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nz
FIRST QUARTER 2008
thep
o
lit
ic
s
b
u
r
m
a
{
of
SECOND QUARTER 2008
“We’re in 2008, not 1908. If
we let [the junta] get away
with murder, we may set a
very dangerous precedent.”
2 PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008
Partners Magazine Second Quarter 2008
Publisher: Partners Relief & Development
Partners’ Mission: To demonstrate God’s love to victims
of conict and oppression.
Founder: Steve Gumaer
PRAD is a registered charity in the USA, Canada, UK,
Australia, Norway, New Zealand and Thailand
PRAD’s Field Oces:
Chiang Mai and Mae Sot, Thailand
Subscriptions: For a free subscription to Partners Maga-
zine and for information on how you can help PRAD in
our mission, please contact us:
USA
E-mail: info@partnersworld.org
Web: www.partnersworld.org
Mail: Partners USA
PO Box 27220
Albuquerque, NM
87125-7220
USA
Tel: 505-248-9842
CANADA
E-mail: info@partnersworld.ca
Web: www.partnersworld.ca
Mail: Partners Canada
33130 Springbank Road
Calgary, Alberta
T3Z 2L9
Canada
Tel: 403-242-7903
AUSTRALIA
E-mail: info@partnersworld.org.au
Web: www.partnersworld.org.au
Mail:
PO Box 13
Alstonville NSW 2477
Australia
Tel: (02) 6628 5387
UK
E-mail: info@partnersworld.org.uk
Web: www.partnersworld.org.uk
Mail:
15 Kingsthorpe Close, Forest Town
Manseld, Notts NG19 0PD
UK
Tel: +44 (0)7970-188-079
NEW ZEALAND
E-mail: info@partnersworld.org.nz
Web: www.partnersworld.org.nz
Mail:
PO Box 40 284
Upper Hutt
New Zealand
Tel: 09 974 2850
Reprints: Bulk reprints can be obtained
directly from PRAD as availability permits.
Contributors: Ben Rogers, Win Min, Dave Eubank, Craig
Garrison, Steve & Oddny Gumaer.
Frontpage quote: Jan Egeland, former UN emergency-
relief coordinator
Photos: Kara Garrison: p2, FBR: p.4, 6, Delta Tears: 9-15,
Stu Corlett: p.15 (bottom), 24, K’Chay: p.16, Brent Madi-
son: p.19. Lena Knutli: p.23. All other photos: private
Layout and design: Oddny Gumaer
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are
taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version
(NIV). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984. Zondervan Publishing
House.
Permission to reproduce any of the material found in
Partners Magazine can be obtained at:
info@partnersworld.org
Printed by ACTSCo .org
© Partners Relief & Development 2008.
PARTNERS MATTERS
by Craig Garrison
Partners Relief & Development
A few months back, the editorial team at Partners had a bright
idea for the next issue of Partners Magazine: "Let's do an issue
on the politics of Burma!" The consensus of the group was, yes,
the time has come for us to address this issue in a Christian context.
Others on our sta moaned when we told them the idea. I think the
majority of the hesitation was that they thought no-one would be
interested in reading about the politics of Burma or that this was a
bit too risky of an idea for us to delve into (what's that saying about
religion and politics?).
Well, as you can now see, the editorial team won out. However, little
did we know that a natural disaster of biblical proportions was going
to hit Burma in the middle of our magazine production. Initially we
thought that we should change the whole focus of the magazine and
concentrate solely on the devastation that Cyclone Nargis wrought.
However, as the days unfolded after the event, it became very clear
to us that the politics of Burma had everything to do with what was
happening after the cyclone hit. This regime has not only acted with
indierence to millions of their own people, they have acted with
criminal negligence. So, what you are reading in this issue is the
combining of both our experience thus far in responding to the crisis
and an in-depth look at the politics of Burma and how these politics
have shaped, not only the regime's response (or, better put, non-
response) to this disaster, but their entire world-view.
Included in this issue are two excellent articles from our good friend,
Ben Rogers, of CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide). Ben brings a
wealth of experience and understanding when it comes to the junta
that rules Burma. Do yourself a favour and read both articles. Finally,
I want to highlight that Partners Relief & Development USA has re-
cently taken the big step of hiring a full-time National Director, to be
based in the States. His name is Spencer Kerrigan and you can read a
bit about him in this issue as well.
As you read this issue of Partners Magazine, I hope that your heart
breaks for what has happened to the people of Burma from the
destruction brought by Cyclone Nargis. But, I also hope that your
heart burns with righteous indignation for what has been happen-
ing to the people of Burma for nearly 60 years at the hands of their
own government. And I pray that each of us would be challenged
and encouraged "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly
with our God" (Micah 6:8).
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
At the end of the eighties I was a political activist.
I thought that politics was about wearing the right
buttons with loud slogans on my jacket, about
unremitting protests, and disagreeing with every
politician who was older than 45. The kind of clothes
one wore most certainly mattered. I wore what was–at
that time–considered retro, and that meant that I did
not like it when rivers were turned into dams.
Things changed when I realised that life is about more
than political slogans. Besides, politics is a word that
most people shy away from. It tends to be associated
with the act of shoveling horse manure, eternal
boredom, unscrupulousness and fraud. It is easy to
understand why. World history and the headline news
are littered with people who have abused their power by
passing laws that have resulted in death, suering and
loss of freedom. With such mendacious incompetents in
power, it’s hard to have a positive outlook. My somewhat
naïve ideas from the eighties now seem as unreal as the
popularity of Billy Idol and Michael Jackson. Like a sulky
toddler who doesn’t want to join the game because
she may get boo-boos, and because the other team has
all the big kids on it, I am tempted to retreat. I want to
cover myself with hopelessness and go nowhere, when I
should remember who I am and what my calling is.
In my home, my children will mount the biggest
campaign against dishwashing, claiming that spending
20 minutes using suds and water to clean plates
with traces of Alfredo sauce is child abuse, especially
considering how incredible their homework load is.
Then, somehow, they nd the time to chat with friends
on MSN. In the world, Christians, such as myself, say that
to x what is brokenspoiled with the greasy sauce of
sinful behavior is going to take time, resources and
expertise that we don’t have. Then we spend countless
hours on humdrum activities, wishing for some more
zest in our lives.
There are days when I forget who I am and why I
am here. My daily worries occupy me so much that I
become like a soldier without armour, not sure who
the enemy is. The enemy is not the lack of dinner ideas,
nor is it the unpaid bills on the kitchen counter. In Leif
Enger’s beautifully written book, Peace Like a River,
Jeremiah, the father, says this to his children: “We and
the world, my children, will always be at war. Retreat is
impossible. Arm yourselves.” And then they walk into the
darkest night. We are at war and we better get used to it.
There is no such thing as withdrawal.
It’s basic. World politics is basic. It’s not just about
reading those thick, graphically-challenged documents
with impossible language. It’s not just about
campaigning for oce or about the power to pass laws.
It’s about making loving your neighbour as yourself policy.
That is where it starts. The way each one of us chooses
to do so is up to each one of us. God doesn’t make
clones and doesn’t expect each one of us to follow the
same pattern. What I believe he does expect, however, is
that we all ask him what our role is in the war.
It sounds silly, I know, but I kind of like to imagine
myself as the courageous soldier who is ghting on the
castle wall, using my sword to slash the enemy’s head
o. Then I come to my senses and remember that I get
nauseated when I see blood, can’t even kill a cockroach
and am so uncoordinated that I would probably chop
my own head o if given a sword. But I like to think of
courage as something more symbolic than participation
in a physical battle. It takes courage to stand up for what
is right. It takes courage to ght for what is true, noble,
right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy
(Phil. 4:8). And that is our calling in this world.
It’s unlikely that I will ever address heads of state
with my earth shattering ideology of Oddnyism. It may
not be such a good ideology after all. But I won’t stop
speaking what is true and doing what is right. That is my
calling, and if nobody other than the One who has called
me to do so hears me, that is okay too. I can still say I
have been obedient to Him who matters most.
Oddny Gumaer is the co-founder of Partners. She is a runner
with an injured foot, a designer with too much to do, the wife of
Partners’ boss and the mother of three precocious children. She
wants to write another book. She keeps it all together somehow.
For comments on this article or advice on how to x her arch,
email her at: oddny@partnersworld.org.
Earth Shattering Politics in a World of Fraud
by Oddny Gumaer
3
T
h
e

