Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's disgusting to hear about the slaughter of all those people in Burma. I keep thinking about what happened in Cambodia, how 25% of the population were murdered by Khmer Rouge, and I wonder how things will really unfold for the Burmese as they have no ability to overcome the corrupt government that has bedeviled them for decades.

I keep thinking of Gandhi's methods and the fact that in order for passive resistance to work, there needs to be some sense of shame on the part of the agressors. In cases such as Khmer Rouge or asshats like Hitler or Pol Pot, there's no question of shame, no matter what anyone in U2 says. The peoples' ploughshares will not keep them alive.

Burma is a multi-nation state and most of these ethnicities don't recognize the military government that's been terrorizing them, but that certainly won't keep that government from oppressing them all. It's a mess, and I hope the people will rise en masse and overthrow the goons, but the average Burmese citizen has to rely on the good intentions of the gubmint, and the gubmint relies on their monopoly of fire power and so it goes and has gone, really, for decades, with little hope of change.

There's a movie based on a true story of an American doctor who got stuck in Burma (in the 80s, I think) called Beyond Rangoon. Laura Bowman was traveling and missed her flight out of Burma and got stuck there during a military crackdown. I'm sure there's no end of over-simplification and embroidery in the film, but the man who plays the professor-turned-tour-guide is reenacting his life, basically, and his role in Laura Bowman's story.

I don't have anything brilliant or insightful to say about this, but I do keep remembering other times in recent history when it's been impossible to intervene, when we knew what was happening at that very moment somewhere else and all we could do is sit on our hands. During the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I remember news images of thousands of bodies floating from Rwanda on the river Ruzizi and spilling out into Lake Tanganyika. Unthinkable.

I wish people weren't so crappy to each other. But since so many obviously have their caps set to run roughshod over the rest of civilization, I am a firm believer in having the means of self-defense at the ready and in the hands of the common man. I think we all need to look to the world, watch and learn, and refuse to accept the kind of bullshit other nations are being forced to accept, be they European players overrun by religious fanatics or a disarmed public who must do the bidding of the military junta du jour.

7 comments:

DBA Dude said...

The whole situation in Burma is so depressing, even more so when you know that the current problems have been ongoing for almost 20 years.

That Aung San Suu Kyi lady is a truly amazing paragon of humanity, without her selfless behaviour I feel sure that the eyes of the world would never have focused on the antics of the Burmese dictatorship to any large extent.

One small crumb of comfort in a very shitty situation.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Some folks have a tendency to roll their eyes when I liken this sort of thing to gun control. Sorry, it's something I'm passionate about.

Looking back at this sort of horrific event, if you go back far enough it is always preceded by civil disarmament in one form or another. You never hear of an armed people being slaughtered en masse. It doesn't happen. An armed citizenry may go to war and lose, but they died fighting and that changes things dramatically.

Those who would roll their eyes at such a statement (and believe me, my office is full of them) would use their freedom of speech in place of RKBA. They have one simple rebuttal when I explain to them that controlling your mouth comes right after controlling your guns:

"Nuh-uuhh!"

Those bent on control do not stop at one means of control. Not all are bent on genocide by definition, but the death of Freedom nearly as significant by those who are free.

Christina said...

Brilliant and incisive.

Six years after our own wake-up call, I find we have sunk back into our typical, American complacency.

Too many people can look at the images you describe, feel momentarily outraged, then go back to their sit-com and KFC.
(Pretty much like me, I'm no hypocrite.)

"It could never happen here."

Yeah, right.

Joe said...

Just passing through via Hammer. You are stop #5 on my little blogging experiment!

DirtCrashr said...

And half the military Juntas are just proxy-players for someone else who will pay for the killing to continue - Burma trades in the region of $1B yearly with China, the Norks, and with Singapore.

Catmoves said...

"Burma is a multi-nation state and most of these ethnicities don't recognize the military government that's been terrorizing them, but that certainly won't keep that government from oppressing them all."
Wonderful comment. Substituted "America" for "Burma".
Shuddered.

DirtCrashr said...

Substitute "America" for "Burma" is the flawed essence of "multiculturalism" - divide and conquor.