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Burma update from BPF, and films and books

From: Maia Duerr
Date: October 31, 2007 6:00:23 PM EDT
Subject: [Bpf Chapters] Burma update from BPF, and films/books

Dear BPF Chapters and Friends,

Though it may seem that we've been quiet on the Burma front, BPF staff and members have been very active behind the scenes in helping to sustain support for Burma over the past month.

One of our staff, Alan Senauke, has written the following news update, current action alerts, and a summary of how BPF will continue to respond to this situation over the longterm. This will go out to the e-newsletter list tomorrow and on our website, but I wanted you all to have the first look at it.

Please note that our plan is to hire a staff person in November who will be dedicated to organizing around the Burma issue in the coming months. We very much want to do this in partnership with all of you. We'll keep you posted on this in the next few weeks.

in peace,
Maia Duerr
BPF chapter coordinator and communications director


November 1, 2007
Burma: Update and What We Can Do

By BPF staff member Alan Senauke

The Latest News from Burma

For the first time since late September?s military crackdown in Burma, hundreds of monks marched peacefully through the streets of Pakokku in Upper Burma on October 31, chanting the Metta Sutta and the slogan, ?No persecution man by man.?

Where are the monks? The answer is they are still there, still in alignment and sympathy with all those in Burma suffering under a military dictatorship for 45 years.

Also in the news on October 31, Human Rights Watch reports that the Burmese government has been forcibly recruiting children, some as young as 10 years old, into the army to meet a military staffing crisis. These unconscionable violations of human rights are being actively investigated by the United Nations Security Council's working group on children and armed conflict.

"The brutality of Burma's military government goes beyond its violent crackdown on peaceful protestors," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. "Military recruiters are literally buying and selling children to fill the ranks of the Burmese armed forces."

Meanwhile, the crackdown on Burma?s democratic movement -- midnight arrests, torture, and disappearance ? goes on unabated.

What Can You Do?

In the West, Buddhists and all people who care about Burma continue to demonstrate our concern and commitment. Here are three things you can do.

1) Urge Chevron to Help Stop the Violence

Our friends at Earthrights International, defending human rights and the environment in troubled places around the globe, have issued a call and online petition urging Chevron to use its influence to help stop the violence in Burma. You can sign the petition at Please send the link to your friends and communities.

From Earthrights International:

Chevron Corporation is one of the largest foreign investors in Burma and the only remaining major U.S. corporation with a significant presence there. As Burma has seen the largest popular challenge to its military government in 20 years, and the government has begun to crack down on the demonstrators (killing several already), we urgently request that Chevron use its influence to pressure the military regime to respect human rights, including the rights to freedom of association and freedom of speech, and to refrain from using any further force against peaceful protestors.

2) Participate in Ongoing Political Work

If you live in the U.S., write to your congressional representatives to express your strong concern about Burma, and urge them to support diplomatic efforts to pressure China and India to cut off their arms sales to Burma and to use their influence to promote democratic rights. As key economic partners with both India and China we do have leverage. With the Olympics approaching in summer of 2008, China is particularly vulnerable to international scrutiny. With our Burmese allies, we are investigating the possibility of joining an international campaign to boycott the Olympics.

3) Provide Direct Aid to the People of Burma

BPF members have asked how they might provide material support to monks, nuns, and the families of others caught in Burma?s turmoil. Some of these people are still in Burma proper, and some have fled to the Thai border. In either case, your donations can be sent through the Foundation for the People of Burma, which is quietly supporting those at risk inside and at the margins of the country. The Foundation, a BPF affiliate, is committed to deliver every dollar of donations to those in need.

What is the Buddhist Peace Fellowship Doing?

With the help of a working group of Buddhist teachers and advisors ? including Jack Kornfield, Michele Bohana, Tara Brach, Gina Sharpe and others ? dedicated to freedom in Burma, BPF is about to hire a part-time staff person who will serve as organizer for our Burma human rights and support work. By creating this new staff position, focusing on human rights and everything that means, we will be able to build stronger ties among chapters, members, Buddhist communities, engaged Buddhists in Asia, and Burmese friends here and inside Burma. Our goal is to better able to provide timely information, analysis, strategy, and ways that we can build our dharma activism.

BPF has been involved with the cause of freedom in Burma since the democracy movement of 1988. Over the years, BPF staff (including myself) and board members have traveled there to see for themselves the conditions of repression and the upwelling of liberation. In this historical moment, when change seems so near and yet so hazardous, we are more committed than ever. Over the past month, we have been increasing our efforts to build alliances with Burmese communities, and at Buddhist centers throughout the U.S.

We thank all of you for such an overwhelming response to the crisis in Burma during this past month, and for bearing witness to the struggle for democracy and human rights in that country with many events around the globe. As the crisis continues, we invite you to join with BPF in sustaining support for the people inside Burma over the longterm.


And, if you are looking for resources for your chapter/group to learn more about Burma, here are a few ideas:


Beyond Rangoon

Inside Burma: Land of Fear (1996)
ordering info: http://www.bullfrogfi...
about the filmmaker: http://www.johnpilger...


Freedom from Fear, by Aung San Suu Kyi
Order through Powells and BPF gets a small percentage of each sale:

Letters from Burma, by Aung San Suu Kyi

BPFchapters mailing list

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Burma update from BPF, and films and books November 1, 2007 4:34 AM Tom L.
Situation 'murky' in Myanmar (from pbs) October 27, 2007 10:14 AM Tom L.
Recent Petitions from Burma October 26, 2007 11:54 PM Tom L.
Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war October 22, 2007 11:45 PM Tom L.
full horror of Burmese junta's repression October 15, 2007 12:35 AM Tom L.
Totla Denial: A Documentary October 13, 2007 7:46 AM Tom L.
How China Got Religion October 11, 2007 11:05 PM Tom L.
Satements by Countries October 7, 2007 11:47 PM Tom L.
Security Council 10-5-7 October 8, 2007 12:00 AM Tom L.
Scot Marciel's Senate Statement on Burma October 4, 2007 11:49 PM Tom L.
U.S. Policy Regarding Burma October 5, 2007 1:03 AM Tom L.
Comment's on Senate Hearing on Burma October 5, 2007 6:55 PM Tom L.

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