a
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t
i
v
i
s
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i
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1
9
8
5
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 4
Few
 countries
 in
 the
 world
 today
 have

suffered
as
much
for
so
long
with
so
little

international
 attention
 as
 Burma.
 For
 a

few
 weeks
 last
 September,
 our
 television

screens
 were
 (illed
 with
 images
 of
 brave

Buddhist
 monks
 and
 Burmese
 civilians

marching
 peacefully
 for
 democracy.

But
 the
 ‘Saffron
 Revolution’
 was
 short­
lived.
 These
 scenes
 were
 soon
 followed

by
 pictures
 of
 the
 Burma
 Army
 turning

their
 guns
 on
 the
 protesters.
 The
 streets

were
covered
in
blood­stained,
discarded

slippers
 as
 the
 people
 (led.
 And
 then
 the

media
moved
on.
The
monks
woke
the
conscience
of
the
world,

but
 the
 challenge
 now
 is
 to
 ensure
 that
 the

world
does
not
go
back
to
sleep.
For
46
years

Burma
 has
 been
 ruled
 by
 the
 military,
 who

have
 raped
 the
 land
 as
 well
 as
 the
 people.

In
that
time,
Burma
has
changed
from
being

one
of
the
wealthiest
countries
in
the
region,

rich
in
natural
resources
–
the
“rice
bowl”
of

Asia
–
to
one
of
the
world’s
poorest
nations.

The
 current
 illegal
 regime,
 known
 as
 the

State
 Peace
 and
 Development
 Council

(SPDC),
 is
 guilty
 of
 every
 possible
 human

rights
 violation:
 the
 widespread
 and

systematic
 use
 of
 rape
 as
 a
 weapon
 of
 war,

forced
 labour,
 land
 con.iscation,
 the
 use
 of

human
minesweepers,
religious
persecution,

the
 displacement
 of
 over
 a
 million
 people

and
 the
 destruction
 of
 over
 3,200
 villages

in
eastern
Burma
since
1996.
Many
of
these

crimes
 have
 been
 carried
 out
 over
 decades.

But
 in
 addition,
 the
 regime
 has
 held
 Nobel

Laureate,
 Aung
 San
 Suu
 Kyi,
 the
 democracy

leader,
under
house
arrest
for
over
12
years,

locked
 up
 over
 1,800
 political
 prisoners

and
 subjected
 them
 to
 horri.ic
 torture,

and
 forcibly
 conscripted
 over
 70,000
 child

soldiers,
 taken
 from
 the
 streets
 at
 gunpoint

–
 the
 highest
 proportion
 of
 child
 soldiers
 in

the
world.

Burma,
 a
 former
 British
 colony,
 gained

independence
 in
 1947
 and
 just
 over
 a

decade
 of
 fragile
 democracy
 followed.
 But

in
 1962,
 General
 Ne
 Win
 staged
 a
 bloody

coup,
 overthrowing
 U
 Nu,
 Burma’s
 leader

at
 that
 time,
 and
 ushering
 in
 the
 beginning

of
 a
 brutal
 reign
 of
 terror.
 For
 the
 next
 four

decades,
 Ne
 Win
 closed
 Burma’s
 doors

to
 the
 world,
 expelling
 missionaries
 and

foreign
companies,
and
forbidding
or
tightly

restricting
 foreign
 visitors.
 Businesses,

schools
 and
 hospitals
 were
 nationalised.

Ne
 Win
 was
 .iercely
 opposed
 to
 federalism,

and
so
the
tensions
between
the
regime
and

Burma’s
 ethnic
 nationalities
 –
 who
 make

up
 40%
 of
 the
 population
 and
 inhabit
 60%

of
 the
 land
 –
 erupted.
 Con.lict
 between

the
 Burman‐majority
 government
 and

the
 ethnic
 groups
 had
 been
 brewing
 even

during
 the
 democratic
 period,
 because
 the

government
failed
to
grant
the
ethnic
groups

the
 autonomy
 they
 desired.
 But
 the
 military

regime’s
treatment
of
the
ethnic
groups
took

the
con.lict
to
an
entirely
new
level.
Ne
 Win’s
 regime
 was
 intolerant
 of
 any

form
 of
 dissent.
 Several
 times
 between

1962
 and
 1988,
 people
 demonstrated
 –
 and

were
 brutally
 crushed.
 In
 1988
 it
 was
 no

different,
 though
 the
 numbers
 were
 more

signi.icant.
 Tens
 of
 thousands
 took
 to
 the

streets
throughout
the
summer
months.
The

protests
were
initially
sparked
by
a
brawl
in
a

teashop
which
resulted
in
the
police
shooting

two
 students.
 But
 anger
 had
 been
 building

up
 at
 Ne
 Win’s
 decision
 the
 previous
 year,

on
 the
 advice
 of
 astrologers,
 to
 demonetise

much
of
the
currency.
He
had
been
told
that

the
 number
 nine
 was
 his
 lucky
 number,

and
 so
 he
 replaced
 several
 banknotes
 with

denominations
 divisible
 by
 nine.
 Thousands

of
 people
 lost
 their
 life
 savings
 overnight.

The
 military
 responded
 to
 the
 protests
 in

true
character,
shooting
thousands.
The
exact

number
of
dead
in
1988
is
unknown,
but
on

one
day
alone,
8
August
1988,
at
least
3,000

were
killed
–
and
many
more
during
the
rest

of
the
year.

Two
 years
 after
 the
 brutal
 crackdown

`ealjk`Z\
dXb\j_`jkfip
ABOVE: Two
children in
hiding from the
SPDC.
BELOW: Villag-
ers eeing the
attacks of the
SPDC; Saw Lay
Ray who was
captured, tor-
tured and killed
by the SPDC; A
Shan girl who
was raped by
SPDC soldiers
when she was
nine.
Naw Eh Ywa Paw
who was shot
by SPDC soldiers
when she was
nine.
ABOVE: A map
of Burma Army
(SPDC) outposts
in Northern
Karen State;
Some of the 850
villagers who
were forced to
porter in Toun-
goo district, May
2006.
by
Ben
Rogers
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
5
in
 1988,
 the
 regime
 decided

to
 hold
 elections.
 One
 can
 only

speculate
 as
 to
 its
 reasons,
 but
 it
 is

likely
 that
 the
 military
 believed
 it

could
 win
 the
 elections
 –
 through

intimidation
 and
 rigging
 –
 and

thus
 “legitimise”
 its
 rule.
 It
 was

wrong.
 Despite
 severe
 harassment

and
 intimidation,
 the
 National

League
 for
 Democracy
 (NLD)
 led

by
 Aung
 San
 Suu
 Kyi,
 daughter
 of

independence
leader
Aung
San,
won

82%
of
the
parliamentary
seats.
The

regime’s
 response?
 It
 ignored
 the

results,
 imprisoned
 the
 victors
 and

intensi.ied
 its
 grip
 on
 power.
 Most

Members
 of
 Parliament
 elected
 in

1990
were
jailed
or
.led
into
exile.
And
so
in
2008,
we
come
full
circle.

