Celebrity Do-Gooders Turn Their Attention to Myanmar

Lending a hand to those in war-torn Darfur is so yesterday. These days Hollywood’s A-listers are turning their sights on another country that treats its people poorly—-Myanmar (also known as Burma).

Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Jennifer Aniston and Ellen Page are among the stars supporting a new campaign aimed at bringing to light the atrocities committed by members of Myanmar’s military-run government.

Carrey was the first celeb to film a public service announcement to raise awareness about the Southeast Asian country and human rights leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been confined by the government for 12 of the last 18 years. But now the actor has convinced some of his famous friends to join him in a new campaign. Today will be the first time the public will get to view a video starring Ferrell, Aniston, Page, Sarah Silverman, Sylvester Stallone, Anjelica Huston, Woody Harrelson and Judd Apatow, among others. The celebs appear solo or in scenes together on behalf of the Human Rights Action Center and the U.S. Campaign for Burma. You will be able to see the spots on Internet on sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

In Ferrell’s video, he nods to a person off screen when he correctly pronounces the name of Suu Kyi, who’s under long-term house arrest. Taking a rare serious tone the comic concludes: “Every now and again, a single person or event captures the imagination and inspiration of the world. This moment belongs to Burma, and to Aung San Suu Kyi. Please honor her courage, honor your compassion and let this month be the month you join an effort to change the world.”

Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her nonviolent efforts to overturn the regime led by Senior General Than Shwe. According to the Human Rights Action Center and the U.S. Campaign for Burma, Suu Kyi’s political party won the last general election in 1990 but was never allowed to take power. As a result, Myanmar remains under military rule.

Human rights leaders say they hope the new celebrity infused videos will influence Myanmar’s government leaders who recognize the famous faces. They added that when Hollywood stars speak out, it “undermines the military’s authority and gives support and hope to the opposition.”

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.