On March 4th, I’m going to the Thai-Burma border, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Before I applied to be STAND’s Burma education coordinator, I didn’t know much about the country. Even though I’d been involved in STAND for a few years, I hadn’t paid much attention to it, and I don’t think I’m the only one. This was partially because it gets almost no attention in US media, and partially my own fault for not trying to educate myself – it just didn’t interest me.
Once I started learning about Burma, that completely changed. Burma’s military regime keeps its people isolated from the outside world, and so the outside world has largely disregarded it. But if you’re willing to pay attention, what’s going on in Burma is fascinating and infuriating. The Burmese military regime has destroyed the Burmese economy, destroyed the Burmese education system, suppressed the civil rights of its people, and continues to carry out brutal and systematic attacks on ethnic minorities, all in order to maintain control over a population struggling for democracy.
Over ten days, I’m going to get the chance to meet with the courageous people who risk their lives and freedom to oppose the regime. I’m traveling with a group of students, including STAND’s very own Matthew Heck, from Bangkok to the border. We’ll meet with organizations that assist the people of Burma, such as Burmese women’s organizations, an organization that assists political prisoners, and humanitarian organizations. We’ll also get a chance to talk to Burmese people themselves: refugees who have been forced to flee their homes to escape government attacks, and members of Burmese resistance group who fight for democracy.
We’ll be video-blogging from the road to share this amazing experience with you, so make sure to keep up with the blog over the next two weeks! Even if you don’t know much about Burma now, there’s no better way to start than to make a personal connection with the people of Burma and get inspired to be part of the solution.
-Morgan McDaniel, STAND National Burma Education Coordinator