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April 11, 2011

Many of us do not really understand the life of a refugee.  We see pictures in the newspaper or watch footage on our televisions and we are left feeling only sympathy.  To our eyes and minds, the refugees are victims, and we react to them as victims.

Along the Thai/Burma border, young Karen people living in the refugee camps refuse to think of themselves as “victims”.  They have lost their homes, their land and often their future, but they continue to struggle for justice and peace.  They say, “Victims are powerless, but we are not powerless!  So, don’t give us your sympathy!  We need your empathy to stand with us as we continue our nonviolent struggle to change the course of history in our country.”

One of the important activities these young people are involved in is the creation of radio staltions in five refugee camps through which they can encourage people, share information and raise awareness.  A short documentary, produced by the young people themselves, explains how these radio stations function.  Please watch the video at and then consider how you can stand with these young people in empathy rather than sympathy.

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