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Free Burma

Free Burma English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Dec 07 2007

Themes: News


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

It’s a strange thing. Americans are famous around the world for not knowing any languages other than English and for not owning passports. Yet, the American government is famous for involving itself in the affairs of other countries.

When innocent people are being killed around the world, the US government often steps in to help as it did in the former Yugoslavia in the mid ‘90s and as it claims to be doing in Iraq right now (whether you believe it or not).

But sometimes horrible things go on in other countries for years and those nations that could help the situation, for whatever reason, don’t. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been under military rule for over 40 years. The government violently suppresses any resistance from its people. Watch Marni and Mason share their thoughts on Burma.

3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Marni:  Have you been following the news?

Mason:  No, I kinda don’t…because it makes me feel bad.

Marni:  It’s really awful what’s happening over there and I think that it’s easy for us here to kind of tune out, but it’s good to be apprized of the situation.

Mason:  So what…I mean…Fill me in. What is going on?

Marni:  Well, basically, it’s been going on for like 45 years, this back and forth...military via the government oppressing its people. There’s like a million undocumented refugees from Burma living in Thailand alone, not to mention all the other Asian countries. It’s very sad. There is a woman actually elected by the people who won the Nobel Peace Prize. I couldn’t tell you her name…

Mason:  Recently though?

Marni:  Well, not recently…like, I think in the ‘90s…Who hasn’t been allowed to govern.

Mason:  She is an elected official...

Marni:  She is an elected official is my understanding…

Mason:  ...who has no power. She’s totally impotent.

Marni:  And is actually under house arrest and things like that. And because the military and the coup that took over is just sort of terrorizing its people and not letting her leave.

Mason:  And we, as Americans, are of course doing nothing.

Marni:  Well, you know, there’s talk about it…The monks recently…September 24th was like the big day and the monks started rioting, so you know when the monks are actually protesting, not rioting, protesting, that the situation’s bad and we need to get involved.

Mason:  Monks are usually pretty chill, so…

Marni:  It’s sort of in their nature.



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Tired of the news always being bad news, Mason says he doesn’t pay much attention to it anymore. He asks Marni to explain what’s going on in Burma.

She says in the 45 years of military rule, many people have been driven out of Burma into the neighboring countries. There are more than 1 million refugees in Thailand alone.

The woman whose name Marni can’t remember who was elected to govern but never allowed to do so is Aung San Suu Kyi. She is one of the leading advocates for democracy in Burma.

Recently, Buddhist monks protested the government and many of them were injured or killed. Mason notes that when monks speak out, you know a situation is truly bad.

Do you think the US or the UN should help Burma? Do people talk about Burma much in your country?



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yea i my opion , the UN should help the burma people who want democracy , they are suffering for long period . So the UN should need to give help to the burma .

10:52 AM Dec 10 2007 |



hi it's is very nice supject but i thing american follow sone kind of policy to help it self

06:44 AM Dec 10 2007 |




usa should leave other countries alone

04:29 AM Dec 10 2007 |





04:07 PM Dec 09 2007 |




We can't live in peace without help of each other , we all need to support each other as UN members. How you guys think that people in Burma could live better without interfering powerfull countreis or UN which is there for making peace around the world and putting down dictatores and fanatics who just think about their own interest and suppress the poor people and just fill their own pockets…what is your logic behind your opinions….I recommend you to study a little about international relations and politics and specially UN peace operations….


08:58 AM Dec 09 2007 |




Burma had been a burning issue here in india. In fact there’re a lot of burma refugees living here and the indian government has also made some reservation for them in educational institutions and services.
But my wuestion is y shud it always be the UN or the US to the rescue. Both China and India have biggest and 3rd biggest military resp. and good political influence in the peninsula. Wot r they doing????
I’d like 2 quote a news article ” Hu jintao recently said that ‘fairness is required for the developement of good relationship among countries.’ But it all depends upon how one defines ‘fairness’. The frail Aang san suu kyi may not have the same definition.”

01:44 PM Dec 08 2007 |



well,maybe all of us should stand a side and take a union to struggle with US ,more or less,UN is useless at all in fact.

01:18 PM Dec 08 2007 |

liaquat khan


Burma people is very good and loving

they want peace in their country

they like to live togather

with best withes

liaquat khan from pakistan

my email


10:11 AM Dec 08 2007 |




i know little about this event,but i think any country has its own way to resolve this things.others intervened were unfriendly.we are the world,i hope no war in the world.

09:19 AM Dec 08 2007 |

diep pham

Viet Nam

i think government of America have to solve the problems of Burma. I hope there no people have to be killed when they protest their government .Nowaday, the people in Burma should be lived in independency

09:01 AM Dec 08 2007 |

zhou lei


I'm an university student from Nanchang University .I like to make friends with every people.Chatting with me,though my english is poor.

08:19 AM Dec 08 2007 |

Arjan Million


Thank you very much for all Ebaby member's comments on Myanmar Internal Affairs.  I am one of Myanmar Citizens.  Although all types of help are welcome for Myanmar, let us solve our problems ourselves.  I also don't like involving the other government's relation into our internal affairs.  People around the world wants to lead peace.

08:14 AM Dec 08 2007 |




For many people far away from Burma, there is nothing to do unless feel awful,

when they have no food to eat, we even can't help anything.It's hard to solve.

Maybe we just try our best to help others who need help, and keep our environment clean, it wil make us feel better.


08:04 AM Dec 08 2007 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

interfering and intermediation are tow different issues.

There are times when others need help.However,USA usually  seeks his own benefit  by  interfering  with other countries affairs .



07:37 AM Dec 08 2007 |



Christmas Island

Yes,you are right.every country do not like other to interfere theirs.The rather that they interfere their government economy.anyone will not be accept that.I don't like US & UN to interfere others.

07:23 AM Dec 08 2007 |



Your are so selfish. UK & US are only get of their benefits from other countries. I hate them. Our Myanmar(Burma) people need help from UN. We don’t want to need from UK & US. They are so selfish. Our country doesn’t petrol but our country have so many natural resources.We need freedom of our life & want to get developing country. We need new government who are qualified & protect our nationlaity & monks.

03:43 AM Dec 08 2007 |




Neither US nor UK care about Burma because there's no petrol there.

02:01 AM Dec 08 2007 |



United Nation should do for Burma. It’s so sad for Burma US also can do something for Burma peope. So they can save their life’s. World needs peacefull and happy life. Good luck for Burma peopel. God Bless us.

11:02 PM Dec 07 2007 |



hi all , US .UK are controlling alot of things in the world not only wars or violent between people but also who will kill &whome will be killed , they decide for the weak small countries BUT if they will get any benfits from that war they will do it

for buram they should leave people of buram show who will be fit for them they shold step out of this no interfer in other problem HOWEVER this will not heppen at all USA should stop

09:55 PM Dec 07 2007 |



hi all , US .UK are controlling alot of things in the world not only wars or violent between people but also who will kill &whome will be killed , they decide for the weak small countries BUT if they will get any benfits from that war they will do it

for buram they should leave people of buram show who will be fit for them they shold step out of this no interfer in other problem HOWEVER this will not heppen at all USA should stop

09:55 PM Dec 07 2007 |

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