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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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Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I think some times a country has to helps to itself then others and I think that every country has to be independent in solving it’s problems and if it can’t it has to join another country. It’s my opinion

05:48 AM Jun 08 2015 |



Saudi Arabia

I believe that America should withdraw itself from everything

Thus peace will be achieved

04:24 AM Aug 03 2012 |



United States

I don’t think Burma has done anything wrong! I really think the US should help burma. Especially if monks live there. Poor people! some people in Burma maybe hasn’t seen a drop of peace since they were born!  

08:38 PM Aug 02 2012 |




Usa only helps if it’s financially worth it to them. Usa helped Kosovo and Afganistan etc. for money. There are no money, no good resources in Burma so no way America help there.

06:17 AM Jun 27 2011 |



eactly,we can help Burma for anyway,if they need.but we may not have other ill-think.

08:34 AM Mar 15 2008 |




I like Burma and all the asian countries, and I would like to say that we, here in europe have to do all diplomatic steps to free thoose dowtrodden countries….That's why I'LL learn diplomaty.


05:17 PM Feb 27 2008 |




I say: FREE TIBET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05:14 PM Feb 27 2008 |





02:22 AM Jan 15 2008 |

1 person likes this


Russian Federation

The Burma problem is not only the problem for Burma. It’s the problem for the neighboring countries.The UN should help Burma and the neighboring countries.

05:15 PM Dec 15 2007 |



Thanks Ebaby for this interesting topic. I like what Nasim says. 

Its very interesting (and important) to hear the meaning of people from all over the world. It shows that USA has big problems and a worse standing after the adventure with Iraq. But a lot of Americans wanted to have this war – I think. Perhaps next time they listen one time more at german intelligence service…and not only from SaudiArabia…:)

I hope Americans want to get a president who doesn't wanted the war in Iraq. Maybe this will be a radical change in foreign-politics but only in this way USA can get more power in international relationships quickly.

So the onliest way to help the people in Burma is during UN.  Give UN more power than thinks can be changing.

Good luck to inhabitants of Burma and good luck to the all refugees. I hope  things are changing soon.

09:44 AM Dec 14 2007 |



I completely agree with GavinZheng


02:45 PM Dec 13 2007 |




I don't  watch that  sceen, why??  Who  can  tell me ? I'm  a  new  comer.   Thank  you  very much!!   I'm  a   chinese  girl  ,and  my  english level  is   very     poor.

01:39 PM Dec 13 2007 |




that’s really true!!! i agree with that,why don’t america just care about american people and say their problems other that creating problems and pay billions of dollars in bad war,it would be better to spend on american citizens.what do you think americans???

04:32 PM Dec 12 2007 |



Americans seems kindhearted. They would like tohelp other country to solve their problem.

But the problem seams like the fight in a family.other can not solve it.and they don't need this kind of help.it only make things go worse.

the only thing we can do is give medical help.

12:04 AM Dec 12 2007 |



oh la laaa!
what happen in the our world!just think about LIFE!

04:56 PM Dec 11 2007 |

jafar eslami

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i think  people in diferent couneries suffer from their govrment andS this refer to how  they control and rule and occupy this situation .i beive they encourag by big countery especially U 

12:33 PM Dec 11 2007 |




Your acrimonious critic really stroke me!!

 I consent to your opinion that US or UK shoudn`t have been more involved in other countries affairs. It`s high time for "Someone" who is often described ignorant, impotent and aroogant to cope with some problems in his garden!

12:00 AM Dec 11 2007 |




awwwww thats awesome i luv the united states

11:31 PM Dec 10 2007 |




i think all peoples and countries must help each other but dont think bad things

05:09 PM Dec 10 2007 |




we cant be out of the government problems and we must help all peoples who wants help

05:02 PM Dec 10 2007 |

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