“Candles for Burma” Campaign Lets Supporters Send Birthday Greetings to World’s Only Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
Copyright 2005 Ethical Traveler
(San Francisco, CA) Ethical Traveler and the Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA) have launched a new campaign to highlight the plight of democracy advocates in Burma. The two groups are asking supporters to send birthday wishes to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose 60th birthday is June 19, 2005. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest in Burma for most of the past 14 years.
Ethical Traveler’s Executive Director, Jeff Greenwald says “We have created a website where people from around the world can post digital greetings, offering Aung San Suu Kyi birthday wishes and reminding her of our support for freedom and democracy in Burma,” The URL for the “Candles for Burma” campaign is www.ethicaltraveler.org/candles .
“By sending a digital greeting, supporters will be letting Aung San Suu Kyi know that people all over the world are standing behind her. Sometimes, that knowledge makes all the difference.” says Victor Win, President of BADA.
Greenwald explains, “Our initial idea was to send letters of support to Aung San Suu Kyi via the Burmese embassies. But the arrogant and brutal generals who rule Burma — which they’ve renamed Myanmar — would never allow our greetings through.” Instead, the groups chose to create a forum for sending online messages to the imprisoned leader. Campaign organizers point out that the electronic birthday greetings act to highlight the strong international support for democracy in Burma. Greenwald adds, “While the junta may not acknowledge Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership, this campaign is a simple way for the rest of the world to demonstrate its support for her cause.” Organizers hope that one day Aung San Suu Kyi will be able to read the greetings herself.
A military junta has ruled Burma since 1988. This junta refused to hand over power to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after her party’s landslide 1990 victory in parliamentary elections. Instead, the junta placed her under arrest. From confinement, Aung San Suu Kyi continues to work for democracy in her country.
Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her commitment to peaceful change. She is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner in the world currently living under house arrest.
Burma is located in Southeast Asia, between Bangladesh and Thailand.
Ethical Traveler is the first grassroots alliance uniting adventurers, tourists, travel agencies and outfitters — everyone who loves to travel, and sees travel as a positive force in the world. Ethical Traveler feels that all travelers are, in effect, freelance ambassadors. By joining the voices and economic power of travelers, Ethical Traveler seeks to strengthen human rights and protect the environment.
The Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA) is an umbrella organization for pro-democracy Burmese activists in the San Francisco Bay Area.
• Aung San Suu Kyi’s website: www.dassk.org
• The U.S. Campaign for Burma (USCB): www.uscampaignforburma.org
Special thanks and acknowledgement to www.sorryeverybody.com for the concept behind the Candles For Burma campaign.