By Josh Schoenblatt
Their voices were strong, unified, and filled with energy. The chants could be heard for blocks. And the message was clear and to the point; “Save our People!” Yet many Americans and visitors walked by with little care or wonder on what was going on. No news media, no photographers, not even a question from passer-bys. Only 10 emotionless Federal Security Guard watched and waited for it to get out of hand.
When we think about war, we think about Iraq, Jerusalem, the Middle East and sometimes Africa. And that’s about it. Everyone knows about the main stream conflicts, and the conflicts that have the “worst of the worst fights.” But I am not sure that many, if any really know about the fight in Burma. I would not have known any of this had I not had the opportunity to wander through Washington D.C.
A group of no more than 200 Burmese Americans were peacefully protesting outside of the State Department. This protest was a selfless fight for the Burmese without a voice. They came here with heavy hearts hoping and praying America would lift its mighty arms and save the Burmese people from an inhumane government . I was amazed at the hospitality and kindness that these protester showed Julianne Klampe and I when she started asking questions. Their words were heartfelt and sincere. They did not ask for much. Just a little kindness and hope for what seems like a hopeless cause. During our conversation with the groups media chief, I learned the government would drop bombs that caused great fires on the natives in attempts to kill blindly. In the flyers the group handed out were pictures of deceased children laying on the ground. These were cries for help. Help that no one seemed to give.
The one take away lesson I learn from this experience was to keep an open mind and and check out the small protests that don’t make it into the media spotlight. In America we cherish the First Amendment, yet we rarely take the time to listen and understand what others are saying. It will take a few minutes out of your day, but I can promise you that the knowledge you learn you will never forget.