Following
the
violent
suppression
of

the
 Saffron
 Revolution,
 the
 regime

pushed
through
with
a
referendum,

in
 May
 this
 year.
 But
 this
 time,
 they

did
not
make
the
same
mistake
they

made
 in
 1990.
 This
 time,
 they
 got

the
 result
 they
 wanted,
 regardless

of
the
worst
natural
disaster
in
their

country’s
modern
history.

It
 is
 dif.icult
 to
 imagine
 a
 more

blatant
 sham.
 The
 National

Convention,
 which
 drafted
 the

guidelines
 for
 the
 constitution,

involved
 no
 debate
 among
 the

handpicked
 delegates,
 and
 none
 of

the
proposals
made
by
the
few
ethnic

representatives
 who
 participated

were
adopted.
Aung
San
Suu
Kyi,
the

NLD,
 and
 the
 major
 ethnic
 groups

were
 excluded.
 Law
 5/96
 imposed

prison
 terms
 of
 up
 to
 20
 years
 for

discussing
the
constitution
process.
Millions
 of
 Burmese
 were

disenfranchised.
 Buddhist
 monks

and
 nuns,
 who
 number
 500,000,

were
 denied
 the
 vote.
 Religious

leaders
 from
 other
 faiths
 were
 also

excluded.
 Over
 500,000
 internally

displaced
 people
 on
 the
 run
 in
 the

jungles
 of
 eastern
 Burma,
 as
 well

as
 the
 700,000
 Muslim
 Rohingyas,

treated
 as
 non‐citizens
 and

therefore
 stateless,
 were
 banned

from
 participating.
 Millions
 living

in
con.lict
zones
in
the
ethnic
states,

as
well
as
refugees
who
have
.led
to

neighbouring
 countries
 and
 exiles

further
 a.ield,
 were
 also
 excluded.

And
 this
 doesn’t
 even
 include
 the

millions
 of
 citizens
 affected
 by

Cyclone
 Nargis
 who
 were
 unable
 to

vote.


Few
 have
 seen
 the
 full

constitution,
 which
 was
 only

published
 one
 month
 before
 the

referendum.
 It
 is
 only
 available
 in

Burmese,
 making
 it
 dif.icult
 for

those
 ethnic
 nationalities
 who

are
 allowed
 to
 vote
 to
 understand

what
 they
 are
 voting
 on.
 But
 those

who
 are
 able
 to
 get
 a
 copy
 and

can
 read
 it
 will
 .ind
 a
 constitution

which
 offers
 no
 improvement
 in

human
 rights
 or
 democracy
 at
 all.

They
 will
 .ind
 a
 constitution
 which

simply
 enshrines
 military
 rule.

The
 Commander‐in‐Chief
 of
 the

Burma
 Army
 will
 appoint
 25%
 of

the
national
legislators.
He
will
also

appoint
 the
 Minister
 of
 Defense,

who
 will
 report
 to
 him.
 The
 army

chief
can
seize
power
at
any
point,
if

he
 happens
 to
 believe
 that
 national

security
is
threatened.
There
will
be

no
 independent
 judiciary,
 and
 the

constitution
cannot
be
amended
for

10
years.
Political
prisoners
will
be
barred

from
 contesting
 elections,
 and
 the

President
 must
 be
 a
 person
 with

military
 experience
 who
 has
 not

married
 a
 foreigner.
 Aung
 San
 Suu

Kyi,
therefore,
is,
by
de.inition,
ruled

out.
Burma’s
tragedy
continues
today.

From
100,000
or
more
people
killed

and
 the
 two
 million
 displaced
 by

Cyclone
 Nargis,
 to
 the
 internally

displaced
 persons
 trapped
 in
 a

jungle
 hide‐out,
 hunted
 by
 the

Burma
 Army,
 cold,
 sick,
 hungry

and
 without
 access
 to
 medicine,

shelter
or
food,
talk
of
referendums

and
 constitutions
 are
 meaningless.

Until
 the
 regime
 stops
 killing
 its

people,
 and
 instead
 involves
 them

in
 a
 genuine,
 inclusive
 dialogue,
 no

process
 has
 any
 worth.
 The
 world

should
 reject
 the
 results
 from

this
 referendum,
 the
 constitution

itself,
 unambiguously,
 and
 increase

pressure
on
the
regime
to
change.





































































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BURMA’S JUNTA is led by two
generals wielding almost absolute
power. But in-ghting and a lack
of transparency have gener-
ated regular rumours of power
struggles at the top.
SENIOR GENERAL THAN SHWE,
73, is the head of the ruling junta
and controls the army. He is the
most hard-line leader.
MAUNG AYE is also a career
soldier and the second most pow-
erful man in the country. He has
a reputation for ruthlessness and
xenophobia, and is also staunchly
opposed to allowing Aung San
Suu Kyi any future role.
5
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By Ben Rogers
A
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B
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08
7
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
I
recently
returned
from
another

visit
 to
 the
 Thai­Burma
 border,

which
 when
 added
 to
 my
 visits

to
 the
 India­Burma
 border,

the
 China­Burma
 border
 and

Rangoon
 and
 Mandalay,
 mean

I
 have
 so
 far
 made
 a
 total
 of
 22

visits
 to
 the
 Burma
 region
 since

2000.
On
each
visit,
I
have
talked

with
 people
 who
 have
 seen
 their

villages
burned,
loved
ones
killed,

women
 raped
 and
 tortured,
 and

have
been
used
for
forced
labour.

On
one
visit,
I
met
a
woman
whose

15­year­old
 son
 had
 been
 killed

by
the
Burma
Army.
He
had
been

tied
 to
 a
 tree
 and
 his
 head
 cut

off.
 I
 met
 another
 woman
 whose

husband
had
been
mutilated
and

killed.
 Burma
 Army
 soldiers
 had

gouged
 out
 his
 eyes,
 torn
 off
 his

lips
and
cut
off
his
ears.
And
I
met

a
 third
 woman
 whose
 husband

had
been
hung
upside
down
from

a
 tree,
 tortured,
 his
 eyes
 gouged

out,
 and
 then
 drowned.
 This
 is

the
 terrible
 truth
 about
 Burma

today.
The
suffering
is
compounded
by
the

extraordinary
 inhumanity
 of
 the

regime
in
response
to
the
devastation

of
Cyclone
Nargis,
not
only
delaying

or
 restricting
 aid,
 but
 deliberately

denying
and
obstructing
it.
And
 so
 it
 begs
 the
 question:
 is
 this

a
regime
that
we
should
do
business

with?
The
question
of
sanctions
is
a

thorny
 one.
 There
 are
 people
 who

argue
that
if
we
invest
in
Burma,
we

open
 up
 the
 country
 to
 new
 ideas

–
 and
 develop
 an
 engagement
 with

the
 junta
 which
 may
 one
 day
 cause

them
 to
 change.
 There
 are
 others,

however,
 who
 argue
 for
 economic

sanctions.

The
 case
 for
 targeted
 economic

sanctions
 is
 strong
 –
 morally,

politically
 and
 economically.

Firstly,
 Burma’s
 democracy

movement
 has
 asked
 for
 sanctions.

Nobel
Laureate
Aung
San
Suu
Kyi,
in

her
12th
year
of
house
arrest,
called

for
 an
 investment
 ban.
 Her
 party,

the
 National
 League
 for
 Democracy

(NLD),
 overwhelmingly
 won

elections
in
1990,
but
those
elected

are
either
in
exile
or
in
prison,
denied

their
 rightful
 place
 in
 government.

