Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why Burma?

A few friends have asked me why such fervent interest in Burma and the fate of its people. I cant answer or pinpoint the why, it just happened. In fact I cant even claim to be more passionate about the situation in Burma than I am in other cases. I feel as strongly or even more so? about whats going on in southern Thailand, as well as the political climate in the country since the last year (after the coup and military takeover). Granted, particularly in light of recent events in Burma, we should feel as though the military regime in thailand is almost a blessing in comparison? but ofcourse I dont believe that! just cos someone is worse than the thai military regime, does not mean we should always compare ourselves to those that are worse. Id like to believe Thailand has come much further than that, and expect a lot more from our political elites.

Anyhow.....I suppose my interest in Burma and its people was made more strong in the last 2 years. Prior to that I never had friends from Burma, but back in 2005 I met a friend with ties in Burma that first triggered me to learn more about the country and its problems. Coincidentally only a month or so after that in October 2005 I came across the "Threat to the peace" commissioned by Desmond Tutu and Vaclav Havel that gives a very clear picture of how bad things are in Burma and that something needed to be done soon. That same year I had a chance to go up north Thailand along with Virg and the GAIN team on the mobile medical camp. Most people we worked with were either migrants or refugees from Burma.

At the UNHCR refugee camp in MaeSot I still remember the endless patients we saw...all young women with newborn babies crying non-stop! They were suffereing from all sorts of illnesses.

(picture from UNHCR website)

or some other memories I still have from that trip, was setting up medical clinic in the school in one village. After we had finished seeing the patients, the young kids gathered in the tiny 'sala' (an open area with roof? not sure how to describe it). Anyway, there they were
, these lovely children, thin and frail, but with delighted smiles on their faces..delighted at the sight of seeing new faces, and the thought of knowing that some strangers still care about their fate, and to show their appreciation for our visit they performed dance after dance for our enjoyment. At the end of the day before we left, each of the kids gave us a hand-drawn 'thank-you' card. Some put aside their shyness and gave us hugs. Still brings tears to my eyes.

When you have had that kind of personal encounter...I suppose you identify with their problems more.....thousands of faces have been put to the story that you normally would have only read its more personal...cos Im thinking what would happen to that little girl that hugged me, or the one that gave me this card, or ...the list goes on......

Each time I think about those little lovely ones...I really wish there is more I can do...I wish theres more each of us can do.

How can one human being be so cruel to another? I really wonder about those that lift the baton, the rifle or whatever other weapon against their can they bring themselves to do it?

a very baffled and very saddened me.


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