It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts
- Aung San Suu Kyi.
Freedom From Fear
Thanks to azacs for some comments on my most previous post. Regrettably there was too much rumor, and not enough facts it seems. These pictures from dvb.no are certainly factual, albeit a bit too graphic for some readers. You've been warned.
As for my own take. The Burmese are a remarkably superstitious people. The number 8 is lucky, the number 9 is unlucky. This is the reason the 8888 Uprising happened when it did. It is also the reason that the current protests turned violent on 9/27/2007 (sum the digits 9/9/9). There is probably very little that the west can or will do about the current protests. The continued financial support of China and India dwarf the effects of any sanctions from the west.
I can imagine 3 exit scenarios from here:
1. Something truely horrific is caught on video, China withdraws its support, the revolution hits a tipping point and Aung Sang Suu Kyi is the leader.
2. Monks accept that all of life is suffering, and that their sacrifices will benefit their karma. They continue to push this in ways that result in monks being killed (not dragged off to prison). Soldiers decide their karma can't handle killing any more monks, and the military lays down their weapons.
3. China continues its support, the junta stays in power, and thousands more end up in dead or tortured in Burmese prisons. On 8/8/2008 the Burmese get their best chance at democracy, and their last for at least 8 years.
For the moment I'm conflicted. I don't want to see anyone else killed in these protests, but the situation in Burma is very bad, and has been for a very long time. If we could see 1% of the daily horrors of Burma we'd be sending in troops. The current protests are likely to get more people killed, but they also the best chance for meaningful and lasting change.
Oct 6, 2007 is a planned global demonstration in support of the monks. Nothing seems to be planned for DC, but I may try to do something on my own. I could protest outside the Myanmar or Chinese Embassies, hold signs outside the Whitehouse, or ... I just don't know. It all feels so impotent.