Written by Sai Oo – Project Coordinator (Koung Jor)

The magic of magicians – the audience knows that it’s not real yet  they still want to believe that what is happening in front of their eyes is not just a trick. Is this the same for the apparent recent changes in Burma? The majority of genuine victims are still in the same situation, unable to move with the freedom expected in a true democracy and face the same human rights abuses – this is especially true for the people along the Thai-Burma border. They face the same obstacles and trauma their parents and grandparents have faced over the decades.

You may know about the recent events in Kachin State, fighting with the ethnic anti-government groups and the fragile and seemingly meaningless ceasefire agreements. You may also remember the words of the government when they said they were not using air strikes to fight anti-government groups, and that the release of military planes was just for pilot training. This ploy might sway your decision making regarding whether there is real change or not. The death of civilians that is shown in the media and spoken about on social networks might also change your opinions.

When the magicians know what their fans want to see, they can mould their show accordingly. Are the international community and NGOs just faces in the crowd? I would like to believe that the NGOs, having spent years working with the people on the Thai-Burma border, would be able to see the magician’s tricks and wait for real change before moving ALL their efforts inside Burma. I hope they remember that there are still people suffering not only within Burma but also along its border.