Burma (MNN) — A high-level Burmese diplomat has defected to
the United States, fearing democratic change in his country is stillborn.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kyaw
Win is seeking asylum. The Burmese junta
repeatedly rejected his efforts to build bridges with the international
community, labeling him "dangerous."
Information from the Associated Press confirms this move
came about because of his stand on reform issues relating to democracy, human
rights, and individual liberties. The second-ranking official at the Burmese
embassy in Washington, Win supported an investigation into human rights abuses
against the ethnic minorities and warned against continued oppression.
Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders says the
timing is interesting. "What I'm reading is that a lot people are defecting from the military. The soldiers
don't want to go into these villages and kill any more people. They've been
forced to do it by the government, and I think people are starting to stand up and
say, ‘We don't want to be a part of this. This is wrong, and we will not.'" That's about 15% of the military that
seem to be of the same mind as the former Ambassador Win.
Vision Beyond Borders partners with a ministry in Thailand
that works in the refugee camps. Klein says they're "openly sharing the Gospel with these people. A lot
of the Karen are coming to Christ because they see that it is the Christians who are really coming to their aid."
VBB ministry partners estimate that roughly 40% of the Karen
are Christians. They're also the ethnic minority and are in the government
We asked Klein why the junta
decided to eradicate the Karen. He explains, "They're living on land that the government wants because there are a lot
of natural resources there. There's gold, there are gems and timber. Now, they're
putting in dams because China
needs hydro-electric power. Instead of compensating people and relocating them,
it's easier to just go in and wipe out whole villages."
Aside from the obvious physical aspect of this
genocide, there is also a spiritual side. Klein says, "From what I'm hearing, the generals are very involved in the occult,
listening to astrologers and all these people, and they [the military] are just going in and
wiping out the Christians."
Other reports coming to Klein's ears are worthy of war
crimes investigation. Klein explains,
"We've heard stories of [the military] going to the Buddhist children, giving
them arms, and turning them against the Christians, [then] having the Buddhist kids
go in and shoot these Christians indiscriminately."
Win says the military is on a campaign to silence "the
voices seeking democracy, human rights, and individual liberties." That's no surprise, and it creates a backdrop
against which hope shines brightly. As
people are drawn to the hope of Christ, Klein says he's confident the Gospel
will also spread. He shares about the
commitment of a village evangelist they
met on a recent trip. "He lost both of
his hands and both of his eyes in a landmine that blew up in his face. Yet, he still
goes around the village, sharing the Gospel with Buddhist people."
Pray for the strength of Christians to stand firm in their
faith, despite the lawlessness around them. Pray that freedom will come to
Burma. Pray for ministry opportunities for Christians to share their faith with