More
than
1,800
political
prisoners

remain
in
jail,
subjected
to
the
most

barbaric
forms
of
torture.
Aung
San

Suu
 Kyi’s
 position
 is
 echoed
 by
 the

leaders
 of
 the
 major
 ethnic
 groups.

Surely
 we
 ought
 to
 listen
 to
 their

request.
Foreign
investment
helps
the
regime

buy
more
weapons
and
build
its
army.

Burma
has
no
external
enemies,
so
it

uses
its
military
for
one
purpose:
to

suppress
and
attack
its
own
people.

Over
a
million
people
are
internally

displaced
 in
 eastern
 Burma
 as
 a

result
 of
 military
 offensives
 against

civilians.
 The
 regime
 is
 carrying

out
 ethnic
 cleansing
 bordering
 on

a
 slow,
 attempted
 genocide
 against

the
 Karen,
 Karenni,
 Shan
 peoples

and
other
ethnic
groups.
More
than

3,200
 villages
 in
 eastern
 Burma

have
 been
 destroyed
 since
 1996.

When
 the
 military
 attacks,
 they

loot
 and
 destroy
 everything
 –
 rice

barns,
 crops,
 livestock,
 cooking

instruments
 and
 homes,
 and
 lay

landmines
at
the
entrance
to
villages

to
 stop
 those
 who
 have
 escaped

from
 returning.
 Civilians
 are
 used

as
 human
 minesweepers,
 forced
 to

walk
 across
 .ields
 of
 landmines
 to

clear
 them
 for
 the
 military
 –
 losing

their
 limbs
 and
 often
 their
 lives
 in

the
process.
On
top
of
all
this,
Burma

has
 the
 world’s
 highest
 number
 of

forcibly
 conscripted
 child
 soldiers,
some
 as
 young
 as
 nine, taken
 from

bus
 stops
 and
 street
 corners,
 and

forced
to
join
the
military.
Therefore,

morally,
 we
 need
 to
 ask
 ourselves

whether
this
regime
is
really
one
we

wish
to
fund.
We
may
not
be
selling

them
arms
–
but
by
investing,
we
are

giving
them
the
cash
to
buy
arms.
There
 are
 several
 myths
 about

sanctions
 which
 need
 to
 be

corrected.

Myth
 #1
 is
 that
 sanctions
 have

failed.
 But
 the
 truth
 is,
 sanctions

have
 not
 really
 been
 tried.
 Only
 the

United
States
has
really
meaningful

trade
and
investment
sanctions.
The

European
 Union
 (EU)
 introduced
 a

ban
 on
 investment
 in,
 and
 imports

of,
 gems,
 metals
 and
 timber
 only
 in

October
 2007
 –
 the
 .irst
 targeted

sanctions
 it
 has
 imposed
 with

any
 bite.
 Previously,
 EU
 measures

included
 some
 symbolic
 but

ineffective
 sanctions
 such
 as
 a
 visa

ban,
 an
 asset
 freeze
 and
 an
 arms

embargo.
The
EU
has
still
not
banned

investment
in
the
oil
or
gas
sectors,

the
major
sources
of
revenue
for
the

regime.

Myth
 #2
 is
 that
 sanctions
 hurt

the
people.
No
one
is
talking
about

Iraqi‐style
blanket‐sanctions.
Those

who
 campaign
 on
 this
 issue
 want

targeted
 sanctions,
 aimed
 at
 the

regime
 and
 its
 assets.
 Economic

investment
 in
 Burma
 bene.its
 very

few
 people
 other
 than
 the
 regime.

Three‐quarters
 of
 the
 population

live
 in
 the
 subsistence
 agriculture

sector,
outside
the
realms
of
foreign

investment.
 They
 do
 not
 see
 the

bene.its
of
investment,
and
they
are

not
 hurt
 by
 sanctions.
 A
 minority

of
 people
 working
 in
 the
 affected

sectors
 may
 lose
 their
 jobs,
 but

we
 face
 a
 stark
 choice:
 to
 allow

the
 regime
 the
 .inance
 it
 needs
 for

its
 survival,
 thereby
 condemning

Burma
 to
 continued
 oppression

and
 violence,
 or
 cut
 the
 regime’s

.inancial
lifelines,
forcing
it
to
come

to
 the
 table.
 Foreign
 companies

cannot
 do
 business
 in
 Burma

without
 putting
 large
 amounts

of
 money
 into
 the
 pockets
 of
 the

regime,
 which
 spends
 almost
 50%

of
 its
 budget
 on
 the
 military
 and

less
 than
 $1
 per
 person
 per
 year
 on

health
 and
 education
 combined.

Signi.icant
 foreign
 investment

goes
 through
 the
 regime’s
 two

major
 conglomerates:
 the
 Union
 of

Myanmar
 Economic
 Holdings
 Ltd

Foreign investment
helps the regime buy
more weapons and
build its army. Burma
has no external
enemies, so it uses
its military for one
purpose: to suppress
and attack its own
people.
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 8
(UMEH)
and
the
Myanmar
Economic

Corporation
 (MEC).
 The
 UMEH,

whose
 shareholders
 are
 limited
 to

the
military
establishment,
has
as
its

stated
objective
“to
support
military

personnel
and
their
families”
and
“to

try
 and
 become
 the
 main
 logistics

and
 support
 organisation
 for
 the

military.”
 By
 1999,
 the
 UMEH
 had

established
nearly
50
joint
ventures

with
foreign
.irms.

Myth
#3
is
to
compare
Burma
with

countries
 like
 Cuba.
 While
 Cuba

has
its
grave
human
rights
problems,

Burma
 is
 far
 worse.
 Burma
 ranks

alongside
 North
 Korea
 and
 Sudan

as
one
of
the
world’s
worst.
Indeed,

it
 could
 even
 be
 in
 a
 category
 of

its
 own.
 What
 other
 regime
 has

imprisoned
 and
 attempted
 to
 kill
 a

Nobel
 Laureate,
 ignored
 the
 results

of
 an
 election,
 forcibly
 recruited

more
than
70,000
child
soldiers,
and

carried
out
systematic
rape,
torture,

forced
labour,
religious
persecution

and
ethnic
cleansing?

Myth
#4
states
that
if
you
are
pro­
sanctions,
 you
 are
 pro­isolation

and
 against
 engagement.
 This

is
 one
 of
 the
 most
 polarising,

destructive
 and
 inaccurate
 myths

of
all.
I
am
not
against
talking
to
the

regime.
 Indeed,
 I,
 along
 with
 the

rest
 of
 the
 Burma
 pro‐democracy

movement,
 call
 for
 tripartite

dialogue
 between
 the
 regime,
 the

NLD
 and
 the
 ethnic
 groups.
 The

ethnic
 groups
 and
 the
 NLD
 have

consistently
shown
they
are
willing

to
talk.
Only
the
regime
has
refused.

The
 question
 is
 not
 whether
 to

engage,
 but
 how
 and
 on
 whose

terms?
 The
 idea
 that
 investment

produces
 engagement
 is
 nonsense.

In
 the
 1980s
 and
 1990s,
 the
 UK

regularly
held
trade
fairs
in
Rangoon

–
 while
 the
 regime
 was
 bombing

Karen
 villages.
 The
 regime
 did
 not

change
 as
 a
 result
 of
 us
 pumping

money
into
its
coffers.
What
is
needed
is
.inancial
support

for
 the
 pro‐democracy
 movement,

not
 the
 regime.
 If
 the
 international

community
 provided
 assistance

to
 Burmese
 human
 rights
 groups

within
 the
 country
 and
 in
 exile
 to

develop
 their
 capacity,
 it
 would

make
 a
 difference.
 Some
 of
 these

groups
 risk
 their
 lives
 gathering

much‐needed
 information
 inside

Burma,
 and
 disseminating
 it
 to

the
 world.
 Others
 are
 engaged
 in

human
 rights
 education
 and
 civil

society
 development.
 There
 are

broadcasters
 and
 publications

devoted
to
the
spread
of
information

within
 Burma.
 We
 should
 be

supporting
 them,
 not
 the
 Generals.

