Burma: shared responsibility

Myanmar at the crossroads
Myanmar at the crossroads (Photo credit: *christopher*)

This news [Is Germany Siding With Burma To Downplay Human Rights Abuses?] from Burma Campaign UK reinforces something that I have felt strongly ever since I returned from my holiday to this fantastic country.

The lucky few among us who have been to Burma shouldn’t make complacent assumptions when it comes to the burgeoning democratic process in Burma. Quite the opposite. I believe that anyone who stayed away for years because the NLD asked for a tourism boycott and has then visited in the 18 months or so since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi asked responsible travellers back in, has a duty to help keep the flames of change alive.

We are witness to the colourful diversity of life in Burma, the tremendous faith that people are willing to invest in the process of change and the gleaming hope they have for their country. If we visit and take away nothing but fond memories and pretty longhis then we betray the wonderful people who made us feel so welcome.

I bought my longhi from these to lovely ladies, who are big fans of Aung San Suu Kyi and have great hopes for change.
I bought my longhi from these to lovely ladies, who are big fans of Aung San Suu Kyi and have great hopes for change.

The good news is that we have to do so little and it will mean so much. In fact, I think it’s five easy things and a sixth for the more committed:

  1. Become a member of your country’s Burma Campaign (I have given the links for the US, the UK and Australia below)
  2. Act when they ask you to
  3. Sign up for Burma news and campaigns from Amnesty International
  4. Act when they ask you to
  5. Share links from these organisations, comment and urge your friends to act too
  6. Ask your favourite development charity what work they are doing in Burma. Ask how you can support that work by donations or fundraising.

Above all, I hope everyone who visits will stay informed about what’s happening in Burma. Elections are promised for 2015 – with the world’s people watching we do stand a chance of helping to make them happen but only if we do our bit and hold world leaders to account on Burma.

Useful links:
Burma Campaign UK
US Campaign for Burma
Burma Campaign Australia
Democratic Voice of Burma: an independent Burmese media organisation committed to responsible journalism
Amnesty International
Interesting article from The Independent about education in Burma

Good news on investment in education from Australia and UK

The Irrawaddy, Burmese magazine that was back in print for the first time in years in December 2012. Good for keeping abreast of what reporting from inside Burma is like

By Carole Scott

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