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Burma Needs Your Land!
As part of the effort to build the boycott against companies supporting the
Burmese dictators, we're planning a "Burma-Slave" publicity campaign based
on the old Burma-Shave roadside signs. Detailed information on the
Burma-Shave signs (and the new "Burma-Slave" signs) is provided below.
The idea behind this campaign is to set up signs by the sides of roads
bearing short poems which illustrate the connection between Texaco and
UNOCAL and the repression and brutality in Burma. Ideally, these signs
will be permanent, but in some cases we will have people hold signs in
places where long-term signs can't be placed.
If you own land by the side of a highway or road, or know someone who does,
please contact Nick Jehlen at the address below. If you are interested in
participating in or organizing a Burma Slave protest in your area, please
email the address below with information about where you'd like to set up
the signs and how many people you could bring to a protest.
voicemail: 617-765-7181 (please email when possible to keep phone bills down)
Burma Shave: History
In 1927 a small company began using a new form of advertising in order to
promote its newest product: brushless shaving cream. They set up a series
of signs by the side of a road, each one with a line of a advertising
slogan on it. Over the next forty years, these signs were put up all over
the country, with hundreds of different slogans - most of them short
rhyming poems, all of them ending with a sign which read "Burma Shave".
(The Burma Shave name comes from the fact that many of the ingredients came
from Burma.) These signs became a favorite pastime for travelers, and were
used for the next forty years in one of the most successful advertising
Examples of Burma Shave signs:
out so far
it might go home
in another car.
sleep in a chair
nothing to lose
but a nap
at the wheel
is a permanent snooze
While boycotts are built one person at a time, to become successful, they
must penetrate the public consciousness. A company's brand-name is a
valuable commodity, and by spreading the word about companies policies
(through a boycott campaign) this commodity is devalued.
The idea behind the original Burma Shave signs was inspire people to watch
for the poems, to read them, to remember them, and to get them to talk to
their friends and family about them. The idea behind the Burma Slave signs
is the same. While we don't expect to put up as many signs, we will spread
the word through media exposure. Many media outlets that would never touch
a boycott story may be more willing to run a story about the rebirth of the
old Burma Shave signs.
Examples of Burma Slave signs:
Burmese children build the roads
to bring you gas
to help you go.
Slave labor is the hidden cost
when you pull into
Our money goes
to enslave the masses.
Set burma free
boycott UNOCAL gases.
Permanent and Temporary Signs
The ideal place for a set of Burma Slave signs is by the side of a small
highway, on land owned by a supporter. Depending on the speed of the cars
on the road, a set of signs would need between 50 and 250 yards of
In the mean time, we'd like to set up a set of signs by the side of a road
(Memorial Drive or Soldiers Field Road in Boston) with a person holding
each sign up for an hour or two.