This video discusses the extreme human rights violations occurring right now in Burma and the urgent need for a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into these war crimes.
“We are concerned about the civilians. Because wherever the fighting takes place, villages that are located nearby are always being abused and killed by the Burma army soldiers. We therefore want them to withdraw and to stop killing and abusing the civilians,” (SSA spokesperson Major Sai La).
Despite President Thein Sein’s administration trying to portray itself as reformist, the Burma Army continues to terrorize ethnic peoples throughout Burma.
The Burmese military started operations against the Shan State Army (SSA) on 13 March 2011, ending a 22 year ceasefire. The regime also attacked another ceasefire group, Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on 9 June (Thein Sein was inaugurated as President on 30 March 2011).
Since the military campaign against the Shan State Army (SSA) began in March, at least 31,700 people have been left homeless. Thousands more have recently fled in terror from heavy bombardment of KIA held positions in northern Shan State in late September.
In recent weeks it seems that Naypyidaw has changed tactics and is now seeking to form ceasefire agreements with each of the armed ethnic groups. In return the ethnic forces are cautiously testing the water of this new approach.
What remains is a very tense and dangerous reality for villagers who still live under the capricious control of the Burma Army. This massive army has little direct accountability and high levels of corruption, leaving villagers vulnerable to the whims of small groups soldiers whose actions may never be reported.
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.
(Ecclesiastes 4:1 ESV)
Geniro is 13 years old. He carries an assault rifle and has completed basic training to join one of the resistance armies fighting for freedom in Burma (Burma on My Mind).
At that time I was newly married, my wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child, we were renting a cute (but chilly) cottage with a fantastic view over the city. My wife was a student at Teacher’s College and I worked as a biochemistry technician, anxious about whether funding for the position would be renewed (it wasn’t).
A lot of people are recalling what they were doing on that terrible day. A day which started as any other for all except 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Little did we know the horror we were to see unfold on our TV and computer screens that morning. Most of us can remember exactly what we were doing when we first heard or saw the news.
I also remember that evening walking on a beach with my pregnant wife, discussing what had happened, feeling the uncertainty of what might lie ahead. Even in little Dunedin we spent the next few weeks cringing whenever an aeroplane flew low over the city. People were nervous, anxious for the future. it felt as though the world had changed.
In the months after the attack there was a surge in publication of books on ‘the end times’, I heard several sermons on the topic myself and saw plenty of interest in theories regarding whether those events signaled the beginning of the end. Obviously we are still here and still worrying about paying the bills so life has settled back into what we would generally consider normal.
Yet, while I am not convinced ‘the end is nigh’, it has been a troublesome decade. We have seen increased incidence of terrorist attacks, environmental disasters of human making, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, droughts, and influenza epidemics. Then there are the purely human events such as economic collapse. None of this tells us what God is doing in the world of itself but does all serve to remind us that life is precious and fragile.
As the horror of September 11, 2001 was a stark reminder of how suddenly life can be interrupted and changed forever, so too the events of the decade since then should also serve as a similar reminder. In the natural, life is not as secure as we might think. However, in Christ we are safely in His care – though that does not mean we may not suddenly be taken from this life. So let’s be thankful for today, for the moments we have here now.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
(John 10:27-29 ESV)
613) Today, this moment.
614) Each time I get to kiss my wife and children.
615) A slightly tidier front yard.
616) Remembering where to find some unusual information when it was urgently needed.
617) A gift of tickets to take my daughters to the ballet.
618) A colleague swapping shifts with me so I can see my daughters in their school performance.
619) Birdsong heralding the dawn.
620) That I can call a sunny day ‘glorious’ and know God made it reflecting Himself.
621) A clear head despite tiredness.
622) Morning tea with the kids in their tree hut.
623) Lunch in the sun on our back porch.
624) Children giggling.
625) Being reminded that God counts me as His despite my sin and weakness.
Image of a new day: Eric Parker