Refugee Camp on the Edge of Forever

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Sudan has George Clooney. Tibet has Richard Gere. Myanmar has… Chekov.

Star Trek actor Walter Koenig urged fans of the iconic sci-fi series on Tuesday to turn their wrath on Myanmar's military junta, an earthly "outpost of tyranny."

Koenig, who battled alien Klingons and Romulans as an original member of the Starship Enterprise crew, said he hoped to mobilise Trekkies to join a campaign against the ruling generals blamed for human rights abuses in the former Burma.

"I can tell people what I experienced, meeting people without limbs, the ex-political prisoners, the squalor, all that I have seen in these brief days," Koenig, 70, told Reuters after visiting a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border last week.

"Star Trek fans are very receptive to humanitarian causes. The stereotype is somebody who is into computers or sits at home and does nothing else," Koenig said.

I have no idea how you venture to the border without coming back convinced that the U.S. should issue more visas and accept vastly more Burmese refugees. Instead Chekov defers to the sanction-happy U.S. Campaign for Burma, which exists mainly to tell college students to avoid travel to a country they've probably never heard of. (When MTV announces "Spring Break: Rangoon," U.S. Campaign for Burma will stand ready.) Koenig's support should be at least as effective as the campaign's other suggestions for "helping the people of Eastern Burma," which include writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and hoping Than Shwe reads it.

All I really need to know about Star Trek I learned from Tim Cavanaugh.

Hat Tip: Gunnar Hellekson.

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  1. Oh, lord. Get ready for a frothing ProGLib.

  2. Fire photon torpedoes!

  3. Aw, Bester’s just pissed off that the Shadows killed his girlfriend.

  4. Although it would be the right thing to do for the US to accept more Burmese refugees (and not just the pythons in Florida), that isn’t going to do anything for the vast majority of Burmese.

  5. My girlfriend teaches ESL for a local refugee relocation group, and she had some refugees from Myanmar, but oddly enough they were ethnic Korean.

    Anyway, she rails about the paltry refugee visa allotments that the State Department allows on a pretty regular basis.

  6. Anything more than a letter-writing campaign might violate the Prime Directive.

  7. highnumber,

    That’s funny coming from the guy who created Star Trek Wednesday.

  8. highnumber | July 25, 2007, 4:00pm | #

    Oh, lord. Get ready for a frothing ProGLib.

    Picture of a frothing ProGLib HERE.

  9. Although it would be the right thing to do for the US to accept more Burmese refugees (and not just the pythons in Florida), that isn’t going to do anything for the vast majority of Burmese.

    Granted, but, um, so? Isn’t helping some of them better than helping none??

    FREE TIBET!

  10. He first suspected something was up when he saw the words “Botany Bay”.

  11. Truthfully, it was created to punish me.
    Now, it has spread to H&R. Great.
    I was hoping y’all had forgotten about it.

  12. If Burma isn’t the most fucked place on earth, I don’t know what is. An under reported story that could use a figurehead. I’m definitely in the more VISAs, and sanctions just fuck em further, camp.

  13. Are you sure they were Korean? I seem to recall that Myanmar has an ethnic group called “Karen.”

  14. Ugh. I am not a cat–I’m a free man!

    To answer your otherly threaded question, jimmydageek, I did wear the Bibertarian t-shirt in public. The only question I got was what the hell it meant. Excellent.

  15. “Burma”

    “Why did you say ‘Burma’?”

    “I panicked.”

  16. Lunchstealer beat me to the the punch with the Babylon 5 reference. I always thought Bester was a much cooler character than Checkov.

  17. Edit: Chekov

  18. I always thought Bester was a much cooler character than Checkov.

    It’s really not hard for a character to be cooler than Chekhov, since he was a cipher invented after the first season to bring in those hip young longhairs.

  19. To simultaneously bring in hipsters, AND appease the Soviets. Seriously, it’s like a character designed by a committee which was in turn appointed by a committee.

  20. Franklin Harris

    “Burma”

    “Why did you say ‘Burma’?”

    “I panicked.”

    Burma-Shave!

  21. Ugh. This geekiness is sweltering. I’m having trouble breathing.

    That’s better!

  22. Hey if all these refugess are facing torture and genocide at home we can let ’em in to pick vegetables, bus tables, GutChickens, WashCars and HangDrywall.

    amidoinitrite?

    No jobs for IllegaMexicans….problem solved!

    Two birds…….One stone.

