Relaymedia

Rambo throws spotlight on violence and killings in Burma

Feb 10, 2008 04:07 AM EST
Christian Freedom International (CFI) is urging the global community to call on the Burmese Government to end the large-scale violence that has caused the deaths of thousands of its own citizens, as thousands more continue to stream into refugee camps.
Members of the Overseas Burmese Patriots (OBP) wait before a screening of Rambo IV in Singapore February 3, 2008. The OBP booked 600 seats for a screening of the film at a cinema in Singapore. The bloodiest Rambo film so far shows John Rambo fighting the Myanmar military to free a group of Christian aid workers in the jungles of Eastern Myanmar. (REUTERS/Charles Pertwee )

Christian Freedom International (CFI) is urging the global community to call on the Burmese Government to end the large-scale violence that has caused the deaths of thousands of its own citizens, as thousands more continue to stream into refugee camps.

The challenge comes as Rambo IV releases in theatres worldwide. In the early stages of the script's development, Sylvester Stallone consulted with Soldiers of Fortune magazine and asked one where on earth the worst atrocities were taking place but receiving the least amount of attention. The magazine’s answer was Burma.

In the latest instalment of the 20-year-old Rambo movie franchise, Stallone attempts to revive his protagonist character, John Rambo, where the Vietnam veteran is living a solitary, peaceful life in Bangkok, Thailand - until the day he's summoned to escort a group of Christian missionaries up the Salween River to deliver relief aid to war-weary refugees in Burma.

When the missionaries fail to return from their trip nearly two weeks later, the veteran is once again approached by the missionaries' pastor, who pleads for his help in locating the aid workers that have been kidnapped by the Burmese army.

CFI, the US-based Christian humanitarian agency, anticipates that the movie's recent release will “draw more attention to the grim reality of the world's oldest civil war”, in a country where Karen and Karenni Christians have been especially suffering for decades.

CFI is headed by former White House policy analyst to the Reagan administration, Jim Jacobson, who has frequently visited Burma to personally deliver aid and encouragement to displaced Christians in the region.

He is currently on location in Burma, delivering Bibles and urgently needed medical supplies to Karen and Karenni refugees.

Since 1996, Christian Freedom International has built schools, orphanages and field hospitals, as well as provided food, medicine and Bibles for thousands of suffering Christians in Burma. The organisation also remains an active voice in the political arena on behalf of Burma's refugees, and in recent months worked closely with the US State Department to assist with the resettlement effort that is allowing many of the country's exiles to begin new lives in the United States.

CFI warned that even with many Burmese living as refugees abroad, “thousands more remain in grave danger as they continue to flee from the Burmese army”.