Great news from the Burma Campaign UK:
On Friday morning Thai authorities started the deportations, sending three families back to Burma, but then halted them. The reason for halting the deportations was undoubtedly the international attention being paid to what they were doing. Thousands of people answered our request and sent emails to the Thai Prime Minister and the local governor. Media, including The Independent, reported on what was going on, and European governments also called on Thailand to halt the deportations.
Now we have heard further good news, the three families who were forced back to Burma were able to return to the temporary refugee camp in Thailand yesterday.
Though they also write:
However, the danger is not completely over yet. Local soldiers have still been pressuring the refugees to agree to return, and no permanent solution has yet been agreed that means the refugees are safe and secure. Senior level meetings involving Karen organisations and government officials are being held in Thailand to try to find a solution.
So there is still need for prayer! If no longer writing to the Thai authorities 😉
Radio Australia reports Special Minister of State Senator John Faulkner as saying:
From time to time it may be drawn to our attention that someone close to the Burmese regime is in Australia and should this occur of course the government looks closely at such a case carefully and responds appropriately.
Since this was in the context of:
Expressing concern over the lack of political, economic and
humanitarian reform in Burma, Senator Faulkner says Australia could take action against a list of people with links to the regime who are already here or who may want to come here.
So, the Aussies are doing something, here I have not yet received a reply from Phil Goff, and I doubt we can make Burma an election issue, now there’s a cause for prayer, that Burma rise higher up the “agenda” in the media wherever you live.
This reading of Psalm 8: with a Karen setting (from the CEV) should provide the opportunity for praise and thanksgiving (as well as supplication) in our praying for Burma!
Psalm 8 read over pictures and a choir from Karen country on the Thai-Burma border.
Many protestors in 1988 were young people in their twenties, those who survived – the vast majority despite the aggressive tactics of the Army during the protests and in the oppression that followed – are now in their fourties, middle aged!
The Irrawaddy has a feature article on some of them: “Where are they now?” It begins with the story of a 16 year old Tin Maung Htoo:
The menacing group of five soldiers emerged from Rangoon’s city hall, knelt down and aimed their guns at the protesters. Tin Maung Htoo, a 16-year-old high school student, sat tight, linking arms with others in the front row.
The first shots Tin Maung Htoo heard, however, sounded like machine gun fire from armored cars sweeping round both sides of the Sule Pagoda on that August night, 19 years ago.
Pray for the protestors of 1988 who survive, as they remember. Pray that they will remember.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Today is a big day for Burma, the twentieth anniversary of the 8888 uprising, and the day when George W Bush makes a statement on Burma while on his way to China. China is one of the few real supporters the military junta have.
On the 8th August 1988 a student led uprising looked set to overthrow the dictator Ne Win who had rulled Burma since 1962. Instead on 18th September the SLORC coup put an even more brutal military junta in control. Two years later despite soldiers controlling polling stations Aung San Suu Kyi won the general election she has been imprisoned almost ever since.
George Walker Bush
Can I suggest that between now and 18th September this year you covenant to pray for Burma?
Today George Bush talks with Burmese activists in Bangkok, and then speaks on radio into Burma, whatever you think of George W pray for him and his words, that they have power and that that power might be for good!