Doesn’t
 the
 prophet
 Isaiah
 sum

it
 up,
 when
 he
 says
 that
 the
 type

of
 fasting
 we
 should
 choose
 is
 “to

loose
 the
 chains
 of
 injustice
 and

untie
 the
 cords
 of
 the
 yoke,
 to
 set

the
oppressed
free
and
break
every

yoke?”
(Isaiah
58:
6)
The
 (ifth
 and
 (inal
 myth
 is
 that

sanctions
 drive
 the
 regime

into
 the
 hands
 of
 China,
 India

and
 other
 countries
 in
 the

region.
 But
 the
 regime
 has
 always

been
 more
 friendly
 with
 these

countries.
 Burma
 is
 a
 member

of
 the
 Association
 of
 South‐East

Asian
 Nations
 (ASEAN).
 Western

foreign
 investment
 is
 never
 going

to
 counter
 the
 regime’s
 attitudes

–
 and
 it
 will
 simply
 enable
 them
 to

buy
more
arms.
Instead,
the
US
and

the
EU
must
embark
on
a
concerted

effort
 to
 put
 pressure
 on
 China,

India
 and
 ASEAN
 member
 states

to
 use
 the
 in.luence
 they
 have
 with

the
 regime
 to
 bring
 about
 change.

If
 it
 was
 properly
 co‐ordinated,
 the

international
 community
 could

develop
 an
 effective
 “good
 cop,
 bad

cop”
strategy
–
with
the
US
and
the

EU
 providing
 the
 stick,
 and
 China,

India
 and
 ASEAN,
 the
 carrot.
 If

China,
 India
 and
 ASEAN
 could
 be

persuaded
 that
 the
 regime
 itself
 is

the
cause
of
instability
in
the
region,

they
may
be
persuaded
to
have
some

tough
 words
 with
 their
 friends,
 the

Generals.
If
China,
India
and
ASEAN

can
 be
 persuaded
 that
 it
 is
 in
 their

interests
 to
 use
 their
 in.luence
 for

change,
 they
 may
 just
 do
 so.
 It
 will

be
hard
work,
but
it
is
worth
trying.
At
 the
 end
 of
 the
 day,
 sanctions
 are

only
 one
 tool
 in
 the
 toolbox.
 No

one
 believes
 sanctions
 alone
 will

change
 the
 situation.
 They
 must
 be

used
alongside
other
measures.
But

people
 should
 not
 underestimate

the
 effect
 of
 US
 and
 EU
 sanctions.

Withdrawing
 Western
 investment

cuts
 off
 some
 of
 the
 regime’s

revenues
–
meaning
it
can
buy
fewer

arms
 than
 it
 would
 otherwise
 have

done.
 If
 we
 had
 tougher
 measures

from
 the
 EU,
 combined
 with

pressure
on
China,
India
and
ASEAN

to
 do
 more,
 it
 would
 have
 even

more
 effect.
 Greater
 engagement

by
 the
 UN
 Security
 Council
 and
 the

UN
 Secretary‐General
 would
 also

help.
And
there
is
one
thing
we
can

be
 sure
 of:
 lifting
 sanctions,
 before

there
 is
 any
 meaningful
 progress

towards
 democracy,
 would
 send

entirely
 the
 wrong
 message
 to
 the

regime.
And
in
any
case,
is
a
regime

which
gouges
out
the
eyes
and
cuts

off
 the
 ears
 of
 its
 people
 really
 one

we
would
want
to
invest
in?

Benedict Rogers is the advocacy
ocer for South Asia at Christian
Solidarity Worldwide, and has
made over 20 visits to Burma and
its borderlands since 2000. He
is the author of "A Land Without
Evil: Stopping the Genocide of
Burma’s Karen People" (Monarch
Books, 2004) and co-author of
"On the Side of the Angels: Jus-
tice, Human Rights and Kingdom
Mission" (Authentic Books, 2007).
Ben has been a friend of Partners
for several years and has helped
us understand the nuances of
what is happening inside Burma.
He is a passionate advocate for
those under oppression in Burma
and elsewhere in the world, and
we consider it a privilege to co-
labour with him. In this issue, he
has shared his insights about the
politics of Burma in two separate
articles.
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
9
May 2, 2008
On the 2nd of May, Cyclone Nargis slammed into the Irrawaddy Delta
region in Burma's south, bringing with it winds of 190km/hr, tor-
rential rain, and a devastating 12-foot storm surge, which swept
through the low-lying delta region. In the aftermath of the storm,
Burma has been left with devastation not seen in its modern
history.
Media and independent observers report that between 100,000 and
200,000 people died on May 2nd and more than 2.5 million people
are now homeless, starving, and without shelter.
Report by Steve Gumaer
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 10
“Our attem
pts to go into the disaster area have been frus-
trated by a regim
e that has no regard for its ow
n population.
They have rejected our visa applications and have denied
m
ost of the w
orld's aid organisations access to the people
w
ho suer from
dehydration, starvation and no shelter. In
fact, they are deliberately keeping aid eorts from
the vic-
tim
s in order to further w
eaken the largely Karen and M
on
populations the cyclone ravaged. Does this m
ake you m
ad?
Know
ing the cyclone w
as approaching, they didn't even
w
arn the population of the danger. It's unjust, and it m
akes
m
e angry.”
Steve Gum
aer, Founder, Partners Relief & Developm
ent
why aid doesn’t get to the survivors
The victims of cyclone Nargis, including signicant numbers of Karen, Rohinga and Mon popula-
tions, are the same people who the Burma Army have been waging a genocidal war against for
more than 50 years. They do not view this event as a disaster, but as a welcome event that removed
a large segment of the undesirable population from their land.
Knowing the cyclone was approaching, they didn’t warn the population of the danger. Now that many of
the occupants of the delta are dead, the regime can further control and exploit the natural resources and
strategic coastal positions the victims of the cyclone once inhabited.
The aid agencies that landed in Rangoon with planeloads of supplies had their resources conscated on
the tarmac by the regime. Some of them managed to get their materials back, like Save the Children, who
negotiated hard to get half of their cargo returned to them. The other half of their plane-full of supplies,
and the overwhelming majority of aid that was delivered into Rangoon in the wake of this disaster, have
now been appropriated for the military’s use.
The military regime continues to deliberately keep aid eorts from the victims in order to further weaken
the largely Karen and Mon populations the cyclone ravaged. Their blockades around Rangoon, designed
to keep the world from helping the victims, send a clear message that it is their intention to let nature n-
ish its course against the vulnerable survivors.
“Don’t let evil get the best of you,
but conquer evil
by doing good.”
(Romans 12:21 NLT)
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 10
11
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
Since the day after Cyclone Nargis hit the southwestern coast of Burma and moved inland, Partners Relief
& Development has been working literally day and night to do what we can to bring help and hope to the
hundreds of thousands aected by this disaster. It is important to note that we have determined through
our contacts on the ground in Burma that the most cost ecient way to get supplies to the people who
need them most is for the supplies to be purchased in Burma. By not shipping items into Burma from
Thailand we are able to realise signicant cost savings. Therefore, we have primarily sent cash in with
and to trusted contacts who regularly provide us with status reports. As of the printing of this edition of
Partners Magazine, here is a synopsis of what we have been able to do:
making a change
-Sent in 15,000 Ibs of VitameaI for food needs
-Sent in 100 roIIs of pIastic sheeting for sheIter
-Sent in 250,000 packs of PuR water puriñcation
solution, which will provide drinking water for
more than 23,000 peopIe
-Sent in 34 UV water ñIters, each with the
capacity to provide clean drinking water for
1,000-2,000 peopIe per day
-Sent in nine katadyn ceramic water ñIters, each
with a 26,000 gaIIon ñItering capacity
-Sent in severaI hundred pounds of cIothes
-Provided more than $185,000 USD worth of
food, shelter, medicine, transportation costs
and communications equipment
-HeIped initiate and fund the DeIta Network,
comprised of more than 120
brave ethnic men and women who risk their
lives to enter the delta region
and bring relief and hope
-Created a network with an NC0 on the ground
in Rangoon to coordinate funds transfers, relief
distribution and communications
-Sent in Partners stañ and voIunteers to assist in
coordinating the response on the ground inside
the country
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 12
one brave soul
Partners is working with the Free Burma Rangers,
The Haven Foundation and many other organisa-
tions to organise, deliver, and distribute aid to the
victims of Cyclone Nargis. The most important link in
the chain of aid being delivered are the many brave
men and women who, risking capture and incarcera-
tion nd their way through the regime’s blockades
to help the overwhelming number of vulnerable
people in the Delta region. To protect their identity
we call them the Delta Network.
My team and I bought locally available potatoes,
cooking oil, rice and vegetables, and hired a small
boat to transport us down the Pathein river to the
town of Thetkethaung, on the tip of the delta.
From Myungmya, we hired six-wheeled trucks to take
the displaced people to Pathein, in loads of 200 peo-
ple at a time. We had already agreed with a church to
set up a temporary camp for cyclone victims in their
church compound, which is where the survivors are
sheltered today. With money Partners provided, we
rescued these people, brought them to safety, and
left enough food to last them another month.
Many of the survivors were unaccompanied children
and orphans whose parents died in the cyclone or tidal
waves that followed. These children were all placed in
child care homes that are administrated by one of our
close partners. (Note: we do not know if this photo is
of a child whose parents died.)
A Delta Network volunteer went to the delta with our support in early
May. With $US10,000 and a heart fuII of faith, this is what he did.
I hired large boats and lled them to capacity with
survivors. In just one day I moved more than 2,700
people up the river to a small village in Myuangmya
township.
When we arrived in Thetkethuang, we met more than
2,700 villagers who were crouching in make-shift
shelters made of rubble while rain poured on them.
We fed them, organised them, paused to pray to God
for help, and began preparing them for the up-river
journey to safe ground.
1
2
3
4
5
You may not be able to
save 1.5 million people,
The overwhelming numbers,
the logistical challenges and
the regime’s blockades keep
us from this possibility. The
fact that more than 1.5 million
innocent people are intention-
ally blocked from any lifeline of
help must break God’s heart.
YOU can save a life today.
With your support, ve
people can experience that
God is alive and loves them.
A gift of shelter, food and
medical aid can be brought
to a person in need. A gift
from God. Given by you.
Through your gift, people
will see God working
through the lives of the
many national workers who
risk their lives to help the
victims of Cyclone Nargis.
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 14
b
u
t

