Saturday, February 9

MYAWADDY, BURMA – Christian Freedom International (CFI), a U.S.-based humanitarian organization, is urging the global community to call on Burma’s government to end the ethnic cleansing violence that has caused the deaths of thousands of its own citizens, with thousands more swarming into refugee camps.

The challenge comes as one of Hollywood’s latest films, Rambo IV, is being released in theaters around the world -- a movie where its writer, producer, and leading actor, Sylvester Stallone, began work on the script shortly after the devastation of the September 11, 2001 U.S. terrorist attacks. In the early stages of the script’s development, Stallone consulted with Soldiers of Fortune magazine and asked one crucial question: where is the one place on earth where the worst atrocities are taking place and getting the least amount of attention?

The answer was Burma.

In the latest installment of the 20-year-old Rambo movie franchise, Stallone attempts to revive his protagonist character, John Rambo, where the Vietnam veteran is living a solitary, peaceful life in Bangkok, Thailand -- until the day he’s summoned to escort a group of Christian missionaries up the Salween River to deliver relief aid to war-weary refugees in Burma. When the missionaries fail to return from their trip nearly two weeks later, the veteran is once again approached by the missionaries’ pastor, who pleads for his help in locating the aid workers that have been kidnapped by the vicious Burmese army.

CFI anticipates that the movie’s recent release will draw more attention to the grim reality of the world’s oldest civil war, in a country where Karen and Karenni Christians have been especially suffering for decades. Since 1996, Christian Freedom International has built schools, orphanages and field hospitals, as well as provided food, medicine and Bibles for thousands of suffering Christians in Burma.

The organization has also remained as an active voice in the political arena on behalf of Burma’s refugees, and in recent months worked closely with the U.S. State Department to assist with the resettlement effort that is allowing many of the country’s exiles to begin new lives in the United States.

Although thousands of refugees are now living safely on American soil, thousands more remain in grave danger as they continue to flee from the Burmese army. CFI president Jim Jacobson is currently on location in Burma, delivering Bibles and urgently needed medical supplies to Karen and Karenni refugees.

Jim Jacobson, a former White House policy analyst during the Reagan administration, has frequently visited Burma to personally deliver aid -- and encouragement -- to displaced Christians in the region.

Note: most of the Christians in Burma are Karen or Chin, but the suffering there is among all the people, Christian and non-Christian alike.

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