This past summer a school project was taken on titled “Governing the Stateless: New Perspectives on the Plight of Burmese Refugees in Thailand.”
A total of five students went on the trip to Thailand to learn about the problems in Burma, also known as Myanmar.
The group was led by Patrick Cottrell, assistant professor of political science.
The students who helped him work on the project were seniors Morgan Christiansen, Bridget Grant, Kole Kracaw, Leanne McCallum and William McHenry.
The project is funded by a research grant from the ASIANetwork.
In return, the group will submit a number of research papers about its findings.
The papers will be submitted to undergraduate journals, and the students will present their finding in presentations.
The Burma, VJ documentary was shown April 3. The movie talked about critical issues in Burma.
The country is under one of the harshest military rulers out there. Filming the documentary was extremely dangerous because no one is supposed to film anything.
The people of Burma are frightened to even talk about the government for fear of its secret police finding out and arresting them.
Getting the footage was even a struggle because it had to be smuggled out of the country.
At one point, the government turned the Internet off to try to find these undercover reporters and stop them.
All at the same time, people were peacefully protesting in the streets.
The Burma government responded by beating and imprisoning it’s own people.
After the people still did not give up, it turned into a massacre.
This put an end to the protests, but citizens are still fighting to get knowledge into the world of how unjust the government is.
After the documentary, Cottrell answered questions about the film and the issues going on in the country.
He talked about speaking with Burmese refugees who tell their horror stories of the government.
“The leaders in Burma are so wealthy, that recently something came out on Wiki-Leaks where a son of a leader was trying to persuade his father to buy Manchester United,” McHenry said. “This is all going on while its people are starving.”
The corruption and need for power has turned the country into a prison.
“The Burmese people are suffering and the rest of the world just doesn’t know,” Kracaw said. “Spreading awareness of this atrocity will create pressure on the government to change and help the people.”
Quinn Carlin/Staff writer
Quinn Carlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.