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on the Borderline: Surviving Genocide in Burma

From: Gael MacLean
Length: 41:51

Narrated by Sonja Smits, this documentary is a rare look at life inside the refugee camps and a compassionate story of transforming despair into hope Read the full description.

Boyinrainfleeingburmaarmy27april_small For more than 40 years the military regime of Burma has waged genocide against the estimated 20 million Karen, Shan, Mon and other ethnic people of Burma who live in a land rich in natural resources. These tribes have acted as stewards of their land for countless centuries. The junta uses rape, torture, landmines, poison and murder to force these people from their homes in order to exploit the riches of their lands. When they can, they enslave the people and use them as a free, disposable work force in order to acquire the valuable resources. I journeyed to the refugee camps in Thailand to record the stories of these brutalized people. Imprisoned and forgotten in primitive camps along the Thai/Burma border for 30 years, some 150,000 people struggle to survive. Haunted by the horror from their past in Burma and dealing with the suffering of their present living conditions in the camps, these are a people with little hope for the future. In the midst of this pain and hopelessness, small grass roots organizations have made a big difference, helping hundreds to regain their dignity and rebuild their communities within the camps. This radio documentary focuses on one such group who uses innovative and effective healing practices to help people recover from serious addiction to drugs and alcohol. As the only means to dull the memories of the atrocities and to alleviate the boredom in the camps, drug and alcohol abuse has eroded the delicate infrastructure of a refugee community struggling to regain its health and sanity under challenging living conditions. This documentary is a rare look at life inside the camps and a compassionate story of transforming despair into hope

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Piece Description

For more than 40 years the military regime of Burma has waged genocide against the estimated 20 million Karen, Shan, Mon and other ethnic people of Burma who live in a land rich in natural resources. These tribes have acted as stewards of their land for countless centuries. The junta uses rape, torture, landmines, poison and murder to force these people from their homes in order to exploit the riches of their lands. When they can, they enslave the people and use them as a free, disposable work force in order to acquire the valuable resources. I journeyed to the refugee camps in Thailand to record the stories of these brutalized people. Imprisoned and forgotten in primitive camps along the Thai/Burma border for 30 years, some 150,000 people struggle to survive. Haunted by the horror from their past in Burma and dealing with the suffering of their present living conditions in the camps, these are a people with little hope for the future. In the midst of this pain and hopelessness, small grass roots organizations have made a big difference, helping hundreds to regain their dignity and rebuild their communities within the camps. This radio documentary focuses on one such group who uses innovative and effective healing practices to help people recover from serious addiction to drugs and alcohol. As the only means to dull the memories of the atrocities and to alleviate the boredom in the camps, drug and alcohol abuse has eroded the delicate infrastructure of a refugee community struggling to regain its health and sanity under challenging living conditions. This documentary is a rare look at life inside the camps and a compassionate story of transforming despair into hope

Broadcast History

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Transcript

VO - on the Borderline: Surviving Genocide in Burma

VO Intro ? For more than 40 years the military regime of Burma has waged genocide against the estimated 20 million Karen, Shan, Mon and other ethnic people of Burma who live in a land rich in natural resources. These tribes have acted as stewards of their land for countless centuries. The junta uses rape, torture, landmines, poison and murder to force these people from their homes in order to exploit the riches of their lands. When they can, they enslave the people and use them as a free, disposable work force in order to acquire their valuable resources. The international community, for the most part, has looked the other way.

Some have managed to escape Burma, and now, as refugees, they share their stories with us in this documentary. Imprisoned and forgotten in primitive camps along the Thai/Burma border for over 20 years, some...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

While the people of Burma try to recover from a devastating cyclone, virtually ignored by their government, genocide continues unabated in the countryside. The atrocities in Burma have come to the attention of the West and in the process, an even bigger, more appalling picture of the tactics of this brutal government have emerged.

Related Website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gnZeC5foMA#GU5U2spHI_4