Burma’s upcoming election stirs opportunity and hardship

By September 30, 2010

Burma (MNN) — On September 27,  the third anniversary of the Saffron
Revolution, hackers closed three Burmese
opposition Web sites. 

The sites' journalists believe the Burmese regime is behind
the attacks, although there is no confirmation of that. Still, there are some who believe the junta
may be doing a pre-test in the run up to
the November 7 elections to see if they can silence opposition Web sites.  

The authorities are already clamping down on independent
reporting about the election. There are concerns
that the election will cement the position of the military.  

What's happening in advance of the polls is all the more
reason for the UN to look into "business as usual" — crimes against humanity,
which involve a disproportionate number of Christians.

Wes Flint with Vision Beyond Borders says, "As the election time
comes near, they seem to increase their intensity and their violence–the mortaring
and firing upon civilian populations in these villages."

The call for a commission to investigate genocide against
the Karen and Chin now includes ten countries: Canada, France, the Netherlands,
New Zealand, the United States, Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary,
Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

However, the government is dismissive of the effort and has
clamped down tighter on various outlets, even creating an official Web site for election
results. It's not surprising, Flint
notes, adding that the violence will likely increase as the deadline draws
nearer. "That seems to increase in
intensity as election time comes, because they are afraid of losing power."

Despite the United Nations' conditions for a free and fair
election, there seems to be little recourse for what is "free and fair." However, Flint describes an effective response: "Be in prayer that the international community, before this election,
would be looking at what's going on in Burma and finally saying, ‘This has
gone on too long. Something needs to change in Burma.' This is an opportunity
for us to especially be on our knees."

In the meantime, the Vision Beyond Borders team will continue
to bring hope to the refugee camps. "We
can go into these camps. We bring in Bibles. We bring in food, medical supplies–many of
them are in need of medical supplies–and clothing."

More than that, it's the hope of Christ that penetrates. "When
they witness that compassion, it just draws them. It seems to bring these
people into a very loving environment, and they realize that somebody out there
really cares. It's been a great opportunity to share the Gospel."

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