THE world first caught a glimpse of the genocide being perpetrated against the Karen people in 1984, when thousands of refugees came flooding over the Thai border.
What were the people fleeing?

They were fleeing stormtroopers of the Burmese army who were killing their men, raping their women and leaving the children to fend for themselves.

The survivors ran, mostly with their babies in their arms.

Thailand, at a loss at what to do and with enough trouble of its own, corralled the people into camps.

At least they were safe.

Now, almost quarter of a century later, the refugee camps are still there because it is not safe to go home.

It is not safe because the stormtroopers are still there.

At times Burmese troops have even intruded upon Thailand’s sovereignty to burn the refugee camps down.

So Thailand moved them to more defensible positions.

This is reality, right here, right now.

There are people huddled together on foreign territory relying on foreign forces to protect them from soldiers of their own supposed government.

And yet the world does nothing.

It sits on its hands and debates.

It sends workers to help care for the refugees.

These workers wring their hands and cluster together at night and talk about how bad it is and what sort of day they had.

And still the core problem remains.

And an economy riding on the back of other people’s hardship blooms.

The legendary Aung San once described the Burmese military as the ‘father of the nation’.

He was the father of Aung San Su Kyi, the most famous political prisoner of our time.

Now the ‘father of the nation’ is running riot over its own people.

Nature decrees that a father does not kill his own children.

The driving force in action here is greed.

A handful of men are forcing their own people to commit atrocities they cringe at to keep control of the economy, of a strategic territory.

It is not okay to sit back and refer to historical comparisons.

‘Oh yes, that happened in Bosnia, Kampuchea,’ wherever, whatever.

This is our world we are dealing with - people’s everyday lives.

Do you want a man with a gun to come in the middle of the night while you are watching your favourite TV program, demand all of your food and then burn your house down and tell you to run for your life?

Oh and by the way, watch the landmines.

So why is it acceptable that it happens to other people, in lands distant from you?

Daniel Pedersen
Journalist.

 

Dniel Pedersen Thailand

Do you want a man with a gun to come in the middle of the night while you are watching your favourite TV program, demand all of your food and then burn your house down and tell you to run for your life? Oh and by the way, watch the landmines. So why is it acceptable that it happens to other people, in lands distant from you?