y
o
u

c
a
n

s
a
v
e

F
I
V
E
15
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
Helping now means that thousands of in-
nocent victims of disaster and oppression
will see and hear the good news of Jesus
Christ. This act of generosity will save lives
and souls. Skip your Starbucks and send the
savings to Partners, and save ve people!
Skip your Starbucks!
$30
It costs just $US30 to deliver enough rice,
water and shelter to bring ve people
through one month of this crisis. Our goal is
to provide help for 13,000 people. To do this
we need 2,600 people to skip some small
luxury, like a grande latte, and contribute
towards this eort.
Skip your
Starbucks,
save a family
This is the most ambitious relief eort we have
ever embarked on. As members of our com-
munity we appeal to you to stand with us to
demonstrate God’s love to the victims of this
cataclysmic event and the oppression of their
own government.
Join the eort by sending your gift in the en-
closed envelope today or by donating online.
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 16
16 PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008
While all the people of Burma
suer under the oppression
of the dictators, the ethnic
people of Burma have received
especially harsh treatment.
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
For over 50 years, the dictators of Burma have waged war
against their own civilian Burman and ethnic minority
population, displacing over one million people. It is a
war backed by a military that has 400,000 soldiers and is
supported by 50% of the nation’s budget. In ethnic minority
areas, where the Burma Army does not yet have complete
domination, their methodology is to conduct large-scale
oensives, followed by consolidation of territory gained
and expansion of control, and then the launching of new
attacks. During these oensives, the Burma Army attacks
and burns villages, rapes, tortures and kills people, destroys
their sources of livelihood, and lays landmines to prevent
their return. The people support pro-democracy groups
that attempt to resist the attacks and control of the Burma
Army.
Even under this great oppression, the people have not
given up. While in hiding, they help each other set up
schools, hold worship services and organise how to best
make use of the resources they have. After the Burma
Army leaves their village, they return to salvage what
they can. This refusal to give up constitutes one of the
greatest examples of civil disobedience of our time. While
all the people of Burma suer under the oppression of
the dictators, the ethnic people of Burma have received
especially harsh treatment. Following are some of the
reasons why:
1. The ethnic minorities are comprised of diverse people
groups, making up 30%- 40% of the population of Burma.
They live in lands rich in resources, which a succession of
Burman Kings and now the dictators covet and attempt
to take by force.
2. Many of the ethnic peoples were in Burma before the
Burmans and had their own forms of governance. This was
and is perceived as an obstacle to complete domination
by the early Burman Kings and the current dictators.
3. Because of dierences in ethnicity, race, language,
religion, worldview and culture, there are ancient
prejudices between the Burman majority and the ethnic
minorities. This works both ways and there is mutual
prejudice between ethnics and Burmans. The successive
dictators of Burma have reinforced these prejudices and
treat ethnic minorities as sub-human or as inferiors not
worthy of basic human or political rights.
4. Many of the ethnic peoples are Christian and put
their allegiance to God above the dictators. This is not
acceptable to the dictatorship. Muslim minorities are also
persecuted by the regime. Buddhism is the religion of the
dictators and is the predominant religion in Burma.
5. Ethnic Christians had good access to education and
were given signicant positions in the British colonial
administration. This was perceived as unfair and as a
threat to the Burman majority.
6. Many ethnic groups joined the Allies against the
Japanese and their Burman allies in WWII. Even though
the Burmans eventually joined the Allies themselves,
they resented the ethnics for their loyalty to the Allies.
7. In response to oppression and attacks by the dictators,
many ethnic minority groups have formed eective and
wide reaching political organisations. These organisations
attempt to represent the ethnic peoples and protect
them from injustice and abuse. The dictators see these
organisations as undesirable and attempt to neutralise or
destroy them.
8. In addition to political organisations, many ethnic
groups have formed militias to defend their people from
the attacks, murders and rapes of the Burma Army. These
groups are directly targeted by the dictatorship, who
attempt to defeat them in battle or force them into some
type of ceasere, by which to neutralise them.
1n 1996, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democracy
movement in Burma, told me, “We Burmans have
oppressed the minority people and this oppression
continues. This is wrong and we must stop it. We need
help as we are working for unity and understanding
between the Burman and ethnic peoples and among the
ethnics themselves. Please pray for us.”
We all need God’s help to live together in love and
dignity. The people of Burma, ethnic and Burman, live
under oppression. Please pray and stand with them for
reconciliation, justice and freedom.
Ma^>magb\Lmkn``e^
by Dave Eubank
17
Dave is the director of the Free Burma Rangers and Chris-
tians Concerned for Burma. He is passionate about every-
thing he does, including riding horses with his kids, praising
his wife, climbing mountains and working for justice.
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 18
BURMA TIME LINE
The English name of the country, ‘Burma,’ was
changed to ‘Myanmar’ in 1989 by the Burmese military
government, which came into power by violently
suppressing the 1988 pro-democracy uprising and
killing thousands of people. Although ‘Bamar’ and
‘Myanmar’ are used interchangeably in Burmese, the
Burmese junta claimed that ‘Burma’ was the name
given by the British colonialists and ‘Myanmar’ is closer
to the Burmese pronunciation of the country’s name.
By changing the name, they were trying to appeal to
Burmese nationalist sentiments. The pro-democracy
movement, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San
Suu Kyi, does not recognise the English name change
since the junta has no legitimacy and did not consult
with the people before changing the name. Many
ethnic minorities in Burma have also rejected the new
name as they believe ‘Myanmar’ solely represents the
majority Burmans.
By changing the country’s name, the Burmese junta
also appeared to be trying to disassociate itself from
the violent crackdown in 1988. Although the junta has
demanded that all foreign governments use Myanmar
instead of Burma, many western countries, including
the US and several EU members, continue to use
Burma. The reason is that they do not want to give
legitimacy to the junta seeing as it came into power by
a coup and refused to transfer power to the winning
party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, in the 1990 elections.
Many western governments have also supported the
Burmese democracy movement and denounced the
junta for its continued suppression of the democracy
movement since 1988. However, most Asian countries,
including neighbouring China, India and Thailand, have
followed the regime in regards to the change of the
name because of their strategic and business interests in
Burma.
Win Min, is a professor at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. He is