  23. Kerry, wouldn’t a title of “The Thanshwean Web” or “The Return of the Myanmarchons” been better?

  24. Aye aye kiptin

  25. Or City on the Edge of Mynamar?

  26. Who Mourns for Aung San Suu Kyi?

  27. Let’s face it: These people stood by and did absolutely nothing when the Cardassians were massacring the people of Beijor. Why would they lift a finger to help the Burmese?

  28. Ouch. Episiarch hits below the belt.

  29. Did Chekov actually face the Romulans in any episode?

  30. America…
    America…
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah,
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    Freedom is the only way yeah,
    Terrorist your game is through cause now you have to answer too,
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    So lick my butt, and suck on my balls,
    America, FUCK YEAH!
    What you going to do when we come for you now,
    it’s the dream that we all share; it’s the hope for tomorrow

    FUCK YEAH!

  31. OR possibly, “Operation: Agitate!

  32. “The Mynamaragerie?”

  33. I have created a monster…and it is good.

    The Koenigmite Maneuver

  34. The Conscience of the Junta

  35. Or, following the Bester route,

    And the State Department Cried Out, No Hiding Place

  36. No, it couldn’t be me.
    Stop it.

  37. OK, I seem to have missed the whole “bibertarian” thing. I’ve been to Urkobold’s site, but still can’t figure out what the fuck a bibertarian is. Anyone care to fill me in?

  38. Frank Booth,
    It’s another name for nanny-staters.

  39. “I can tell people what I experienced, meeting people without limbs, the ex-political prisoners, the squalor, all that I have seen in these brief days,” Koenig, 70, told Reuters after visiting a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border last week.

    Doctor, you remember — He was scared! He saw the dead body and ran out of the building. He was scared to death!

    The Deadly Years — no editing required…

  40. He’s just mad at the Burmese for what they did to his brother. But wait he doesn’t have a brother.

  41. The Deadly Years — no editing required…

    Heh… funny you should mention that. There is a fan made Star Trek episode where the rapid-aging bug finally catches up with Pavel. Eventually the young actor playing Chekov is replaced by… present day Walter Koening!

    http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/

  42. Frank Booth,

    Here’s the first Bibertarian post at Urkobold.

  43. Reminds me of my conversation with an AU student who was shocked, shocked, that the Myanmar government might arrest someone for distributing leaflets criticizing that government for…abusing human rights such as freedom of speech.

    I can see how it would go from that quality of thinking to “let’s make sure nobody can come to the US on vacation or as a refugee–take that, junta!”

  44. And the Third-Rate Actor Shall Lead

  45. This sounds like a job for Vang Pao

  46. Is There in Truth No Burma?

    OK, I’m done now.

  47. SULU IS GAY? FUCK, WHO KNEW?

  48. If RoxannneDawwsonn asks me nicely, I’ll consider getting involved in this campaign. Just one thing: no ridges!

    As for Kerry Howley, wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we could just invite all the citizens of Burma to live right here in the U.S.? Wouldn’t that solve everything? BTW, Kerry, when do you start 3rd grade?

  49. Diplomatic Immunity Syndrome

    Sorry, that’s the best I could do. And I had to cheat and look in the DVD box set first.

    I have to give some credit to Chekov for picking the one country on Earth governed by a ruling party with a perfect Trek villain name: SLORC. It sounds like something that eats Denebian slime devils.

  50. Trekkies?

    Shouldn’t that be ‘Trekers’, like Democrat vs. Democratic?

  51. Picture of a frothing ProGLib HERE.

    ProGlib looks like he needs a good cuddle…that or tied up in a pillow case with some rocks and thrown into a lake.

  52. Star Trek fans are very receptive to humanitarian causes. The stereotype is somebody who is into computers or sits at home and does nothing else

    All stereotypes are true.

  53. Slorc sounds more like one of those pseudo-Enochian critters from that Ghostbusters movie.

    I leafed through an interesting book lately called Finding George Orwell in Burma: it claims that the Burmese call ol’ Eric Blair “The Prophet”, and that they say that his Burmese Days was the start of a trilogy.

  54. Would it be rude to mention that Chekov wasn’t even in the crew when first-season ep City on the Edge of Forever came out…?

    (I never forget a face.)

  55. JC – that makes a lot more sense if you don’t misread it as, “…tied up with a pillow case and some socks…”

    I really need coffee.

  56. The Trouble With Crab-Eating Mongooses

    (I had to look up “animals of Myanmar” for that.)

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