Burma, or as their military has renamed it, Myanmar is a forgotten country which most people would not even think to look at on a map. As the news reported some time ago, several monks were killed in a government protest. After everyone read about it, they were shocked.

But what most people don’t consider is that this nation has been suffering under a fascist-militaristic rule for roughly 40 years. Nor is it a pleasant place under the government if an individual chooses a religion different from the Buddhist faith.

Somewhere between the Thai and Myanmar borders are dozens of refugee camps over-crowded with various former Burmese residents, many of them from hill tribes forced off their land. There are teenagers living in these camps who have never been outside them. Meanwhile, dozens of activists illegally cross the Thai border daily to bring supplies, education, drug rehabilitation, and all other sorts of help as they risk whatever consequences they might face by the Burmese government.

Ironically, the government still has plenty of contact with the international community. This would include deals with Chinese corporations, the black market (as one of the world’s largest opium suppliers), and tourism, yet the government was extremely reluctant to allow the UN passage to offer aid after thousands of people were killed in the cyclone that hit it less than a year ago. Rumor has it that governments of a few Western nations have their hands in the Burmese cookie jar as well.

While many people rant about how miserable governments in places like Iraq, Congo, North Korea, and countless other places, why is it that we rarely hear about Burma?

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