the co-author of Assessing Burma's Ceasere Accords, and he
is the author of Burmese Military Government: Crony Capital-
ists. Win Min received his Masters Degree in Public Administra-
tion from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He was a student activist in Burma in 1988 and a member of the
All Burma Student Democratic Front from 1988-2000. In 2007
Win Min was the guest speaker at Partners’ Human Rights Con-
ference in Norway. He is married to Christina and they have two
sons. Partners is proud to call him a friend and partner.
N_XkËj`eXeXd\6
9lidXfiDpXedXi
By Win Min
1948 1988
Burma becomes
independent with
U Nu as prime
minister.
U Nu’s faction ousted in mili-
tary coup led by Gen Ne Win,
who abolishes the federal
system and inaugurates “the
Burmese Way to Socialism”-
nationalising the economy,
forming a single party state
with the Socialist Program
Party as the sole political
party.
1962
8.8.88. Thousands
are killed in anti-
government riots. The
State Law and Order
Restoration Council
(SLORC) is formed.
Currency devalua-
tion wipes out many
people’s savings and
triggers anti-govern-
ment riots.
1987
Japan invades
and occupies
Burma.
1942 1945 1947
Britain liberates
Burma from
Japanese occu-
pation with help
from the AFPFL,
led by Aung San.
General Aung San and
six members of his
interim government
assassinated by politi-
cal opponents led by U
Saw.
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 18
19
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www.partnersworld.org
19
1996
2008 1989
SLORC declares
martial law, arrests
thousands of people,
renames Burma,
‘Myanmar’. National
Leauge for Democ-
racy (NLD) leader,
Aung San Suu Kyi,
is put under house
arrest.
1990
NLD wins land-
slide victory in
general election,
but result ignored
by the military.
Aung San Suu
Kyi is awarded
Nobel Peace
Prize.
1991 1995
Aung San Suu
Kyi is released
from house
arrest after six
years.
1997
SLORC renamed State
Peace and Development
Council (SPDC).
2000
Aung San
Suu Kyi is put
under house
arrest again.
2005
SPDC decides
to move
capital from
Rangoon to
Naypyidaw.
2007
Wave of public dissent
sparked by fuel price
hikes. Dozens arrested.
Buddhist monks
hold a series of anti-
government protests.
Authorities crack down
on protests; thousands
rounded up and disap-
pear.
Cyclone Nargis hits the
Irrawaddy Delta killing
more than 100,000 and
leaving over 2.5 million
homeless and starving.
The SPDC holds na-
tional referendum just
days after the cyclone
hits.
19
Ethnic Nationalities Coun-
cil (ENC) is formed, where
all the major ethnic
groups of Burma agree in
principle for a federal and
democratic Burma.
International
Day of Prayer for
Burma starts.
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 20
jesus
and politics
We all know the perceived danger of mixing religion and
politics. But what if we took out the “religion” part and
replaced it with God? Or, better yet, with Jesus. Does that
change the tone of the debate at all?
By Craig Garrison
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 20
21
www.partnersworld.org.au | www.partnersworld.org.uk | www.partnersworld.org.nz
Most of us are able to recite at least a portion of
Jesus’ last words during his time on earth, right?
If you can’t quite remember all of it, here it is from
Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the
very end of the age.”
Okay, that was pretty easy. But how many of us
remember Jesus’ rst words of his public ministry (at
least, according to Luke)? Give up? Here they are from
Luke 4:18-19: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he
has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has
sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery
of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim
the year of the Lord’s favour.
It’s interesting to me that most Christians have some
idea of Jesus’ last words to us, but don’t have a clue as
to what his rst words to us were. Both sets of words
are important. So why have most Christians based
their entire life-mission on his last words without really
considering the implications of his rst? Is it because we
view his rst words to us as more socially or politically
driven and his last words as more “spiritual,” dealing with
things that really count in the end?
We all know the perceived danger of mixing religion and
politics. But what if we took out the “religion” part and
replaced it with God? Or, better yet, with Jesus. Does
that change the tone of the debate at all? I think it does.
You’ll nd a lot of people on both sides of the fence on
this debate. It can get ugly. In this brief article I want
to oer a few thoughts on Jesus and politics. My goal
certainly is not to “solve” anything or “win” a debate, but
simply to oer a few thoughts that we, as Christians,
should consider when it comes to Jesus and politics, and
consequently, Christians and politics.
First, politics is a part of every society. Because we are
human beings, and therefore social beings, the realm of
politics is inescapable for every one of us on the planet.
If we are a part of any society, we are aected by the
politics of that society, regardless of where we live. If
this is the case, then, why should we, as Christians, be
involved in politics? Jesus made it clear in John 17 that
we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, are sent into the world
as Jesus was sent (v. 18). At the same time, we are not to
be of the world just as Jesus wasn’t (v. 16). Jesus’ prayer
is not that the Father would take them out of the world,
but that He would protect them from the evil one (v. 15).
It is apparent to me that the world of politics is part of
the world in general.
Second, we tend to spiritualise, and therefore soften,
many of Jesus’ words. God’s love for the world produced
social action. To create a false split between the
spiritual and social leads to a warped understanding of
Scripture. Donald Kraybill in The Upside-Down Kingdom
(Herald Press, 2003) says, “God didn’t just sit in a great
theological rocking chair and muse about loving the
world. God acted. God entered social aairs–in human
form.” He goes on to remind us, “To ferret out the
social (or political) implications of the gospel isn’t to
depreciate or neglect spiritual insights. It simply means
that spiritual insights always have social implications”
(parentheses mine).
Finally, as a Christian, is there a danger in getting
involved in politics? My answer would be a qualied
“yes.” Because, by denition, politics involves coercion
of some sort, we need to tread carefully as we walk into
this world. Author Stephen Carter has this to say: “What
is so dangerous about politics? From the Christian point
of view, the rst and greatest danger is theological: the
loss of prophetic power when one chooses the path
of coercion. It is more than a little ironic...that many of
the same preachers who insist that God is on their side
nevertheless seem to think that their side cannot prevail
except through coercion” (from God’s Name in Vain, Basic
Books, 2001).
When we say, “Christ is Lord,” what sort of dierence do
we hope that will make in the world of politics? If he is
Lord, isn’t he Lord of the world of politics? If so, what
does that mean for me? The Bible is replete (in both
the OT and NT) with stories and incidents where God or
Jesus reproached the structural sin that had pervaded
culture, the politics of the day, etc. In fact, many times
his judgment on structural sin was aimed directly at
his chosen people. So, do we engage or stay in retreat
mode? I believe we have to engage while being
careful to not slip into partisan alignment with any one
political party or movement. This, I believe, is part of
the redemptive purpose of the gospel of Christ. If we
