A SNAPSHOT OF THE THAILAND / BURMA BORDER
There has been an ongoing civil war in Burma (Myanmar) for over 60 years. It is the longest running civil war in the world. The fighting began shortly after Burma regained independence after the Japanese occupation of World War II. There are multiple ethnic minority people groups in Burma, with the largest being the Karen, of which there is an estimated 7,000,000 in Burma.
The Burmese government officials have brought the strength of it’s military against the citizens within it’s borders. They have attacked the Karen, Shan, Kachin and other people groups with artillery, fighter jets, mortars, landmines and soldiers. They raid mountain villages and kill, rape, and enslave the villagers. They burn both homes and crops, and destroy the villager’s livestock, property and way of life. Many victims must flee into the jungle to escape the attacks. They live as IDP’s, Internally Displaced Person’s. NATO has set up refugee camps on the Thailand/Burma border which house many villagers. Unfortunately, this temporary solution has now been housing people for over thirty years. Children who have been raised in the refugee camps are now raising their children there. Needless to say, the living conditions are poor. They live behind barbwire fences, as they are not citizens of Thailand. The medical, educational and living conditions are poor. NATO has attempted to solve the overcrowded conditions by resettling the villagers in other countries, including America. This has created it’s own set of problems, as mountain villagers accustom to living in the jungle, are suddenly transported to an inner-city apartment complex and dropped off. They do not understand the language, they have never been exposed to gas stoves and other “conveniences”, they have no jobs and they are easy prey to gangs.