Enote 67 – Forgotten Muslim ChildrenNovember 17, 2010
Having promised them for years, in fact ever since the generals refused to allow the only democratically elected party to govern, Burma has finally had elections. In 1990 the National League for Democracy whose leader is Aung San Suu Kyi the Nobel Peace Laureate of 1991, won a popular election by 80%, but the army nullified the outcome. Aung San Suu Kyi is shown just below with her father in the background.
Tensions between the government and the armies supporting the ethnic people have been exacerbated by the political events. In Myawaddy, a town just across the border from Mae Sot fighting broke out between the DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army),and the Tatmadaw (the Burmese Army). This caused many frightened persons to flee across the border, filling Dr. Cynthia's Mae Tao Clinic, and other institutions Thai and Burmese alike.
a past student of ours, now employed by ZOA the Dutch aid agency and also volunteering for us, writes: In fact, reports received around 1400hrs on Wednesday, 10 November, indicate that the DKBA have again moved back into Myawaddy and that the SPDC are recruiting porters to attack the DKBA in the northern areas of Myawaddy.
It is, therefore, anticipated that many of the greater Myawaddy residents who did return to their homes in Burma may decide to flee to Thailand again and that the numbers of refugees seeking shelter on the Thai side of the border may grow beyond the recent levels, since these reports indicate a very real likelihood of further and escalating conflict inside Burma. It is also reported that, in the wake of the elections on Sunday 07 November 2010, sporadic fighting broke out between the SPDC Army forces and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in other areas including the area opposite Phop Phra in Thailand’s Tak Province. There is a known history of skirmishes in the Pho Pra area, as confirmed through these interviews. However, people are reporting that fighting “has never been this intense and that this was the first time in their minds that they had had to bring their complete worldly belongings in case of an SPDC attack and pillage”. There is a fear on the part of those interviewed that the current situation may become “more protracted than the usual local skirmishes” of the past. Fighting is also being reported in Kawkareik in Karen State and in the area around Three Pagoda Pass near the Thai town of Sangklaburi.
What about us:
How is this changing our situation? Because we are not an emergency relief agency, this crisis, bad as it is, has little if any immediate impact on our work. However we do expect that many of the new refugees will not return home, and will contribute to the already large problem Thailand has with its neighbors, and to our work in education. One way to look at the situation is that by treating its people so poorly, and by spending so little on basic services like health care and education, Burma is exporting those tasks to a more civilized society. I like to think that we are part of that.
- Preparation for Trip to Asia.
- Continuing Planned Giving Visits.
- Planning Trip to Bangladesh this year.
- Writing reports to Granting Agencies.
- Finishing Project Payments.
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I have kept the link to the video that I gave last time, in case you missed it. It is well worth viewing.
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