burma, and for that matter, its’ own land as well.

Our youth group is starting a couple talks on Justice.  We are looking at God’s thoughts on justice and oppression.  We have a group of Burmese people who meet for church at our church on Sunday afternoons and I’ve been following the news.  On Sunday afternoon we heard about the solidarity rally and figured that this would be a perfect teaching lesson on justice.  In our very own church there are a group of people who are meeting who have been oppressed and have fled their country.  What does it mean to help them bring justice?  We figured that the first step would be to join in on standing alongside the people of Burma in solidarity.  It may not be seem like a huge step but it hopefully showed the Burmese people that they are not alone, and there are some people who care about them and desire that God brings justice to Burma.

               What are the next steps for our youth ministry?  I honestly don’t know.  At times it just seems like the earth is just to full of sin, corruption, and garbage for us to do anything.  The first step for us is to be informed.  What is going on in the world around us?  Who is giving us information, and what is that information, and can it be trusted.

               Here are some links of places to learn more about Burma and the conflict going on there. (warning – some of these pages have explicit pictures of people beaten or killed by the Myanmar military regime)

www.dvb.no

www.irrawaddy.org

www.uscampaignforburma.org

There will be more on Burma on this blog in the future, we pray that it’s good news.

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Responses

  1. Free Burma!
    International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October

    International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

    http://www.free-burma.org

  2. Free Burma!
    International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October

    International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

    http://www.free-burma.org

  3. Good jod, Andy.

    The people of Burma really need the support from international community. It speaks a lot and please continue to support us.

    Thanks,

    Kjack


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Posted by: theNuetzels | October 1, 2007

Free Burma

Last night at Monument Circle, the center of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana,  there was a Solidarity Rally for the peaceful demonstrators in Burma.  There is a large population of Burmese refugees in Indianapolis who have been moved here by Exodus Refugee.  Over one thousand displaced refugees from the country Burma, or Myanmar as the military regime calls it, are currently living and working and going to school in Indianapolis.  There were solidarity rallies in around 25 US cities on Sunday night as well.  The pictures are uploaded in a separate album.

In their home country of Burma, there is a military regime that has ruled ruthlessly for around twenty years.  Before that, there was more military rule in the country.  For nearly 45 years the country of Burma has been under a military rule with no representation from the populace.  Back in 1988 there was an uprising of many protests, which was squelched by the military, resulting in nearly 3,000 people being killed and many more displaced or imprisoned.  Exact numbers are not known.

In August, the military raised fuel prices by nearly 100% and the results were not as expected.    Some residents pay nearly 60% of their income on fuel, and so the price change impacted them greatly.  In a country that is already poverty stricken the people started protesting the government.  In the largest rallies in nearly 20 years the people began walking the streets and protesting what was going on.  Surprisingly, the Buddhist monks joined in on the protest, and with their backing the protesters grew emboldened.  With nearly 20,000 monks and up to 100-200,000 people the people crowded the streets and peacefully protested the military governments’ actions.

Although caught by surprise, the military regime didn’t stay silent for long.  The world waited with expectation, hoping the government would react positively, engaging in dialogue.  Some of the world’s leaders pleaded with the government asking that they react peacefully.  The government, however, disregarding the pleas of the Western world moved in with force and crushed the peaceful demonstrations.  In the capital city of Rangoon (called Yangoon by the military) 20,000 soldiers were moved in.  They attacked crowds, ransacked monasteries, arresting monks in the night, and fired on peaceful crowds of demonstrators.  One Japanese journalist is dead, and many protestors have been killed as well.

The United States has given harsh sanctions against the top leaders of the military regime, as have other Westerners.  No one in the U.S. is allowed to give money or do business with the military.  Military assets in banking institutions in the US or Western societies have been frozen.  Unfortunately, however this doesn’t seem to influence the military regime.  Why is this, some may ask.  The problem is that China has been backed the military regime for many years.  Burma has some large teak forests and large deposits of natural gas.   While the western world pleaded with the military regime, China did little to denounce military aggression.  China appears to be the key outside influencer of the government.  If China and Russia, another influencer, were to stand up to the government and denounce its humanitarian rights abuses, they may have an impact.  The one big bonus that the demonstrators have is actually 2008 Olympic Games.  Beijing is hosting the games, and with the international spotlight they have a chance to make themselves look good or not.  One major area in which China can curry world-wide favor is by becoming an advocate for human rights in Burma, and for that matter, its’ own land as well.

Our youth group is starting a couple talks on Justice.  We are looking at God’s thoughts on justice and oppression.  We have a group of Burmese people who meet for church at our church on Sunday afternoons and I’ve been following the news.  On Sunday afternoon we heard about the solidarity rally and figured that this would be a perfect teaching lesson on justice.  In our very own church there are a group of people who are meeting who have been oppressed and have fled their country.  What does it mean to help them bring justice?  We figured that the first step would be to join in on standing alongside the people of Burma in solidarity.  It may not be seem like a huge step but it hopefully showed the Burmese people that they are not alone, and there are some people who care about them and desire that God brings justice to Burma.

               What are the next steps for our youth ministry?  I honestly don’t know.  At times it just seems like the earth is just to full of sin, corruption, and garbage for us to do anything.  The first step for us is to be informed.  What is going on in the world around us?  Who is giving us information, and what is that information, and can it be trusted.

               Here are some links of places to learn more about Burma and the conflict going on there. (warning – some of these pages have explicit pictures of people beaten or killed by the Myanmar military regime)

www.dvb.no

www.irrawaddy.org

www.uscampaignforburma.org

There will be more on Burma on this blog in the future, we pray that it’s good news.


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