fbpx
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Organize now against oppression in Burma

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

We never hear much about Burma, officially known today as Myanmar, until it’s too late. Take, for example, last fall. Crimson-robed monks marched peacefully in the streets of Rangoon, making the case for democratic reforms and human rights.

The monks’ nonviolent approach and well-argued appeals were met by beatings, imprisonment and even death — not all that surprising from a country whose military dictatorship has ruled with an iron fist. Burma — a country roughly the size of Texas and with a population of some 50 million people — manages to put some of the better-known human rights violators to shame.

- Advertisement -

But when those powerful images dropped off the front pages of newspapers and news sites, they also seemed to drop from our consciousness.

That is unconscionable. Under the current junta, the regime has perpetrated a coordinated program of ethnic cleansing that relies on rape as a weapon of terror, while destroying more than 3,200 villages (displacing far more than 1 million people) and conscripting more than 70,000 child soldiers (putting it literally at the top of the list for any country).

In the meantime, Aung San Suu Kyi, the rightfully elected leader of Burma, whose party won 82 percent of the seats in Parliament, has spent roughly 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest. Rather than transforming her nation through her vision and a commitment to nonviolent change, she has been unjustly imprisoned.

So why am I writing this now, when the world’s attention is on issues like the tragedy unfolding in Darfur or the fight for political independence in Tibet? The simple answer is that as important as those two issues are — and they both are of the utmost importance and are deserving of a great deal of our support and attention — there is something so simple about the issues in Burma.

Among other things, there is fact that the Suu Kyi has the distinction of being the only Nobel Peace Prize recipient who was prevented from ever accepting her prize. She earned another honor on April 24, when she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by the U.S. Congress.

- Advertisement -

What can we do? About a month ago, my friend Jack Healey, a former Franciscan priest, told me about his idea to create a new kind of celebrity-based public service announcement to take the case for Burma to the public. Healey is no beginner when it comes to mobilizing big names. I met him nearly 20 years ago when he was executive director of Amnesty International in the United States. At the time, he had pulled together some of the biggest artists of the decade — Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Police, Peter Gabriel — to embark on a world tour intended to raise the issue of human rights and to put Amnesty International in the public consciousness.

Healey and Jeremy Woodrum, who runs the U.S. Campaign for Burma, have devoted their lives to fighting for the people of Burma, trying to rescue the country from the overbearing grip of a military junta and a violent dictator.

I volunteered to help. In the last month, we’ve managed to put together a campaign of 30 television and Internet spots, shot by and starring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, with the hope that their messages will reach not only millions of Americans but also the rank-and-file soldiers in Burma, who may not even realize how closely the world is looking at the atrocities many of them are carrying out on everyday citizens and, especially, monks.

Our campaign relies on internationally recognized athletes, actors, directors, writers and musicians to address what is happening today in Burma. We are running the spots on our Web site (www.fanista.com), as well as a host of other online distribution sites, trying to drive a million people to sign a virtual petition at www.burmaitcantwait.org.

We have just finished marking Passover, a holiday that demands of us to both celebrate our freedom and fight for the oppressed. It is incumbent on all of us who live in this great country, who have been blessed with the freedoms of democracy, religious tolerance and equal rights for all, to do anything we can to ensure that others — be they within our own communities or on the other side of the world — enjoy those same freedoms.

- Advertisement -

We are, as I heard Rabbi Elazar Muskin say over Pesach, a “people of hope.” That sense of hope not only allows us to dream of a better and more just world but also obligates us to do what we can to make those conditions a reality. May all of our efforts help achieve those goals for Suu Kyi and the people of Burma and for all oppressed people, wherever they may be.

Dan Adler is the Founder and CEO of “>Human Rights Action Center and the

Previous articleAbout
Next articleJamie Rosenberg
- Advertisement -

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our email updates.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
- Advertisement -

Popular Articles

Israeli Cycling Team to Hold Virtual Indoor Cycling Ride for Mask Donations

On April 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET, an Israeli cycling team will host a virtual indoor ride as a way to donate N95 masks...

’60 Minutes’ Segment Spotlights Artificial Intelligence Keeping Holocaust Survivors Alive

Thanks to artificial technology, it’s now possible to have a conversation with Holocaust survivors who are no longer living, as Lesley Stahl reports in...

New York State Legislature Passes Hate Crime Legislation Honoring Monsey Stabbing Victim

The New York state legislature passed a hate crimes act that considers murders committed due to the victims’ race or religion as “acts of...

We Must Maintaining Our Humanity – Not Wealth – During COVID-19

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose...

Comedian Stephen Glickman Brings Laughter During Pandemic

At a time when comedy clubs are closed and there’s not a lot to laugh about, stand-up comic Stephen Kramer Glickman has released a...

The Story of Orphaned Holocaust Survivors: ‘The Windermere Children’

Several books and films have told the story of the 10,000 Jewish children who were spirited out of Europe during World War II on...

