June 17, 2007 – Winnipeg, Canada: The Free Burma Event jointly organized at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada by the Chin Student Union of North America and the Rights and Democracy delegation of the University of Winnipeg was successfully materialized.
This kind of event entitled “Free Burma” among Canadians was the first ever organized by the Chin Student Union of North America as part of their mission to penetrate the mainstream society of Canada and America with intention to raise awareness about the issues of Burma among the grassroots activists and ordinary citizens. In the event organized at University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre, there are over 80 participants joining the event.
While discussing the primary objective of organizing the event, “I realize that the general publics do not know much about Burma as much as they know about countries like Sudan , Iraq and Afghanistan. Given the longevity and atrocities of our struggle under the military dictatorships for democratic reforms, it is important that we do our best to raise awareness about our country as much as we can wherever we are till we ultimately achieve democracy in Burma”, said Salai Za Ceu Lian, President of Chin Student Union of North America.
On the question of whether or not the Canadian government and that of the civil societies of Canada do enough in terms of restoring democracy in Burma, Chair of the Rigths and Democracy delegation at the University of Winnipeg, Mr. James Johnson said, ” The Canadian public is not doing enough to promote rights & democracy in Burma! I think we should be doing far more to foster awareness. We must lobby MPs to cut all contact with the regime, impose tougher sanctions and put pressure especially on China and India in particular to quit dealing with criminals. This kind of behaviour from the two so-called “emerging powers” is inexcusable and doesn’t bode well for the future. We in Canada can’t act hypocritically either – we should not be supporting the regime by doing business there.
“As far as the event organized is concerned, the turnout was great and the response was very solid. Generally, it seems like the audience was craving the kind of specific information about Burma that we provided. Many people knew the country, Burma, existed and that the situation was poor, but little else. That has changed now. I hope we have planted a seed within the University community – one that will grow in the coming months and years ahead” he added.
Commenting on his overall impression of the event, Salai Za Ceu Lian said, “I am really impressed by the positive responses and words of concerns we received from the participants such as asking me what they can do to help us the pro-democratic forces practically. More importantly, as our objective is to send out message to the public as wide as possible through mass media, I am thankful that the mainstream media outlets such as the Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio 89.3 FM, and the CKUW 95.9 FM interviewed me and gave us a good coverage of our event, which exactly is part of our aims in organizing the event” .
Salai Za Ceu Lian 1-204-786 6794
James Johnson -1-204-999 0229