Review of Burma campaign 2011

Feb 11, 2011 | 2011, Events, News

Burma campaign 2011 launched by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) in February 2011 is coming to an end. During the campaign the EESC distributed 126 DVDs of the movie “Burma VJ. Reporting from a closed country”, more than 700 people in Lithuania watched the movie (see the areas marked in violet on the map) and attended the debates afterwards. Aiming to widen the outreach the EESC also sent the movie to the registered 54 Lithuanian communities.

“Burma VJ. Reporting from a closed country” a documentary made by Anders Østergaard, offers an insight into dissidence in a Burmese police state, while at the same time tells the story of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, known as Saffron revolution, when the Buddhist monks started marching. During the uprising the military turned their guns on the peaceful protestors and blood spilled in the streets; foreign news reporters were banned and the Internet was shut down. But the journalists of Democratic Voice of Burma secretly videotaped what they saw, the footage was smuggled out of the country and broadcasted to the world watching in horror the violence against people fighting for democracy. Despite the current signals that the regime is loosening its “iron grip”, Burma remains a police state- it is thought that approximately 1000 political prisoners are still kept behind the bars, the conflict continues between the ethnic groups and the state military.

The movie, indeed, touched the audiences as we often heard the comment: “It is hard to believe that such horrors still happen in today’s world”. Many issues were discussed after the movie: from questions on political situation, economy, international sanctions, what the audience could do about improving the situation in Burma to drawing parallels to undemocratic regime next door. As there are signals coming from Burma that indicate political changes, e.g. the regime entering into a dialogue with the opposition, release of some political prisoners, in order to reflect current situation the EESC recently updated Burma campaign 2011 toolkit (can be found here, in Lithuanian only).

In addition to screenings and debates, the EESC advocated the change in Burma by sending the petitions for release of Burmese political prisoners, raised the issue of human rights violations to the Lithuanian politicians and media.

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