Today was the first time I’ve had the chance to chat with the Free Burma Rangers who come and bring students to Legacy Institute. Today I had the chance to talk to one of them from the Karen State area whose sister is a new student at Legacy, but who himself is a resident of Chiang Mai (now) working for a group called the Free Burma Rangers, and who invited me to come and visit their offices in the city anytime, something which I will try to the find the opportunity to do sometime, as I am curious to know more about them.
From what I know about them , the Free Burma Rangers are a group of volunteers and workers from a variety of ethnic group among the Burmese minorities who seek to provide help (medical help, teaching, training, camps, and the like) to the oppressed minorities of Burma. The rangers themselves are from a variety of backgrounds, many of them the same as those of the students of Legacy Institute themselves–mostly various hill tribes like Karen, Kareni, Shan, Lahu, Kachin, Chin, Mon, Naga, and so on–and they cooperate to help the minorities in Burma oppressed by their cruel military and document human rights abuses in Burma, including the destruction and deliberate mining of villages, the forced labor of civilians for the military, and the torture and murder of innocent civilians.
All of this is clearly abhorrent, and much of it reminds me of the way the Roman Army behaved in Judea. How limited is the toolbox of mankind’s cruelty and despotism–the Assyrians, the Romans, the Incas, and the Burmese, authoritarian and militaristic dictatorships all, have a very limited toolbox to work with–the use of deadly force, the attempt to co-opt all religious and cultural realms of leadership, the torture of civilians, the forced labor and slavery, the high taxation, the forced resettlement of dangerous populations into more easily controlled areas. The same techniques are used over and over again, ensuring hostility for generation after generation. How come we never learn better ways to behave?
And yet the Free Burma Rangers almost seem like a military organization of some sort. Certainly they work with a great deal of military organizations for the Kachin, Karen, and other people who yearn to be free from Burmese oppression. They wear camouflage, work in war zones, even serve as army medics against the Burmese army to help care for the wounded. It would seem as if the Free Burma Rangers understand that spiritual warfare and physical warfare are connected, that spying and gathering of information and exposing the evil deeds of the wicked are a part of God’s greater plans. They are no pietists seeking their own personal salvation alone, that is for sure.
I will have to find out more about these Free Burma Rangers. Suffice it to say, I know enough to think their own aims and goals and approach not too far from my own, their hostility to tyranny and oppression fired by their own bitter personal experiences, and their love for their fellow people borne out in actions at the risk of their lives. There is an honor in that that must be recognized and appreciated. We cannot underestimate the severity of the war we are involved in–we indeed war against spirits and not flesh and blood, but often flesh and blood are the willing servants of Satan, and so we must war against them too, because oppression and tyranny all spring from the same demonic source that seeks to torment and destroy us all. And so long as people struggle against that ultimate enemy, I am inclined to consider them friends and allies in the grand strategy of the war against Satan and his demonic realm.