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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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I don't like politics,but I bebieve the Burmen can solve the affairs by themselves.What we need is a peaceful world,no blood,no violence…....

07:11 AM Dec 07 2007 |



let burma solves their problem alone..

07:08 AM Dec 07 2007 |



All International powers should help to restore democracy in burma and with the foreign Affiar relation power, Powerfull countries can help to change the ARMY regim in Burma.

Regim has been changed in Aghanistan and in Iraq as well, but what everyone says  it is not advisible to  kill hurndreds thousad people and damage their properties in a country and then make them sure by saying time and again that "PEACE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO THEIR COUNTRY".

Burman Army ruler should pay attention to their public safty…After all every army officer take oath by the time of recruitment… that Army will provide safty to their own people …. that they will not kill there own people and that they will  not let them killed….  "May Allah shows the right path to every Army ruler" Amin




06:54 AM Dec 07 2007 |



i think u.s should not interfere to other countries.

06:25 AM Dec 07 2007 |



I think the UN can be a bridge between monks who want the democratic and the military government, make a peace and act to whoever do the international crime

06:11 AM Dec 07 2007 |



i don,t like the politics and i don,t mind to say this that u.s is always interfering the other countries matters not for solving but creating problems.and the burma,s problem should b handled with the help of their nation not army.

06:06 AM Dec 07 2007 |



I think that it is a habit of the ARMY to poke their noses in the matters of democracy in their respective countries. We in Pakistan are also suffering from this monstrous disease. All my sympathies with the Burmese.


05:15 AM Dec 07 2007 |




I think whoever you are ,the only goal that we want is leting peace and love fill our world!So stop arguing now ,just take action!

03:21 AM Dec 07 2007 |



Since August , 2007 there has been a series of peaceful protests across Burma as monks, activists and ordinary citizens challenge misrule and repression.  The Burmese military government responded with violence. Thousands of protestors have been seized and taken away.well,it's out of question that the country must  in a turmoil,terrible!

 every country has his political system dating from history,no matter whether it seems good or not.In my opinion ,what we else (not only UK and US but  the other country or orgnizations)  can do is supporting humanitarian aid to the people who are surffering.i dont think it's good to interfere in  the internal affairs of Burma just as US always does to the other countries.as is known to us all:WE HAVE NO RIGHT.

03:07 AM Dec 07 2007 |

janet wang

janet wang


Yes, i totally agree with GavinZheng.  The UK and Us are helping  Burma solve their problem, i do not think so.

Let's make a peaceful world together.

02:50 AM Dec 07 2007 |




That is really good for listenind so if you can give as one other don't forget to pass me a message ;)


02:47 AM Dec 07 2007 |




Hail to the Monks too!

Burma's affairs should be solved main by themselves, but themselves not means only part of berman(military), all problems should prefer to solved through conversation, turn the county to stable. But now , i think UN should take part in to help berman to sit down and discuss their future!not blood each other!

02:29 AM Dec 07 2007 |




I don't wanna talk about politics in english baby, but there are something i have to say..

you UK and US guys must leave Burma alone, letting themselves solve their own problems.Frankly , their troubles are partly caused by the disgusting colonists. Look at Iraq and Afghan..What a mess there.!.y

you guys always are making things even worse ,not better..So shut up your big mouth and never interfere other countries' affair!

Bump me up if you are agreeing with me! Hail to the Monks!!

01:27 AM Dec 07 2007 |

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