About a month ago I was talking to a friend about being in Mae Hong Son province in northern Thailand in 2006 and meeting some of the Burmese refugees that had fled the violent Myanmar regime. One of the few that spoke English told me about his buddy, a farmer, that had stepped on a land mine while plowing his field on his own land. It took his leg off, so he approached the government for help.
It turns out, the government actually FINED him for destroying government property (the mine!) and since he had no money, took his farm away from him. He fled the country with nothing, on a wooden leg, to come work on the mountain roads in Thailand.
What bastards. The scary part is that Myanmar currently has the largest standing armies in the world (400,000 strong), and most dangerous in Southeast Asia. They also enjoy the full support of China, even scarier. The regime is even notorious for taking underaged girls and forcing them into “service” as sex slaves for the army officers.
I came across AVAAZ.org a while back when a friend sent me the Tibet petition. They have done an incredible job of rounding up 1.5 million signatures, putting some heat on China to start talks in Tibet, and bringing attention to that part of the world. They also have a campaign to help bring visibility to how nasty the Myanmar regime is in Burma. You can donate if you want, but at least go sign their petition.
I don’t have money to donate, but I decided to flex my computer nerd muscles and construct a website to help. I just launched www.peacebookings.com which basically uses link commissions like other sites, but instead I am tracking this site separately and will be donating the money to AVAAZ.
So if you need to book hotels, flights, rental cars, or buy Lonely Planets – do it through these links! It doesn’t change the price for you, and diverts several dollars from every sale to a good cause through AVAAZ. You will find all the big name travel sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, etc….but rather than typing them in, pass through PeaceBookings.com first. Cheers!