FBR Report: Changes in Burma and the FBR mission

Karen State, Burma
16 January, 2013

Dear friends,

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. We are sending this out from Karen State, Burma where we have graduated 15 new FBR relief teams, will soon graduate the next group of medics from the FBR Jungle School of Medicine and are now on relief missions. With your help we now have over 70 teams from 12 ethnic groups. There are good changes in Burma and at the same time attacks and oppression continue, and include the use of jet fighters and attack helicopters especially in the Kachin State. In the face of this we focus on: 1) The FBR mission of help, hope and love to people still under attack in Burma, and putting a light on the situation. 2) Building up all Rangers spiritually, physically, relationally, technically, and professionally. 3) Expanding the FBR mission into new areas, and developing new teams. At the same time we are doing this, we are open to new relationships with the Government of Burma (Myanmar) while continuing to stand with the oppressed.

In this time of change in Burma, the words ‘negotiation’, ‘ceasefire’, ‘peace through development’, and ‘surrender’ are used. ‘Never Surrender’ are the final words of the motto of the Free Burma Rangers, which reads:

Love each other. Unite and work for freedom, justice and peace. Forgive and don’t hate each other. Pray with faith, act with courage, never surrender.

I have always hated the idea of surrender and would never surrender. Whether in sports, climbing, or as a soldier, surrender was not an idea I would tolerate. But as I look back at my life, I realize that I have chosen to surrender many times: to selfishness, pride, and sin. It took failure in my life to see that I had surrendered many times to bad things and had not surrendered enough to good things – and had not fully surrendered to God.

I had it backwards.

Surrender to God is humbling and leaves you wide open – open to His mercy, forgiveness, love, and way. When I do surrender to God I feel an instant release, cleansing, forgiveness and freedom. God loves each of us whether we surrender to Him or not, but when we surrender to God a new life and relationship opens up for us. This is a relationship of love, forgiveness, direction and freedom. We are never to surrender to sin, selfishness, or to the pressure of other people, but we are to surrender to God.

In our work in Burma we do not want to surrender to fear or fatigue, to oppression or injustice. But we do want to surrender to God and be part of His love for all people in Burma. I want the story of my life and the story of FBR to be: never surrender to sin but constantly surrender to God. I pray this for all of us. Thank you for your love for us and for how we work together for freedom, justice, reconciliation and to meet humanitarian needs in Burma. Thank you and may God bless you. Below is an update of the situation in Burma as we see it now in this new year.

David Eubank, family and all the Free Burma Rangers


A summary of the situation as we see it now in January 2013:

 New attacks and ongoing oppression:

1) Burma Army attacks against the Kachin intensify into new areas and continue with over 100,000 Kachin people displaced by over 100 Burma Army battalions in northern Burma. Attack helicopters and fighter jets are bombing, strafing and rocketing the Kachin as of this report.

2) In Shan State, fighting and displacement continue and in the southern Shan State there have been continued clashes between the Burma Army and Shan resistance. FBR medics have given medical treatment to many of those wounded in these attacks by the Burma Army.

3) In Karen State the Burma Army has used the ceasefires to supply their camps beyond the normal supply rate and continue to use forced labor. They have also built new camps in violation of the ceasefire agreement. Border Guard Forces under the authority of the Burma Army have continued attacks in Karen State through 2012.

4) As of this report, many political prisoners remain under arrest. Censorship laws such as the Electronic Transactions Act remain in effect as does the threat of arbitrary arrest.

5) In Arakan State, over 100,000 people have been displaced by inter-ethnic violence between the Rohingya and Arakan. This has been partially fueled by repressive Burma government policies.

6) Humanitarian access is still blocked in many areas of Burma.

Good news and improvement in some areas:

1) Aung San Suu Kyi holds a position in parliament and she, along with others, has received honors on behalf of the international community for their dedication to freedom for the people of Burma.

2) Many political prisoners have been released.

3) Censorship and travel restrictions have been eased.

4) Ceasefire negotiations are ongoing with many of the ethnic groups and there is an overall reduction in fighting.

5) Burma Army leaders have signed an agreement to end forced labor and there has been a reduction in some areas.

6) The FBR had the opportunity to meet leaders of the new government and this is a positive step.

In our view, we see two things happening at once: ongoing oppression and positive change. The FBR will continue giving help, hope and love to those under attack, to get the news out and to stand with the oppressed. We pray for changes and will continue to be open to developing the beginning of a relationship we have with some in the new government, as well as with Aung San Suu Kyi and others, for the purpose of reconciliation, justice and freedom for all.

Thank you and may God bless you,

Dave, family and all of FBR