Today, remembering the crisis in Burma

Hi everyone,

A group of monks sit in protest after being halted by riot officers and military officials in Myanmar (September 2007)

Click here to see our list of recommended books and films about the crisis in Burma.

If a regime is oppressive enough, and highly strategic about how it goes about its plan for information black-out, the global community can be kept largely in the dark about what is really happening to the people of that country.

This has been Burma’s story for decades.  Yet, the human spirit remains determined, creative and ultimately triumphant as it seeks to shed light into the darkness. Having said that, one of those rare glimpses allowing us to learn more about Burma comes in the form of the documentary, “Burma Soldier” (trailer), airing this week on HBO (May 18 – June 14).  We hope you will watch.
Over the past decades, the Burmese government has been the primary driver of violence against civilians in Burma due to its continued counter-insurgency campaign against ethnic minority rebels, particularly its ‘four-cuts strategy,’ an attempt to cut off food, funds, intelligence and recruits from the rebels.  The government’s goal appears to be to hold power at all costs. One feature of this campaign to suppress ethnic rebel groups is primarily active in eastern Burma, along the Thai-Burma border, where the government uses forced labor to build bases from which they attack and burn surrounding villages as well as mining the razed areas to discourage returns. Areas outside of government’s control are designated as ‘black zones,’ where soldiers are able to shoot any person on sight. Government troops are also known to use rape against ethnic minority women as part of a campaign of “Burmanization” through forced pregnancy.  The government’s attempts to suppress all dissent within its territory have also resulted in attacks in Shan State along the Chinese border and among the Rohingya region bordering Bangladesh. Since 1988, the ruling Burmese junta has also taken a hard line against pro-democracy protestors, imprisoning more than 2,200 activists, including Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
– From GI-Net / Save Darfur Coalition (link)
In the month of April, we featured resource lists with good books and films about each genocide that has a commemorative date in April. Now that it is May, we have added to these lists to include the areas we focus on.  With news hard to come by, we hope this Resource List on mass atrocities in Burma will make it easier to find out more about this country of under-reported, long-term mass suffering.
Barbara & Anshul
Orange County for Darfur, a project of Living Ubuntu
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