Friday, December 19, 2008

Fund 4 Burma

Poster design and words by Jeffrey Karl Hellman

It seems as though there will not be a Fund 4 Burma "event," but that does not mean that we should be down and out. There are still beautiful people on the border who need to survive and strive for the highest heights of happiness. This is not the end but the beginning. So I have decided to change the poster. It promotes the cause instead of the event. In the end, it's about the cause not the event that truly matters. So please do not worry that it did not happen this time. It was a lesson learned and a candle burned in the wind.

SO, the change of the poster is now simply a campaign for the cause. Feel free to spread the image around. Share it with others. Tell people the story about how many people have been illegally displaced from their homes, taken from their peaceful places of living and forced to cross jungles of malaria infested mosquitoes with landmines and militia to hide from. Tell your friends about the hardships they face and the need that is there. They are calling us, begging us for simple survival supplies. Perhaps I should have helped more to try to make this event a success, but the reality is that it is never to late to be the change we wish to see in the world.

Tonight I ask of you to spare a moment of silence, pause, meditation or reflection on Saturday for the people of Burma. Instead of rushing to an event put together by people from different regions of the world let us instead share a collective conscience of hope. It is hope that will keep our dreams alive. It is hope that will keep their dreams alive as well. Inside us all is a pulse that beats strong and true. What we all share is that pulse. It is the pulse of the world beating constantly, reminding us all that we are one. "We are brothers and sisters," I was told in my trip to the the Thailand Burma border this summer. We are indeed. I feel a kindred connection to the people of Burma. Perhaps it is because I had such an amazing teacher from Burma who taught me so much by his words of wisdom and noble actions. His name was U Han Lin. He once explained to me with sheer optimism and hope, "One day, Jeff, Burma will be Free." He believed this to the fullest extent. There is nothing short of death that I will do to help my teacher's dream become a reality.

This is quite possibly one of the most difficult tasks that this generation has been plagued with. Still, we must achieve this goal by acting with our hearts beating in time with our brothers and sisters in poverty from Burma on our minds. This means that we have to all act towards the best of our ability thinking about how we would feel if it was us in their place. What would we want to happen if we were internally displaced or crossed miles to be in refuge from our homes? We would want a community to welcome us with love, affection, and gifts for survival. Surely, you would want a community to welcome you in and let you know that everything will be alright. Let's start there. Let's raise funds for our brothers and sisters who have fled from Eastern Burma, 3,500 villages burned to the ground, silence must not be the sound of our hearts. Let us rise to the occasion. Let us provide hope for those across the globe.

It only takes $44 to turn a stranger into a survivor. For that amount of money, one person, one beautiful human being with a heart that beats like yours and mine will be provided with a New Arrivals Kit. See this link and read the short paragraph about how, "When new refugees arrive in the camps they come only with the clothes on their backs and what they can carry." I know that I would want to be able to be provided with the basic necessities for survival.

In closing, I want to tell you about a young boy who was beaten up as a kid because of his religion. He was pushed through a glass window one day by his fellow classmates and never returned to that school again because of the harsh treatment and prejudice he received. This boy was lucky enough to be given a second chance. Although there were 6 million people like him who were murdered because of their religion he was fortunate enough to be saved by the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport was the rescue mission that saved 10,000 children from Nazi occupied countries. After a long and uncertain journey to England, that boy along with several other school children from the Kindertransport and England kicked a soccer ball around. After they were done, one of the boys from England said, "I'll see you tomorrow." That boy, was so overjoyed that someone who was not Jewish wanted to see him tomorrow. That boy was my grandfather. His name was Jack Hellman and at age 13 he soon after worked courageously to save his parents from Germany before it was too late. Perhaps it was that warm welcome that gave him the strength to be able to save their lives.

When I traveled to the Thailand Burma border I brought a soccer ball with me to give to the community and the first day I was at the refuge camp we all played a game. Everyone was in such good spirits. It's amazing how the smallest kind gesture can mean so much. Funny enough, I was the one who received the gift that day. At the end of the game, one of the children from the Refuge camp said, "I'll see you tomorrow."

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