One night as we slept in the pillaged compound of a family who had fled, I found wedding photos of the parents and a series of photos of their young son at different stages of schooling. The pictures that struck me most were one of the boy on a podium receiving his 8th grade diploma. The parents had this picture up in almost every room – they seemed so proud of their son. The home, ransacked as it was, still had charm and you could see it was a place of love, warmth and most of all a home for someone. The other picture was of the mother in her wedding dress, beautiful and serious. This I found outside the house in the weeds and trash. I was told that the father became sick and died after the attacks started, that the mother and boy fled and now the boy might be in lower Burma in boarding school and the mother in China with relatives. I am not sure how, but I hope to get in touch with these two people to thank them for their home and to tell them it is still a fine home and that I pray one day they can return. On our last day here we were in the middle of an exchange of fire between the Burma Army and the Kachin resistance. No one was hit by the Burma Army machinegun and rifle fire, but the Burma troops remain in their camp above the village and the village remains empty.
I write this from a small dilapidated bamboo hut on the edge of a town ransacked and burned by the Burma Army, and it is clear that the situation in Burma is not simple. In Burma there is more than one government. There is the central government and there are many representative ethnic governments. While positive changes have occurred, there are still attacks and oppression. We had a very good meeting in March with representatives of the central government and we felt mutual warmth and a shared sincerity for change, but on the ground in some areas we see other realities as well: children killed, homes destroyed, churches desecrated, people fleeing. As changes occur in Burma, how can people under oppression and attack be helped in a more comprehensive way? What do you do when oppression which is destructive to both oppressed and oppressor goes on? We thank you for your part in standing with and helping those who are in need and not yet free.
May God bless you,
Dave, Family and the Free Burma Rangers
Kachin State, Burma
The Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.
For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org
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