Myanmar: This Is What Courage Really Looks Like

courage1
Protester in Myanmar (from here)
I don’t have much to add about the situation in Myanmar; maha has some good posts about it, along with AmericaBlog. But the above picture is a study in contrasts.


The foreground speaks for itself, but if you look at the upper left background, you’ll see an advertisement for the movie 300. To my mind, 300 represents a juvenile, fantastical crusade for freedom from dictatorship. But unlike 300, most struggles against dictatorships and juntas during the last century have not involved smashing things, bellowing, and rippling abdominals, but ordinary people, who simply possess a dreadful hope that, despite all the murderous evidence to the contrary, human decency and the justice of which we can conceive will prevail over unethically-wielded might. Too often, this has not been the case, and there has been a dreadful and bloody price.
Yet the people of Myanmar still march, only armed with the conviction that their government is unjust and that it can be changed through non-violent means. They are awe-inspiring and humbling, not only for their courage, but for their steadfast committment to dignity in the face of
indignity.
If the last remaining superpower only had an administration with the ethical and moral standing to pressure the UN Security Council and the world into action.
Update: Post edited to fix a typo.

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17 Responses to Myanmar: This Is What Courage Really Looks Like

  1. Khin says:

    Please watch this music video about myanmar culture
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmLuT3aJw9E

  2. Abey says:

    If the last remaining superpower only had an administration with the ethical and moral standing to pressure the UN Security Council and the world into action.

    For what it’s worth, my understanding is that China is the real problem here. With its veto power, China refuses to let the UN take any action to free Burma. I assume that the Communist party doesn’t want its own citizens to get any bright ideas.

  3. blf says:

    Burma (nee Myanmar) has been ruled by an astonishingly corrupt, inept, and paranoid junta for decades. That is the problem.
    The junta has either simply ignored international groups (I seem to recall they threw out the UN Secretary General’s special representative some time ago); been ignored by international groups (ASEAN(? Assoc. of SE Asian countries) has been putting its collective head in the sand for years); and the EU and USA have very little means to influence the junta. I’ve no idea to what extent EU and USAian business are involved with or in Burma anymore, as there’s been customer and shareholder pressure for years to dissociate with the junta.
    The two countries that may have an ability to influence the junta are India and the larger of the two Chinas (“China”). Both apparently buy a considerable amount of Burma’s exports, and have sold the junta weapons, and so on. And they are rivals. Hence, one thing the junta has been able to do is “play off” India against China.
    China and Russia did block the most recent attempt at the UN to impose sanctions, for the usual reason, “it’s an internal affair blah blah blah…”. However, it’s likely there are other factors involved, such as (but not limited to) Abey’s point about China’s own internal politics.

  4. Danny says:

    Abey is right, China is a major impediment to any action against the Burmese junta. The main reason, though, is that China is the main exploiter of the country. While more democratic countries are hesitant to do business with a murderous regime, it’s all par for the course with the PRoC. And so they get lucrative access to the country’s natural resources and market.

  5. Singh says:

    As long as China is ruled by the totalitarians, your complaints are worthless.
    Hey, contact your fellow science blogger Shelley Batts, her dad works in China and manages one of their factories.
    Maybe he can help.
    After all, science can solve all our problems.
    Right?

  6. VJB says:

    According to Barbara Obrien at Mahablog http://www.mahablog.com/2007/09/27/metta-sutta/ , the monks in Burma were chanting the Metta Sutra, the sutra of loving kindness, as they marched. The middle of it goes:
    “May all beings be happy.
    May they live in safety and joy.
    All living beings, whether weak or strong, old or young, man or woman, smart or foolish, healthy or disabled, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy.
    “Let no one deceive or despise another being, whatever their status.
    Let no one by anger or hatred wish harm to another.”
    Some things do get through my jaundiced sensory filter and make me proud to be human again.

  7. Grady says:

    Interesting that it took a religious group to stand up to this, while the secularits did nothing.
    But, in a larger sense, who cares?
    Are the liberals going to help?
    They sure didn’t want us going into Iraq to get rid of Hussein, so why the hell would be get involved in Burma?

  8. Mike says:

    I guess I should not be surprised that you used this to take a swipe at Bush. Bush has many faults, but this issue is not one of them. For some reason, your liberalism prevents you from seeing reality and the facts. It reminds me of a creationist who simply ignores facts that disagree with a particular world view.

  9. MJ Memphis says:

    “Interesting that it took a religious group to stand up to this, while the secularits did nothing.”
    Of course, the religion in question is essentially atheistic.

  10. TK says:

    I don’t have a wild imagination, but I can imagine this scene here in the states. Who would you expect to come to our aid, if say our government took away our liberties and used our police forces against us? Wait a minute! Canada! Help!

  11. TK says:

    Enough of the division already. Secular vs. Religious, Liberal vs. Conservative. It is getting old. Blogs are filled with this BS. IMHO, your value as a person is nil if your life is about screaming how the other side is wrong.
    If the strongest you feel about what is going on in Myanmar is a few pointed words at those who you feel threatened by, then you don’t feel that strongly about it.
    “Oh look, they aren’t going to help, What horrible people they are!” As you sit at your computer and don’t do jack s#!% yourself.

  12. Xerxes says:

    THIS IS BURMA!

  13. Jennifer says:

    While I think it is great that the US media is finally giving coverage to the plight of the planet. I find it disturbing many Americans are not willing to acknowledge the carnage our money is inflicting on the Iraqi and Afghan peoples.
    The March for Justice: http://www.marchforjustice.com/shock&awe.php

  14. Jo Presse says:

    The two countries that may have an ability to influence the junta are India and the larger of the two Chinas (“China”). Both apparently buy a considerable amount of Burma’s exports, and have sold the junta weapons, and so on. And they are rivals. Hence, one thing the junta has been able to do is “play off” India against China.

  15. a says:

    thanks very.

Comments are closed.