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Byron Shire
May 27, 2024

Exploring the Burmese struggle in Byron, May 30

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Protesters carry wreaths to mark deaths during conflict between Burmese military and the Kachin independence movement. Photo Burma Partnership https://www.flickr.com/photos/burmapartnership

Rosemary Breen, from Inverell, is 85 this year, and still going strong, despite cancer. Rosemary (and her late husband) have been teaching, then quietly building clean water systems for villages and schools in the ‘dry region’ of Burma (renamed Myanmar by the military) for some years, unhindered.

So far, her local team has designed and set up over 450 highly successful projects, which is rather a miracle.

Each tank costs around $2,000. She hopes to get to 500 completed in her lifetime. Each has a donor plaque on the side. The first person I thought of after I met Rosemary was Jacqui Boyett, from Global Ripple. Sure enough, a tank for them is now well on its way!

Many Burmese people have had enough. Unfortunately, not all the young men being conscripted into the army are able to escape, and more than 20,000 prisoners languish in cages.

While we may not immediately be able to help brave Burmese souls from their truly shocking situation, we can attend a very special event, and hear the truth from those who know about the Burmese plight.

We can possibly also meet Rosemary, if she is well enough to drive, at her table. We can certainly hug Jacqui very tightly. Rosemary hopes to be at a special Byron Writers Festival event along with Australian academic, and ex-Insein Prison inmate, Sean Turnell, previously Aung San Suu Kyi’s economic advisor, and ex-political prisoner, Dr Ma Thida. They will be in conversation with Mick O’Regan at Mullum’s Civic Hall on May 30.

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