It is a goal nowadays for many entertainment personalities to use their celebrity to promote worldly causes, and actor Eric Szmanda has just voiced out his own.

Szmanda, who plays Greg Sanders on the CBS network’s award-winning series, CSI, talked to reporters Monday last week, urging the public to take notice of the suffering people of Burma (officially known as Myanmar). The Southeast-Asian country has been ruled by the military since the early 1960’s. Human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reported numerous cases of abuse perpetrated by the government.

In 1990, the People’s Assembly elections were held in Burma, with the National League for Democracy (headed by Aung San Suu Kyi) gaining majority of the votes and parliamentary seats. However, the military government has continued to place Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, and in May, they extended her detention for another year.

One of the most devastated Burmese states is Karen, which is located at the eastern region of the country. Because of the continuous military attacks, Karen has lost at least 3,000 villages. During his talk with the reporters, Szmanda called on the military government to cease its attacks on Karen. He also commented on the significance of the United Nations and other countries to the cause he is advocating.

“The UN can do a lot on Burma,” the CSI actor said. “Countries in this region can do a lot on Burma, the United States and Europe can do a lot on Burma, but they need to start to speak out, regularly and quickly and with urgency. I think that’s the most important thing that we can do.”

Initially, the CSI star had not been aware of the situation of the Burmese people, but he returned from his three-day trip with much to say to the Hollywood community and “anybody who will listen.”

“One and a half million people have been forced from their homes, women are systematically raped, men and children have been forced into slave labor,” Szmanda explained.” It’s time to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

While in Burma, Szmanda went to the clinic of Dr. Cynthia Maung, who has been known to many refugees as “The Mother Theresa of Burma.” The 31-year-old actor described his experience at the clinic as “one of the most inspiring and shocking things that I have ever seen.”

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: irrawady news online edition

(Photo Courtesy of BBC)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV