Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Tale of Two Countries

Amazing. A couple weeks ago, I posted on Burma (Myanmar) and now it's big in the news. I mean B I G! If the protestors don't back down, they have the very real potential to bring down a government. For that, they deserve our prayers and support. I hope they do bring down the despotic and corrupt military government that has ruled Burma with an iron first for 40+ years. It's high time the National League for Democracy, led by 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is allowed to resume the rightful place in bringing about needed change to that impoverished country. This is exciting to watch. It's shades of 1989 all over again.

As I read and watch news reports about the development in Burma, I can't help but think of Bush's hollow statements about his rationale for going to war in Iraq. After the WMDs weren't found, he changed his tune to say that the real reason he went to war is to liberate the people of Iraq from a brutal dictator. Well, had he used that as his primary rationale in the lead up to the Iraq War, especially before the 2002 mid-term elections, Republicans probably would have lost control of Congress. No, he used scare tactics to imply that Saddam was going to nuke our nation if we didn't invade. What's wrong with that picture?

Well...as the Burmese people have shown in 1988 and again in 2007, true revolution has to come from the people. When have the Iraqis ever stood up against Saddam and did mass protests in the streets? It never happened (okay, okay...if you want to count the 1991 post-war uprising that was quickly squashed, go ahead). It's baffling in the absurdities. We should help the people of Burma. They have suffered for far too long and have shown repeatedly that they want change. They voted for it in 1990. The world community is morally obligated to help these people break the chains of their oppressive government. A U.N. backed invasion of Burma would most likely be seen as a liberating force for good. In contrast, the Iraqis don't want Americans in their country. They never cared enough to risk an uprising, so why on earth should we help them over others who clearly want democracy? It's backward logic. We help the people who don't want our help, not even our presence. And we ignore the cries of those who clearly want and need our help. What are we going to do? Stand by like we did with Rwanda and let genocide happen? We're talking a half million Buddhist monks here! You can't get more spiritual than a Buddhist monk.

It is my hope that people will see through Bush's facade and lies. By freedom and democracy, what he really means is that the Iraqis have something we want so we're there to stay ("bring 'em on!" he dared the insurgency in 2003 or 2004). All he can offer the Burmese people is platitudes about democracy, which he should really pronounce as "demockery". And the sad truth of the matter is...if Bush really wants flowers and chocolate to be bestowed on American troops (a la France in 1944), Burma is the place where its most likely to happen. Not Iraq (obviously) and certainly not Iran.

Let's continue to pray and remember the people of Burma. May this revolution really bring about the change in government that is desperately needed. Aung San Suu Kyi is ready to lead. Like the two other "political prisoner to presidents" (Vaclav Havel and Nelson Mandela), our world needs yet another shining example of what is possible.Vive la revolution!

1 comment:

d/b/c/m said...

love this post! well said!

although as a side not, i disagree that you can' get any more spiritual than monks--i spent a lot of time with them in SE Asia, and they are like Mormon missionaries: most young guys are obligated to serve their time as a monk. some are strong, some are weak.