From Andrew Drummond,Bangkok, Sunday July 22 2007 With all avenues stretched in their battle against Burma's pariah military junta Burma's oppressed minorities are glad any of any extra help they get - even if it comes from the crew of the Starship Enterprise.
Yesterday it was the turn of Walter Koening, better known as Pavel Checkov the Russian crewman on the Enterprise's Bridge.
Last weekend Koenig visited refugee camps in Thailand and crossed the Moei River into Burma as part of the U.S. Campaign for Burma campaign to highlight atrocities committed by the military junta on hundreds of thousands of its minorities.
They are the ethnic Karen, Shan, Kachin, whose fathers and grandfathers fought with the British against the Japanese, and the Burmese, in the Second World War.
No doubt sometimes wish they could be beamed up, but there has been no respite from the Burmese military for 60 years. Atrocities include rape, forced labour, forced relocation, and execution of the minorities.
Sanctions against the military government have limited success. China, and India for instance trade on. In the latter case India is supplying AHL helicopters made in Hindustan. They look very much like the Eurocopter and contain parts made in Britain, France, Germany and Scandinavia.
These helicopters can happily be used in military actions againstBurma's minorities.
Said Walter Koenig yesterday: 'Five years ago I knew nothing about the atrocities committed in Burma.
Now I am horrified by what is going on. Some 3,000 villages have recently been destroyed and the occupants either forcefully relocated or fled to Thailand.
'They are a resilient people and I have special sympathy for them because I am from a family who were forced to leave Eastern Europe.
'The U.N. needs to get a stronger resolution on the table. If the Starship Enterprise can help, lets use it to get the public's attention.'
He did however admit that not many of the refugees in Huay Kaloke refugee camp near Mae Sot in Northern Thailand, one of the sights he visited, seemed to know much about Captain Kirk.
But even if a few 'Trekkies' out there help, one US$ dollar goes a long way in a refugee camp.
They only 'Klingons' here are the military junta who ruthlessly hung on to power many years ago after Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won the country's first national election.