refuse to engage the forces of darkness, with or without
political means, we have essentially given up the battle
that we have been commissioned to ght. Contrary to
what many believers have been taught, when Jesus said
that the “gates of hell will not prevail” (Mt. 16:18) against
the church, he was speaking oensively not defensively.
In other words, the church is to storm the gates of hell
and the evil systems it has createdwith the use of the
political process if necessaryand take back what is
rightfully the Lord’s.
We cannot leave only to others what has also
been given to us. And that includes a vibrant and
consistent voice in the world of public policy and
politics.
Craig Garrison is the oce manager at Partners Chiang Mai,
Thailand. He likes Will Smith, but has more in common with Tony
Soprano. Craig graduated from the Partners’ school of crisis
management with honours. His personal assistant is his wife,
Kara. Partners oce sta have heard God say that he will stay in
Thailand and with Partners forever. For comments on this article,
write to:
craig@partnersworld.org.
By Craig Garrison
PARTNERS MAGAZINE SECOND QUARTER 2008 22
partners family news
On March 1, Spencer Kerrigan assumed his role as the
National Director for Partners USA. Spencer lives with his
wife Lyssa, son Pierce, and daughter Madison in Redlands,
California. Spencer and Lyssa bring a vitality and passion
to Partners that has already inspired and blessed the rest
of the Partners family. Along with his administrative duties,
Spencer will be responsible for interacting with media, the
church and civic groups, who are involved in our work with
the people of Burma. Spencer is an articulate speaker and
represents the people of Burma passionately. If you would
like to welcome him into our community, please send him
an email at: spencer@partnersworld.org.
In April, Partners Canada's Greg & Elissa Toews returned to
Calgary for 12 months or so, in order to develop the work of
Partners in Canada. This is the rst extended furlough that
the Toews have had since they entered the eld several years
ago. Greg oversees Partners’ work with the Karenni and is
a valuable member of our Chiang Mai eld oce. While
in Canada over the next year, Greg anticipates developing
Partners' relationships with donors as well as solidifying and
expanding Partners' ability to mobilise Canadian citizens to
get involved with what is happening in Burma. Elissa hopes
to pursue several educational opportunities as well. We're
already missing Greg & Elissa here in Thailand, but we're
keeping their seats warm for them in anticipation of their
return in 2009. If you'd like to encourage Greg and Elissa
during this year in Canada, send them an email at: greg@
partnersworld.org or elissa@partnersworld.org.
In May, Kathryn Halley arrived from Australia as a full-time
Partners sta member in Thailand. While she works out of
our Chiang Mai eld oce, Kathryn will be focused on Part-
ners’ medical work, as she is a registered nurse with training
in tropical medicine. Partners' medical work continues to
expand and we are so grateful that Kath has thrown her lot
in with us! She brings energy, passion and a deep commit-
ment to God with her. If you'd like to welcome Kath to the
Partners team, send her an email to: kath@partnersworld.
org.
NEW NATIONAL DIRECTOR FOR USA
HELLO CANADA
HELLO THAILAND
WEDDING BELLS
Partners’ Karen Projects Director, Sonya Claase, got her Karen
superstar, Tah Doh Moo, at last. Tah Doh Moo is working for
FBR and has been serving his people for a LONG time. Now
they are looking forward to serving the Karen together. The
two were married in Mae Sot, Thailand, in April. Partners
wishes them all the best and have no doubt that together
they will accomplish great things for the peoples of Burma.
In the photo, Sonya is with her mother and maids of honour.
For security reasons a photo of TDM cannot be printed.
Take a moment and consider life in a country where the
leaders are deliberately killing their own people by enforc-
ing policies that allow the most horrendous human rights
abuses. Imagine living through a cyclone, while watching your
world fall apart. Then imagine realising that not only is your
life shattered, but now nobody is allowed to help you put it
back together. Imagine how you would feel when it dawns on
you that the government intends to kill you and your people
simply by doing nothing and ignoring your plea for help.
Today we pray for the victims of Cyclone Nargis. We pray for
open doors for aid workers to enter the Delta to provide help
to the millions who are desperate. We pray for the ethnic men
and women who are risking their lives and their health to
bring aid to the needy.
We pray for the victims of the military’s violent actions in the
ethnic areas, such as Karen, Shan, Karenni, Kachin and Chin
states. The military’s intentions are clear. They want death or
total submission of all the ethnics. They want natural resources
and power. We pray for the opposite. We pray for freedom to
live in peace. We pray for freedom to worship. We pray for the
right to speak their own language and to live on their land
without fear.
We pray for the millions who are ruled by fear all over the na-
tion. We pray for courage to ght and for good to conquer evil.
We pray for the millions who have lost hope that they will ever
see change. Let them see that evil cannot rule forever, because
you have conquered evil.
We pray for the rulers of Burma. If depravity has a name, it
would be SPDC, the ruling military junta in Burma. We pray
for the souls of these men, so xenophobic and malicious. Let
them see their sin the way you see it, God. And bring them to
repentance.
We also pray for all of Partners’ sta who are working with
great commitment. Give them strength to continue the ght,
give them wisdom and courage. We also pray that they will
never lose sight of who they are in your eyes, and the fact that
they are serving you above anything else.
23
PRAY
LIFELINE UPDATE
Many of you are aware of the unique oppor-
tunity aorded to Partners USA & Partners
NZ by a generous donor a few months back.
This donor oered to match any gift given to
Partners and designated as LifeLine, up to a
total value of $US200,000, during 2008. We
are excited to report that, as of May 2008,
we have now passed the $US100,000 mark
and are well on our way towards reaching
our goal of raising $US200,000 through the
LifeLine initiative. In fact, because we have
already passed the halfway mark, this donor
has sent the rst $US100,000 match to Part-
ners USA!
One exciting new development of the Life-
Line campaign has been this donor's will-
ingness to allow matchable gifts to LifeLine
from the other Partners countries (Canada,
UK, Norway and Australia). This means that
now thousands more people will now have
the opportunity to have their gift donated to
Partners immediately doubled to bring hope
for a better future for the people of Burma.
beALIFELINE
200,000
190,000
180,000
170,000
160,000
150,000
140,000
130,000
120,000
110,000
100,000
90,000
80,000
70,000
60,000
50,000
40,000
30,000
20,000
It is part of the discipline of humility that we must not
spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do
not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow
it to be arranged by God. Dietrich Bonhoffer
Partners Relief and Development Australia
PO Box 13
ALSTONVILLE NSW 2477
Australia
info@partnersworld.org.au
www.partnersworld.org.au
Partners Relief and Development UK
15 Kingsthorpe Close, Forest Town,
Manseld, Notts NG19 0PD
UK
info@partnersworld.org.uk
www.partnersworld.org.uk
Partners Relief and Development NZ
PO Box 40 284
Upper Hutt
New Zealand
info@partnersworld.org.nz
www.partnersworld.org.nz

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