Day of Prayer for Burma

Sunday, March 13th, is the Global Day of Prayer for Burma. For more information, here’s a link to information put out by Christians Concerned for Burma.

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Not for sale (poem)

Money doesn’t make you a better person-it just gives you better choices.  In some cultures, having no money and no rights makes you a target for traffickers. I first heard of the organization “Not For Sale” shortly after I had met some of my young refugee friends. It made their presentation pretty non-theoretical. I could picture some of the young people I care about and the choices they may have faced if their parents had not chosen to become refugees and take the risk of resettlement to America.

Not for sale…..
Humans as commodities, stocks to exchange,
inconveniences, expendables to be thrown away.
Their lives for sale…choices determined by $.
No! Their lives are a gift. Their lives have value!
Children of God, created with purpose-
whether they know it or not!

They have captured us, adopted us, let us love them.
Priceless treasures beyond measure…
these little sharers of laughter, of humbling moments…
Yahtzee played, meals shared, loving acceptance offered and received.
We talk of woman things and what it means
Of relationships and guys who are good
And those who are not.

Transitions negotiated like minefields….
New experiences played out each day….
We talk of Christmas trees and manger scenes–
Of Jesus, a refugee whose parents fled to safety to keep him safe.

They watched our daughter with her baby
And reflected on a mother who loves instead of leaves…
They have little “stuff”-but their father loves them.
With courage he brought them here in spite of the challenges.
They live in a “big” house (smaller than most living rooms),
grateful their father cooks for them….
Grateful for food. For friends…. for choices.
If different choices had been made,
They could be some of those who are for sale in another land…..

How do you determine the value of a human?
Of their love?
It is priceless.
It should not be for sale.

The View from the Front

This article yesterday in the Seattle times tells about the struggle refugees are having making ends meet in the recession economy and how the budget cuts are impacting them here in Washington State.  I took some time to read the comments that followed the article, and was made aware of how great some of the hostility is that people hold towards not just illegal immigrants, but also towards those our government has invited to be here.  While I understand financial frustation, and fear that your piece of an ever-shrinking pie will somehow disappear, I am also aware that my friends who are refugees have faced things beyond my comprehension.  The link here is to an article from the Bangkok Post, written by a friend of a friend, highlighting the situation these folks needed a refuge from.

Refugee Resettlement Statistics 2009

Information published July 5th from the UN High Commissioner for refugees states that “…more than 80 per cent of the world’s refugees live in developing countries where many cannot remain safely and have no possibility of integration. For many refugees, resettlement in a third country is the only way to find lasting safety and a new and permanent home. While voluntary repatriation remains the preferred solution among most of the worlds refugees, persistent conflict or fear of persecution often prevent people from returning to their countries of origin.”  http://www.unhcr.org/4c31f3826.html

Refugee resettlement statistics by country of origin and state http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/data/fy2009RA.htm

This group is run by friends (mostly former refugees) who are giving 110% of their time and energy to helping folks resettled in the Northwest (and other places in the U.S.).  They can always use help and their web site gives you ideas of what some of that help might involve: http://www.allburmarefugees.org/

 A list of the agencies that resettle refugees and more about their programs: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/partners/voluntary_agencies.htm

Global Day of Prayer for Burma – March 14, 2009

The Global Day of Prayer for Burma is an annual event initiated in 1997 by Christians Concerned for Burma at the request of Burma’s democracy leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Next Sunday, churches around the world are urged to pray for Burma during their services.  See the following link for details:

http://www.prayforburma.org/IDX/Prayer/Day_of_Prayer/2010/GDOP%202010.pdf

For Seattle area runners/walkers, the Run for Relief (a fundraiser for relief efforts in Burma) will take place next Sunday in Gig Harbor….See following link for details:  http://www.chapelhillpc.org/our-calendars-mainmenu-17/special-events-mainmenu-131.html

10,000 More Villagers Displaced

Even while talking publicly about the need for progressing towards “disciplined democracy,” the Burma Army and their henchmen continue the campaign against the ethnic nationalities–10,000  Shan (click here) have been displaced since July 27. and a buildup against the Karen in the Three Pagoda Pass area (click here) is also in process.  On the public side,  Than Shwe cuts the unearned sentence of the illegally held Aung San Suu Kyi from three years to 18 months (still keeping her out of the way for next year’s rigged elections), and the UN makes noises about the unfairness of it all. Asean delivers mild rebukes. On the private side, gang rape, murder, forced displacement, ethnic cleansing  and other crimes against humanity continue unabated.

How many deaths does it take til we know that too many people have died?  (Bob Dylan)

For more info from the Shan Women’s Action Network, click here.

How do you bring about regime change if the regime has no interest in changing?

Within Range of Mortars

Five kilometers (about 3 miles) is just within range of an 81 mm mortar.  You may not care, since there’s none pointed at you, but families in Ler Per Her IDP camp (within range of the mortar mentioned above) are increasingly concerned by them and some are heading to Thailand in case their camp (housing about 1200 people) is attacked again.  (It has been burned down several times in the past by the Burma Army.  (See today’s report from the Karen Human Rights Group ) for details. School at Ler Per Hur

The US Campaign for Burma lists ways we can all help speak for their freedom.   In other countries, murderers go to jail. Here they are in charge, while the UN and others make statements showing their concern….   Ler Per Hur kids
Partners Relief & Development is helping ethnic leaders provide basic necessities for those impacted by the continuing oppression of the Burma Army, including the new arrivals at Ler Per Hur.  They can use our help!