‘On the Map’ Free Online Screening and Q&A This Sunday

The documentary “On the Map” tells the story of the underdog Israeli basketball team’s triumphant victory at the European championship in 1977. Set against...

Mikvah-Peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel Is Cleared To Leave Prison Immediately

Rabbi Barry Freundel, a once-prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C., who was convicted for secretly videotaping women in his synagogue’s mikvah, is set...

As An Asian Israeli, The Coronavirus Has Awakened Me to Our Racism

On Feb. 16, a young Taiwanese woman posted on the popular Facebook group Secret Tel Aviv that she was riding her bicycle and a...

New Initiative Delivers Seders to Needy Holocaust Survivors

With the coronavirus pandemic keeping people at home for Passover this year, the Israeli nonprofit Adopt-A-Safta is now offering Seder in a Box to...

Amid Coronavirus, Live Theater Goes Online

The coronavirus has forced the closure and postponement of live entertainment productions, but the show goes on, online and in other digital formats. The...

Meet The Orthodox Jewish Mom Who Became LA’s Go-To Jewish Artist

Los Angeles artist Aliza Marton was raised in an artistic family. But after she got married, she focused on raising her own family and...

Rabbi Donin’s Trilogy Speaks Volumes About Jewish Life

Donin himself conceived of his work as “a practical handbook on how to live a Jewish life,” but he also acknowledges that the overarching goal of the three books in the series is “to answer the constant query, ‘Why?’

State Department Designates Russian White Supremacist Group as Terror Organization

On April 6, the State Department designated as a terror organization the white supremacist group Russian Imperial Movement (RIM). Three of the group’s leaders were...

Rosner’s Torah Talk for Pesach with Rabbi Dr. Daniel Reifman

Rabbi Dr. Daniel Reifman teaches Talmud in the Pardes Kollel and the Intensive Talmud Skills course, which is co-sponsored by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He...

Culture

Rabbi Donin’s Trilogy Speaks Volumes About Jewish Life

Donin himself conceived of his work as “a practical handbook on how to live a Jewish life,” but he also acknowledges that the overarching goal of the three books in the series is “to answer the constant query, ‘Why?’

Gloves, Masks, Curbsides: Passover Shopping During a Pandemic

Passover shopping is hectic enough in normal times.

Jews Are Celebrating Passover – Hospitalized with COVID-19, Or Not

Even with abnormal hospital restrictions, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is ensuring Jews can still have a seder.

This Family Makes Distance Social with Their Video Parodies

“I wanna play and hang out with my friends, but we gotta practice social distance,” the 12-year-old girl sings to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”...

Larry David Says Bernie Sanders Should Drop Out of Presidential Race

Larry David, the Bernie Sanders doppelganger who often portrays the presidential candidate in skits on “Saturday Night Live,” says the senator from Vermont should...

Trending Right Now
Trending

Pakistan Delays Release of Accomplice Jailed in Daniel Pearl’s Killing As It Appeals Murder Acquittal

Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Karachi in 2002 while researching a story about Islamist militants.

Adam Sandler Salutes Doctors and Nurses in ‘Quarantine Song’

“Doctors and nurses will save us from this mess if we get them the supplies that they need. And I hope they save us soon ‘cause I’m really, really sick of my family.”

Jews Always Are Scapegoated for Pandemics. Are We Safe Today?

The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of 100 million to 200 million people in...

Gloves, Masks, Curbsides: Passover Shopping During a Pandemic

Passover shopping is hectic enough in normal times.

Anti-Semitism and Israel Advocacy Matters Even More During Coronavirus

There’s no doubt that anti-Semites and Israel detractors haven’t gone away simply because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the coronavirus, they, too, have mutated...

Hollywood

Larry David Says Bernie Sanders Should Drop Out of Presidential Race

Larry David, the Bernie Sanders doppelganger who often portrays the presidential candidate in skits on “Saturday Night Live,” says the senator from Vermont should...

‘On the Map’ Free Online Screening and Q&A This Sunday

The documentary “On the Map” tells the story of the underdog Israeli basketball team’s triumphant victory at the European championship in 1977. Set against...

‘Frozen’ at the Pantages: It Doesn’t Have to Be Jewish

Let’s face it, there’s nothing particularly Jewish about the Disney musical “Frozen.” Unless you count Idina Menzel and Josh Gad, both of whom appeared...
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 16: Food author Paula Shoyer on cooking during a pandemic

New David Suissa Podcast Every Morning at 11am. Celebrated food author Paula Shoyer discusses how the pandemic is influencing how we view food, and shares her...

Prof. Yair Zakovitch and Prof. Avigdor Shinan: The Song of Songs Scroll

Shmuel Rosner, Professor Yair Zakovitch and Professor Avigdor Shinan discuss their new book - The Song of Songs Scroll, a New Israeli Commentary. Prof. Yair...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x